Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Gusii language (also known as Ekegusii) is a Bantu language spoken in the Kisii district in western Kenya (between the Kavirondo Gulf of Lake Victoria and 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 languages labeled 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 length is 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 [j], common in African orthographies. When symbols appear in pairs, the one to the right represents a voiced consonant.
|stops||p b||t||c (c)||k g|
|nasals||m||n||ɲ (ny)||ŋ (ng')|
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.
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