Research Articles (African Languages)

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    Ideophones as linguistic "rebels" : the extra-systematicity of ideophones in Xhosa (part 1)
    (Institute of Oriental Studies of the Slovak Academy of Sciences, 2020) Andrason, Alexander
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This paper contributes to the study of structural distinctiveness of the category of ideophony. The author analyzes the extent to which Xhosa ideophones exhibit the so-called extra-systematic properties, which cross-linguistically tend to distinguish ideophones from other lexical classes. The analysis demonstrates that ideophones are relatively extra-systematic in Xhosa, although their extra-systematicity is not unitary. It is the largest in morphology, slightly less visible in phonology, and only residual in syntax. It is proposed that the distinct degrees of extrasystematicity are related to differences in grammaticalization and a gradual integration of ideophones into the Xhosa grammar – with the adjustment in syntax occurring faster than the morphological adaptation. In this paper – the first in a series of two articles – the author deals with methodological issues and introduces evidence related to the phonology and morphology of ideophones in Xhosa.
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    Reclaiming the space for storytelling in Ugandan primary schools
    (Stellenbosch University, 2019) Ssentanda, Medadi E.; Andema, Samuel
    The purpose of this article is to highlight teachers’ beliefs and practices towards storytelling in the mother tongue in Ugandan rural classrooms and the effect this could have on efforts to promote reading, such as the mother-tongue (MT) education programme in Uganda and the African Storybook Project (ASb). The article demonstrates that although there are initiatives to promote storytelling in the mother tongue in Ugandan primary schools to enhance reading and literacy acquisition, teachers are not prepared for the task and, therefore, disregard storytelling in the mother tongue. This disregard of storytelling in the mother tongue stems from the fact that teachers view storytelling as a waste of time, time that can rather be spent on ’real’ lesson content. Furthermore, they feel that storytelling adds unnecessary pressure to their already demanding workload. Moreover, learners are not assessed for storytelling at the end of their primary education. In addition, teachers are not trained on how to integrate storytelling in their teaching practices. The article presents classroom-based research which highlights teachers’ practices towards storytelling. The article ends with a request for ethnographic fieldwork to educate teachers on the social-cultural values of storytelling beyond learner assessments (among other benefits) and to facilitate teachers on how to integrate stories in the learning process.
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    The coordinators i and z in Polish : a cognitive-typological approach (Part 2)
    (De Gruyter Open, 2017) Andrason, Alexander
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Developed within the frame of cognitive and typological linguistics, the present study examines the taxonomical status of the lexemes i and z in Polish. To achieve this aim, the author analyzes the compliance of the two forms with the prototype of coordinate-hood and the structure of their maps of polyfunctionality. The evidence demonstrates that i is a canonical instantiation of the category of coordinate-hood while z is less canonical. Additionally, the two lexemes yield different maps of polyfunctionality (with distinct prototypicality nuclei), which reflects their distinct diachronic and conceptual origin. The map of i radiates from the value of ‘also’ while the map of z radiates from a comitative sense. This article – the last in a series of two – completes the presentation of the empirical evidence and interprets it within the adopted framework. The degrees of canonicity of i and z are determined and the semantic-functional maps of the two lexemes are compared.
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    Dative applicative elements in Arusa (Maa) : a canonical approach to the argument-adjunct distinction
    (Department of General Linguistics, Stellenbosch University, 2019) Andrason, Alexander; Karani, Michael
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The present paper analyzes the degree of the argumenthood or adjuncthood of elements licensed by the dative applicative (DA) construction in Arusa within a canonical approach to the argument-adjunct distinction. After testing DA elements for the various criteria and diagnostics associated with the typologically-driven prototype of arguments and adjuncts, the authors conclude the following: in most cases, DA elements behave as canonical arguments and are therefore located close to the argumenthood pole of the argument-adjunct continuum.
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    The curse of poverty and marginalisation in language development : the case of Khoisan languages of Botswana
    (Department of General Linguistics, Stellenbosch University, 2019) Chebanne, Andy; Dlali, Mawande
    ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Khoisan languages are spoken by tiny and remote-dwelling communities of Botswana, the members of which are characterised by socio-economic hardships and illiteracy in their own languages and in general. Historically and socially, these people emerged from a life of hunting and gathering, and, in that lifestyle mode, they were easily subdued and exploited by other language communities for cheap and serf labour. Colonialism found them in this social state, and post-colonialism has left them in the same state. As poor and marginalised subalterns, they have not had any means to advocate for their language and culture, and are currently assimilated into other peoples’ languages and cultures. Consequently, the remaining languages of these communities, spoken in remote areas by poor people, are threatened with extinction because they remain under-developed, under-documented, and are at best still at the stage of documentation by anthropologists and linguists. As illiterate people, the speakers of these Khoisan languages have no survival strategies for their languages in this ever-evolving, modern world. With their poverty and sociolinguistic marginalisation, they are devoid of any means of promoting their languages. This discussion focuses on the pitiful situation of the Khoisan languages of Botswana. Botswana’s language-use policy will be critically examined and characterised as one factor in the marginalisation and disempowerment of minority groups, both of which lead to the languages’ endangerment and death.