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A comparative phonological and morphological analysis of the North and South Lala dialects of Tekela Nguni

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dc.contributor.advisor Msimang, C. T. Zungu, Elphas Mphunyuzwa en 2015-01-23T04:24:32Z 2015-01-23T04:24:32Z 1999-12 en
dc.identifier.citation Zungu, Elphas Mphunyuzwa (1999) A comparative phonological and morphological analysis of the North and South Lala dialects of Tekela Nguni, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <> en
dc.description.abstract This research work has several aims, demanded by a number of external and internal factors. First of all, it aims to identify Lala: whether it is simply a dialect of Tekela- Nguni, or perhaps the substratum Bantu language spoken in the eastern parts of Southern Africa since the fourth century of the first millennium A.D. on which every new migratory wave imposed its language (chapters one and two). The lexical-statistical method has been attempted (chapter three), but with mixed results. In fact, relexification is widely used in southern African societies, and this renders the identification of the core vocabulary a very difficult task. The result is that all that can be said is that Lala indeed shows the characteristics of a Tekela-Nguni language, but it is impossible to determine at this stage whether Lala is the mother or the daughter of Tekela. Another important aim, dictated by an earlier research by Wilkes (1981 ), was to compare the two main branches of Lala, called North and South Lala, to prove whether the differences between the two dialects are so wide as to justify a division into two separate entities or not. Here the verdict is emphatically negative. In fact the various stages of the research abundantly re-affirm the view that Lala is one language, with only marginal differences caused by the different linguistic environments: Zulu in the north and IsiZansi in the south. African societies in this part of the world have affirmed themselves in the realm of the written word only recently, i.e. during the last 150 years or so. The background culture of these societies is still vigorously oral, and this means that the spoken word is used for much more than simple communication of thought and feeling. Language is felt as the major binding element in a society that has seen constant political break-ups, upheavals, migrations, wars, attempted exterminations. This means that Lala, as a language or the dominant dialect of a group, is banded about as a cultural-historical flag around which people are proud to gather. This sense of unity is an emotion, a feeling, rather than a deep reality. The colours of the flag, or the distinguishing elements of the language, may be fading away, and only a core might be preserved. But this is quite enough to kindle emotions and to rally people. At least in areas where people are still proud of their cultural heritage. hnicity and language should not be the same, but most of the people interviewed (cf chapter two) felt very strongly that they were Lalas because they spoke Lala; and that they spoke Lala because they are Lalas. Their either glorious or sad histories are recorded in chapter two to demonstrate how Shaka's wars, and the Mfecane, forced them to leave their homeland and to migrate. The trauma of this latest migration is still felt so strongly that it is often superimposed and confused with the great migrations from Central and Western Africa that took place in mythological times, or very long ago. But through their histories, they keep alive their memories and the certainty of the unity of the Lala nation, even though it is now spread from Kranskop to Harding and IZingolweni. Chapter four examines the phonetics and phonology of the two Lala dialects in the context of Swati and Zulu. Lala is a Tekela dialect indeed, but with its own phonetic and phonological peculiarities. The same can be said with regard to the research exposed in chapter five, on the morphology of Lala compared to Swati and Zulu. The grammatical system among the three languages is extremely similar, and there is hardly any substantial difference between North and South Lala. This can also be said with regard to tonology (chapter six) The last chapter reflects on what has been achieved. The ancient Lala language, about which James Stuart stated in the 1920's that it was nearly extinct, is proving very strong and resilient. Possibly the very dynamism experienced in its ability to adapt to the colonial languages and the new material culture by assimilating many foreign lexical items, and that South Lala has adopted many words from IsiZansi, is proof that Lala has got a life of its own that cannot be taken for granted, nor extinguished. The more one is able to study the local languages, the more one dusts up some ancient treasure that needs to be admired and constantly re-valued. The functional word here is 'treasure': because all languages, as carriers of culture, are a treasure that together form the mosaic of our beautiful "Rainbow Nation".
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (vii, 167 pages)
dc.language.iso en
dc.subject.ddc 496.3985 en
dc.subject.lcsh Swazi (African people) en
dc.subject.lcsh Nguni languages -- Dialects -- Phonology en
dc.subject.lcsh Nguni languages -- Phonology en
dc.title A comparative phonological and morphological analysis of the North and South Lala dialects of Tekela Nguni en
dc.type Thesis
dc.description.department African Languages D.Litt et Phil. en

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