Tone is used in various ways in the language. First of all, each word has its own tonal pattern, for example: . Usually there is only one high tone in a word generally on one of the last three syllables , or none. However, in compound words there can be more than one high tone, for example:. A second important use of tone is in the verb. Each tense of the verb has its own characteristic tonal pattern negative tenses usually have a different pattern from positive ones. Tones can also indicate whether a verb is being used in a main clause or in a dependent clause such as a relative clause:  .
A third use of tones in Chewa is to show phrasing and sentence intonation. For example, immediately before a pause in the middle of a sentence the speaker's voice tends to rise up; this rise is referred to as a boundary tone. Conventionally, they are grouped into pairs of singular and plural. When assigning nouns to a particular class, initially the prefix of the noun is used. Where there is no prefix, or where the prefix is ambiguous, the concords see below are used as a guide to the noun class.
Some nouns belong to one class only, e. Class 11 Lu- is not found in Chewa. Pronouns, adjectives, and verbs have to show agreement with nouns in Chichewa. This is done by means of prefixes, for example:.
Class 2 the plural of class 1 is often used for respect when referring to elders. According to Corbett and Mtenje, a word like bambo 'father', even though it is singular, will take plural concords e. Although there are 17 different noun classes, because some of them share concords there are in fact only 12 sets of prefixes.
For classes other than classes 1 and 2, a demonstrative is used instead of a freestanding pronoun, for example in class 6 ichi or icho.
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Both parts of the word have concords:. As with other Bantu languages, all Chewa verbs have a prefix which agrees with the subject of the verb. The use of an object infix is not obligatory in Chewa for example, ndagula means 'I have bought them '. If used, it comes immediately before the verb root, and agrees with the object:.
The same infix with verbs with the applicative suffix -ira represents the indirect object, e. The demonstrative pronouns uja 'that one you know' and uno 'this one we are in' take the concords u- and a- in classes 1 and 2. For semantic reasons, class 1 uno is rare:. The same concords w- derived from u- and a- , combined with the vowel a , make the subject prefix of the perfect tense.
In the plural the two prefixes a-a- combine into a single vowel:. In combination with these words the plural concord a- is converted to e- :. Early dictionaries, such as those of Rebmann , and of Scott and Hetherwick, show that formerly the number of concords was greater. The following changes have taken place:. In addition, classes 4 and 9, and classes 15 and 17 have identical concords, so the total number of concord sets singular and plural is now twelve. Tenses in Chichewa are differentiated in two ways, by their tense-marker or tense- infix , and by their tonal pattern. Sometimes two tenses have the same tense-marker and differ in their tonal pattern alone.
In the following examples, the tense-marker is underlined:  . Tenses can be modified further by adding certain other infixes, called 'aspect-markers', after the tense-marker. These infixes can also be used on their own, as tense-markers in their own right compare the use of -ma- and -dza- in the list of tenses above. For example:. Compound tenses, such as the following, are also found in Chichewa: .
Chichewa verbs with the exception of the imperative mood and infinitive begin with a prefix agreeing grammatically with the subject. Both the 2nd and the 3rd person plural pronouns and subject-markers are used respectfully to refer to a single person: . Except in the perfect tense, the 3rd person subject marker when used of people is the same whether singular or plural. So in the present tense the 3rd person subject-marker is a- :.
When the subject is a noun not in class 1, the appropriate class prefix is used even if referring to a person:. An object-marker can also optionally be added to the verb; if one is added it goes immediately before the verb-stem: . Chewa has a large number of tenses, some of which differ in some respects from the tenses met with in European languages. The distinction between one tense and another is made partly by the use of infixes, such as -na- and -ku- , and partly by the intonation of the verb, since each tense has its own particular tonal pattern.
There are five time-frames remote past, near past, present, near future, and remote future. The distinction between near and remote tenses is not exact. The remote tenses are not used of events of today or last night, but the near tenses can sometimes be used of events of earlier or later than today. Another distinction is between perfect and past. The two past simple tenses usually imply that the result of the action has been reversed in some way:.
When used in narrating a series of events, however, these implications are somewhat relaxed: the Remote Perfect is used for narrating earlier events, and the Recent Past for narrating events of today. Another important distinction in Chewa is between perfective and imperfective aspect. Imperfective tenses are used for situations, events which occur regularly, or events which are temporarily in progress:.
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There are also two subjunctive mood tenses, as follows:. They differ in intonation from the positive tenses. Infinitives, participial verbs, and the subjunctive make their negative with -sa- , which is added after the subject-prefix instead of before it.
They similarly have a single tone on the penultimate syllable:. The tenses used in certain kinds of dependent clauses such as relative clauses and some types of temporal clauses differ from those used in main clauses.
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Dependent verbs often have a tone on the first syllable. Sometimes this change of tone alone is sufficient to show that the verb is being used in a dependent clause. Other commonly used dependent tenses are the following the last of these is toneless :  . After the verb stem one or more extensions may be added.
The extensions modify the meaning of the verb, for example:. Extensions which have an intensive or stative meaning tend to have a high tone, e. Most extensions, apart from the reciprocal -ana 'one another', have two possible forms, e. The forms with e and o are used if the verb stem is monosyllabic or has an e or o in it, e. The forms with i and u are used with the verb stem has a , i , or u :. An urban variety of Nyanja, sometimes called Town Nyanja, is the lingua franca of the Zambian capital Lusaka and is widely spoken as a second language throughout Zambia.
This is a distinctive Nyanja dialect with some features of Nsenga , although the language also incorporates large numbers of English-derived words, as well as showing influence from other Zambian languages such as Bemba. Town Nyanja has no official status, and the presence of large numbers of loanwords and colloquial expressions has given rise to the misconception that it is an unstructured mixture of languages or a form of slang.
The fact that the standard Nyanja used in schools differs dramatically from the variety actually spoken in Lusaka has been identified as a barrier to the acquisition of literacy among Zambian children. The concords in Town Nyanja differ from those in Chichewa described above.
For example, classes 5 and 6 both have the concord ya- instead of la- and a- ; class 8 has va- instead of za- ; and 13 has twa- instead of ta-. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Language family. Writing system. Guthrie code. Play media. Main article: Chichewa tones. Further information: Chichewa tenses. Main article: Chichewa tenses.
Main article: List of Chichewa-language authors. Nyanja -based. Glottolog 3. Kiswahili for the Swahili language. Lehmann Both spellings are used in Zambia Daily Mail articles. First, the completion by Archdeacon Johnson of the Bible in Chinyanja, and secondly, the completed Chinyanja prayer book in Mtanthauziramawu wa Chinyanja. Ibsi; Rebmann s. Aya, Mame, Mano, Yonse; cf Goodson Ufa; Watkins , pp.
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