EkeGusii Morphopragmatics and the Junction with Iconicity



Mariera, E.O.


Work Unit:

Kisii University, Kenya


Vol.9 No.2 (Serial No.15) 2021






The intersection between morphology and pragmatics in EkeGusii, a Bantu language spoken in Kenya among the natives of Kisii and Nyamira Counties, is the concern of this paper. Besides the lean evidence of previous research on EkeGusii morphopragmatics, the argument is presented in four parts. The first examines the interplay between affixation and pragmatics, especially contextually sanctioned diminution and augmentation. This happens in the revelation of attitude at the lexical, and post-lexical levels, where in the latter, vowel lengthening is an alternative way of modifying degrees of augmentation and diminution. Diminution and augmentation also relate to style as manner with language, social relations, persuasion and euphemism in clitic-like groups, and augmentative prefixation where the function of the amplifier prefix is defined. The second part posits that metaphorical compounds acquire idiosyncratic meanings supported by context. The third part presents the meanings of iconic reduplicatives as isomorphic, and dependent on context. The final part delves into the portmanteau morph, a knotty problem as evidenced in EkeGusii, arguing that it can only be described as serving pragmatic functions with greater reliance on syntax and semantics, which in turn abet covert morphological change. The portmanteau morph, from a morphopragmatic viewpoint, is more of a question to ponder than a conclusion.

Key Words:

clitic-like groups, amplifier prefix, metaphorical compounding, portmanteau morph


doi: 10.26478/ja2021.9.15.3


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