A study of syntax of Kiswahili verbs

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University of Dar es Salaam
This study is an investigation of various syntactic aspects of the verbal category formation phenomenon in Kiswahili, a Bantu language. This phenomenon involves a constellation of various morphological elements appearing as prefix(es), root and suffix(es) which create verbal structural formations that form core of various sentence constructions. Each of the elements in the sets of morphological categories in question possesses some syntactic cases which become more apparent only in the context of a combination pattern of various such elements. This situation was, previously, taken to manifest an "inextricable link" between two linguistic domains - morphology and syntax. However, the various analyses undertaken in this study reveal that it is the morphological elements themselves that become inextricably linked to yield categories that are accessible to syntactic rules. The Kiswahili syntactic structures resulting from various combinations of such elements are introduced in Chapter one. In this chapter also Generalized Phrase Structure Grammar (GPSG) - the theoretical framework to be applied in this study - is introduced showing its basic concepts and analytical devices. The section on GPSG also incorporates literature review of contributions by the proponents of this framework. This is followed by the consideration of various aspects of the morphological elements involved in verbal structural formations and samples of their combination patterns in Chapter two. In chapters three, four and five, the three construction types earmarked for treatment are fully investigated and the rules formulated far discrete representations of their various structural types. The construction types in question are categorized as Basic, Compound and Complex verbal constructions. Chapter six is a conclusion drawing on the findings of the study and their implications for Kiswahili syntactic studies, syntactic theory in general and the framework used.
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Swahili language, Grammar, Syntax
Kihore, Y. M (1994) A study of syntax of Kiswahili verbs, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at (