Noun phrase structure in Shimwela

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University of Dar es Salaam
This is a descriptive study which intends to analyze the structure of noun phrases in Shimwela. Data for the present study were collected through questionnaires, focus group discussions, unstructured interviews and documentary reviews. The sample, which was deliberately selected, constituted four informants who were competent in Shimwela. The collected data were then analyzed by using a thematic analysis approach whereby major concepts of the study were obtained and described. The findings have revealed that while some elements occupy fixed positions in the Shimwela NP, others are flexible. Elements which occupy fixed positions include demonstratives, distributives, possessives, intensifiers, and interrogatives. The demonstratives and the distributives strictly occur at the pre-head position, while the possessives occur immediately after the head noun. Also, the intensifiers occur after the adjectives they intensify, while the interrogatives and parts of the demonstratives occur at the end of NP. Elements which are flexible include numerals, quantifiers, adjectives, relative constructions and associative constructions. These may exchange positions in the slot between the possessive and the demonstrative particle or interrogative. The highest limit of dependents in Shimwela NP is six but in ordinary speech the normal load seems to be four, with demonstratives and possessives appearing as the most frequently occurring dependents. To solve the problem of agreement with conjoined NPs, several strategies are employed by Shimwela speakers. These include the use of the corresponding plural class, the use of class 2 prefix, the use of class 8 prefix, as well as the use of the noun class prefix of the first noun to be mentioned.
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Shimwela language, Noun phrase
John, J.P (2010) Noun phrase structure in Shimwela master dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Available at