The Kifuliiru Language, Volume 2: A Descriptive Grammar

Van Otterloo, Roger

This groundbreaking study addresses all grammatical levels of Kifuliiru, a Bantu (J) language of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Together with its companion volume,The Kifuliiru Language, Volume 1: Phonology, Tone, and Morphological Derivation, this is one of the most thorough Bantu grammars available, aiming to describe all grammatical features found in over 100 narrative texts, and to provide natural examples.

At the word level, this book covers nouns, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, demonstratives, locatives, ideophones and interjections. The chapter on verbs catalogues the amazing range of tenses, aspects, and moods. There is a comprehensive chapter on reduplication, and another on proverbs. At the clause level, information structure is carefully presented, including possible alternations of the default clause word order. A complete set of distinct interclausal relations is also laid out.

Of particular interest is a detailed study of narrative discourse, an area that most Bantu grammars to date do not cover. This study includes a fascinating section on tight-knit conversations. Also noted are various development markers, which demarcate two distinct levels of thematic salience. Intonation and pauses are also described, including a typical long pause between topic and comment..

Many of the discourse features described in this book are common to Bantu languages, and this volume thus invites further comparative study. The contents of this book have already provided a springboard for extensive discourse study in dozens of related languages.

This two volume set comprises "one of the most comprehensive grammars of any Bantu language." – Derek Nurse, Research Professor in the Linguistics Department, Memorial University

About the Author

Roger Van Otterloo received his master’s degree in linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1976. He and his wife Karen (author of Volume 1) have worked with SIL International® among the Kifuliiru-speaking community since 1980, living in their communities from 1980–1996 and continuing contact and involvement today.

The Kifuliiru Language, Two Volume Set is available. Save 12% on the purchase of the set over purchasing each volume separately.

Table of Contents:

List of Tables
Bafuliiru Forword
A Brief Background to Writing Grammars in Africa by Derek Nurse
Contributing to Language Revitalization and Maintenance by John Watters

1. Introduction

  • 1.1 Language name and classification
  • 1.2 Dialects
  • 1.3 Previous language work; contributors to the present work
  • 1.4 Inventory of parts of speech
  • 1.5 Conventions
  • 1.6 Possible mismatches between Kifuliiru and other languages

2. Nouns

  • 2.1 Constituent structure of the noun
  • 2.2 Class agreement triggered by noun gender-number
  • 2.3 Semantic categories typically found in various Kifuliiru noun classes

3. Pronouns and Demonstratives

  • 3.1 Previous reference: the morpheme e / o
  • 3.2 Verb prefix pronouns and enclitic pronouns
  • 3.3 Personal pronouns
  • 3.4 Interrogative pronouns
  • 3.5 Demonstratives

4. Adjectives, Numbers, and Quantifiers

  • 4.1 Adjectives
  • 4.2 Quantifiers
  • 4.3 Cardinal numbers
  • 4.4 Ordinal numbers

5. Adverbs

  • 5.1 Temporal adverbs
  • 5.2 Positional adverbs
  • 5.3 Manner adverbs
  • 5.4 Intensifier and limiter adverbs
  • 5.5 Confirmatory adverbs
  • 5.6 Additive adverbs

6. Ideophones, Interjections, and Greetings

  • 6.1 Ideophones
  • 6.2 Interjections
  • 6.3 Greetings

7. Noun Phrases

  • 7.1 Noun phrase structure
  • 7.2 Augments
  • 7.3 Associative phrases
  • 7.4 Associative pronouns
  • 7.5 Conjunctives used with noun phrases
  • 7.6 Noun phrases involving mwene ‘ownership’
  • 7.7 Noun phrases with following nouns of apposition
  • 7.8 Multiple noun phrase embedding

8. Locative Phrases

  • 8.1 Locative markers
  • 8.2 Position nouns

9. Verb Words and Phrases

  • 9.1 Overview of verb form types
  • 9.2 Detailed inventory of TAM form/meanings

10. Clauses and Information Structure

  • 10.1 Syntactic structure of independent clauses
  • 10.2 Information structure
  • 10.3 Alternations of basic constituent order

11. Dependent Clauses and Interclausal Relations

  • 11.1 Dependent adverbial clauses
  • 11.2 Analytic causatives
  • 11.3 Reduced clauses indicating concomitant “state”
  • 11.4 Complement clauses
  • 11.5 Relative clauses
  • 11.6 Relations between independent clauses
  • 11.7 Pauses at the sentence level

12. Narrative Forms

  • 12.1 Speech register summary
  • 12.2 Narrative text units
  • 12.3 Highlighting
  • 12.4 Reporting of conversation
  • 12.5 Participant reference

13. Proverbs and Riddles

  • 13.1 Proverbs
  • 13.2 Riddles

14 Reduplication

  • 14.1 Reduplication structural considerations
  • 14.2 Functions of reduplication

Appendix: Texts
Person index
Language index
Overall index

Retail Price:
xxxviii, 575 pages
ISBN 13:
ISBN 10:
6 × 9 × 1.2 in
1.9 lb
Congo (Kinshasa)
Subject Languages:
Content Language: