Form and Functions of Particles in Shinyiha

  • Nicholous Asheli University of Dar es Salaam
Keywords: particles, function, forms, Shinyiha


Shinyiha, is also referred to as Nyiha, is among the Bantu languages spoken in Tanzania. It is categorized as M 23 in Guthrie’s referential Bantu language classification system. In this paper, attention is paid to the form and functions of particles in this language. It is noted that particles are among the least studied word categories in Bantu languages (cf Schneider-Zioga, 2015). The absence of adequate attention to the form and function of particles is glaring in the already unstudied Bantu language. It is anticipated that the description and analysis of items in this word category will provide some useful insights into human language word categories in general and those of Bantu languages and Shinyiha in particular. This paper specifically pays attention to haa, pee, ishi, mwee, –ope, nziila, alaa and bhuulo as particles in Shinyiha. More specifically, the paper attempts to discuss the meaning/use of those particles and their distribution. It is shown that particles have a variety of properties and meanings/functions. Based on the varied properties and functions, I demonstrate in this paper that particles are pragmatic and context-sensitive. Because of their pragmatic and context-sensitivity, particles have special semantic functions and roles such as showing certainty; attention calling; expressing exhaustiveness, surprise, confirmation, focus, stating condition, showing emphasis, meaning intensification, after-thoughts, etc. I conclude that particles are a unique category of words in Shinyiha which indicates human communication is complex in that as humans communicate they deploy a variety of strategies to ensure they meet their communicative agenda.


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Author Biography

Nicholous Asheli, University of Dar es Salaam

Nicholous Asheli is a lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages and Linguistics at the University of Dar es Salaam. He is a holder of a PhD in Linguistics, and his areas of research interest include semantics, onomastics, sociolinguistics, Bantu linguistics and cognitive linguistics. Email:

How to Cite
Asheli, N. (2020). Form and Functions of Particles in Shinyiha. JULACE: Journal of the University of Namibia Language Centre, 5(1), 15-24.