An Analysis of Verbal Extensions in Malawian Tonga: Towards Mirror Principle and Templatic Morphology

Mexon Manda, Wellman Kondowe, Flemmings Fishani Ngwira, Lydia Kishindo


The question on affix ordering is among the central concerns in morphological analyses of Bantu languages, with most studies drawing insights from Mirror Principle and Templatic Morphology theoretical underpinnings. However, it remains debatable to a larger extent on whether conclusions drawn from such studies can be extended to all languages with agglutinative morphological structures. This study was carried out to examine the structure of suffix ordering in Malawian Tonga by examining the two theories. On morpheme co-occurrence, the study reveals that causatives and applicatives, as argument-structure increasing suffixes, should always precede other extensions which are argument-structure reducing suffixes in order to be consistent with the tenets of the two theories. However, there are some observable cases where prescriptions of these theories breed ungrammatical structures in Tonga.

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

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