A Semantic Analysis of some Gikuyu Words that have Acquired New Meanings
This study aims to bring to the attention of Gikuyu speakers some of the semantic changes that are taking place in the language. It is a study ofthe words being used today to convey new and additional meanings other than what they previously used to convey. This has been done by identifying about thirty-five words in Gikuyu language that are currently being used to convey additional meanings to the conventionally accepted ones. These words have been classified according to their grammatical classes, that is, nouns, verbs and adjectives. The words have also been grouped according to the kinds of processes they have undergone to acquire the new meanings. Factors that have contributed to the acquisition of the new meanings were also discussed. Using Judgmental sampling, the sample was selected from the population of Gikuyu speakers living in Nyahururu town who work in both the formal and the informal sector. Eighty (80) respondents were sampled for the study. A questionnaire helped to elicit information on the different meanings conveyed by the words from many people of different standing in the community. Additional data was also collected through the aid of audio-tape of spontaneous conversations and the contribution ofthe researcher as a native Gikuyu speaker.