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Sukuma is a Bantu language of Tanzania, spoken in an area southeast of Lake Victoria between Mwanza, Shinyanga, and Lake Eyasi.[4]

Sukuma
Kɪsukuma
RegionTanzania
EthnicitySukuma
Native speakers
5.4 million (2006)[1]
Language codes
ISO 639-2suk
ISO 639-3suk
Glottologsuku1261[2]
F.21[3]

Its orthography uses Roman script without special letters, which resembles that used for Swahili, and has been used for Bible translations[5] and in religious literature.[6]

Dialects (KɪmunaSukuma in the west, GɪmunaNtuzu/GɪnaNtuzu in the northeast, and Jìnàkɪ̀ɪ̀yâ/JimunaKɪɪyâ in the southeast) are easily mutually intelligible.[7]

Contents

PhonologyEdit

There are seven vowel qualities, which occur long and short:[8]

i ii u uu
ɪ ɪɪ ʊ ʊʊ
e ee o oo
a aa

/ɪ ʊ/, which are written ⟨ĩ ũ⟩, may be closer to [e o], and /e o/ may be closer to [ɛ ɔ].

Sukuma has gone through Dahl's Law (ɪdàtʊ́ 'three', from proto-Bantu -tatʊ) and has voiceless nasal consonants.

m̥ m n̥ n ɲ̊ ɲ ŋ̊ ŋ ŋ̊ʷ ŋʷ
mp mb ɱf ɱv nt nd
ns nz
ɲc ɲɟ
ɲʃ
ŋk ŋɡ
p b t d
tʷ dʷ
c ɟ k ɡ kʷ ɡʷ
ɸ β f v s z
sʷ zʷ
ʃ h hʷ
l j w

It is not clear whether /c ɟ/ should better be considered as stops or affricates as /tʃ dʒ/ or whether they are even palatal.

Syllables are V or CV. There are four tones on short vowels: high, low, rising, and falling.

GrammarEdit

The following description is based on the JinaKɪɪya dialect. One of the characteristics of that dialect is that the noun-class prefixes subject to Dahl's Law have been levelled to voiced consonants and so they no longer alternate.

Noun concordEdit

Sukuma noun-class prefixes are augmented by pre-prefixes a-, ɪ-, ʊ-, which are dropped in certain constructions. The noun classes and the agreement that they trigger[9] are as follows, [8] with attested forms in other dialects being added in parentheses:

(For compatibility, /j/ is transcribed ⟨y⟩.)

Class Prefix Example noun Adj. conc. Possessive Subject Object 'one/two X' 'this X' Semantic field
1 ʊ-mu mùùn̥ʊ̀ 'person' m- o- a- m- ʊ̀mô ʊ̀yʊ̀ human
2 a-βaa- βààn̥ʊ̀ 'persons' βa- βa- βa- βa- βaβɪlɪ àβà
3 ʊ-m- ntɪ̌ 'tree' m- go- gʊ- lɪ- gʊ̀mô ʊ̀yʊ̀ trees, etc.
4 ɪ-mi- mɪ̀tɪ̌ 'trees' mi- ya- i- i- ɪ̀βɪ̀lɪ́ ɪ̀yɪ̀
5 ɪ-lɪ- (ɪ) liisǒ 'eye' ɪ- lɪ- lɪ- lɪ- lɪ̀mô ɪ̀lɪ̀ body parts, food, common objs,
(pl.) liquids
6 a-ma- mɪ̀sǒ 'eyes' ma- a- a- ga- àβɪ̀lɪ́ àyà
7 ɪ-ɟi- (kɪ) Jìsùgǔmà 'Kɪsukuma' ɟi- ɟa- ɟi- ɟi- ɟı̀mô ɪ̀ɟì things, language, body parts, etc.
8 ɪ-ɟi- (sɪ) ɟítáβò 'books' ɟi- ɟa- ɟi- i- ɟìβɪ̀lɪ́ ɪ̀ɟı̀
9 ɪ-n- nùúmbà 'house' n- ya- i- i- yɪ̀mô ɪ̀yɪ̀ common objects, animals, fruits, etc.
10 ɪ-n- mbʊ̀lǐ 'goats' n- ɟa- ɟi- ɟi- ɪ̀βɪ̀lɪ́ ɪ̀ɟì
11 ʊ-lʊ- lʊ̀gòyè 'rope' lu- lo- lu- lu- lʊ̀mô ʊ̀lʊ̀ common objects, body parts, etc.
12 a-ga- (ka) gàɪǎ 'a little dog' ga- ga- ga- ga- gàmô àkà diminutives[10]
13 ʊ-dʊ- (tʊ) dʊ̀ɪǎ 'little dogs' dʊ- do- dʊ- dʊ- dʊ̀mô ʊ̀tʊ̀
14 ʊ-βʊ- βʊ̀sààdǔ 'sickness' βʊ- βo- βʊ- βʊ- βʊ̀mô ʊ̀βʊ̀ abstractions, insects, etc.
15 ʊ-gʊ- (kʊ) gʊ̀tʊ̌ 'ear' gʊ- go- gʊ- gu- gʊ̀mô ʊ̀yʊ̀ body parts and infinitives
16 a-ha- hààn̥ʊ̀ 'place' ha- ha- ha- ho- hàmô àhà location
17 a-gʊ- (kʊ) gʊ̀gàbáádi 'on the cupboard' gʊ- ya- gʊ- ko- ? ʊ̀kʊ̀
18 ʊ-mu- mʊ̀gàbáádi 'inside the cupboard' m- ya- mu- mo- ? ʊ̀mù

Many kin terms have a reduced form of the nominal prefixes, zero and βa-, called class 1a/2a, as in mààyʊ̂ 'mother', βàmààyʊ̂ 'mothers'. Concord is identical with other class-1/2 nouns.

Singular/plural pairs are 1/2, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10, and 12/13, and locative classes 16, 17, and 18 do not have plurals. Most others use class 6 for their plurals: 11/6, 14/6, 15/6, and also sometimes 7/6 and 12/6. There are also nouns that inflect as 11/4, 11/14, 14/10, and 15/8.

Verbal complexEdit

Infinitive verbs have the form gʊ-object-ext-ROOT-ext-V-locative, where ext stands for any of various grammatical 'extensions', and -V is the final vowel. For example, with roots in bold and tone omitted,[8]

gũ-n-tĩn-ĩl-a
'To cut for him/her'
gwĩ-tĩn-ĩl-a
'To cut for each other'

-ĩl is the applicative suffix, translated as 'for'. The reciprocal prefix ĩ has fused into the infinitive .

gũ-fum-a-mo
'To get out there'

-mo is a locative 'inside', as in class 18 nominal concord.

Finite verbs have the form subject-TAM-ext-object-ROOT-ext-TAM-V. For example,

βa-lĩ-n-iiš-a
'They are feeding him/her'

The root iiš includes a fused causative suffix. Tense is marked by a prefix. The subject marker βa- shows that the subject is human plural, per the noun-concord table above.

o-dũ-saang-ile
'He found us'

Here tense is marked by a suffix.

βa-gĩ-gunaan-a
'They helped each other/themselves'

Here the prefix is fused tense and reciprocal ĩ.

Language identityEdit

It is reported that although Sukuma is very similar to Nyamwezi, speakers themselves do not accept that they make up a single language.[11]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sukuma at Ethnologue (18th ed., 2015)
  2. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Sukuma". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  3. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  4. ^ Margaret Arminel Bryan, compiler, The Bantu Languages of Africa, Oxford University Press, 1959.
  5. ^ The Gospel in Many Tongues, The British and Foreign Bible Society, London, 1965.
  6. ^ Kitabo sha Sala na sha Mimbo, Diochesi ya Mwanza, edited / approved by Bishop Renatus Butibubage, 1963.
  7. ^ The prefixes kɪ-, gɪ-, ji- are dialectical variants.
  8. ^ a b c Rahma Muhdhar, 2006, Verb Extensions in Kisukuma, Jinakiiya dialect, MS dissertation, UDSM
  9. ^ Adjectival concord, possessive suffixes on nouns, subject and object suffixes on verbs, and the agreeing form of -mô 'one', -βɪ̀lɪ́ 'two', and 'this'
  10. ^ Including insignificance, derogation, (sg.) manner of doing
  11. ^ The Bantu Languages of Africa, as above.