The Conjoint/Disjoint Distinction in isiNdebele Language

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Title: The Conjoint/Disjoint Distinction in isiNdebele Language
Author: Helenius, Kati
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Humanistinen tiedekunta, Maailman kulttuurien laitos 2010-2017
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts, Department of World Cultures 2010-2017
Helsingfors universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för världens kulturer 2010-2017
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2020
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Afrikan tutkimus
African Studies
Abstract: Conjoint and disjoint verb forms are distinguished only in few languages of the world, almost all of them being Bantu languages. The forms have been studied quite comprehensively in some languages, and not at all in others. The South African isiNdebele language is among the overall less-studied ones; there are no proper grammars available, and its conjoint/disjoint distinction has not been consistently studied earlier. Thus, there is a clear research gap to be filled. This thesis examines the use of the conjoint and disjoint forms in isiNdebele through a comparison of near-relative language (Zulu) grammars and linguistic field data collected in South Africa as part of the "Stability and Change in Language Contact: The Case of isiNdebele (South Africa)" research project organised by the University of Helsinki and funded by the Academy of Finland between 2014–2020. The results of my research are in line with other recent conjoint/disjoint research on related languages, and illustrate that, also in isiNdebele, it is a much more nuanced phenomenon compared to the mechanistic rules described in the Zulu grammars. My results also indicate that there is a clear need for further and more in-depth study of the effects of information structure and prosody on the conjoint and disjoint use in isiNdebele.
Subject: conjoint
Southern Ndebele
Nguni languages
Bantu languages
descriptive linguistics

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