Shona Phonology and Morphosyntax

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A Grammatical Sketch

The inexorable march of theoretical linguistics has tended to downplay the importance of description of linguistic data or corpus.

The atomic view of the phoneme and the morpheme as segments facilitates description of structures of individual languages.

Compare us with portrait artists who look closely at their subjects' faces and begin by sketching out features before filling in the details.

The scope of this sketch means that there is no room for much detail, but sufficient grammatical features to identify the language's structure.

We believe that description should always come before theory.

We have been intrigued by young linguists introducing presentations of their papers at conferences with phrases like “my theory is...” and proceed to focus on recalcitrant data.

This book aims to achieve the opposite.

The other aim of the book is to sketch out an overview of the STRUCTURE of Shona, drawing attention to some of the aspects that continue to be in need of further detailed DESCRIPTION.

This, we believe, will contribute to some of the “theories” in particular as well as linguistic theory in general being more grounded on concrete facts of language.

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