Axel Fleisch: Lucazi Grammar – A Morphosemantic Analysis [PDF]


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GA Grammatical Analyses of African Languages Volume 15

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363 pp.
42 tables and illustrations, appendix: A Lucazi tale with interlinear translation, subject index, index of languages and varieties, index of sources

Text language: English

Lucazi is a Bantu language belonging to a cluster of closely related varieties in south-eastern Angola known as Ngangela, the number of speakers roughly amount to 400,000. Major Lucazi-speaking communities are also found in the neighbouring countries Namibia and Zambia. Although the number of Lucazi speakers is difficult to estimate, the language must be considered one of the major languages of southern central Africa. Several hundred thousand individuals use one of the interintelligible Ngangela varieties. How many of them consider themselves Lucazi speakers is unknown.

So far little has been published on the languages of south-eastern Angola. Therefore this Lucazi grammar should be a contribution to a better knowledge of one of the least documented areas in Africa. The main part is dedicated to a basic grammatical description of Lucazi. A clear focus lies on the morphology of the verb phrase. In addition to the general descriptive aim, the verb system receives special attention in the second part of the study. The significance of the description for Bantu language studies consists in the analysis of the interaction between lexical semantics and morphological means of encoding tense-aspect information. Lexical semantic properties of verbs have often been disregarded.

Lucazi has a broad array of tense-aspect forms. At the same time, its derivational system using suffixed verbal extensions is – compared to other Bantu languages – relatively unproductive. However, since these verbal extensions affect lexical meaning, they may interact with grammatical inflection for tense and aspect in fairly systematic ways.

Recently, some studies on Bantu languages have integrated lexical and grammatical aspect within a common explanatory framework. However, the existing literature on tense/aspect and lexical semantics in Bantu languages has often neglected the significance of verbal derivation.

The grammatical description of Lucazi contains valuable data which is not only relevant to those more familiar with Bantu languages. Since it addresses issues that form part of recent debates in linguistics, it can also be insightful for scholars with a more general typological interest.

Under these links you will find further studies of verbal morphology in African languages and publications by the author:

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