A Descriptive Grammar of Ikyaushi
The linguistic contexts of the African continent are undoubtedly complex and quite frequently polemic. In addition to a history of European colonialism, these are further complicated by matters of ethnic, political, and religious identity, oftentimes conflating some linguistic distinctions and establishing others without recourse to the data. A country like Zambia, on the other hand, which has nationally embraced and promoted ethnolinguistic differences—though arguably not at the expense of others—realizes extensive language intermixing that contributes to this complexity. This dissertation attempts to fulfill the request of the Aushi community of the Lwapula Province, Zambia, to provide an initial linguistic account of Ikyaushi. Following in the tradition of the “Boasian Trinity,” this is reached through three separate, though interrelated tasks, viz. the composition of a descriptive grammar, the development of a preliminary dictionary, and the compilation of culturally relevant texts. The descriptive grammar provides an introductory account of the phonetics and phonology, morphology, and syntax of Ikyaushi, and this account is based primarily on the analysis of fourteen collected narratives and secondarily upon naturally observed and elicited data. The narratives were recorded, transcribed, translated, and analyzed among male and female speakers from or in Matanda, Mansa, Kabunda, and Mabumba, and these narratives arrive in the form of fictional stories, trickster tales, a short history of the people, and descriptions of female initiation, brideprice, engagement procedures, and traditional education. As such, this dissertation contributes more broadly to the field of ethnographically- informed Bantu linguistics and provides more generally an avenue for speakers of Ikyaushi to be empowered, knowing that their linguistic differences are recorded and available for consideration, however small or large. Additionally, it is believed that these newly developed resources will contribute to future pedagogical materials to assist in literacy efforts among speakers and volunteers in the Lwapula Province.