Loanwords in Cilubà

  • Ngo Semzara Kabuta Vakgroep Afrikaanse Talen en Culturen, University of Ghent, Belgium
Keywords: class, dictionary, loanword, gender, lexicography, lexicology, morphology, phonology, prefix

Abstract

The present study examines loanwords in Cilubà from both a phonological and a morphological point of view. Two large categories of loanwords can be distinguished: on the one hand those which are entirely integrated and on the other hand more recent loanwords which retain a large number of their original phonological features. On the phonological level, loanwords (1) introduce new phonemes such as [R] and [g], (2) increase the proportion of low tones, and (3) introduce new combinations of phonemes (e.g. in the sequence C<sub>1</sub>C<sub>2</sub>V, in which consonants C<sub>1</sub> and C<sub>2</sub> are respectively a nasal and a semivowel, loanwords allow the presence of any consonant). On the morphological level, one notices the appearance not only of forms whose plural is no longer predictable, but also of forms whose plural can be realized in different classes. This phenomenon has important implications in lexicography. As a matter of fact, it is no longer possible to mention in a Lubà dictionary only the singular form and let the reader infer the plural. For nouns the concept of "gender" must therefore be introduced. Gender is defined as a pair of classes whose left and right poles which generally represent the singular and the plural respectively, are chosen in relation to the syntactic concords for the different class affixes (nominal, pronominal, verbal and object prefixes; enclitics), the possessive and the demonstratives, and no longer only in relation to the nominal prefix. Thus, the gender of a noun appears to play a fundamental role in the macrostructure of a noun lemma. Finally, the study of the processes which are intuitively applied by the speakers to integrate foreign words will be a useful source of stimulation for the coinage of neologisms. 
Published
2012-09-07
Section
Navorsingsartikels / Research Articles