Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies

Log in or Register to get access to full text downloads.

Remember me or Register

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT Open Access  DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT Subscription or Fee Access

The polysemy of the neuter extension -ik in Citumbuka (N21) and Citonga (N15)

Jean Chavula


Most studies of the Bantu verb have neglected detailed analyses of the less productive verb extensions including the neuter suffix -ik. This suffix is associated with the ‘stative’ construction in many Bantu languages, which usually also have a separate passive extension. Citonga (N15) and Citumbuka (N21) have shifted from using -iw, the reflex of the Proto-Bantu passive extension, to using the neuter extension -ik to derive passives. The same extension also derives anticausatives, facilitatives, and potential passives. Thus, in these languages, the extension -ik displays a high degree of polysemy. Underlying these polysemies are the properties shared by the derivatives of the extension. Subjects of the constructions derived by the extension -ik are patientive. This extension has both detransitivising and de-agentivising effects. In this article, I argue that -ik derivatives in Citumbuka and Citonga are situated within the middle voice continuum, falling short of deriving reflexives, reciprocals and autobenefactives.

AJOL African Journals Online