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This groundbreaking study addresses all grammatical levels of Kifuliiru, a Bantu (J) language of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Together the set comprises one of the most thorough Bantu grammars available. Kifuliiru is spoken by the approximately 400,000 members of the Bafuliiru community, whose homeland is in the Uvira Territory on the eastern border of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Volume 1 of The Kifuliiru Language, written by Karen Van Otterloo, addresses tone, phonology, and morphological derivation. Volume 2, written by Roger Van Otterloo, serves as a descriptive grammar of the language. This is a pivotal time in the history of the Kifuliiru language. Roger Van Otterloo notes that French is increasingly used by the younger generation. Even when Kifuliiru is spoken, the young often overlay French grammatical structure, endangering the rich morphology of the traditional language. For this reason, the publication of this description is all the more timely, an opinion expressed by Kifuliiru Language Association President Elie Mushonio Banyimwire Rusati and Kifuliiru project director Phanuel Kibambazi Zihindula in their foreword to the work:
“This linguistic book is like a big sickle to help the Bafuliiru harvest the riches of their language. Between its covers the essence of Kifuliiru is described at all levels, with all the original nuances. This will help all those writing the language to write with a pleasing style. Our desire is to adapt parts of this book into a form from which all the Bafuliiru people can benefit. This includes writing books for teaching the Kifuliiru language and culture in the primary schools. A Writer’s Manual has also been produced, based on this grammar, for all who are interested in producing authentic literature that is sweet and clear.
The sound files which accompany Volume 1 were produced in Nairobi, Kenya, in late 2005. Recordings cover numbered examples, tables, and texts, as well as many examples found within the discussion and analysis. A free gloss is included for each utterance. However, more detailed information, such as the tone class of the verb or a morpheme breakdown, is not generally included in the sound file transcriptions and glosses. This information is found only in the volume itself.