What is the function of the pre-prefix in Kagulu?
This paper deals with the noun class prefixes of Kagulu and, more specifically, the pre-prefix. The paper constitutes a part of a dissertation in progress called ‘A linguistic description of Kagulu’. This description is partly related to the project ‘Languages of Tanzania’ (LoT) which aims at contributing to the preservation of the minority languages in Tanzania. The language data used in this paper was gathered by the author between 2002 and 2003 in the Kagulu area, Tanzania. Prior to this study, only a scarce number of Kagulu texts existed, but no reliable linguistic study has been made by others. Kagulu is spoken in east-central Tanzania approximately 200 kilometres inland from Dar es Salaam on both sides of the main road to Dodoma. The exact number of Kagulu speakers is unknown but estimates range between 200.000 and 300.000. Beidelman (1971: 5) predicates that the number of speakers was 100.000 in 1971 and in the census in 1967, 113.831 persons were reported to be of Kagulu origin. Ethnologue gives the number 217.000 (SIL International 2003). My deduction based on the most recent census (Population and housing census 2002) reaches the figure 241.000, but since no questions about language usage or ethnic affiliation were included in the census, there is no way of knowing the exact number of Kagulu speakers today. In referential sources, the Kagulu language is classified as G.12 (Guthrie 1971). In recent classifying works it has merged with the neighbouring languages into group G1 (Mann and Dalby 1987: 147). The language may also be called (Ki)Kaguru, mainly by Swahili speakers, Northern Sagara or (Chi)Megi. For further information on Bantu languages, see Nurse and Philippson (2003). For the sake of clarity, the Bantu language names without the prefixes are being used here.