South African Journal of African Languages

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The morpho-phonological status of uku- in isiNdebele

Progress Dube, Jerry Zondo


This article looks at the constructions in (Zimbabwean) isiNdebele with the formative uku-. Nguni linguistic studies have classified uku- constructions in Noun class 15. There is an uku- infinitive formative that has been identified and used in the characterisation of infinitive verbs. There is a conjunctive uku- that should be noticed as a distinct formative in Nguni. When all uku- forms have been identified, the article points out, it should then be possible to observe the morpho-phonological properties of each and to establish a linguistic criterion for Class 15, and the separation of the infinitive from the Class 15 uku-. The assigning of noun or verb to the uku- forms can then become a routine and regular academic exercise with consistent interpretation of the form(s).

South African Journal of African Languages 2013, 33(1): 79–85
AJOL African Journals Online