Child Shona noun prefixes

Maxwell Kadenge, Catherine R Sibanda

Abstract


This article falls under the broad area of child language acquisition and it aims to present an analysis of the acquisition of Shona noun class prefixes. The data collection procedures involved fortnightly observation and audio-recording of the spontaneous speech of three children who were acquiring Shona as a mother tongue. The results of this investigation confirm findings from earlier studies and show that noun class prefixes are acquired in three partially overlapping stages. In the first stage, nouns are produced without class prefixes and as time progresses, in the second stage, they are produced with them but in the form of an onsetless vowel. In the third stage, nouns are produced with full and phonologically appropriate class prefixes. The empirical and theoretical findings of this investigation are expected to broaden and deepen our knowledge of morphology and the phonology-morphology interface in the context of child language acquisition. As there are few descriptive and theoretical studies on the acquisition of Shona, this research recommends more studies on this subject.


Keywords


Shona; noun class prefix; mother tongue; child language acquisition; stage; morphology

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5785/27-1-96

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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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