A grammar of interrogatives in Tonga.

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Haamilandu, Habeenzu
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The University of Zambia
This study examined interrogatives in Tonga. In particular, the current study undertook to understand the phonological aspects of interrogative markers, morphological aspects, and their syntactic distributions as well as the role that semantics plays in interrogative constructions within the broader context of the Tonga grammar. The Basic Linguistic Theory is used as a theoretical framework. The Tonga language under scrutiny in this study is a language spoken by a Bantu group of people found mainly in Zambia and some parts of Zimbabwe and Mozambique. The variety of Tonga considered in this study is the plateau Tonga as particularly spoken in Choma district of the southern province of Zambia. The researcher identified the key informants for the study who are teachers of the language in secondary schools and subjected them to word and sentence list which they provided data accordingly by transforming declarative sentences into interrogatives in Tonga. The data from the study show that there are three types of interrogatives that exist in Tonga, and these are: polar interrogative, alternative interrogative and constituent interrogatives. With regards to interrogative particles in Tonga, Polar interrogatives use hena, tee, na and tonal particles while Constituent interrogatives use Buti, (Ku)li, (Mu)li, (Aa)li, Cili, Lili, Nkaambo nzi/ kai/nzi, Ni, Nzi and the alternative interrogatives in Tonga engage the following disjunctive particles in their formation: Naanka, Na and Na pe. Interrogative particles in Tonga assume different forms; they are either free or bound morphemes. Syntactically, all the interrogative particles in Tonga occur in-situ except for kuli ‘where’, kai ‘why’ and nkaambo nzi ‘why’ that occupy the initial position only. The coordinating conjunction ‘naanka’ is positioned between two polar interrogatives reduced to one, by ellipsis to form the alternative interrogative. In answering polar interrogatives in Tonga, the data revealed that, an addressee may answer with inzya to mean yes or peepe to mean no when responding to positive polar interrogatives accompanied with culturally appropriate gestures of head nodding. In answering constituent interrogatives in Tonga, a full clause that contains the constituent that fill the information gap the interrogative words seek to link is used or a simple word made up of the constituent being questioned is used. Interrogatives can be studied from different perspectives. The study recommends further studies on constituent interrogatives in Tonga using other theories such as the minimalist program and also to conduct an exhaustive examination of the phonology of the interrogatives in Tonga.
Thesis of Master of Arts in Linguistic Science.