Kirundi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Rundi
Ikirundi
Native to Burundi, Uganda
Ethnicity Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa
Native speakers
8.8 million  (2007)[1]
Official status
Official language in
 Burundi
Language codes
ISO 639-1 rn
ISO 639-2 run
ISO 639-3 run
JD.62[2]
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters.

Kirundi, also known as Rundi, is a Bantu language spoken by nine million people in Burundi and adjacent parts of Tanzania and Congo-Kinshasa, as well as in Uganda. It is the official language of Burundi. Kirundi is mutually intelligible with Kinyarwanda, an official language of Rwanda, and the two form part of the wider dialect continuum known as Rwanda-Rundi.[3]

The inhabitants of Rwanda and Burundi belong to several different ethnic groups: Hutu (84%), Tutsi, including Hima (15%), and Twa (1%) (a pygmy people). The fact that these ethnic groups share the same language is assumed to be the result of the Hutu outnumbering the latter two groups (see Hutu for a more complete historical perspective).

Neighboring dialects of Kirundi are mutually intelligible with Ha, a language spoken in western Tanzania.

Kirundi is frequently cited as a language where Meeussen's rule, a rule describing a certain pattern of tonal change in Bantu languages, is active.

Phonology[edit]

Consonants[edit]

While the literature on Rundi agrees on 5 vowels, the number of consonants can vary anywhere from 19 to 26 consonants.[4] The table below is compiled from a survey of academic acceptance of Rundi consonants,[5] grouping voiceless and voiced consonants together in a cell where appropriate, in that order.

Labial Alveolar Post-
alveolar
Palatal Velar Glottal
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ
Plosive p   b t   d ɟ k   ɡ
Affricate pf ts
Fricative f   v s   z ʃ   ʒ h    
Approximant j w
Rhotic ɾ r

Vowels[edit]

The table below gives the vowel sounds of Rundi.

Front Back
Close i u
Close-mid e o
Open a

All five vowels occur in long and short forms. The distinction is phonemic.[6]

Tone[edit]

Rundi is a tonal language. There are two essential tones in Rundi : high and low (or H and L). Since Rundi has phonemic distinction on vowel length, when a long vowel changes from a low tone to a high tone it is marked as a rising tone. When a long vowel changes from a high tone to a low tone, it is marked as a falling tone.[7]

Rundi is often used in phonology to illustrate examples of Meeussen's rule[8][9] In addition, it has been proposed that tones can shift by a metrical or rhythmic structure. Some authors have expanded these more complex features of the tonal system noting that such properties are highly unusual for a tone system.[10]

Phonotactics[edit]

Syllable structure in Rundi is considered to be CV, that is having no clusters, no coda consonants, and no complex vowel nuclei. It has been proposed that sequences that are CVV in the surface realization are actually CV in the underlying deep structure, with the consonant coalescing with the first vowel.[11]

Consonant harmony[edit]

Rundi has been shown to have properties of consonant harmony particularly when it comes to sibilants. Meeussen described this harmony in his essay and it is investigated further by others.[12] One example of this harmony is triggered by /ʃ/ and /ʒ/ and targets the set of /s/ and /z/ in preceding adjacent stem syllables.

Grammar[edit]

Example translations[edit]

Example translations
Mwaramutse Hi/Good Morning
Mwiriwe Good evening
Ijoro ryiza Good night
Bite? What's Up?
Uravuga icongereza? Do you speak English?
Ego Yes
Oya No
Witwa gute? What is your name?
Jewe nitwa My name is
Woshobora kumfasha? Can you help me?
Ingezi Tourist
Amahera Money
Ikirundi n'ikinyarwanda bisa nk'igi czek n'igi slovak Rundi and Rwanda are closely related like Czech and Slovak.
Amazi Water
Amata Milk
Inzoga Alcoholic beverage
Ejo Yesterday
Eejo° Tomorrow
Nzoza ejo/Nzoz'ejo I will come tomorrow
Ubu Now
Igihugu Country
Faransa/Ubufaransa France
Ngereza/Ubwongereza England
Leta zunz'ubumwe z'amerika United States of America
Ubudagi Germany
Ububirigi Belgium
°N.B. eejo is pronounced the same as ejo:
the other e is written for differentiation.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Nationalencyklopedin "Världens 100 största språk 2007" The World's 100 Largest Languages in 2007
  2. ^ Jouni Filip Maho, 2009. New Updated Guthrie List Online
  3. ^ Ethnologue, 15th ed.
  4. ^ Zorc and Nibagwire 2007, p. 23.
  5. ^ Zorc and Nibagwire 2007, p. 25.
  6. ^ Meeussen 1959
  7. ^ de Samie 2009
  8. ^ Myers 1987
  9. ^ Phillipson 2003
  10. ^ Goldsmith & Sabimana 1989
  11. ^ Sagey 1986
  12. ^ Ntihirageza 1993

References[edit]

  • Broselow, E. & Niyondagara, A. (1990) Feature geometry and Kirundi palatalization. Studies in the Linguistic Sciences 20: 71-88.
  • de Samie. (2009) Dictionnaire Francais-Kirundi. L'Harmattan. Paris.
  • Goldsmith, J. & Sabimana, F. (1989) The Kirundi Verb. Modèles en tonologie. Editions du CNRS. Paris.
  • Meeussen, A.E. (1959) Essai de grammaire Rundi. Annales du Musée Royal du Congo Belge, Série Sciences Humaines - Linguistique, vol. 24. Tervuren.
  • Myers, S. (1987) Tone and the structure of words in Shona. PhD dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Garland Press. New York.
  • Ntihirageza, J. (1993) Kirundi Palatization and Sibilant Harmony : Implications for Feature Geometry. Master thesis, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois.
  • Philippson, G. (2003) Tone reduction vs. metrical attraction in the evolution of Eastern Bantu tone systems. INALCO. Paris.
  • Sagey, E. (1986) The Representation of Features and Relations in Non-Linear Phonology. Doctoral dissertation, MIT, Cambridge, Mass.
  • Zorc, R. D. & Nibagwire, L. (2007) Kinyarwanda and Kirundi Comparative Grammar. Dunwoody Press. Hyattsville.

External links[edit]