Cross-Cultural Influences in the Development of Oral Discourse in seSotho and isiZulu


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships




The goal of this research is to assess the influence of culture in the linguistic packaging in Bantu oral narratives. Current literature on the cultural constraints on lexical and syntactic resources has focused on a few languages such as English, French, Turkish, etc but there is no documentation on any Bantu language. The purpose of this study is 1) to examine the linguistic constraints that influence the lexical and syntactic resources that express thought from both a speech and gestural perspective (Kita, 2009), 2) to examine how these constraints are expressed in children’s oral narratives. Applying Talmy's (1985) classification on language typology of the syntactic encoding of motion events, this study predicts the manner of motion in these two languages will be expressed in at least two idea units (clauses) and the gestural production will be similar to the verbal expression.