Verbal extension

From Glottopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Verbal extension is a Integral part of verbal morphology in most Bantu languages. A suffix, more often than not consisting of VC, is inserted between root and final vowel. It modifies the meaning of the basic verb. More common extensions are applicative, causative, passive, reversive and stative. Others with less predictable surface forms are intensive and positional. Combinations of up to 4 extensions are common. In such a multiple extension, the lexical content correlates with the position of the suffix; more grammatical extensions like passive tend to occur before the final vowel, and more lexical ones in proximity to the root.


from Makua (Bantu P, Mozambique, Oliver Kroeger):

othum-a - to buy
otumiha - to sell (with causative -ih)
othumiwa - be bought (with passive -iw)
otumihiwa - be sold (with causative -ih and passive -iw)

ovar-a - to grasp
ovariwa - be snatched (with passive -iw)
ovariha - make grasp (with causative -ih)
ovarela - catch (with applicative -el)
ovareliwa - be caught (with applicative -el and passive -iw)


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics


  • Baker, Mark 1985. The Mirror Principle and Morphosyntactic Explanation, Linguistic Inquiry 16, 373-415, The MIT Press
  • Guthrie, Malcolm 1962. On the Status of Radical Extensions in Bantu Languages, Journal of African Languages 1, 202-220