Multiple object agreement morphemes in Setswana: A computational approach

  • Rigardt Pretorius
  • Ansu Berg
  • Laurette Pretorius

Abstract

Setswana is an agglutinative language where prefixes and suffixes are extensively used in the formation of words. Words such as verbs, pronouns, adjectives and so on, which have a grammatical relationship with nouns in sentences, demonstrate agreement with such nouns by means of agreement morphemes. In certain instances verbs in Setswana sentences may take two objects. Both of these objects may be represented in the verb by object agreement morphemes. The result is that two object agreement morphemes may be prefixed to the verb. While the morphemes of the verb are presented systematically in Setswana grammars, the occurrence of multiple object agreement morphemes has received limited attention in the literature on Setswana linguistics. Similarly, this phenomenon has not yet been investigated from a computational morphological point of view. This article reports on (i) an example-based investigation towards a better and more complete understanding of the phenomenon of multiple object agreement morphemes as they appear in Setswana verbs, (ii) the modelling of these morphemes in an existing finite state tokeniser and computational morphological analyser for Setswana, and (iii) the novel role that a morphological analyser and its guesser variant can play in a corpus-based investigation of the phenomenon under discussion.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2012, 30(2): 203–218

Author Biographies

Rigardt Pretorius
Department of Setswana, School of Languages, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom 2520
Ansu Berg
Department of Setswana, School of Languages, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, Private Bag X6001, Potchefstroom 2520
Laurette Pretorius
School of Interdisciplinary Research and Graduate Studies, College of Graduate Studies, University of South Africa, PO Box 392, UNISA, Pretoria 0003
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614