A Grammar of Verbal extensions in Bemba

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Kamfuli, Bernard Antonio
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The aim of this study has been to present an investigation into the nature and character of the verbal extensions in Bemba and to postulate a model for the analysis, parsing and description of Bemba verbal grammar that is based on morphemes. Extensions are morphemes that are suffixed to the radicals in order to express different ways that the action stated by the radical is achieved. For example, an extension may indicate the reversal, intensity, extensiveness or reciprocity of the action stated by the radical. Some extensions increase valency or the argument structure while others either block or preserve the valency permitted by their radicals. This paper posits that these verbal extensions must be consistently and predictably analyzed in a consistently and predictably defined structure. This study was conducted by means of open-ended interviews. Ten adult native speakers of Bemba were interviewed on the copperbelt; five in Luanshya and five in Kitwe. Relevant responses were elicited and documented. These were supplemented by information from the works of other linguists, from other books and from the researcher's own introspection. The findings of this study have resulted in the placement of the verbal extensions into two major groups: the main and the sequential or combined or compound extensions. A main extension is a derivational suffix that is attached to a radical to provide an additional nuance of meaning to that of the simplex radical. A sequential or Combined extension is an extension made of two or more main extensions in a sequence. These extensions, in the present study, have been analysed in terms of their phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics.In conclusion, arising from the findings, this study has postulated the application of more suitable parametric means to the analysis of Bantu languages. Parameters are appropriate linguistic options or mechanisms for investigating a language. For Bantu languages,the parameters employed are expected to be suitable to the natural configuration of morphemes in agglutinative languages like Bemba. Parsing will not only reveal the natural nodes and projections of all meaningful morphemes. it will also expose clearly all verbal extensions. This will thereby enhance the understanding and appreciation of their value.
Bemba Grammer-Zambia