Patterns of Swahili Verbal Derivatives: An Analysis of their Formation

  • J Mdee


This paper examines Swahili verbal derived forms in order to find out the formative suffixes which they can take and try to establish their pattern. Of interest to us here is to look at the rule governing the formation of Swahili verbal derivatives, and the extent to which such words have been activated by the speakers of the language. A verbal root is the irreducible element of a verb or the primitive radical without prefix, suffix or other inflexion. In a Swahili verbal derivational process, suffixes are inserted between the root and the final vowel. Swahili grammarians categorize productive formative verbal suffixes into applied or prepositional suffix, stative or neuter suffix, reciprocal suffix, causative suffix and passive suffix. The analysis has shown that in Swahili verb derivation it is possible to predict types of verbs that can take all formative suffixes or only some. It has also been revealed that linguistically all verbs adhere to the same rules of word formation by derivational process regardless of the origin or form of the verb. Moreover it has been shown that verbs produce latent derivatives while derivatives of active verbs are usually activated.

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eISSN: 0856-6739