South African Journal of African Languages

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Noun valency in isiZulu and Southern isiNdebele

I.K. Mndawe


African language scholars have done considerable research on various types of compounding of words in isiZulu. However, there is a paucity of research on compounding in (Southern) isiNdebele when compared with isiZulu. This article examines some noun valency and common features that occur in both isiZulu and isiNdebele. The researcher made a document analysis with respect to the morphological and phonological processes of the noun valency frame with possessive pronouns to identify some similarities and differences. The paper argues that although compounding of possessive pronouns with their co-referent nouns is not a peculiar feature of isiZulu and isiNdebele, it is restricted to certain formatives. There are features that allow for morphological and phonological changes, while others do not. In respect of the formation of possessive pronouns, isiNdebele and isiZulu share a common morphological structure. The slight differences between the morphological and phonological processes in the noun + possessive compound construction of isiZulu and isiNdebele constitute orthographical preferences. The researcher demonstrates that the noun + possessive pronoun compounding in isiZulu is confined to the combination of nouns denoting kinship, while in isiNdebele this is not always the case.
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