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Aspects of the Grammar and Lexicon of Sεlεε
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics. University of Ghana.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7899-0513
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 [en]
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: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106970ISBN: 978-91-7447-956-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-106970DiVA: diva2:742036
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
List of papers
1. Noun classes in Sɛlɛɛ
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Noun classes in Sɛlɛɛ
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.

National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106963 (URN)
Available from: 2014-08-29 Created: 2014-08-29 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
2. Sɛlɛɛ
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Sɛlɛɛ
2015 (English)In: Edinburgh handbook of evaluative morphology / [ed] Nicola Grandi, Livia Kortvelyessy, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015, 487-495 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2015
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106968 (URN)9780748681747 (ISBN)
Available from: 2014-08-29 Created: 2014-08-29 Last updated: 2017-02-27Bibliographically approved
3. The tense and aspect system of Sɛlɛɛ: A preliminary analysis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The tense and aspect system of Sɛlɛɛ: A preliminary analysis
2015 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106969 (URN)
Available from: 2014-08-29 Created: 2014-08-29 Last updated: 2014-09-22
4. Standard negation in Sɛlɛɛ
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Standard negation in Sɛlɛɛ
(English)In: Afrika und Übersee, ISSN 0002-0427Article in journal (Refereed) In press
Abstract [en]

This paper discusses standard negation in Sɛlɛɛ. Sɛlɛɛ is a Ghana-Togo Mountain (GTM) Language of the Kwa group of the Niger Congo family. Standard negation is the negation of declarative verbal clauses. Different strategies are used in Sɛlɛɛ to negate declarative verbal main clauses depending on the tense and aspect category of the verb. The basic negation strategy used in standard negation is tonal alternation, with or without other negation markers. The other strategies are the use of portmanteau morphemes, affixes and vowel lengthening. Interestingly, in one and the same tense paradigm, different persons can select different negation strategies. There is syncretism among the 1st person singular forms of the negative recent past, the negative habitual and the negative perfect.

National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106965 (URN)
Available from: 2014-08-29 Created: 2014-08-29 Last updated: 2017-12-05
5. Unravelling temperature terms in Sɛlɛɛ
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Unravelling temperature terms in Sɛlɛɛ
2015 (English)In: The linguistics of temperature / [ed] Maria Koptjevskaja-Tamm, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 2015, 107-127 p.Chapter 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
Series
Typological Studies in Language, ISSN 0167-7373 ; 107
Keyword
Sɛlɛɛ, temperature evaluation, tactile, ambient, personal-feelings, temperature-related constructions, semantics, metaphorical extensions
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-106967 (URN)10.1075/tsl.107.04agb (DOI)9789027206886 (ISBN)9789027269171 (ISBN)
Available from: 2014-08-29 Created: 2014-08-29 Last updated: 2017-02-27Bibliographically approved

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