Lexical categories in African languages: The case of adjectives word-class in Nyakyusa

  • Amani Lusekelo Department of Languages and Literature Dar es Salaam University of Education
  • Lea Mpobela Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics University of Dar es Salaam

Abstract

An endeavor to establish typical lexical categories in individual languages as well as a typology of word-classes yields contradictory conclusions. In this paper we provide evidence to substantiate the existence of an independent and indispensable open category of adjectives in the Bantu language Nyakyusa. An argument that Bantu languages possess a closed class of adjectives (Dixon 1982; Rugemalira 2008; Segerer 2008) is called to question by the large number of adjectives in Nyakyusa, which provide almost all Dixon’s core semantic types. In addition, adjectivization permits establishment of a vast number of adjectives which designate various property-concepts in the language. Such derived adjectives fit well the Dixon’s semantic types.    

Keywords: Lexical-words, Adjectives, Adjectivization, Word-classes, Nyakyusa

Author Biographies

Amani Lusekelo, Department of Languages and Literature Dar es Salaam University of Education
Amani Lusekelo holds a Ph.D. in African Languages from the University of Botswana. Prior to the doctoral degree, he obtained a degree of Master of Arts (Linguistics) from the University of Dar es Salaam. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Languages and Literature at Dar es Salaam University College of the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Dr. Lusekelo teaches undergraduate courses related to Syntax, Morphology, Linguistic Field Methods and Contact Linguistics. His research interests include syntactic issues in the structure of Bantu noun phrase, word categorization in African languages, the morphology of African languages and sociolinguistics in African context. Most of his publications surround syntax and syntactic theory, e.g. “The structure of the Nyakyusa noun phrase”. Nordic Journal of African Studies, vol. 18 (4): 305–331 (2009).
Lea Mpobela, Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics University of Dar es Salaam

Lea Mpobela holds a degree of Master of Arts (Linguistics) from the University of Dar es Salaam. She works at St. Augustine University (Mbeya College) where she teaches courses related to Syntax, Morphology of African languages, Language in education, and Phonology. Ms. Mpobela published the paper “The implementation of competence based curriculum in English language teaching in Tanzania: A case of Mbeya city”. Journal of Education and Development, (2015). Currently she is pursuing a Ph.D. (Linguistics) at the University of Dar es Salaam. Her research topic is “Word Categorization in Runyambo: A case of adjectives and adverbs”.  

Published
2017-05-10

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1998-1279