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Reconstructing the origins of the Luganda (JE15) modal auxiliaries -sóból- and -yînz-: A historical-comparative study across the West Nyanza Bantu cluster

Deo Kawalya (UGent) , Gilles-Maurice de Schryver (UGent) and Koen Bostoen (UGent)
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Organization
Abstract
In this article, a comparison is made of the expression of possibility in West Nyanza Bantu languages in order to reconstruct the origins of Luganda's two most frequent possibility markers, viz. the near-synonymous auxiliaries -sobol- and -yinz-. Earlier Luganda diachronic corpus-driven analyses showed that -yinz- has been involved in expressing all possibility categories since the 1890s, which is when Luganda was first reduced to writing, while -sobol- acquired deontic possibility as a meaning only in the 1950s. Although this would suggest that -yinz- is the possibility marker with the greatest time depth in Luganda and across West Nyanza, with -sobol- a relative newcomer, the comparative data which is presented in this article indicates the opposite. It is shown that while -yinz- only exists in some West Nyanza languages (namely in the subgroup which includes Luganda, Lusoga and Lugwere), -sobol- is attested in all West Nyanza languages as well as in other Great Lakes Bantu languages outside West Nyanza. The fact that the cognates of -sobol- in all Great Lakes Bantu languages carry a dynamic modal meaning 'be able' suggests that its modal usage is older in any of the individual languages considered here than what language-internal Luganda data seems to suggest.
Keywords
modality, Luganda, Nyanza, Bantu, grammaticalisation

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Chicago
Kawalya, Deo, Gilles-Maurice de Schryver, and Koen Bostoen. 2018. “Reconstructing the Origins of the Luganda (JE15) Modal Auxiliaries -sóból- and -yînz-: A Historical-comparative Study Across the West Nyanza Bantu Cluster.” South African Journal of African Languages 38 (1): 13–25.
APA
Kawalya, D., de Schryver, G.-M., & Bostoen, K. (2018). Reconstructing the origins of the Luganda (JE15) modal auxiliaries -sóból- and -yînz-: A historical-comparative study across the West Nyanza Bantu cluster. SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES, 38(1), 13–25.
Vancouver
1.
Kawalya D, de Schryver G-M, Bostoen K. Reconstructing the origins of the Luganda (JE15) modal auxiliaries -sóból- and -yînz-: A historical-comparative study across the West Nyanza Bantu cluster. SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES. Abingdon: Routledge Journals, Taylor & Francis Ltd; 2018;38(1):13–25.
MLA
Kawalya, Deo, Gilles-Maurice de Schryver, and Koen Bostoen. “Reconstructing the Origins of the Luganda (JE15) Modal Auxiliaries -sóból- and -yînz-: A Historical-comparative Study Across the West Nyanza Bantu Cluster.” SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES 38.1 (2018): 13–25. Print.
@article{8560068,
  abstract     = {In this article, a comparison is made of the expression of possibility in West Nyanza Bantu languages in order to reconstruct the origins of Luganda's two most frequent possibility markers, viz. the near-synonymous auxiliaries -sobol- and -yinz-. Earlier Luganda diachronic corpus-driven analyses showed that -yinz- has been involved in expressing all possibility categories since the 1890s, which is when Luganda was first reduced to writing, while -sobol- acquired deontic possibility as a meaning only in the 1950s. Although this would suggest that -yinz- is the possibility marker with the greatest time depth in Luganda and across West Nyanza, with -sobol- a relative newcomer, the comparative data which is presented in this article indicates the opposite. It is shown that while -yinz- only exists in some West Nyanza languages (namely in the subgroup which includes Luganda, Lusoga and Lugwere), -sobol- is attested in all West Nyanza languages as well as in other Great Lakes Bantu languages outside West Nyanza. The fact that the cognates of -sobol- in all Great Lakes Bantu languages carry a dynamic modal meaning 'be able' suggests that its modal usage is older in any of the individual languages considered here than what language-internal Luganda data seems to suggest.},
  author       = {Kawalya, Deo and de Schryver, Gilles-Maurice and Bostoen, Koen},
  issn         = {0257-2117},
  journal      = {SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF AFRICAN LANGUAGES},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {13--25},
  publisher    = {Routledge Journals, Taylor \& Francis Ltd},
  title        = {Reconstructing the origins of the Luganda (JE15) modal auxiliaries -s{\'o}b{\'o}l- and -y{\^i}nz-: A historical-comparative study across the West Nyanza Bantu cluster},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02572117.2018.1429855},
  volume       = {38},
  year         = {2018},
}

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