Nesbeth and Mazuru
Greener Journal of Art and Humanities Vol. 3 (1), pp. 001-008, January 2013
Manuscript Number: 011213368
The Interface of Language and History: The Case of Shona in Zimbabwe
Nesbeth Grand, Michael Mazuru
African languages and Literature at Great Zimbabwe University, Box 1235, Masvingo, Zimbabwe
The article investigates the interface between language and history. It uses the Shona language and history as a case study. It endeavors to answer the question as to whether we get language in history or vice versa, that is, history in language. The article argues that the two are inseparably intertwined so much that it is virtually impossible to separate them. It posits the view that history is the prime mover of changes in any language through the addition of new lexemes to delineate new items, perceptions and attitudes ushered into a community by historical occurrences while language acts as a repository of these historical events. Language is therefore a source of history as aspects of the historical past can be deciphered from it. The article further argues that in addition to being a source of the history of its speakers, language is a source of its own history as well that could be derived from it through comparative reconstruction.
Keywords: Language change; interface; history; Shona; comparative reconstruction; perceptions; acculturation.
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