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Understanding Chasu Reduplication Essay

950 words - 4 pages

1.0 Introduction
Reduplication is one of the word formation processes demonstrated in many languages of the world. In Bantu languages, the common word formation processes are the agglutinative nature of languages (affixation), borrowing, compounding and reduplication (Contini-Morava 2007). ‘Reduplication in Bantu languages is phonological as it has the phonological constraints that are based on the prosodic features’ (Odden 1996). In Bantu languages reduplication processes are either complete or partial. It is complete in a sense that the whole stem/base is copied and it is partial in a sense that only part of the stem is copied. However, whether the doubled segment is the whole word or ...view middle of the document...

1.1 Background of Chasu Language
Chasu – which sometimes is known as Pare – is a Bantu language spoken in the Same and Mwanga districts of the Kilimanjaro region of North Eastern Tanzania. According to the 2000 Census, Chasu has an average of 500, 000 speakers (the number may have increased now as the census was done in more than ten years ago). 5% of the speakers are monolingual, 63% bilingual with Swahili, and 32% trilingual with Swahili and English (Gordon 2005). Mreta (1998) identifies two major Chasu dialects: Northern Chasu, and Southern Chasu. According to Mreta (1998: 6), there are differences between the tonal systems of the Northern and Southern Chasu dialects. Mreta observes that /z/ and /s/ in the Southern dialect correspond to /θ/ and /ð/, respectively, in Northern Chasu. Other noticeable phonological differences are that /β, ʝ, ɣ, mb, nd, nð/, in Northern Chasu, correspond to /v, ž, g, mp, nt, and nz/, respectively, in the Southern variety. The major differences between Northern and Southern Chasu dialects are mainly at the level of tone, and slightly at the lexical level (Mreta 1998). The data of this paper will be mainly based on the Southern variety, which I speak as a native speaker. However, the same case occurs in the Northen dialect with the only differences on the above mentioned sounds.
As I explained above, reduplication in Bantu languages involves copying syllabic materials from the stem/base, in whole or part, and put it to the same stem/base. This idea makes syllable an essential element in the study of Bantu reduplication. In Chasu, as in other Bantu languages, the syllable formations are associated with certain constraints. Precisely, the syllable structures are associated with consonantal onsets and vowel codas. consonants.

2.0 The Structure of Chasu Syllables
Like other Bantu languages, Chasu has an open syllable structure (Mgonja 2010) except for syllabic. There has been a long debate among Bantu linguists as to...

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