This work aims at showing that in Swahili world, and in Swahili language as well, there is no separation from the human being and his environment, so there is no need at all for words like “nature” and “landscape”. The man did not receive from God the power to govern the world, to transform and even ruin it at his wish. On the contrary, the human being is a part of nature, as it is well shown by the lexical organization of Kiswahili language: the names for body parts are very often the same for human beings and animals, including fishes and insects: mdomo stays for “lip” and “beak”, kucha means “nails”, “hoofs” and “claws”, and even a handsome young guy is referred to as jana, exactly as the grub of an insect. Most natural elements are included in a specific morphological class, the class 3 (the respective plurals are in class 4), devoted to categorize entities displaying a special vitality other than human beings and animals: it is the case of trees and plants (almost half of the names categorized in this class), natural but also supernatural phenomena, powerful things like medicines, aphrodisiacs and religious objects, as well as it is the case of the intrinsically active things as some parts of the body (e.g. the tail or the heart). No surprise if men have no control of the objects categorized in this class: class 3 is the class of the nature, that is the class in which we find the name for God.

Il rapporto tra uomo e natura attraverso lo specchio del lessico in Kiswahili

Castagneto Marina
2016

Abstract

This work aims at showing that in Swahili world, and in Swahili language as well, there is no separation from the human being and his environment, so there is no need at all for words like “nature” and “landscape”. The man did not receive from God the power to govern the world, to transform and even ruin it at his wish. On the contrary, the human being is a part of nature, as it is well shown by the lexical organization of Kiswahili language: the names for body parts are very often the same for human beings and animals, including fishes and insects: mdomo stays for “lip” and “beak”, kucha means “nails”, “hoofs” and “claws”, and even a handsome young guy is referred to as jana, exactly as the grub of an insect. Most natural elements are included in a specific morphological class, the class 3 (the respective plurals are in class 4), devoted to categorize entities displaying a special vitality other than human beings and animals: it is the case of trees and plants (almost half of the names categorized in this class), natural but also supernatural phenomena, powerful things like medicines, aphrodisiacs and religious objects, as well as it is the case of the intrinsically active things as some parts of the body (e.g. the tail or the heart). No surprise if men have no control of the objects categorized in this class: class 3 is the class of the nature, that is the class in which we find the name for God.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11695/104970
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