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Noun classes in Sɛlɛɛ
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics. University of Ghana.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7899-0513
2014 (English)In: Journal of West African Languages, ISSN 0022-5401, Vol. XLI, no 1, 95-124 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper describes the noun class system of Sl, a Na-Togo, Kwa (Niger-Congo) language spoken in the Volta Region of Ghana. As shown in this paper, Sl hasa noun class system with an equal number of singular and plural classes that are paired inirregular ways. The singular-plural pairs are referred to as genders. Nouns normally agreewith certain modifiers within the noun phrase. The agreement targets are determiners,numerals, interrogative pronouns and some adjectives. Outside the noun phrase, nounclasses may be indexed on the verb to signal long distance anaphora, a strategy thatspeakers rarely use. The paper provides a detailed account of possible semantic andcultural motivations for the assignment of nouns to a particular gender and/or class.

Abstract [fr]

Cet article décrit le système de classe de Sl, une langue Na-Togo, Kwa (Niger-Congo) parlée dans la Région de Volta du Ghana. L’on montre que le Sl a un systèmede classe nominal avec un nombre égal de classes au singulier et au pluriel qui sontappariées de manière irrégulière. Les paires singulier-pluriel sont appelées genre. Lesnoms s’accordent normalement avec certains modificateurs au sein des syntagmesnominaux. Les cibles d’accord sont des déterminants, des numéraux, des pronomsinterrogatifs et certains adjectifs. Hors du syntagme nominal, les classes nominalespeuvent être indexées sur le verbe pour signaler des anaphores de longue distance, unestratégie que les locuteurs utilisent cependant rarement. L’article rend compte, de manièredétaillée, de motivations sémantiques possibles pour assigner les noms à un genre et/ouune classe particulière.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. XLI, no 1, 95-124 p.
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106963OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-106963DiVA: diva2:741995
Available from: 2014-08-29 Created: 2014-08-29 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Aspects of the Grammar and Lexicon of Sεlεε
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Aspects of the Grammar and Lexicon of Sεlεε
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is a description of some aspects of the grammar of Sɛlɛɛ, a Ghana-Togo-Mountain (GTM) language, based on my own fieldwork. The thesis consists of an introduction and five papers.

Paper (I), Noun classes in Sεlεε, describes the noun class system of Sɛlɛɛ. It consists of eight noun class prefixes, four marking singular and four plural. They are paired in irregular ways to form eight genders (singular-plural pairs). Nouns agree with determiners, numerals and interrogative qualifiers within the noun phrase and can be indexed on the predicate. Nouns are allocated to classes/genders based partly on semantic notions.

Paper (II), Sεlεε (with Francesca Di Garbo), details the morphological encoding of diminution in Sɛlɛɛ either by the suffixes -bi, -bii, -mii, -e or -nyi alone or in combination with noun class shift. Augmentation is not expressed morphologically.

Paper (III), The tense and aspect system of Sεlεε: A preliminary analysis, shows that Sɛlɛɛ, unlike most Kwa languages, has a rather elaborate tense system encompassing present, hodiernal, pre-hodiernal and future tenses. The aspectual categories are progressive, habitual and perfect. Both categories often amalgamate with first person singular subject clitics.

Paper (IV), Standard negation in Sεlεε, deals with the negation of declarative verbal main clauses. This is primarily encoded by a high tone, sometimes combined with segmental morphemes, portmanteau negative tense-aspect morphemes and vowel lengthening. Each tense-aspect category has at least one particular negation strategy.

Paper (V), Unravelling temperature terms in Sεlεε (with Francesca Di Garbo), investigates the grammatical constructions employed for temperature evaluations. Personal feeling is only encoded via subjects, while ambient and tactile evaluations are construed attributively and predicatively.

A comparison of Selee and other GTM languages revealed similar noun morphologies but very different verbal morphologies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University, 2014. 261 p.
Keyword
Sεlεε, Santrokofi, GTM, grammatical description, noun class, negation, tense, aspect, diminutive, temperature evaluations
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106970 (URN)978-91-7447-956-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-10-03, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 12, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

At the time of the doctoral defense, the following papers were unpublished and had a status as follows: Paper 2: Unpublished book chapter. Paper 3: Manuscript. Paper 4: In press. Paper 5: Unpublished book chapter.

Available from: 2014-09-11 Created: 2014-08-29 Last updated: 2014-09-15Bibliographically approved

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