Tako or Takwa la Katiba? A Description of Verb-to-Noun Derivation in Bantu Languages: The Case of Kiswahili

Nichodamus Robinson, Joshua Andilile Mwaipape


This paper describes verb-to-noun derivation in Kiswahili, a process in which nouns are formed from verbs. It places the derivational process squarely on the question of whether it is ‘tako’ or ‘takwa’, with their plural forms ‘matako’ or ‘matakwa’. The guiding question for this description is “how come the verb ‘taka’ changes to ‘takwa’ as opposed to ‘tako’ while similar verbs change to nouns by -o suffixation?” Data were collected through observation, document review, and interviews. The findings justify the theoretical statement that derivation is less productive. Hence, applying a particular rule too broadly to other entities is relatively hard. In this view, derivation by -o suffixation, as well as by other processes, is limited to some verbs. Since derivation is less productive, Kiswahili has many verb-to-noun derivational processes as presented in this paper under four categories, namely verb-to-noun derivation Type 1 (suffixation of vowels -i, -o, -u, and -e), Type 2 (noun class prefixes), Type 3 (infinitive ku-) and Type 4 (miscellaneous nouns). Hence, the paper concludes that ‘tako la katiba’ with its plural ‘matako ya katiba’ is inappropriate, whereas ‘takwa la katiba’ with its plural ‘matakwa ya katiba’ is appropriate in Kiswahili.

Keywords: Tako, takwa, verb-to-noun derivation, Kiswahili

DOI: 10.56279/jlle.v16i2.8

Full Text:

 Subscribers Only


  • There are currently no refbacks.

 [ISSN 0856-9965 (Print)]