Journal of the Language Association of Eastern Africa


This paper examines the non-locative functions of locative enclitics in Luganda (JE 15). Locative enclitics are words which cannot stand alone but attach on a verb to make meaning. Their status is ambiguous between free word and affix, hence motivating their analysis as enclitics. The enclitics are attached on the post final position of their hosts. Although the locative enclitics occur regularly in some Bantu languages (Luganda, Runyankore-Rukiga, Runyoro- Rutooro, Lunda, Ikizu, Fwe, Chichewa, Kinyarwanda among others), they have not been widely studied in the literature. The paper looks at verbal locative enclitics only but the locative enclitics also appear in other word categories such as adjectives in Luganda. This study is descriptive, with a qualitative approach. The data used in this study comes from reviewing texts in Luganda - novels and plays but also spoken discourses. The enclitic in Luganda serves many non-locative discourse pragmatic functions which include showing urgency, politeness, showing the idea of ‘instead of’ and also emphasis. It has also been observed that enclitics are widely used in the urban youth languages (‘Luyaaye’) but this is not the focus of the current study. The results from the study offer explanations of key areas of syntax, morphology and pragmatics relating to the form and functions of locative enclitics and the whole system of locative marking in Luganda and other Bantu languages.