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Swahili prefixes (was: relative tense)

From:Raymond A. Brown <raybrown@...>
Date:Wednesday, March 24, 1999, 6:56
At 6:49 pm -0500 23/3/99, Steg Belsky wrote:
> >In Rokbeigalmki the subject-tense complexes can be detached, like this: > >ha'ezu-daelyeb sha'thes-a? >(did you bring the book?) >azu:. >(i did.) > > >Does Swahili do this?
No. The subject & tense prefixes are just that: prefixes. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- At 7:56 pm -0300 23/3/99, FFlores wrote:
>Raymond A. Brown <raybrown@...> wrote;
>> Umeleta kitabu? Have you brought a book? >> Umekileta kitabu? Have you brought _the_ book [I wanted]? >> > >That _kitabu_ "book" is a Semitic loan, isn't it?
Yes, from Arabic - just like the name of the language itself <-- Arabic: 'sawa:hil' "coast". Its name is more properly 'Kiswahili' "The coast language". It owes its origin to trade jargon developed between native Bantu speakers and Arab traders & slavers. But the language faithfully adheres to Bantu syntax & morphology but has borrowed quite a bit of its vocab. from Arabic.
>Or does the first syllable ki- have anything to do >with the _ki_ for object "it"?
Strictly speaking, no. But........... ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- At 8:23 pm -0500 23/3/99, Nik Taylor wrote:
>FFlores wrote: >> That _kitabu_ "book" is a Semitic loan, isn't it? >> Or does the first syllable ki- have anything to do >> with the _ki_ for object "it"? I'm sure I've heard >> of languages which mark nouns this way (not that >> this is one of them, but maybe...) > >Swahili does mark for various genders. The ki- is the gender-marker, I >think. And the same marker is presumably used in the verb.
Yep - the -ki- in the verb does make agreement with 'kitabu' and 'ki-' is a gender marker. In origin the initial syllable of 'kitabu' had nothing to do with the Swahili gender prefix, the word being borrowed from Arabic. But when it was assimilated into Swahili, the word was readily re-analyzed as ki-tabu, producing an entirely new root form *tabu, with the plural 'vitabu' :) A similar thing occurred in Zulu when the English 'school' was taken into the language. The language doesn't have initial consonant combinations like /sk/ so the word became 'isikolo'. This is then re-analyzed as 'isi-kolo' and its plural is 'izikolo', the stem being just -kolo. Ray.