South African Journal of African Languages

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Morphology and semantics of proper names in Northern Sotho

Mampaka L Mojapelo


The objective of this article is to present the identifying features of the Northern Sotho proper name as a subcategory of the broader word category N (noun). The article analyses the identifying morphological features and semantic interpretations of two types of the proper name, namely, personal and place names in comparison to the common noun. Some proper names in Northern Sotho have the same phonetic form as the common noun, but can be distinguished by morpho-syntactic means. Common nouns may serve as modifying agents and compound with personal proper names for specific semantic effects. Four morphological forms reveal that both common and proper names are used to form place names, with specific morphological elements selecting either common or proper names. As languages advance, it becomes necessary that linguistic elements such as these be afforded further linguistic exploration for valid automatic identification so that they can be extracted from texts for various applications.

S.Afr.J.Afr.Lang.,2009, 2

AJOL African Journals Online