The structure of Kiswahili sentences: a transformational generative approach

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study is an attempt to make a precise structural analysis of Kiswahili sentences within the paradigm of Transformational Generative Theory. Chapter one is an introduction to this study. It includes, among other things, a brief account of the origins and development of Kiswahili, the statement of problem, objectives, and hypotheses. It also includes the review of literature, the theoretical framework and the methodology. Chapter two is devoted to the simple sentence in Kiswahili. The simple sentence is discussed by using its immediate constituents; the simple noun-phrase and the simple verb-phrase. The central thesis here is that the structure of a simple sentence depends, to a larger extent on the type of the verb which is used in a particular sentence. We illustrate how intransitive, intensive, monotransitive and ditransitive verbs affect the final structure of the simple sentence. It is finally concluded that a simple sentence must not have any coordination or subordination. Chapter three deals with the compound sentence. A very clear link between the compound and the simple sentence is established. The link is that a compounds sentence is an outcome of the coordination of two or more simple sentences. The transformations which are involved in the coordination of simple sentences are discussed. We conclude this chapter by positing a condition that a compound sentence must not contain any embedded sentence. Chapter four deals with the complex sentence in Kiswahili. It is established that the complex sentence is clearly distinguished from the other types of sentences in view of the fact that the complex sentence - and only the complex sentences - contain embedded sentences which are subordinate to their matrix sentences. The conclusion which is drawn in Chapter Five is that a Transformational model is very useful in any sound discussion on the structure of Kiswahili sentences, when one considers its ability to characterize the intrinsic linguistic competence of the speakers.
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Swahili language, Bantu languages, Kiswahili
Mgullu, R. S (1990) The structure of Kiswahili sentences: a transformational generative approach, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (