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Unravelling temperature terms in Sɛlɛɛ
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics. University of Ghana.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7899-0513
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics, General Linguistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2499-8800
2015 (English)In: Linguistics of Temperature / [ed] Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2015Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper investigates the encoding of temperature in Sɛlɛɛ, a Niger-Congo language of the Kwa group, spoken in Ghana. The lexicon of temperature in Sɛlɛɛ consists of six central and two non-central temperature terms, distributed among the word classes of nouns, adjectives and verbs. The grammatical constructions associated with temperature evaluation vary according to the word-class status of each temperature term and its contexts of use. The distribution of the different grammatical constructions according to different types of temperature evaluation is discussed in the paper. Metaphorical uses of temperature-related terms are also discussed in the context of neighbouring and highly related languages. Finally, special patterns of temperature evaluation in connection with water are surveyed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2015.
, Typological Studies in Language, 107
Keyword [en]
Sɛlɛɛ, temperature evaluation, tactile, ambient, personal-feelings, temperature-related constructions, semantics, metaphorical extensions
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106967DOI: 10.1075/tsl.107.04agbISBN: 9789027206886OAI: diva2:742027
Available from: 2014-08-29 Created: 2014-08-29 Last updated: 2015-03-31Bibliographically 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.
Sεlεε, Santrokofi, GTM, grammatical description, noun class, negation, tense, aspect, diminutive, temperature evaluations
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
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)

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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Agbetsoamedo, YvonneDi Garbo, Francesca
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