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PhD Defence

Verbal Derivation and Valency in Citumbuka

Wednesday 11 May 2016
Academy Building
Rapenburg 73
2311 GJ Leiden


  • Prof. M.P.G.M. Mous


This thesis is a comprehensive description and analysis of verbal derivation in Citumbuka (N21), a Bantu language spoken in northern Malawi and north eastern Zambia, with an estimated population of more than 2,000,000 speakers. The research is based on a corpus generated by the Centre for Language Studies under the MaLEX Citumbuka dictionary project supplemented by data from Citumbuka literature and consultations with native speakers. It describes functions of common Citumbuka extension suffixes: passive, reciprocal, applicative, causative and how they affect the verb valency of their bases. Verbal suffixes are typical of Bantu languages. The analysis of the more common functions of these suffixes is a central topic of Bantu linguistics. However, in this study both Bantuist and general typological literature has informed the study of each suffix. An exceptionally wide range of semantic functions is discussed for each of the suffixes. The passive/stative polysemy, the reciprocal/anticausative/antipassive polysemy, diverse semantic functions of applicatives such as substitutive beneficiaries, judger applicative, possessor applicative and diverse semantic functions of causative suffixes such as conversive, autobenefactive, dereflexivity, associative causative, are carefully discussed. The thesis also investigates suffix ordering in Citumbuka and concludes that Citumbuka favours semantic ordering over the Bantu templatic ordering of CARP.


PhD defences are open to the public. You do not need to register.


Dissertations by Leiden promovendi can be found in digital form via the Leiden Repository and are generally freely accessible. In a small number of cases, there is a temporary embargo on a dissertation and the text is then available at a later date.

Questions from the press

Inès van Arkel, Scientific Communications Adviser, Leiden University
+31 71 527 3282

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