Towards writing a comprehensive grammar of the Mambwe language

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Siame, Pethias
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The University of Zambia
Mambwe language is spoken in Mbala and Senga districts of Northern Province in Zambia. The language has approximately 500,000 native speakers (CSO, 2010). Therefore, the study was conducted to identify, describe, analyse and write a comprehensive grammar of Mambwe language which is less documented in terms of linguistic literature. Being a descriptive study, the data were collected using four (4) informants who were the native speakers of Mambwe language and these were distributed as follows: two (02) were the primary source of data and the other two (02) informants verified the data which were provided by the primary source. Each of the informants was given a list of words, phrases and sentences written in English and asked to provide the equivalents in Mambwe. Further, in order to ensure that the data were valid, verification was done by the other two informants. After verification process, data were further checked and mistakes were corrected. The study was informed by a descriptive research design. The qualitative approach backed the descriptive research design to collect and analyse substantial data. Elicitation, document analysis and direct observation techniques were equally used to collect data. The researcher being a speaker of the language, introspection was equally applied in the process of data collection and analysis. The collected data were later subjected to analysis in line with the objectives of the study, which were: to describe the sound system of Mambwe language; to analyse the nominal and verbal morphology of Mambwe language; and to establish the word order of Mambwe language. The study established that Mambwe language has twenty-five phonemes which include; eighteen permissible consonants, five vowels and two semi-vowels. The language undergoes phonological processes and has a common CV syllable structure. The study also found that the language has established nominal and verbal structures which are associated with other Bantu languages. Additionally, the language has eighteen noun classes, compound nouns and noun structures. It also has a verbal structure which expresses tense, aspect and mood, verb extensions and verbal complexes. The study further established the word order in basic sentences which include: imperative, interrogative, declarative and exclamatory sentences as; SVO, VSO, SV and OVS for sentences in the passive form. The study also established the word order in the noun phrase as; N, N+D, N+M, N+Adj, N+Demo, N+Demo+Adj, N+Adj+Adj and N+D+M. Finally, the study established the order in the verb phase as; V, Fin.VV, AuxMV and VV. Key Words: Towards, Writing, Comprehensive, Grammar, Language, and Mambwe.
Zambia--Languages--Conversation and phrase books--English. , Bemba language--Conversation and phrase books--English. , Mambwe-Lungu language--Dictionaries--English.