The Integration of Swahili-Borrowed Nouns into Nyamwezi*

  • Ponsiano S. Kanijo
  • Abel Y. Mreta


This paper attempts to briefly investigate the integration of Swahiliborrowed nouns into Nyamwezi. Specifically, it tests whether  Swahiliborrowed nouns into Nyamwezi could be assigned into different noun classes in accordance with the Swahili noun class system, or whether there are cases where there is a mismatch in the assignment of nouns between these languages. Given that in Swahili stress generally falls on the penultimate syllable, it would be interesting, alongside the first objective, to look at the extent to which, Swahili-borrowed nouns adapt Nyamwezi tone patterns. The structural differences between the fivevowel and seven-vowel systems as  well as the absence and presence of vowel length in Swahili and Nyamwezi respectively, would also effectively feature in the analysis of nouns in these languages. Furthermore, it is interesting to investigate the integration of Swahiliborrowed nouns with clusters of two or  more consonants in Nyamwezi. The results show that integration of borrowed nouns, in principle, obeyed the canonical patterns of the Nyamwezi. That is, Swahili-borrowed nouns adapt Nyamwezi tone patterns, sound system and consonant clusters. However, there are cases where general principles are not followed. 


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eISSN: 0023-1886