- Gusii language
region=Western Kenya, Gusii district
The Gusii language (also known as Kisii or Ekegusii) is a
Bantu languagespoken in the Kisii district in western Kenya,whose head-quarters is Kisii town, (between the Kavirondo Gulf of Lake Victoriaand the border with Tanzania). It is spoken by the Gusii people, numbering about 1.5 million (SIL/Ethnologue 1994). Many Gusii are bilingual in Luo.
Gusii is classified as a Central Bantu language, part of the subfamily of
Kuria languageslabeled E.10 in Guthrie's zonal classification of Bantu languages. Related languages are found mainly in Tanzania, and include Ware, Ikizu, Ikoma, and Kuria.
Gusii has seven vowels.
Vowel lengthis contrastive, i.e. the words 'bór' "to miss" and 'bóór' "to say" are distinguished by vowel length only.
In the table below, orthographic symbols are included between brackets if they differ from the IPA symbols. Note especially the use of ‘y’ for IPA IPA|/j/, common in African orthographies. When symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a voiced consonant.
Phonetic inventory of consonants in Gusii, IPA notation. . bilabial alveo-palatal palatal velar plosive p b t c (c) k g fricative s affricate cç (c) nasal m n ɲ (ny) ŋ (ng') trill r approximant w j (y)
The following morphophonological alternations occur:
* n+r = nd
* n+b = mb
* n+g = ŋg
* n+k = ŋk
* n+m = mm
* Cammenga, Jelle (2002) "Phonology and morphology of Ekegusii: a Bantu language of Kenya". Köln: Rüdiger Köppe Verlag.
* Whiteley, Wilfred H. (1956) "A practical introduction to Gusii". Dar es Salaam/Nairobi/Kampala: East African Literature Bureau.
* Whiteley, Wilfred H. (1960) "The tense system of Gusii". Kampala: East African Institute of Social Research.
* Whiteley, Wilfred H. (1974) "Language in Kenia". Nairobi: Oxford University Press.
* [http://www.ekegusii.org/ Ekegusii-English English-Ekegusii Dictionary]
* [http://www.ethnologue.com/show_language.asp?code=guz Ethnologue on Gusii]
* [http://www.rosettaproject.org/archive/guz/view?searchterm=gusii Partial Gusii Swadesh list at Rosetta Project]
* [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5371609 National Public Radio story about Kisii language] (from "All Things Considered" program, April 29, 2006)
Languages of Kenya
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