Universiteit Leiden

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Reconstructing the history of the mixed language Ma’á/Mbugu through its lexicon

Thursday 14 September 2017
Cleveringaplaats 1
2311 BD Leiden


The language Ma’á/Mbugu (Bantu, Tanzania) is two languages in one grammar. The mixed one is in fact a parallel lexicon sharing meaning and morphosyntactic properties but with two different forms, one of which is “normal” Mbugu, a Pare lect (like the grammar), and the other has different sources. The mixed “language” is a partly conscious expansion in order to recapture their lost language to fulfill the need for a strong expression of identity (Mous 2003). As a next step I take a closer look at this deviant lexicon, correlating etymology with semantic fields in an attempt to discern lexical layers and a more detailed understanding of the history of the language. More in general I try to understand how lexical innovation and lack thereof link with social functions of language.

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