Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Trebor
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Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby Trebor » 2013-05-13, 7:01

I've resumed perusing R. David Zorc and Louise Nibagwire's "Kinyarwanda and Kirundi Comparative Grammar" (published in 2007 by Dunwoody Press), and would like to start a discussion on this dialect continuum of Central Africa. I've searched for, but not found, any threads on Kinyarwanda/Kirundi, which together have about twenty million speakers. The apparent lack of interest on UniLang is quite understandable in light of the mind-boggling difficulty of this Bantu supra-language.

Has anyone dabbled in Kinyarwanda/Kirundi here? What resources did you use? How far did you get? What tips can you offer a potential learner?

Murakóze. :)
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Trebor
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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby Trebor » 2013-05-27, 19:45

Two weeks and still no replies. Wow, it looks like we've finally found the language that's too obscure or too harrowing even for UniLang!
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Set
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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby Set » 2013-05-27, 21:09

It's not that surprising. There's a massive lack of interest in Sub-Saharan Africa here. Other than a little interest in the most "obscure" or linguistically interesting languages, it's pretty euro-centric.

I'm interested in looking at more Bantu languages now that I have some grasp on Swahili. The only problem is that I don't like tones, but yeh I'd be interested in comparing Bantu languages.

Do you have any links?
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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby Trebor » 2013-05-31, 17:08

Set wrote:It's not that surprising. There's a massive lack of interest in Sub-Saharan Africa here. Other than a little interest in the most "obscure" or linguistically interesting languages, it's pretty euro-centric.


Unfortunate. Thanks for the heads-up though.

I'm interested in looking at more Bantu languages now that I have some grasp on Swahili. The only problem is that I don't like tones, but yeh I'd be interested in comparing Bantu languages.

Do you have any links?


Great. Tone can be a pain. To make matters worse, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi uses this feature for not only lexical but also grammatical purposes.

Here's an introductory page to Kinyarwanda from the late (and lamented, by me at least) linguist Alexandre Kimenyi:

http://www.kimenyi.com/kinyarwanda.php
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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby linguoboy » 2013-05-31, 17:29

Trebor wrote:The apparent lack of interest on UniLang is quite understandable in light of the mind-boggling difficulty of this Bantu supra-language.

It has nothing to do with "difficulty"; we have people here studing Sámi, Navajo, and Inuktitut. It's that, as Set says, there's not much interest in Sub-Saharan Africa here.

I've looked at Bantu languages before (I have books on Swahili and Zulu and I know native-speakers of Nkore), but for whatever reason they've never really grabbed me. Many American Indian languages are also polypersonal and/or have several noun classes, and I live in the central US, not Central Africa.
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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby eddeux » 2013-06-01, 6:41

Kinyarwanda/Kirundi has also interested me alongside Swahili, Luganda, Yoruba & Hausa. I occasionally go to Rwandan sites like Igihe or VOA & BBC's Kinyarwandan site just to see the language. It looks difficult but I'd certainly be up for the challenge if there were just more resources.
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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby eddeux » 2013-06-01, 6:44

Set wrote:It's not that surprising. There's a massive lack of interest in Sub-Saharan Africa here. Other than a little interest in the most "obscure" or linguistically interesting languages, it's pretty euro-centric.

I'm interested in looking at more Bantu languages now that I have some grasp on Swahili. The only problem is that I don't like tones, but yeh I'd be interested in comparing Bantu languages.

Do you have any links?

True. I'm the opposite though. I'm much more interested in African & Asian languages compared to European (with the exception of Spanish & my own native language English). My luck though there isn't much discussion on them here. :lol:
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."

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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby ffrench » 2013-06-01, 11:07

I do find Rwanda and Burundi interesting as countries where essentially the whole population shares one native language, across ethnic boundaries. I'm unlikely to visit either anytime soon, though, so I haven't put any effort into learning the language.

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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby Set » 2013-06-01, 14:19

Looking at the Kimenyi text, it's interesting to see how some of the vocabulary resembles Swahili-Arabic vocabulary. I thought that with Rwanda and Burundi being further away from the coast, their language wouldn't have so much obvious influence from Arabic. The next question is whether this influence came directly from Arab traders or whether it's come from Swahili.

Some examples:

Kinyarwanda / Swahili

igitabo / kitabu
ikáramú / karamu
ibáruwá / barua
umwáarimú / mwalimu
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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby eddeux » 2013-06-01, 16:14

Set wrote:Looking at the Kimenyi text, it's interesting to see how some of the vocabulary resembles Swahili-Arabic vocabulary. I thought that with Rwanda and Burundi being further away from the coast, their language wouldn't have so much obvious influence from Arabic. The next question is whether this influence came directly from Arab traders or whether it's come from Swahili.

Some examples:

Kinyarwanda / Swahili

igitabo / kitabu
ikáramú / karamu
ibáruwá / barua
umwáarimú / mwalimu

More than likely from Swahili traders and/or other East African traders engaged with trading with the Swahili on the coast. I haven't heard of Arab traders going that far into interior East Africa, and I doubt they ever did.
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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby johnklepac » 2013-06-21, 20:18

Trebor wrote:Great. Tone can be a pain. To make matters worse, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi uses this feature for not only lexical but also grammatical purposes.

Wow, I like that. :)

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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby Trebor » 2013-06-29, 4:26

johnklepac wrote:Wow, I like that. :)


It's a cool feature when one is limited to reading about the language, but a very intimidating element when one hopes to learn Kinyarwanda/Kirundi. Different verb forms have different tone patterns, independent of the infinitive tone pattern. So, to take a completely hypothetical example, if the imperfect is formed by making the first vowel of the root high tone, and a pair of lexemes can be distinguished only by the first vowel being high or low tone, conjugation of the verbs in the imperfect causes ambiguity that would not exist if a suffix were used instead.

At least, that problem occurs if I've understood the process correctly. Either way, the chapter on verb conjugation in the grammar mentioned in the first post seems to be the longest section of the book, and the system looks incredibly complex.

If anyone has studied other Bantu languages and encountered this situation, I'd very much like to know how it was overcome.
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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby Trebor » 2013-12-25, 7:56

eddeux wrote:Kinyarwanda/Kirundi has also interested me alongside Swahili, Luganda, Yoruba & Hausa. I occasionally go to Rwandan sites like Igihe or VOA & BBC's Kinyarwandan site just to see the language. It looks difficult but I'd certainly be up for the challenge if there were just more resources.


You're in luck: just this year a second, expanded edition of Arthur L. Hands' book for learning Kinyarwanda from 1952 has been published, totaling about six hundred pages in length. Please see www.kinyarwandaguide.com/ for details.
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Re: Kinyarwanda/Kirundi

Postby WallOfStuff » 2014-08-24, 21:10

I have a friend who is half Rwandan on his father's side and he's a native speaker of this language. I'm so jealous, whenever he speaks it to his dad or grandmother it sounds so awesome.


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