Sunday, 17 July 2011


Using any Bantu language of your choice, show how the morpho-lexical operations do modify the structure of verbs. How may morpho-lexical morphemes may co-occur and in which order? Is the order fixed or variable? What would be the co-occurrence constraints of such morpho-lexical morphemes?
B: Study the Subi data below and answer the Questions that follow
Akagula ekilibhwa ‘he bought cassava’
Akagula ebhilibwa ‘he bought cassavas’
Bhakagula ebhilibwa ‘they bought cassavas’
tulagula ekilibwa ‘we will buy cassava’
(i) Giving reason(s) identify the root morpheme for cassava.
(ii) What is the plural prefix for cassava?
(iii) How is tense expressed in the above data?
(iv) What is the root morpheme for the verb buy?
C: What is pronominalization? Using any Bantu language of your choice, Kiswahili exclusive show the order
with which objects are marked onto the verb. Is the order fixed and hierarchical? What is the order of animate and inanimate objects in relation to the verb? What is the maximum number of objects that can be cliticized onto the verb (Verb Saturation Level)?

Morpho-lexical operations refer to a structure-changing operation that transparently changes a verb’s thematic structure and subcategorization. Ackerman (1992)
Morpho-lexical operations refer to the processes which increase or decrease the number of arguments/ valences of the verbs.
It operates under two processes (extremes)
(i) Transtivization (ii) De-transtivization
1. Transtivization
It refers to the process/morpho-lexical operation that increases the number of arguments. This process uses morpho-lexical morphemes called transtivizers, or valence increasers or argument increasers. There are two morpho-lexical morphemes under this process which are;
(i). applicative (ii.) causative
(i) Applicatives
These are morpho-lexical morphemes that show that the state/action described is for the benefit of somebody else,
Applicatives are {-i and its variant –e}
They occur under the following conditioning environment
{i-When the root vowel is ‘a, i, u’}
{e- When the root vowel is ‘e, o’}
This process in which the root vowel conditions the suffix vowel is called vowel harmony.
In Kikurya these morpheme are realized as –ir- and its variant –er-
akamötemera a -ka -mö- tem - er- a
sm pst om beat app Bvs
‘He/she beat for somebody else’

aramöbhinira a- ra- mö- bhin -ir -a
sm imperf om play app Bvs
‘He/she is playing on behalf of somebody’
In Kichagga
nalemremia na - le - m - rem - i - a
Sm pst om dig app Bvs
‘He/she is digging for somebody’

(ii) Causative
This is a morpho-lexical morpheme that causes something to be something else or causes someone to do something. (These morphemes are called causative morphemes)
It is realized by -ish- and its variant-esh- in Kiswahili and some of Bantu languages.
In Kurya it is realied by -iy-

Aramöraghiriya = a - ra - mö - raghir – iy – a
sm imprf om feed app Bvs
‘He/she is feeding someone’

Aramurimiya = a – ra – mu – rim – iy - a
sm imperf om dig app Bvs
‘He/she is making someone dig’
2. De-transtivization
This is another extreme/process/morpho-lexical operation which decreases/reduces the number of arguments. It involves three transtivizers.
(i) Reciprocal ( ii)Passive ( iii) Stative

(i) Reciprocal
This is a de-transtivization process represented by “each other” construction. This process is called Reciprocalization. It is presented by detranstivizers -an- and -angan-
E.g. In Kikurya
Example 1
Mwita akatema Bhoke= (Mwita beat Bhoke)
Bhoke akatema Mwita =(Bhoke beat Mwita)
Bhoke na Mwita bha- ka- tem- an- a
S sm pst beat recip Bvs
‘Mwita and Bhoke beat each other’
Marwa akateta Ghati = (Marwa married Ghati)
Ghati akatetwa na Marwa =(Ghati married Marwa)
Marwa na Ghati Bha- ka- tet- an - a
S sm pst marry recip Bvs
‘Marwa and Ghati married each other’

(ii) Passive.
This morpho-lexical morpheme generates a ‘–w-’ which reduces/decreases the number of arguments. It shows that the action is done upon the subject. This process is called Passivization. A manipulative process which makes active sentences into passive sentences. Taylor (1995:206) in Maki Sudo.
In Kikurya
Ibhyakörya bhiraihekwa = bhi – ra – ihek -w - a
sm imperf cook pass. Bvs
‘The food is being cooked’
Example 2
Omoghondo ghöraremwa= ghö – ra – rem – w - a
sm imperf cultivate pass. Bvs
‘The farm is being cultivated’
(iii). Stative
This is a morpho-lexical morpheme that shows that the subject is capable of undergoing /or likely to undergo he action. This process is called Stativization. It is realized by the morpheme –ik- and its variant–ek-
In Kikurya
Example 1
Chacha ararema omoghondo (Chacha is cultivating the farm)
Omoghondo gho – ra – rem – ek - a
S sm imperf cultivate stat. Bvs
‘The farm is cultivatable’
Example 2
Mumura araandeka inyarubha ( Mumura is writing a letter)
Inyarubha e - ra – andek – ek - a
S sm imperf write stat. Bvs
‘The letter is writable’
Example 3
Joni araheta (ko)enchera (John is passing on the road)
Enchera e – ra – het – ek - a
S sm impf pass stat. Bvs
‘The road is passable’

3. How many morpho-lexical morphemes may co-occur and in which order? Is the order fixed or variable?
(i) In kurya language up to three (3) morpho-lexical morphemes may co-occur as shown below
Kiswahili =Wa-na-chez-esh-e-an-a
Example When applicative, reciprocal, and causative co-occur, the order must be
1 2 3

bha - ra - hoy - er - an - iy - a
sm imperf play app recip caus. Bvs
‘They are making some people play for each other’
(ii) This order is fixed, as the exchange of positions results to an ill-formed word

(iii) The co-occurrence constraints would be;
(a) When stative is involved only one morpho-lexical morpheme may occur
eg omote gho-ra-ghech-ek-a (a tree is able to be cut)
(b) When passive is involved, only two morpho-lexical morphemes may co-occur
eg a – ra – ghech – er – w – a
sm imperf cut app pass. Bvs
‘Something is being cut for him/her’

(B) (i) The word representing cassava is ekilibwa in singular and ebhilibwa in plural;
eki-libwa and ebhi-libwa.
Therefore libwa is the root morpheme for cassava.
The chief reason being that; after the addition of singular or plural prefixes eki- and ebhi- respectively the part of the word libwa does not change.
(ii) What is the plural prefix for cassava?
In the 2nd and 3rd sentences the word corresponding to an English plural for cassavas is ebhilibwa. Because the root is libwa then the plural prefix is ebhi-
(iii) How is tense expressed in the above data?
In the 1st three sentences the verbs corresponding to an English past tense ‘bought’ are akagula for singular and bhakagula for plural.
The morpheme (prefix) expressing tense is –ka- for past tense.
In the last sentence the English future marker ‘will buy’ corresponds to bhalagula in Subi, So the morpheme (prefix) –la- is used to mark future tense.
iv) What is the root morpheme for the verb buy?
The word ‘buy’ corresponds to the Subi verb ‘akagula’ for singular or ‘bhakagula’ for plural. By using hyphenations it can be analyzed as;
A - ka - gul - a
Bha - ka - gul - a
Sm past buy Bvs

Thus the root morpheme for the verb ‘buy’ is gul-
The final –a being a virtually meaningless vowel, because of the requirement that all Bantu roots and verbal suffixes must end in a vowel. Katamba,F & J. Stonham (2006:111)

(C) (i) What is Pronominalization?
Is the process of representing nouns/NPs with some affixes or morphemes which are realized differently across Bantu languages.
(ii) In Kurya the order with which objects are marked onto the verb is;
One object: a - ka - mö - h - a. {He/she gave him/her}
Sm pst om give Bvs

Two objects: a – ka - chi – mö – h – a {he/she gave him/her some money)
Sm pst Om1 om2 give Bsv

Three objects: a – ka – chi – mö – n – h - er - a {he/she gave him/her some money for me}
Sm pst om1 om2 om3 give appl Bvs

(iii) The order is fixed and hierarchical. The objects cannot exchange the positions as it will result to an
ill- formed word. Eg *a-ka- mo –chi-n- h –er- a
(iv) The order of both animate and inanimate objects in relation to the verb;
When both animate and inanimate objects co-occur in the verb, in Kurya language; the animate object
is closer to the root than its inanimate counterpart which is at the periphery of the root.
In the example below bhi- stands for food {inanimate} and mu- stands for him/her {animate}

a- ka -bhi – mu - ihek -er- a {he/she cooked him/her some food}
sm pst om1 om2 cook
(v) The verb saturation level.
In kurya up to three (3) objects can be appended/cliticized onto the verb as in the example below;
also see (ii) above
a - ka - ke - mo - n - sabh - ir - a
sm pst om1 om2 om3 ask for appl Bvs {'He/she asked him/her for something for me’}


Ackerman,F (1992) Complex Predicates and Morpholexical Relatedness: Locative alteration in
Hungarian. In Sag, Ivan And Szabolesi (eds) Lexical Matters. Stanford, CA:
CSLI Publishers

Katamba,F & J. Stonham (2006) Morphology.2nd Ed. New York:Palgrave MacMillan

Maki S (N/D) Transitivity and Passivization: Object Affectedness as Cognitive Basis of English Passive.
in http//

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