Systematic Polysemy in Gĩkũyũ

Florence Gathoni Gachugi, Justine Sikuku, Patrick Kiliku


Polysemy is a phenomenon whereby words have multiple distinct yet related senses. These senses are related in a systematic way and form systematic patterns. This paper explores the different systematic patterns of polysemy exhibited by Gĩkũyũ nouns, where these nouns have sets of senses that are related in similar ways. These senses cut across different semantic fields such as plants, animal, people, body parts, and objects, types of food and beverages, events. Some of the senses invoke metaphoric relations.


Polysemy, Systematic Patterns, Senses, Gĩkũyũ Nouns

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