South African Journal of African Languages <p>The&nbsp;<em>South African Journal of African Languages</em>&nbsp;is a peer-reviewed research journal devoted to the advancement of African (Bantu) and Khoe-San languages and literatures. Papers, book reviews and polemic contributions of a scientific nature in any of the core areas of linguistics, both theoretical (e.g. syntax, phonology, semantics) and applied (e.g. sociolinguistic topics, language teaching, language policy), and literature, based on original research in the context of the African languages, are welcome. The journal is the official mouthpiece of the African Language Association of Southern Africa (ALASA), established in 1979.</p> <div>Read more <a href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">here</a>.&nbsp;</div> en-US <span>Copyright is owned by the publisher: NISC </span> (Publishing Manager) (Editorial Office) Mon, 22 Jan 2024 12:58:18 +0000 OJS 60 The role of narrative stories in interpreting male dominance: <i>Ndilunge ngoku ndingumabuy’ ekwendeni!</i> (I’m better off as a divorcée!) <p>This article focuses on how some women in a patriarchal and culture-bound community, after enduring different forms of abuse, decide to leave their husbands. This phenomenon is also reflected in isiXhosa oral literature and more specifically the folktale, which mirrors society. The article is about the relationship between language, culture and society in the context of gender-based violence (GBV). Examples from real-life narratives as well as a folktale are presented and analysed. These narratives have been collected from various research subjects who have experienced such violence and who have ended their relationships. The folktale that is analysed also presents a protest against patriarchy, male dominance, gender-based violence and abuse. The article then examines the theoretical framework by articulating the motivations and conditions of account-giving, and explores how the subjects have dealt with the conservative, patriarchal and burdensome cultural – as well as gendered – expectations imposed on them by their respective communities.</p> Sebolelo Mokapela, Russell Kaschula Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 The potential of artificial intelligence (AI) for decolonising education in South Africa through the development of indigenous languages <p>Despite having 12 officially recognised languages (with the addition of South African Sign Language on 3 May 2023), South Africa’s education system is becoming increasingly monolingual. The current article makes the case for employing artificial intelligence (AI) to improve multilingualism in South Africa, with specific reference to the educational context. The article discusses the value of first language education, particularly in the context of decolonisation, and shows how AI can be leveraged to facilitate education in all South African languages. Google Translate has emerged as the most popular machine translation platform, and with the introduction of AI to Google Translate in 2016, and later improvements in 2020, Google Translate has achieved a level of accuracy that is sufficient for comprehension in a number of language pairs. This platform’s accuracy is still insufficient for Sintu languages, but as is argued in the current article, this accuracy can be improved by expanding online corpora and by integrating Google Translate into the classroom. The article makes practical suggestions as to how this can be accomplished.&nbsp;</p> Burgert Senekal, Susan Brokensha Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 The adoption and proliferation of clicks in Bantu languages: the role of <i>hlonipha</i> revisited <p>While the use of clicks in certain Southern Bantu languages is recognisable as the result of contact with speakers of Khoisan languages, the occurrence of clicks in inherited Bantu lexemes defies a contact explanation. In this article, I review earlier proposals that link click insertion to the practice of <em>hlonipha</em>, which forbids married women from pronouncing the names of their male in-laws, as well as words comprising similar syllables. Making use of a database of attested <em>hlonipha</em> substitute words, I show that the frequency and phonological details of click insertion to create <em>hlonipha</em> substitutes cannot account fully for the proliferation of clicks to formerly clickless vocabulary. Furthermore, I compare click insertion in South-Eastern Bantu click languages, where the practice of <em>hlonipha</em> is known, to South-Western Bantu click languages, where clicks also occur in formerly clickless lexemes, but whose speakers do not practice in-law avoidance. I also compare <em>hlonipha </em>to other African systems of in-law avoidance, which are remarkably similar in their physical and linguistic properties, yet do not make extensive use of consonant replacement to create taboo alternatives. Therefore, the adoption and proliferation of clicks in Bantu languages is unlikely to have resulted from <em>hlonipha</em> alone, and other factors, such as identity marking and sound symbolism, should also be considered.</p> Hilde Gunnink Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 The challenges of translation in multilingual South Africa with specific reference to selected public space signage in the Western Cape province <p>This article seeks to raise awareness of the impact – positive and negative – of practices that are perceived to be contributing towards the realisation of multilingualism in South Africa. The 1996 Constitution of the Republic of South Africa calls for the promotion of multilingualism and the provision of translation facilities. What lies at the centre of multilingualism and diversity, first and foremost, is access to information through the promotion of the previously marginalised indigenous languages of South Africa, for their equal use and enjoyment by the speakers. This could be achieved, among other things, through translating all government documents and signage into all languages of the country and provinces as per the prescripts of language policies of each province. The primary question then is how beneficial are the provided translations to the target recipients? In the case of flawed translations, do they convey respect or disrespect towards the affected linguistic communities? On the strength of these questions, the forthcoming arguments will be based on sociolinguistic conceptions and translation insights. For that reason, translated government signage collected from various physical sites in the province of the Western Cape, and the City of Cape Town in particular, will be analysed.&nbsp;</p> Sebolelo Mokapela Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 The use of proverbs and metaphors in isiXhosa football reporting <p>This article explores the different uses of colourful and military language in the commentaries of isiXhosa football reporters, and highlights an interesting relationship between football and war in terms of isiXhosa vocabulary, notions and expressions. These metaphorical expressions incite emotions in fans. We argue that, by using existing elements and events from the outside world to qualify actions and activities on the football field, isiXhosa football commentators attribute new functions to certain expressions or create new expressions that metaphorise action on the field based on the reality in their immediate environment. Written against the background of the semiotic and contemporary theories of metaphor, we demonstrate that the AmaXhosa language of sport is permeated with war metaphors, possibly because football is perceived as a substitute for war, especially in times of peace. Consequently, metaphors and proverbs are used by isiXhosa football commentators to convey messages and stir up an appetite for the game.&nbsp;</p> Enongene Mirabeau Sone, Nangamso Gubelana, Neliswa Nkosiyane Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 The syntax and morphosyntax of questions in Shinyiha <p>This article examines the syntax and morphosyntax of questions in the Shinyiha language. It surveys the different sentence structures and strategies Shinyiha speakers use in forming questions. It pays special attention to <em>wh</em>-questions, also called i questions in this article, since in Shinyiha all these words contain the suffix -i. The results reveal that in most cases, the <em>wh</em>-word remains in situ in the post-verbal position with questions requiring answers to who, what and which, but is found preverbally (ex situ) with questions requiring adverbial answers. It is noted that although the canonical structure of <em>wh</em>-questions involves wh-words in situ, this structure is not consistent in all questions in Shinyiha, which weakens the assumption that a language either allows the <em>wh</em>-word to be preposed or to remain in situ. Furthermore, the study has revealed that the structure of <em>wh</em>-questions in Shiyiha is affected by focus. It was noted that to show focus, Shinyiha speakers tend to use a relativiser in <em>wh</em>-questions whose answer simply requires a statement with no relative marker.&nbsp;</p> Devet Goodness Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 The effect of phonetic harmony in causative morphemes in Kiswahili <p>This article focuses on the causative morpheme in Kiswahili. It notes that the causative morpheme has many allomorphs. The study explains the relationship between the verb root and the causative form. It also clarifies phonetic harmony through the effect of the verb root structure of consonants and vowels on the morphological unit of the causative morpheme. Data relating to the causative case was collected from dictionaries and textbooks. The study used the analytical descriptive linguistic method. This study addresses the following questions: What is the cause of the verity of causative allomorphs in Kiswahili, and what is the relationship between the root of the verb and the morpheme of the causative form? Variation of causative allomorphs is imposed by the morphophonemic rule ‘phonetic harmony’ in Kiswahili. This study can contribute to clarifying the method of using the allomorph of causation in the word.&nbsp;</p> Hossam Mohamed Ramadan Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Language ideologies in the promotion of English in Uganda’s educational system: a historical overview from the 1890s to 2007 <p>This article is a historical investigation of language-in-education policy in Uganda. It compares educational reports from the 1890s to the 2000s with research from cultural history to trace how language ideologies shaped the use of English and African languages in Ugandan schools. The historical perspective seeks to complement current research on mother tongue education in Uganda by interrogating the nexus of economic, religious, political and ideological factors that shaped the modern educational system in Uganda. Analysing language policy in the British Empire through the specific case of Uganda, particularly the influential role of Makerere University, we show there are Eurocentric ideologies that are embedded in the historical support for mother tongue education. Mother tongues were and are used as scaffolds to learn English. Through the lenses of linguistic imperialism and critical pedagogy, we argue that the current model of transitional bilingual education needs to be reframed as full bilingual education, with particular attention to the segregation between public/private and rural/urban schools, and to smaller languages.</p> Medadi E Ssentanda, Ruth S Wenske Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Nyalano ya matseno le bokhutlo jwa khutshwe <i>Magana go utlwa</i> jaaka dithapo tsa leselo <p>Khutshwe ke mofutakwalwa o o seng bonolo go kwalwa. Bakwalakhutshwe ba le bantsi ba a atlafa fa ba leka go o kwala. Ditlhangwa tse dintsi tsa dikhutshwe di kwadilwe ka mokgwa o o sa useng pelo. Bothata jwa tsona go le gantsi ke gore, bakwadi ba tsona, ba paletswe ke go tlhagisa malepa a a maleba gore e nne ditlhangwa tsa moswa-o-eme. Khutshwe e e tseetsweng matsapa ya bo ya ritelwa sentle ka lonala ke eo e nang le matseno a a gogelang mmuisi mme bokhutlo jwa yona e nne sephiri mo babuising go fitlha ba goroga kwa bofelong jwa yona. Bokhutlo bo tshwanetse go tshoganyetsa mmuisi, e se nne boo mmuisi a neng a bo solofetse mme bo nne matshwanedi, bo kgodise. Seno, e nna sebetsasegolo sa mokwalakhutshwe. Patlisiso e, e lebile ka leitlho le le ntšhotšho khutshwe ya ga JE Setshedi: <em>Magana go utlwa</em> go tlhola fa e le gore e kwalegile fa motho a leba matseno le bokhutlo jwa yona. Go tlaa lebiwa gape tekolo e e tseneletseng ya ditshekatsheko go tsenya pampiri mooko mo marapong. Go lemogilwe gore khutshwe e e mo isong e, e kwalegile gonne mokwadi wa yona o kgonne go tlhagisa matseno a a gogelang a bo a patika sephinya ka go sa ntshe sephiri sa ka moo khutshwe e tlaa khutlisiwang ka gona. Babuisi ba neelwa tšhono ya go inaganela gore bontsi jwa mekhino e e etileng e tlogelwa ke mokwadi e tlaa kabiwa jang. Go dirisitswe melebo ya bolebakagego le ya go tlhalosa mo patlisisong e.</p> Richard Lepheti Moloele Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Historical evolution of the -<i>ile</i> suffix and language genetic relationship in the Nyasa-Tanganyika Corridor <p>This article examines the extent to which the changing morphological and phonological properties of the -<em>ile</em> suffix illuminates change in the genetic language relationships among four languages in the Nyasa-Tanganyika corridor. Scholarly works indicate that based on lexical similarity, Nyiha, Malila, Nyakyusa and Ndali are so closely related genetically that one may regard these pairs of languages as dialects and not distinct languages. Beyond lexical similarity, this article contributes to the existing knowledge on genetic classification by comparing changes in the -<em>ile</em> suffix in Nyiha, Malila, Nyakyusa and Ndali. Data collection techniques involved a review of written texts, narrative stories and interviews. The analysis in this article considered two major aspects, namely the Nyiha-Malila and Nyakyusa-Ndali genetic relationships. The findings indicate that although Nyiha and Malila demonstrate striking lexical similarity, we have noted significant differences between the two languages on the change involving the -<em>ile </em>suffix. Also, Nyakyusa and Ndali demonstrate differences caused by the change involving the -<em>ile</em> suffix. Therefore, this article concludes that the morphological and phonological evolution of the -<em>ile</em> suffix illuminates change in the genetic relationship of Nyakyusa, Ndali, Nyiha and Malila. The languages develop distinctive features which made them depart from their Proto-Bantu, and among themselves.</p> Nichodamus Robinson Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 A descriptive analysis of Xitsonga contemporary music <p>Indigenous music and dance can help one to vividly fathom the behaviour, values and morals of particular cultural groups, who perform its music and dance for various reasons. The indigenous music and dance of the Vatsonga also play a vital role in the lives of not only the Vatsonga, but also others who enjoy indigenous Xitsonga music and dance. However, there exist gaps regarding documentation, preservation and dance cultural practice. In this study the change in Xitsonga language usage in Xitsonga music, indigenous Xitsonga music and the change in Xitsonga dance genres are analysed descriptively and documented for posterity. The study was guided by a pragmatist paradigm, a case study design and mixed-method research design to analyse Xitsonga music. Random sampling was used to select 15 Xitsonga speakers. Purposive sampling was used to further select five Xitsonga speakers. Individual interviews were used to collect data from the five Xitsonga speakers and questionnaires were used to collect data from the other 15 Xitsonga speakers. The data collected were analysed qualitatively and quantitatively. The thematic method was used to analyse the findings of qualitative data, while quantitative data were analysed and interpreted. A study such as this one can also contribute to African indigenous knowledge systems. </p> Nyikelani Davis Mabasa Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 The impact of non-standard varieties of isiZulu language learning on students’ performance at a university of technology in Gauteng <p>The impact of non-standard varieties of isiZulu language learning on students’ performance at a university of technology (UoT) in Gauteng incorporates the investigation of the positive and negative impacts that non-standard varieties may have in isiZulu language learning and the interference of non-standard varieties with its correct standard usage. The researchers purposefully sampled 85 respondents (80 students, three lecturers and two Department of Arts and Culture workers) at a UoT. They used a mixed-methods approach, including both quantitative and qualitative research approaches. The responses from 60 questionnaires, 15 interviews and 10 proficiency tests form a sociolinguistic profile of the non-standard varieties at a UoT. The dissemination of questionnaires, interviews and proficiency tests occurred almost simultaneously. A quantitative approach was used to analyse the qualitative questionnaire data, based on the frequency of response type as a percentage. The article reveals that non-standard varieties have both a positive and negative impact on isiZulu language learning and that non-standard varieties interfere with the correct usage of a standard language. The article concludes that this interference of non-standard varieties in isiZulu language learning is the cause of students’ poor performance. </p> Zempilo S Gumede, Yanga LP Majola, Nontobeko T Mbatha Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Incazelo nomlando oqukethwe emagameni aqanjwe abesifazane abashade ngaphambi konyaka we-1990 esigodini sakaGcaliphiwe eMaphephetheni <p>Leli phepha lihlola ukuqanjwa kwamagama abantu besifazane abashadile ngenhloso yokuthola umlando nencazelo. Ezikhathini eziphambili bekuwumkhuba ojwayelekile ukuthi umuntu wesifazane uma ezogana afike athole igama elisha emzini. Ngokujwayelekile abantu besifazane bebeqanjwa ngezibongo zabo okuyinto esaqhubeka namanje. Uma owesifazane oganile engowakwaBhengu ubizwa ngokuthi uMaBhengu, owakwaSithole kuthiwa uMaSithole ukuze isibongo sakhe singapheli. Okuyisisusa socwaningo ukuthi kunamanye amagama omakoti adidayo angaqondakali ukuthi achaza ukuthini nokuthi avelaphi. Yingakho inhlosongqangi yaleli phepha kuwukuhlaziya incazelo nomlando oqukethwe ngamagama aqanjwe abesifazane abashade ngaphambi konyaka we-1990. Ngokuhamba kwesikhathi nokushabalala kwesiko kweminye imizi umakoti useyabizwa nangegama lakhe kungabi ndaba zalutho uphinde uzwe nowesifazane egagula ubabezala ngegama okuyinto ekade iyichilo ngezikhathi zasendulo. Kuleli phepha kusetshenziswe indlela yekhwalithethivu ukuqoqa ulwazi obeludingwa ucwaningo njengoba ucwaningo beluzinze esifundazweni saKwaZulu-Natali ngaphansi kwesifunda saseThekwini esizweni saMaphephethe. Izingxoxo nabantu abadala yizona ezisetshenzisiwe ukuqoqa ulwazi locwaningo mayelana namagama ayeqanjwa abesifazane ngosuku lomgcagco. Injululwazi esetshenzisiwe ukusekela lolu cwaningo ibizwa ngokuthi i- Hermeneutics. Okutholakele ocwaningweni kuveza ukuthi amagama aqanjwe abesifazane aqukethe ukudelela, ukwamukelwa nethemba kwabasemzini, amagama obaba babo nezithakazelo.</p> Sabelo Zamani Msomi, Nobuhle Ndimande-Hlongwa Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 The names of the supreme being in Bemba: some critical morphological insights <p>In this article, we use lexical morphology to account for names of the supreme being in Bemba, a Bantu language spoken in Zambia as rendered by various translators in the Christian holy book, the Bible. Motivated by the agglutinative nature of the Bemba language in which lexical items are built out of distinctly identifiable sub-parts carrying specific meanings and functions, we segment morphemes of theonyms to unravel their meanings that are couched in the broader context of the Bemba sociocultural knowledge and narratives. We use semi-structured interviews, focus group discussions and document analysis to collect data. There is a wealth of information and knowledge contained in the theonyms, and we propose two morphological structures on which the Bemba Christian theonyms are constructed. To this end, the study highlights single-word morphological structures that manifest as denominals, deverbals and de-adjectivals as well as a phrasal morphological structure, a combination of two or more separate words from any class as structures that inform the construction of the Bemba Christian theonyms. </p> Hambaba Jimaima, Susan Matukuto, Gabriel Simungala Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Enhancing the vocabulary inventory of Xitsonga in the academic domain by importing from initiation schools and traditional health practice <p>The article aims to discover how university students and their lecturers can contribute to the valuing of Xitsonga as one of the South African indigenous languages in the academic domain. It focuses on ways of enhancing Xitsonga vocabulary’s inventory in the academic domain from a translation perspective. The study employs a functional analysis in a paradigm for descriptive translation studies to examine the ways in which meaning is expressed in the English-Xitsonga pair. It explores the ‘free voices’ of some Xitsonga postgraduate students evoked in their research reports’ front matters, with a focus on the ‘acknowledgements’. It argues that the tone of verisimilitude found in these front matters seems detached from the other parts constituting the content’s style. It also argues that the style applied by students in their ‘free space’ should serve as a benchmark, and precede the standardisation of the Xitsonga orthographic system for a formal academic register. It concludes that omission of this creative parlance and stilted diction in the development of the report’s content turns out to be a stumbling block to meaningful enhancement of the vocabulary inventory of Xitsonga in the academic domain. The study posits that this approach should be exploited to expand the language repertoire in the academic domain.&nbsp;</p> Mafemani Joseph Baloyi Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000 Proverbs based on the people domain in David Mkhize’s <i>Ngavele ngasho</i> <p>The article seeks to provide a critical analysis of selected proverbs based on the people domain in the isiZulu drama, <em>Ngavele ngasho</em> (‘I told you so’), by David Mkhize. The proverbs are sampled purposively for their direct reference to human habits, behaviour, practices and lifestyles, and for their connectedness to the plot structure and theme of the text. They are then critically analysed by focusing on their origin, grammatical structures, literal and figurative meanings in general, and their meanings in the context of the play. This qualitative study employs textual and thematic content analysis methods for data interpretation and analysis. It is grounded in Kamera’s theoretical approach to proverb analysis which considers three levels of interpretation: the literal level, the micro contextual level and the macro contextual level. The study reveals that proverbs are used as social control mechanisms, and they are the playwright’s tool to express his views, attitudes and concerns regarding the issues affecting his society. It is recommended that more research on Mkhize’s literary works be conducted to explore his style and to preserve the richness of isiZulu language and culture. </p> Zilibele Mtumane, Rachel Tengetile Antones-Dlamini Copyright (c) 2024 Mon, 22 Jan 2024 00:00:00 +0000