Article

The augment in Tonga

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 39, issue 1, 2019 , pages: 29–35
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2019.1572312
Author(s): Khama Hang’ombeDepartment of African Languages and Literature, Zimbabwe, Yvette B. MwiindeDepartment of African Languages and Literature, Zimbabwe, Minyono MweembeDepartment of African Languages and Literature, Zimbabwe

Abstract

Tonga (M64) is one of the Bantu languages with the augment morpheme. In Tonga, little research has been carried out on this morpheme, specifically on the shapes it takes, its use and constraints. What is known about this morpheme is mostly drawn from what is known about the augment in proto-Bantu, but a careful examination of this morpheme reveals that there is much more than what is currently known about this morpheme in Tonga. For example, it is widely thought that the augment in Tonga is only found in nouns, when in fact it is found in many other parts of speech such as pronouns, adjectives, possessives and numerals. This study is mainly descriptive, specifically focusing on the shapes the augment takes, its use and constraints. Data collected from both the young and older generation shows that the augment in Tonga is not only found in nouns, but also in most of the substantives in their definite and/or emphatic forms. The data also reveals that the augment in Tonga takes the shape of the front vowels and the low vowel, with the high front vowel being more productive.

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