Book Title: A Grammar of the Bemba Language as Spoken in North East Rhodesia
Author: Rev. Father Schoeffer
Edited by J.H. West Sheane, B.A. (Native Commissioner, B.S.A. Company, N.E.R.)
Arranged with preface by A.C. Madan
Publisher: Oxford University Press, 1907
A Grammar of the Bemba Language as Spoken in Northern Rhodesia was written by the Reverend Father Schoeffer in 1906. Father Schoeffer belonged to the White Fathers Mission Community.
The book was originally written in French and translated into English by J.H. West Sheane who was a District Commissioner in the then Northern Rhodesia. Written in 1906, this is one of the earliest books written about the local languages.
The author carefully collected facts about the Bemba language and laid down the rules for English students to learn.
The paperback book is 70 pages long.
Part I, Phonetics, deals with the alphabet, consonants, vowels and pronunciation. The subject matter is covered in 15 pages and so could only be covered in a cursory manner. Despite this handicap, some of the important points are mentioned. There are very few examples given.
Part II, Grammar covers some important facts about nouns with an accompanying table of the nine classes of nouns. Some detail is given about the other usual terms in grammar, such as Adjectives, Verbs, Conjugations, Moods, Tenses, etc.
Part III, Appendices discusses the formation of nouns. Included are some notes on syntax, with examples.
For such a brief book, A Grammar of the Bemba Language as Spoken in Northern Rhodesia manages to cover quite a lot of ground. Advanced students of Bemba should find it informative.
Nabu Public Domain Reprints are to be congratulated for re-introducing a book of historical and literary significance back into circulation.