A Grammar of Digo: A Bantu Language of Kenya and Tanzania

Nicolle, Steve

This volume, the result of seven years of fieldwork, is the only comprehensive grammar of the underdocumented Digo (Chidigo) language to date. Digo is the southernmost language of the Mijikenda cluster of Bantu languages, spoken along the coast of East Africa in Kenya and Tanzania. Besides a clear description of Digo morphology and syntax, with multiple illustrative examples, this grammar includes several glossed texts, a 1700-item wordlist, and a list of over 100 botanical names. It gives particular emphasis to semantic and discourse relations of elements which are not always analyzed from this perspective in grammatical descriptions. These include the forms and functions of Digo’s complex system of demonstratives, a description of over 30 tense, aspect, and movement markers, and a detailed discussion of information structure and non-verbal clauses.

This book will be of interest to linguists concerned with Bantu languages, typology, morphosyntax, and semantics. The entire Mijikenda cluster is underdocumented, and this grammar makes a significant contribution to understanding of languages of that area.

About the Author

Steve Nicolle received a D.Phil. from the University of York, UK. He is currently serving as a Linguistics and Translation Consultant for SIL Africa Area. He has written several articles on Digo, and along with Joseph Mwalonya, Alison Nicolle, and Juma Zimbu, is the compiler of Mgombato: Digo-English-Swahili Dictionary.

Table of Contents:

List of Tables

  1. Introduction
  2. 1.1 Linguistic Classification and Speech Varieties
    1.2 Geography and Environment
    1.3 Culture and History
    1.4 Approach and Methodology
    1.5 Abbreviations and Glossing Conventions

  3. Phonology and Orthography
  4. 2.1 Orthography
    2.2 Phonology

  5. Noun Phrases
  6. 3.1 Nominal Morphology
    3.2 Qualificatives
    3.3 Pronouns
    3.4 Demonstratives

  7. Verbal Morphology
  8. 4.1 Structure of the Verb Group
    4.2 Irregular and Defective Verbs
    4.3 Verbal Derivation

  9. Tense, Aspect, and Movement Markers
  10. 5.1 TAM Categories
    5.2 Tenses
    5.3 Aspects
    5.4 Status Markers
    5.5 Movement Grams
    5.6 Complex Constructions
    5.7 Different Forms of ka-

  11. Other Word Classes
  12. 6.1 Relational Expressions
    6.2 Sentence Adverbials and Discourse Markers
    6.3 Additives
    6.4 Adverbs and Ideophones

  13. Clause and Sentence Structure
  14. 7.1 Basic Clause Structure
    7.2 Information Structure
    7.3 Relative Clauses
    7.4 Complex Sentences
    7.5 Locative Inversion—Parameters of Variation

  15. Being and Having
  16. 8.1 Copula Constructions: Forms
    8.2 Copula Constructions: Functions
    8.3 Comparative Constructions
    8.4 ‘Having’ or ‘Being With’
    8.5 Examples from a Narrative Text

    Appendix A: Sample Texts
    Appendix B: Wordlist and Botanical Names
    Appendix C: The Relationship between Digo and Swahili

Author Index
Language Index
Subject Index

Retail Price:
xx, 441 pages
ISBN 13:
6 × 9 × 0.93 in
1.7 lb
Subject Languages:
Content Language: