Wh-questions in Shona

Laston Mukaro


This paper tries an explication of wh-questions, also referred to as interrogatives, in Shona. A number of languages, including English, French and Buli, just to mention a few, have been noted to deal with question words differently. Shona belongs to the Bantu family and there are also studies that have so far been carried out on wh-question in other African languages (Igbo, Swahili and Sisotho) but a snap investigation of Shona has revealed that it deals with this aspect differently. I shall argue in this paper that when it comes to questions and question formation Shona has wh-movement, wh- in situ and it also has an enclitic, which functions in the same way as the Chinese question particle ‘ma.’ This paper seeks to analyze movement in direct questions as well as embedded wh-questions. The nature and reasons for movement are dealt with in this discussion. The results of this study go against the generalizations that wh-movement is binary therefore rendering this proposition untenable. 

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/ijl.v4i1.1185

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