"our tongue", "my tongue", "I say"

Valeri Khabirov khabir at ETEL.RU
Fri Jan 3 01:27:52 UTC 2003

In 1968 one of the linguemes of the interethnic language sango (creolized variant) among others like sango ti gara, sango ti turugbu (turugu), sango ti salavisi, sango vehiculaire was MBI TENE (mid tone in the first lexeme and 2 low tones in the second lexeme) which means "I say". Some of my students used to have a negative attitude to it saying it wasn't worth learning since it was no one's language. Since then the situation has changed and sango has acquired prestige and become L1 for an increasing number of young people in urban areas. Sango's political prestige has greatly increased when it was declared an official language in 1991 in addition to French with the aim that it must fulfil the functions hitherto restricted to French. 
    Another lingueme of this kind is that of the congolese national language known as munukutuba (monokutuba) in Brazzaville and kitiba in Kinshasa (Rep. Dem. du Congo). The latter seems to be the creation of linguists because they consider the name munukutuba too long (the opinion of Josue Ndamba). Actually ki- is the bantu prefix and -tuba = to say. As far as the lingueme munukutuba is concerned the first bantu morpheme munu- means "I" and the second  and the third -ku-tuba mean  literally "you say". So munukutuba means "I say to you". Munukutuba is one of the national languages in the Republic of Congo (together with lingala).
Professor Valeri Khabirov
Chair of English Philology 
and Contrastive Linguistics
Ural Pedagogical University
Ekaterinburg, Russia 
khabir at etel.ru
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