Edited by Maria Napoli and Miriam Ravetto
[Studies in Language Companion Series 189] 2017
► pp. 79–98
Chapter 4Noun classification in Kiswahili
Linguistic strategies to intensify or to reduce
The evaluation strategies in Kiswahili display an ambiguous status between inflection (as it was in Proto-Bantu, where classes 12–13, 19 expressed diminution, and classes 20–23 intensification) and derivation. In Modern Kiswahili these classes are lost, and the evaluative category arises by means of a highly productive derivational rule shifting a noun stem to another class: to class 5 for augmentatives, to class 7 for diminutives, because of the semantics of these classes.
The morpheme (−)ji-, originally the prefix marker of class 5, is actually admitted also within a word after another class prefix, sanctioning the birth of noun derivational morphology in Kiswahili: in most cases it has become a morpheme of intensification, but sometimes it can mark a change in size, either augmentative or diminutive.
- 2.Noun class system in Kiswahili
- 3.Noun classes in Kiswahili: Are they semantic or arbitrary?
- 3.1The point of view of the scholars
- 3.2The weight of diachrony
- 4.Evaluation from inflection towards derivation
- 4.1Inflection or derivation?
- 5.The morpheme (-)ji- from class prefix to evaluation marker
- 5.1 ji- as cl. 5 prefix
- 5.2-ji- as evaluation affix
- 6.1 ki-ji-