Conditions in Kiswahili

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University of Dar es Salaam
This dissertation is a study of Conditionals in Kiswahili based on actual data collected from 15 different life texts. The study has examined how the conditionals are structured and function communicatively, hence it gives a fair insight of the Grammar of conditionals in Kiswahili. First and foremost the study identified and sampled, from the 15 texts, 500 sentences which according to the researcher satisfied all the requirements of one old linguistic tenet that ‘in order to be a conditional sentence an expression must be a complex sentence with at least one clause (i.e. a part) conveying conditions or terms on whose fulfillment depends the result that is expressed in the second clause (i.e. the part).’ Then the study carefully examined the conditioning exponents for the sample within the context of the other subordinating grammatical exponents from which the condition markers must differ in view of their communicative functions, such as those exponents which express time (-po-), place (ambapo), concession (japokuwa), reason (kwasababu), etc. The established exponents were then classified according to their structures and communicative functions within their various conditional units. 22 different forms for conditioning exponents were specified. Of these: 7 based conditioning ( or<-ki-> group) exponents (i.e. 31.8%) mark open conditionals; 7 different complex <nge> forms (or <Nge> group exponents) (i.e. 31.8%) mark Hypothetical conditionals; and 8 unific conceding-conditioning (or <Hatakama> group) exponents (i.e. 36.4%) mark popo conditionals. This very exercise identified as well the three mentioned major categories of conditional sentences: Open, Hypothetical and Popo conditionals on the basis of the communicative functions of their conditioning exponents. After that the study focused on the conditional sentences of each functional category independently and carefully analysed their structures in terms of (I) sequence of clauses within each conditional sentence, naming them after the Hallidiyan system: alpha and beta; (ii) elements within each clause, again expressing them in the Hallidiyan manner; SPCAR; (iii) rules that govern tense relations between clauses of each conditional sentence, and (iv) the effect of coordination on the clauses within the b and µparts. Regarding the sequence of clauses within the conditional sentences we found out that 84.4% (data: 422 sentences) of all kiswahili sentences seem to abide by “the golden rule” of neutral order: b precede µ. 12% (data: 62 sentences) are marked as µb while 1.2% (confirmed by 6 sentences) are marked as µ1 b µ1.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF PL8702.N83)
Swahili language
Nkwera, F (1989) Conditions in Kiswahili, Masters dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam