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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Loan words classification in isiZulu: the need for a sociolinguistic approach
Author:Ngcobo, MtholeniISNI
Periodical:Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa (ISSN 1022-8195)
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:Zulu language
loan words
Abstract:This paper addresses problems of loan words classification in isiZulu. Previous approaches have presented the classification as a neatly organized system, which classifies nouns according to their prescribed designated classes. The author argues that isiZulu speakers also classify new words by using their sociolinguistic background, and that this is in contrast with the previous views regarding the classification of new words that are borrowed mostly from English and Afrikaans. These borrowed words are lexicalized to conform to the grammatical system of isiZulu, whose noun class system consists of at least 15 of the 23 Bantu classes. The spoken corpus-based method is used in this paper to confirm that isiZulu loan words are classifiable and that there is a level of flexibility in this classification rather than rigid classification. The spoken corpus data is also compared with that of isiXhosa to measure some similarities between these two mutually related languages. The findings are that speakers of isiZulu classify most new words in class 9 and also significantly in other classes. Some words are classified in more than just one class as a result of the social status of the speakers of isiZulu. App., bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]