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The influence of non-linguistic factors on the usage of the pre-prefix in Luguru

Journal article
Authors Malin Petzell
Karoline Kühl
Published in Linguistic Discovery
Volume 15
Issue 1
Pages 35-48
ISSN 1537-0852
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 35-48
Language en
Keywords hypercorrection; covert prestige, Bantu languages; givenness; pre-prefix; endangered languages.
Subject categories Bantu languages, Bilingualism, Linguistics


This article discusses the impact of linguistic and non-linguistic factors on the use of the pre-prefix in an under-described Bantu language spoken in Tanzania. The pre-prefix, also referred to as the augment, is a morpheme related to givenness in many Bantu languages. We will explore its use in Luguru, which is spoken in the Morogoro region in Tanzania. Certain groups of Luguru speakers use the pre-prefix much more than others, and its use seems to vary according to social settings. We present a sociolinguistic analysis of the contexts where the pre-prefix can appear, including attitudes and social factors, taking into account the situation of intense language contact between Luguru and the dominating language Swahili, where the pre-prefix is non-existent. Not much has been published on Luguru overall, and this is the first study of the pre-prefix. Moreover, it is, to our knowledge, the first work taking social factors into account in analysing the pre-prefix in Bantu in general.

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