The Morpho-syntactic and Semantic-Pragmatic Realisation of Definiteness and Specificity in Swahili

  • Gerald Eliniongoze Kimambo The University of Dar es Salaam
Keywords: Morpho-syntactic, Semantic-pragmatic, Definiteness, Specificity


This paper studies the realisation of definiteness and specificity in Swahili. Available literature on the realisation of definiteness and specificity in Swahili focused mainly on the morphological domain and only marginally on the syntactic domain. Nevertheless, definiteness and specificity lie at the interface between morpho-syntactic and semantic-pragmatic domains. Grounded in Lyons' (1999) semantic model, this paper  descriptively shows how definiteness is realised in Swahili by considering the notions of ‘familiarity’, ‘identifiability’, and ‘uniqueness (as well as inclusiveness)’. In addition, it shows how specific and non-specific entities are realised in the language. The paper thus offers a more holistic perspective on the realisation of definiteness and specificity in Swahili.


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Morpho-syntactic and Semantic-Pragmatic Realisation of Definiteness and Specificity in Swahili