THE AMPLEXIVES IN SETSWANA

Andy Chebanne

Abstract


Amplexives are nouns that morphologically do not fall within the normal nominal class system but are used as names of individuals which then mean they must be proper nouns. Therefore, Setswana has not only a complex verbal conjugational system but also the noun system is. The amplexives show that by not having a regular nominal prefixes or regular classification, they bring another dimension in the conceptual framework of the nominal system. Nouns exist not only to name individual entities but to provide sociolinguistic and ethnological information on these entities. The classification in types, superficially shown by a certain nominal morphology is the main characteristic of the class system. However, other nouns, such amplexives have no such morphology, but they are classed by association to other nouns in the system. For instances, kinship terms are associated with the human noun system (cl. 1/2); 1a/2a), the sub-categorization into 1a and 2a clearly indicating this irregularity. But not all humans are classed in the same classes. Those ethnic groups that do not belong to the Sotho-Tswana stock are classed elsewhere (le-/ma-: cl. 5/6). In certain cases amplexives may take a second prefix, either because the original prefix is no longer felt as functional prefix or two concepts are infused. This is the case with ma-sa-rwa which also elsewhere in Setswana dialects is ba-rwa. The paper seeks to examine these extra-noun class system nouns and to characterize their semantic amplification (derogation, exclusion, honorifics, etc.).

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