NASAL RETENTION OF NOUN PREFIXES OF CLASSES 9/10 IN BANTU LANGUAGES: A CASE STUDY FROM SETSWANA, KISWAHILI AND SHISUKUMA

H.M. Batibo, N. Kgolo

Abstract


The proto-forms of the prefixes of classes 9/10 in Bantu languages have invariably been represented as *n-/*n- (Meeussen 1967: 97) and *ny-/*ny- (Guthrie 1971). Some scholars have proposed other forms, especially for Cl.10. Katamba (2003) has however noted that many of the contemporary Bantu languages have reduced these forms to N-/N- or Ø-/ Ø-. Thus, one finds many different manifestations of these class prefixes in the contemporary Bantu languages. This paper uses the basic descriptive theory to examine the nature and function of the prefixes of noun classes 9/10 in a selected number of Bantu languages. The main assumption of the study is that these noun class prefixes have made far-reaching evolution in their form and function due to several related phonetic and historical reasons, resulting in their reduction in some cases. The study, which is based on both primary and secondary data, reveals several types of evolutionary trends which have been followed by these prefixes.

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