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BANTU

LANGUAGES

141 between the singular and plural prefixes (thus, No. 2 prefix (see below) Rendered into Kiguha of Tanganyika, this would be : invariably serves as plural to No. 1 ; No. 8 (plural) corresponds to Muti guno gugwa; ugumona ? No. 7 (singular), but this cannot be depended on as a rule). The full It tree this (one) it falls ; thou it seest ? number of the prefixes is sixteen.1 The pronominal particle or prefix The prefixes and their once identical particles have varied greatly of the noun is attached to the adjectives, pronouns, and verbs in the sentence which are connected with that noun, and though in course of in form from the aboriginal syllables as the various Bantu dialects more and more corrupt. The eighth prefix, hi-, becomes time these particles may differ in form from the noun-prefix, they became pi-, fi-, fy-, si3; i-, by-, bz-, py-, ps-, zi-. Further confusion were formerly identical in origin. (This system is the “Concord ” isvi-,caused by the retention and fusion in the prefix of the preceding of Dr Bleek.) The pronominal particles, whether in nominative or accusative case, must always precede the verbal root, though they often vowel which marked the full definite form when the prefix was follow the auxiliary prefixed particles used in conjugating the verbs. used as a definite article or demonstrative pronoun. The definite (An apparent but not a real exception to this rule is in the second forms of the prefixes were these : 1. Umu {uhgu, uhu); 2. Aba; person plural of the imperative mood, where an abbreviated form 3. Umu {uhgu, uhu); 4. Imi {ihgi, ihi); 5. Idi {indi); 6. Ama of the pronoun is affixed to the verb,2 and other phases of the verb {anga, ana)-, 7. Iki; 8. Ibi; 9. In--, 10. 16in or izin; 11. Vlu; are occasionally emphasized by the repetition of the governing 12. Utu; 13. Aka; 14. Ubu; 15. Uku; 16. A pa. Not many of the existing Bantu languages possess all the prepronoun at the end.) 5. The verbal root may modify its termination by a change of the fixes of the mother tongue ; that is to say, all the sixteen. Amongst last vowel or by suffixing certain particles, or it may even change its those that do may be cited the Kirega, some of the Kavirondo radical vowel either to form a tense or to alter the original meaning dialects, and the Kiguha of the Uganda group; the Kiwemba of South Tanganyika ; the Makonde of the Zanzibar coast, possibly ■of the simple stem. 6. The root of the verb is the second person singular of the im- the Nkonde dialects of the north end of Lake Nyasa ; Oci-herero of Damaraland, and the Kongo language of the Lower Congo. perative. The second prefix, Ba, retains its original form in the Uganda group, 7. No sexual gender is recognized. The sixteen original prefixes of the Bantu languages are given in the languages of North Tanganyika, on the Central Congo, in below. They are stated in the most archaic forms to be found in South - West Congoland, in Cameroon, Fernando Po, and the living languages ; but their oldest types, and these latter obtained Gabun (with the exception of the Mpongwe); also in the upper by deduction from the other forms of the particle used in the part of the Central Zambezi, and perhaps in one or more dialects of West Nyasa and Kiwemba ; in the Secuana dialects and in the syntax, are given in brackets. Zulu-Kafir tongues. In the Herero group of languages it becomes Bantu Prefixes. Va, as also in parts of the Lower Zambezi and in South-East Africa. Singular. Plural. In the greater part of Eastern Africa and Nyasaland it becomes Class 1. Mu- (Ngu-) Class 2. BaTVa, and dwindles finally into A in the Makua countries, in Southern ,, 3. Mu- (Ngu-) ,, 4. Mi- (Ngi-) Nyasaland, on the Nyasa-Tanganyika Plateau, among the Rua ,, 5. Di- (Ndi-) 6. Ma- (Nga-) dialects of the South Congo basin, among the Manyema in Angola, ,, 7. Ki- (Nki- ?) ,, 8. Bion the Lower Congo, among the Mpongwe, and in some of the ,, 9. N or Ni ,, 10. Ti-, Ti-n-, or di-,3 bi-n-, dialects of the Nyika and the Kamba groups in the north-eastern or Zi-, Zi-npart of the Bantu language-field. North of the 10th parallel of ,, 11. Lu- (Ndu- ) ,, 12. Tu (often diminutive in south latitude the tenth prefix (Oi or Zi) is rarely met with, though ,, 13. Ka (usually a diminsense) traces of its former existence may be deduced from its presence in utive) concordant particles. Thus, though it is absent as a plural pre,, 14. Bu- (sometimes used in a plural sense; generally em- the fix for nouns in the Swahili of Zanzibar, it reappears in the Concord. ployed to indicate abstract nouns)4 For instance : hombe hizi zangu—cows these mine (These cows are ,, 15. Ku- (identical with the preposition “to,” used as an mine). Although hombe has ceased to be zihombe, in the plural infinitive with vei’bs, but also with certain nouns the zi particle reappears in hizi and zangu. Nevertheless, the indicating functions of the body primarily) tenth prefix is still met with in its full form in Kongo, perhaps in ,, 16. Pa- (locative: applied to nouns and other forms of Mpongwe, and in the Kavirondo dialects of the Uganda group. speech to indicate place or position ; identical with The pronouns in the Bantu are in most cases traceable to some adverb “here,” as hu- is with “there”). To these sixteen prefixes should perhaps be added the preposition such general forms as these :— 7 . . . ngi, mi. mu- “ in,” “ into,” which in some languages is used as a prefix or pro- R me Thou, thee . . ku. nominal particle, as in the Swahili phrase { ¥ Wurnb(ffn} rfiw~cff He or she, him, her . a ; also hgu, mu (which becomes yu, ye); r fin house m it (in) hisJ there is also another form perhaps, ndi, = In his house—where the preposition M' (abbreviation for Mu-) but the pronouns for the third person, as has the particle mw {mu) agreeing with it and placed before the in so many other languages, partake pronoun -ace. largely of the nature of demonstrative Also the prefix in the singular number having a diminutive pronouns, and are often identical with sense, which is found in some of the north-western® Bantu tongues the latter. ~fi- or vi-. This is possibly an additional prefix which has come . . nu, mu. into independent being in that rather divergent group. It cannot Ye, you . . . bao, ba. be traced to derivation from any of the other prefixes among the They, them sixteen. It is always used in the singular, and its corresponding In addition to this it must be remembered that the Bantu plural prefix is the twelfth {tu-). languages do not distinguish sex, but divide all objects in the The concord may be explained thus :— third person into two main divisions—(1) human beings and such Let us for a moment Reconstruct the original Bantu mother other living creatures as may be distinguished by the first and tongue (as attempts are sometimes made to deduce the ancient second prefixes; (2) all other substances not actively “alive,” Aryan from the most archaic of its daughters), and propound sen- which are distributed amongst the other “ classes ” of nouns. The tences to illustrate the repetition of pronominal particles known as pronominal particles of these are determined by the class to which the “concord.” they belong, the particles in question being more or less identical Old Bantu. with the prefixes. The Bantu verb consists of a practically michangeable root Abao ba-ntii ba-bi ba-ba-ota tu-ba-oga. They they person they bad they they- who kill we them fear. which is employed as the second person singular of the imperative. To this root are prefixed and suffixed various particles. These are Rendered into modern dialect of Luganda, of Buganda : worn-down verbs8 which have become auxiliaries, or reduced adverbs Bo ba-ntu babi babota or prepositions. It is probable (with one exception) that‘the tu-ba-tia. They they person they bad they they- who kill we them fear. building up of the verbal root into moods and tenses has taken place independently in the principal groups of Bantu languages, Or, again, the arrangement followed being probably founded on a fundamental Old Bantu. system common to the original Bantu tongue. The exception Ngu-ti ngu-nguo ngu-gwa; ku-ngu-mbona ? alluded to may be a method of forming the preterite tense, which This tree this-one this falls ; thou this seest ? seems to be shared by a great number of widely-spread Bantu (“ The tree falls ; dost thou see it ? ”) languages. This may be illustrated by the Zulu tanda, love, 1 which changes to tandile, have loved, did love. This -He or -Hi Possibly seventeen. 2 Ba = call! Ita-wx — call ye ! ni = ye. ®7 Shi-, the F palatized. 3 Mi is probably a softening of hgi, hi; hgi becomes in some 4 English th- in “think.” As mu-ntu, a man ; bu-ntu, humanity. dialects nji, ndi, ni ; there is in some of the coast Cameroon languages Perhaps in the Eastern Congo basin. In the form of I- it is a word mba for “ I,” “ me,” the origin of which is not very clear. 8 seemingly present in Manyema. Once, in their turn, nouns.