A morphological analysis of bisa nouns: a dialect of the Bemba language in mpika District, Zambia
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Many minor African languages still remain unstudied and undocumented. This also applies to the dialects of major languages. This study focused on Bisa, a dialect of Bemba, a language spoken in Zambia. Bisa dialect is spoken in Mpika District, Muchinga Province, Zambia. The study had the following objectives: One, to identify and describe the noun class system in the Bisa dialect; two, to describe the word formation processes evident in formation of nouns in the Bisa dialect; and three, to determine the productivity of different word formation processes in the formation of nouns in Bisa dialect. This study was conducted in Mfuwe constituency, one of the three constituencies in Mpika District. The study was guided by the Beard’s Lexeme-Morpheme Base Morphology theory. The study used a descriptive research design which is qualitative in nature. The sample size of the study consisted of twelve respondents. The respondents were literate adult Bisa speakers, sixty and above years old. The respondents also included two research assistants. The study used structured interviews to collect data for the first objective. In addition, the study used questionnaires to collect data for the second and the third objectives. Furthermore, the study used two sermons from two different churches to obtain data for the first and the second objectives. Data from all the sources consisted of words, which were nouns in Bisa dialect. Collected data were analyzed qualitatively by identifying and describing noun class system in Bisa dialect; by describing word formation processes of Bisa nouns; and by determing the productivity of different word formation processes of Bisa nouns. The findings showed that Bisa has 19 different noun classes out of which 16 are basic while 3 are locatives. In addition, the findings showed that compounding, reduplication, affixation, borrowing and clipping processes are used in the formation of Bisa nouns. The findings also showed that affixation is the most productive process while clipping is the least productive process in the formation of Bisa nouns. Furthermore, the study has recommended that each and every Zambian language or dialect, including Bisa, be studied and documented for prosterity.