Language Structure Problems


Study the Setswana sentences that follow.

1. Ke rata basadi. -- I like the women.
2. O ja kabele. -- He eats the sorghum.
3. Re thusa mosetsana. -- We help the girl.
4. O nwa metsi. -- You drink the water.
5. Le tshwara kgomo. -- You (plural) catch the cow.
6. Ba batla madi. -- They need the money.
7. Re bela bojalwa. -- We brew beer.
8. Ke thusa lepodisi. -- I help the police officer.
9. O ja apole. -- You eat the apple.
10. Ba rata sefofu. -- They like the blind person.

A. What words do you suspect are loan words in the data above? Where do you think they were borrowed from? Explain why they might have been borrowed.

B. What word or words is/are systematically present in the English translations but absent in the Setswana?

C. What do English verbs do that Setswana verbs do not do? Is this a problem?

D. What is the order of pronoun, verb and object in Setswana?

E. Identify all the Setswana pronouns in the data.

F. Where do you find a pair of words that are homophones in Setswana but not homophones in English? Where do you find a pair of words that are homophones in English but not in Setswana?