Original Research

Die hiërargiese ontwikkeling en grammatiese kenmerke van die Noord- Sotho werkwoordstam -ba

W.J. Pretorius
Literator | Vol 26, No 3 | a239 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v26i3.239 | © 2005 W.J. Pretorius | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 July 2005 | Published: 31 July 2005

About the author(s)

W.J. Pretorius, Departement Afrikatale, Universiteit van Johannesburg, South Africa

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The hierarchical development and grammatical features of the Northern Sotho verb stem -ba

The objective of this article is to describe the synchronic grammatical features of the Northern Sotho verb stem -ba as well as to indicate the diachronic developmental process of this language form. A lack of sufficient knowledge in this regard exists due to the fact that very little information can be obtained from any publication or research project. The focus of this article is particularly on the structural and semantic characteristics of -ba when functioning as an auxiliary verb stem in word group context. The cognitive meaning as well as various delicate shades of meaning, which are generated as translation possibilities in different contexts, is investigated. Reference is also made to tense and aspect that are respectively determined by the auxiliary and complementary verbs per se. Categorial and hierarchical rank shifting is also illustrated by means of suitable examples.

Data and examples are mainly obtained from the study of Pretorius (2004). These examples have been recorded after some sound ground-work has been undertaken. Various examples of auxiliary verb groups have not only been recorded from the literature, but also from daily conversations. It should, however, be made clear that no direct quotations from the literature have been made – only structures from the examples have been selected and processed before being submitted for verification.

The data of selected examples have been submitted to three Northern Sotho first language speakers. These people are well equipped in both the practical as well as theoretical knowledge of Northern Sotho. The people concerned are Mr. S.M. Mabule (Vista), Mr. R.J. Mampuru (Vista), and Mr. S.J. Motshegoa (Institute for African Languages). These gentlemen are also fluent in Afrikaans which they all studied at tertiary level.


Auxiliary Verb; Categorial Shift; Hierarchical Development; Northern Sotho Grammar; Rank Shifting; Verb Stem-Ba


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