Phonology of Borrowed Lexicon in Standard Kiswahili

IRIBEMWANGI PI. "Phonology of Borrowed Lexicon in Standard Kiswahili." Reyono Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies. 2012;1 ( 2):59-74.


Standard Kiswahili has borrowed various lexical items from many diverse languages. As a result of this borrowing, Standard Kiswahili is at times (erroneously) seen as an admixture language born out of mixing different languages. The purpose of this paper is to show that while Standard Kiswahili has borrowed just like many other languages have, the loan words undergo various adaptation processes that give them a fundamentally Kiswahili and Bantu structure (Iribemwangi 2012). In the adaptation, various strategies are applied and these include substitution, insertion and deletion of both consonants and vowels. These strategies do not just lead to nativization of borrowed lexicon but they do also lead to the realization of the preferred syllable structure. Although Standard Kiswahili has largely maintained its syllable structure, nonetheless, it has had to accede to a few new structures. Using the P-rules and, to a lesser extent, the MP-rules as espoused in Natural Generative Phonology, this paper shows that any rules and structures in a language remain the only rules and structures to the extent that no new rules and processes have entered a language at a given time. Otherwise, the rules of any language are very dynamic and are perpetually prone to change as is exemplified using Standard Kiswahili data.

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