The noun classes and concord of Congo Copperbelt Swahili


  • Nkulu Kabuya


Swahili, Congo, agreement, noun class, concord


This paper reconsiders claims that the Swahili of the Congo Copperbelt area has a limited noun class system and an inconsistent system of agreement. It shows that there are, operating side-by-side with the simple system generally presented by scholars, a noun class and concord system of the original Bantu type, and that the prefixes of the latter are in free variation with those of their simplified versions. This free variation is discussed from grammatical, sociolinguistic, and stylistic perspectives. The conclusion reached is that by spreading change in its lexicon and morphosyntax, Congo Copperbelt Swahili has developed a system of singular/plural prefixes that will eventually replace the traditional class system.