Causative disguised as stative: the affix -ik/-ek in ciCewa1

  • Silvester Ron Simango


Discussions of the suffix-ik/-ek, which attaches to the ciCewa verb stem, have generally focused on its valence-reducing properties  (Mchombo, 1993, 2004; Dubinsky & Simango, 1996; Seidl & Dimitriadis, 2003). The affix, known as the stative, typically attaches to  transitive verbs and has the effect of eliminating the underlying subject from the verb’s argument structure and promoting the underlying object  of the verb to the subject grammatical function. This article describes a  less common variant of the suffix -ik/-ek in ciCewa which (i) typically attaches to intransitive verbs, and (ii) has the effect of increasing the verb’s valence by one argument. This affix introduces an agentive  argument into the verb’s argument structure. It is argued that this  transitive affix is a variant of the causative morpheme.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2009, 27(2): 121–134

Author Biography

Silvester Ron Simango
Department of English Language and Linguistics, Rhodes University PO Box 94, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614