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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The syntax and semantics of the morpheme ni in ki Vunjo (Chaga)
Author:Dalgish, Gerard M.
Year:1978
Periodical:Kiswahili
Volume:48
Issue:1
Pages:42-56
Language:English
Geographic term:Tanzania
Subjects:semantics
syntax
Vunjo language
Abstract:In Ki Vunjo, a dialect of Ki Chaga spoken in northern Tanzania, the morpheme ni- (phonetically n) appears in certain syntactic/semantic contexts, but not in others, as an element immediately preceding certain verbal subject prefixes. Here the author provides a syntactic and semantic characterisation of the contexts in which this ni occurs, and in which it alternates with . The distribution of this element is not idiosyncratic and arbitrary, but is an instance of a rule-governed phenomenon depending on such semantic features as the presence or absence of assertion, certainty, and presupposition, as these are found in the semantic representations of sentences. The author then proposes an abstract analysis which relates the pre-verbal ni to the phonologically similar copula, also ni, and discusses the evidence in favour of such an analysis. Fig., notes, ref.
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