Languages

!Korana

Fact corner

Introduction

!Korana is an extinct central Khoisan language which shows some lexical and grammatical similarities to Nama, the largest of the still-existing Khoisan languages. It was spoken in the region surrounding the town of Kimberly, near the borders of Northern Cape and Orange Free States, in what is now the Republic of South Africa.

!Korana was spoken by the kei!Korana, or Great Korana (also Taaibosh) tribe.

The !Corana Verb

!Korana has a rich tense and aspect system, which is one of the main ways in which it can be distinguished from Nama. !Korana has a total of 7 tense-aspect (TMA) markers:

kiepast
korecent past
progressive/imperfect
tafuture
hã, apresent
n~i"must" (modal auxiliary)
ka"could" (modal auxiliary

These TMA markers can also be combined in eight different ways to denote remote past, continuousness, doubt, or to add emphasis to, for example, the recentness of the past.

hakakoexaigukiekie!hamiha
fourmenASPASPhuntASP

Four men once upon a time went hunting

ibiko!kãsa//na
andASPbackwardsfall

(he) just fell backwards

Negation

Negation in !Korana is expressed the negative particles tama and te. Negation precedes the final tense/aspect markers, but follows the main verb.

taipkaipkx'ummiarepoete
whyASPithousemineanswernotASP

Why does my house not answer?

xareitskanam~uitsm~utama
perhapsyouASPseeyouseenotASP

Perhaps you can see, (or) can you not see?

Verbal compounds

!Korana has a productive class of verbal compounds.

/koi!xokhãsi
childseizeraise

(she) lifted up the child

=noa=kx'arikx'amhe
strikesplitmouthwas

(it, the rabbit) was hit in its mouth and its mouth was split open

Reduplication

Verbs can also be reduplicated, which gives them a causative reading.

=xu=xu=xu
to poundto pulverize
//xa//xa//xa
to learnto teach

External References

  • The Syntax of !Korana(approve sites)
  • Maingard, L.F. 1962. Korana Folktales. Witwatersrand University Press. Johannesburg.
Categories: Khoisan | Latin script | Language

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