Phonology and Morphology of Mambay (Niger-Congo, Adamawa) Erik John Anonby

Phonology and Morphology of Mambay (Niger-Congo, Adamawa)  Erik John Anonby
Erik John Anonby
Phonology and Morphology of
Mambay (Niger-Congo, Adamawa)
Phonology and morphology of
Mambay (Niger-Congo, Adamawa)
Proefschrift
ter verkrijging van
de graad van Doctor aan de Universiteit Leiden,
op gezag van Rector Magnificus prof. mr. P.F. van der Heijden,
volgens besluit van het College voor Promoties
te verdedigen op donderdag 22 mei 2008
klokke 15.00 uur
door
Erik John Anonby
geboren te Winnipeg, Canada
in 1975
Promotiecommissie
Promotor:
Copromotor:
Prof. dr. Th. C. Schadeberg
Dr. C. Kutsch Lojenga
Referent:
Dr. R. Boyd (CNRS, Villejuif, Frankrijk)
Overige leden:
Prof. dr. W. F. H. Adelaar
Prof. dr. M. Mous
Prof. dr. M. van Oostendorp
Phonology and morphology of
Mambay (Niger-Congo, Adamawa)
Erik John Anonby
Acknowledgments
This book is dedicated to Ti’za Christina, star of the Ramadan moon, who endured my
dream of Africa and made it come true; and to Tinaga Parisa and Kyahrimi Nisse, my
hot-blooded little Mambay girls.
The present research on Mambay was conducted for a doctoral programme in the
Department of African Languages and Cultures at Leiden University in the Netherlands.
Fieldwork was funded within the context of a language development consultancy jointly
administered by SIL Chad and SIL Cameroon. Authorization for field research was
granted by MINREST (the Ministère de la Recherche Scientifique et Technique) of
Cameroon, permit 006/MINREST/B00/D00/D11.
I wish to thank my colleagues at Leiden University for their insight, humour, and
encouragement, in particular Christian Rapold, Maarten Kossmann, and K’es Mulugeta
Seyoum.
I thank my colleagues of SIL Chad and SIL Cameroon, many of whom contributed in
specific ways to the success this research and the enjoyment of our work together: Padeu
Dakouli, Diane Friesen, Marti Giger, Caroline Grant, Jeff Heath, Jérémie Mondy Mégay,
Julien Tchékoua, Bruce Jakeway, Gideon Noussi, Edward and Diane Tong, and Liz
Williams. Discussions on a wide range of linguistic topics with Jim Roberts, Lukas
Neukom and Richard Gravina were constructive. Vaughn and Mary Ohlman helped us
greatly during times of sickness.
I appreciated academic exchange with many other people working in the field.
Assessments of aspects of the present research by Roger Blench, John Esling, Ken Olson,
Cho Jun-Mo and Gordon Tisher were beneficial. In particular, Stefan Elders (deceased)
did all he could to ensure that I was well-prepared for fieldwork on Mambay by
furnishing me with numerous resources which would have been otherwise difficult to
locate, by sharing his own field notes on Mambay, by involving me in his other works-inprogress in the field of Adamawa languages. Paul Eguchi similarly laid the foundation
for the present research through his previous work on Mambay, and encouraged me to
engage in this field of study. I also thank Keith Snider for fostering in me a sense of
wonder and love of language, especially in the areas of phonology and tone, and so for
inspiring me to pursue further studies in African linguistics. His comments on the tone
chapter of the present research were invaluable.
ii
Au Cameroun, nous avons apprécié l’accueil que nous avons reçu dans chaque secteur.
Nous reconnaissons les administrateurs tels que le préfet de Guider, le sous-préfet de
Guider, le sous-préfet de Figuil et son adjoint. En plus, nous avons apprécié la sécurité
qu’ont pourvue la gendarmerie et le poste de police de Figuil.
D’autres personnes qui ont enrichi notre séjour à Figuil sont nos frères de la congrégation
EFL à Figuil, les pères à la mission catholique de Figuil (en particulier le père Vladislav),
le patron de Figuil Pierre Roca, et le directeur de l’École de Kolléré.
Parmi les Mambay, nous avons connu un accueil chaleureux depuis le premier moment.
En effet, le pays mambay nous est devenu un foyer. Les chefs des villages mambay nous
ont ouvert la porte au peuple : nous nous sommes présentés devant les chefs de Beepahna
(Biparé), Kaakaala (Kakala), Kaakyo’w (Katchéo), Kaaku’ (Kakou), Bisooli (Bissolé) et
Kaaguma (Kagouma), et nous avons reçu leur bénédiction. D’autres chefs nous ont
accueillis depuis leurs sièges.
Arrivés au pays mambay, c’était d’abord chez Swahy Kada Moïse que nous nous sommes
installés. Il nous à considéré comme ses enfants, et pour nos propres enfants il était
dazwa’ ‘grand-père.’ Nous le remercions pour son partage de lui-même et de sa famille.
C’était un grand privilège de pouvoir travailler avec la direction (ancienne et nouvelle)
de COLAMA (Comité de langue mambay) y compris Kam Kaagbungni et Moussa Tao,
et avec ses membres, en particulier Oussoumanou Bouba, Kwe Nathaniel, Koué Agabus,
Bégui Démas et Bouba Robert. J’ai apprécié aussi l’aide de Tao Justin et de Peevina
Salomon dans l’apprentissage de la langue.
Nos voisins à Kaakaala et à Figuil étaient pour nous un support et une grande joie : Saadu
Kami Taw, Younoussa Wouri, Kada Kaakaala, Amina Beezwa’ et sa famille, Adoum
Kami, Barnabas et Tigam Kaakaala, Parna paaru Samson, Napuga, Haman Kaakaala,
Njidda Robert, et les grands parmi les Mambay qui se rassemblèrent saa napuga chez
Kami Koué. En plus, nous étions à l’aise parmi nos frères de l’église à Kaakaala et avec
leur catéchiste.
Je remercie aussi ceux que nous connaissions hors du pays mambay. À N’Djaména, nous
avons eu le plaisir de connaître Oumarou Beïki, Abassi Moustapha, Mohamadou
Maouarmi et tous les membres du Comité des Ressortissants du Canton de Beepahna
(Biparé). À Maroua, Issa Haman et Souahibou Kassala m’ont orienté avec justesse.
C’est à Oussoumanou Bouba que je réserve un remerciement tout particulier. Il est
quelqu’un qui vit selon le proverbe, « Ku’l za’ ah paa bin, muu zyagri i am » ‘Si tu
apprends la danse du pied d’un autre, tu tromperas le tien.’ Cette individualité, ferme et
parfois rigide, lui a permis pourtant de se donner sans vacillation à la promotion de sa
langue pour l’honneur de ses parents et pour l’héritage des ses enfants et de son peuple.
Nous avons connu ensemble une collaboration enrichissante, et j’espère donc que j’ai pu,
en revanche, l’aider à réaliser ses propres aspirations. En ce qui concerne notre
cheminement divergeant, je lui affirme qu’il n’y aura pas un autre comme lui, puisque
iii
« Heega hii haa saa fi naale ya » ‘Un couteau ne peut pas rentrer dans le fourreau de
son collègue.’
Finalement, je dis au peuple mambay, ri zoori ro! Nous vous saluons! Kiswa! Nous
vous remercions! Comme « Tuh bom hii marva ya » ‘Un seul bracelet ne fait aucun
bruit,’ que vous vous épanouissiez dans un esprit d’entente mutuelle. La’ fah kaa fuu
peh bee naa sigzi Kaakaala ma Lahzwa’, ró haan iro kinabom. Ná liizi ka ná
%aazi ig para. Siketi má gbah sehzinza, má gii zimfin anza. Má pale la’ ido’.
iv
Contents
Acknowledgments............................................................................................................... ii
Contents .............................................................................................................................. v
Abbreviations and symbols................................................................................................ xi
Glossary ........................................................................................................................... xiv
1
INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 1
1.1
The Mambay ethnic group .................................................................................. 1
1.1.1
Population ................................................................................................... 4
1.1.2
Geography and subsistence......................................................................... 5
1.1.3
Historical background ................................................................................. 6
1.2
The Mambay language...................................................................................... 11
1.2.1
Earlier studies on Mambay ....................................................................... 11
1.2.2
Classification............................................................................................. 12
1.2.3
Sociolinguistic situation............................................................................ 19
1.3
Research framework ......................................................................................... 25
1.3.1
Scope and overview of this study ............................................................. 25
1.3.2
Field research ............................................................................................ 28
1.3.3
Orthography used in this study ................................................................. 31
2
PHONOLOGICAL STRUCTURE........................................................................... 33
2.1
Consonants........................................................................................................ 35
2.1.1
Inventory of consonants............................................................................ 35
2.1.2
Distribution ............................................................................................... 36
2.1.3
Contrast ..................................................................................................... 44
2.1.4
Issues in consonant interpretation............................................................. 47
2.1.5
Internal structure of consonants ................................................................ 52
2.1.6
Phonetic realizations ................................................................................. 53
2.1.7
Airstream mechanisms.............................................................................. 59
2.1.8
The labial flap ........................................................................................... 61
2.2
Vowels .............................................................................................................. 63
2.2.1
Inventory of vowels .................................................................................. 63
2.2.2
Distribution ............................................................................................... 65
2.2.3
Contrast between vowels .......................................................................... 69
2.2.4
Issues in vowel interpretation ................................................................... 71
2.2.5
Phonetic realizations ................................................................................. 72
2.3
Issues relating to both consonants and vowels ................................................. 73
2.3.1
Consonant/vowel distribution patterns ..................................................... 73
v
2.3.2
Contrast ..................................................................................................... 76
2.3.3
Interpretive issues ..................................................................................... 77
2.4
Syllable structure .............................................................................................. 92
2.4.1
Inventory of syllable shapes...................................................................... 92
2.4.2
Syllable structure ...................................................................................... 92
2.4.3
Syllable weight.......................................................................................... 93
2.5
Word structure .................................................................................................. 95
3
NASALITY............................................................................................................... 96
3.1
Vocalic nasality................................................................................................. 96
3.1.1
Restrictions on nasalized mid vowels ....................................................... 97
3.1.2
Exceptional nasalized mid vowels ............................................................ 98
3.2
Consonantal nasality ......................................................................................... 98
3.2.1
Obstruents ................................................................................................. 99
3.2.2
Type 1 sonorants ..................................................................................... 100
3.2.3
Type 2 sonorants ..................................................................................... 100
3.2.4
Type 3 sonorants ..................................................................................... 100
3.2.5
Remaining consonants ............................................................................ 101
3.3
Issues relating to vowels and consonants........................................................ 102
3.3.1
Degrees of phonetic nasality................................................................... 102
3.3.2
Effects of nasality on sonorants .............................................................. 102
3.4
Distribution and spread ................................................................................... 106
3.4.1
Distribution within syllables ................................................................... 106
3.4.2
Distribution within morphemes .............................................................. 109
3.4.3
Spread across morpheme boundaries...................................................... 111
4
TONE AND INTONATION .................................................................................. 118
4.1
Tone inventory ................................................................................................ 119
4.1.1
Tone levels .............................................................................................. 119
4.1.2
Tone melodies......................................................................................... 120
4.2
Other structural aspects of the tone system..................................................... 129
4.2.1
Floating tones.......................................................................................... 129
4.2.2
Replacive tone melodies ......................................................................... 130
4.2.3
Interaction between tone and other structures ........................................ 131
4.3
Tonal processes............................................................................................... 131
4.3.1
Lexical tone deletion............................................................................... 131
4.3.2
Downstep ................................................................................................ 133
4.3.3
High tone spread (HTS) .......................................................................... 138
4.3.4
Low tone spread (LTS) ........................................................................... 143
4.3.5
Adjacent operation of postlexical processes ........................................... 146
4.4
Intonational phenomena.................................................................................. 146
4.4.1
Tone register shift (TRS) ........................................................................ 146
4.4.2
The expectation marker ....................................................................... 148
5
NOUNS................................................................................................................... 150
5.1
Morphological structure.................................................................................. 151
vi
5.1.1
Noun root structure ................................................................................. 151
5.1.2
Prefixation............................................................................................... 154
5.1.3
Suffixation............................................................................................... 166
5.1.4
Reduplication .......................................................................................... 169
5.2
Free and linked forms ..................................................................................... 169
5.2.1
Distribution ............................................................................................. 169
5.2.2
Linked form structure ............................................................................. 171
5.3
Possessive constructions ................................................................................. 182
5.3.1
Semantic relations................................................................................... 183
5.3.2
Structural characteristics......................................................................... 183
5.3.3
Axes of description ................................................................................. 185
5.3.4
Inalienable possessive constructions....................................................... 188
5.4
Compound nouns ............................................................................................ 196
5.4.1
Compound nouns vs. noun phrases......................................................... 196
5.4.2
Morphological constitution..................................................................... 197
5.4.3
Semantic constitution.............................................................................. 201
5.5
Plural formation .............................................................................................. 202
5.5.1
Limitations on the application of pluralization....................................... 202
5.5.2
Pluralization strategies ............................................................................ 207
5.6
Collective constructions.................................................................................. 215
5.6.1
The human collective prefix tì-............................................................... 215
5.6.2
Inherently collective human nouns ......................................................... 217
5.7
Participant noun constructions........................................................................ 217
5.7.1
Male/generic participant nouns............................................................... 218
5.7.2
Female participant nouns ........................................................................ 220
5.7.3
Non-human participant nouns................................................................. 221
5.7.4
Pluralization and collective strategies..................................................... 222
5.8
Diminutives and augmentatives...................................................................... 223
5.8.1
Diminutives............................................................................................. 223
5.8.2
Augmentatives ........................................................................................ 224
5.9
Verbal nouns ................................................................................................... 225
5.9.1
True verbal nouns ................................................................................... 225
5.9.2
Fossilized verbal nouns........................................................................... 234
5.10 Modifier promotion and nominalization......................................................... 239
5.10.1
Nouns ...................................................................................................... 241
5.10.2
Adjectives ............................................................................................... 242
5.10.3
Numerals ................................................................................................. 242
5.10.4
Specifiers................................................................................................. 242
5.10.5
Directional adverbs ................................................................................. 242
5.10.6
Prepositional phrases .............................................................................. 243
5.10.7
Relative clauses....................................................................................... 243
5.11 Ideophonic nouns ............................................................................................ 244
5.11.1
Examples of ideophonic nouns ............................................................... 244
5.11.2
Ideophonic nouns exhibiting reduplication............................................. 244
5.11.3
Ideophonic nouns derived from adjectives ............................................. 246
5.12 Proper names................................................................................................... 246
vii
5.12.1
Personal names........................................................................................ 246
5.12.2
Clan names.............................................................................................. 249
5.12.3
Place names............................................................................................. 250
5.13 Locative function of nouns ............................................................................. 250
5.14 Noun phrases................................................................................................... 253
5.14.1
Noun + noun ........................................................................................... 253
5.14.2
Noun + adjective ..................................................................................... 253
5.14.3
Noun + numeral ...................................................................................... 254
5.14.4
Noun + specifier...................................................................................... 254
5.14.5
Noun + prepositional phrase ................................................................... 254
5.14.6
Noun + relative clause ............................................................................ 254
6
PRONOUNS ........................................................................................................... 255
6.1
Personal pronouns........................................................................................... 255
6.1.1
Pronoun slots........................................................................................... 257
6.1.2
Subject pronouns..................................................................................... 265
6.1.3
Object pronouns ...................................................................................... 274
6.1.4
Possessive pronouns................................................................................ 278
6.1.5
Emphatic pronouns ................................................................................. 286
6.2
Interrogative pronouns .................................................................................... 296
7
VERBS.................................................................................................................... 299
7.1
Verb stem structure ......................................................................................... 300
7.1.1
Canonical verb stems .............................................................................. 300
7.1.2
Non-canonical verb stems....................................................................... 300
7.2
Verbal extensions............................................................................................ 303
7.2.1
Inventory of verbal extensions................................................................ 304
7.2.2
Distribution ............................................................................................. 305
7.2.3
Synchronically productive verbal extensions ......................................... 306
7.2.4
Other verbal extensions........................................................................... 308
7.2.5
Combinations of verbal extensions......................................................... 311
7.2.6
Relations among the extensions -ri, -gi, -r, and -g ................................. 313
7.3
Verb word morphology................................................................................... 315
7.3.1
Affixation................................................................................................ 315
7.3.2
Verb classes ............................................................................................ 324
7.3.3
Irregular verbs ......................................................................................... 334
7.4
Basic verbal inflection .................................................................................... 339
7.4.1
Indicative................................................................................................. 342
7.4.2
Optative................................................................................................... 352
7.5
Verbal negation............................................................................................... 357
7.5.1
Inventory of negative forms.................................................................... 357
7.5.2
Negation particles ................................................................................... 357
7.5.3
Negative subject pronouns...................................................................... 358
7.5.4
Summary of negative verbal forms......................................................... 360
7.6
Expansions of verbal inflection ...................................................................... 360
7.6.1
TAM indicators....................................................................................... 360
viii
7.6.2
Possessive constructions ......................................................................... 368
7.6.3
Complex inflectional constructions ........................................................ 369
7.7
Composite verbal expressions......................................................................... 374
7.7.1
Verb stem + noun.................................................................................... 375
7.7.2
Verb stem + prepositional phrase ........................................................... 376
7.7.3
Verb stem + directional adverb............................................................... 377
7.7.4
Verb stem + adjective ............................................................................. 377
7.7.5
Verb stem + ideophonic adverb .............................................................. 377
8
ADVERBS, ADJECTIVES AND IDEOPHONES ................................................ 379
8.1
Adverbs ........................................................................................................... 379
8.1.1
Directional adverbs ................................................................................. 381
8.1.2
TAM adverbs .......................................................................................... 384
8.2
Ideophones ...................................................................................................... 384
8.3
Ideophonic adverbs ......................................................................................... 387
8.3.1
Distribution of ideophonic adverbs......................................................... 387
8.3.2
Ideophonic adverb structure.................................................................... 388
8.4
Adjectives ....................................................................................................... 390
8.4.1
Distribution of adjectives........................................................................ 391
8.4.2
Adjective structure .................................................................................. 393
8.5
Ideophonic derivation ..................................................................................... 398
8.5.1
Plural template ........................................................................................ 399
8.5.2
Emphatic template .................................................................................. 401
8.5.3
Emphasis by means of segmental lengthening ....................................... 402
8.5.4
Repetitive templates................................................................................ 402
8.5.5
Adjectival template ................................................................................. 406
8.5.6
Flexible class membership...................................................................... 407
9
MINOR WORD CLASSES.................................................................................... 409
9.1
Numerals ......................................................................................................... 409
9.1.1
Syntactic distribution of numerals .......................................................... 410
9.1.2
Numeral categories ................................................................................. 412
9.1.3
Ordinal nouns.......................................................................................... 419
9.1.4
Other nouns with numeric values ........................................................... 422
9.2
Specifiers......................................................................................................... 422
9.2.1
Proximity demonstratives ....................................................................... 423
9.2.2
The anaphoric demonstrative dô’ ........................................................... 423
9.2.3
The indefinite article bîn......................................................................... 424
9.3
Prepositions..................................................................................................... 425
9.3.1
Prepositional phrase structure ................................................................. 425
9.3.2
Prepositional phrase distribution............................................................. 427
9.3.3
Use of other word classes for locational functions ................................. 428
10
CLAUSES AND CLAUSE COMBINATIONS................................................. 431
10.1 Clauses ............................................................................................................ 431
10.1.1
Constituent order..................................................................................... 431
ix
10.1.2
Clause and clause constituent particles................................................... 433
10.1.3
Verbless clauses ...................................................................................... 436
10.1.4
Independent utterances other than clauses.............................................. 439
10.2 Clause combinations ....................................................................................... 440
10.2.1
Coordination ........................................................................................... 440
10.2.2
Subordination.......................................................................................... 441
TEXTS ............................................................................................................................ 448
Appendix 1: Inalienable possession paradigms .............................................................. 465
Appendix 2: Verb conjugations ...................................................................................... 470
References....................................................................................................................... 487
Curriculum vitae ............................................................................................................. 498
Samenvatting (summary in Dutch) ................................................................................. 499
x
Abbreviations and symbols
adj.
adv.
al.
ANAPH
ATTRIB
AUG
borr.
C
C /I
CAUS
Cd
CL1
COLL
COREF / coref.
dem.
DU
EMPH
EXCL / excl.
EXPECT
F0
Fr.
Fulf.
FUT
GEN
H
h
HEAD
Hz
i
IDEO
IMPERS / impers.
IMPFV
INAL / inal.
INCL / incl.
adjective
adverb
alienable
anaphoric demonstrative
attributive copula
augmentative
borrowing
consonant
co-referential/impersonal
causative
coda
class 1
collective
co-referential
demonstrative
dual
emphasis
exclusive
expectation marker
fundamental frequency
French
Fulfulde
future
generic
high (tone); laryngeal
pharyngealization
syntactic head
Hertz
identical participant reference
ideophone
impersonal
imperfective
inalienable
inclusive
xi
INDEP
intr.
IRR
j
L
lex.
LF
lit.
N
n.
NEG
NONPFV
NUM
O
OBJ
OPT
ORD
PERF
PFV
PFX
PL / pl.
PLUPERF
pn.
POSS
Pred.
QM
QUOT
R
re.
REAL
REFL
REL
REP
S
SG / sg.
sp.
TAM
TOPIC
tr.
TRS
V
Ṽ
v.
independent pronoun
intransitive
irrealis
non-identical (switch) participant reference
low (tone); Type 2 sonorant
lexically determined
linked form
literally
nasal consonant; Type 1 sonorant
noun
negative, negation
non-perfective
numeral prefix
onset; obstruent; object
object
optative
ordinal
perfect
perfective
prefix
plural
pluperfect
pronoun
possessive
predicate
question-marking particle
quotation marker
rhyme; Type 3 sonorant
regarding
realis
reflexive
relativizer
reported speech
subject
singular
species
tense/aspect/mode
topicalization and related functions
transitive
tone register shift
vowel; oral vowel; verb
nasalized vowel
verb
xii
VN / v.n.
VV
X
α
µ
σ
Ø
1
1&2
2
3
*
[ ]
/
.
:
+
=
±
~
’
verbal noun
long vowel
segment (C or V)
exhibiting a specific value
mora
syllable
zero pronoun
first person
first-and-second person
second person
third person
ungrammatical or unattested structure
phonetic transcription; boundary
either/or; phonological transcription
syllable boundary (used to distinguish a g + b sequence from unitary
gb); separator between words glossing a single morpheme
separator between glosses of fused morphemes
morpheme boundary
morpheme boundary
stem-clitic boundary
optional
free variation / allomorphic alternation
non-automatic downstep
high tone/pitch
low tone/pitch
falling tone/pitch
mid pitch
rising tone/pitch
expectation marker
preglottalization
glottalization (vowels)
nasalization
xiii
Glossary
Mambay
)àzgárà
reciprocal kinship unit used between a person and all blood relatives
with the person’s female in-laws who are older than his or her spouse
fààzárà
reciprocal kinship unit used between a woman and her female relatives
with her male in-laws who are older than her husband
fàhzárà
reciprocal kinship term used between a man and his male relatives with
his male in-laws who are older than his wife
Regional French
boule
ball of moist cooked grain meal; also called cous-cous
xiv
1
INTRODUCTION
1
INTRODUCTION
To the north of the Adamawa Massif and approximately eight hundred kilometres from
the Gulf of Guinea, the Mambay ethnic group straddles the border of Cameroon and
Chad. Members of the group, numbering about fifteen thousand, live along the Mayo
Kebbi (Kebbi River) at the point where it flows south-west from Chad toward its
confluence with the Benue River in Cameroon.
The Mambay language belongs to the Adamawa-Ubangi family, a group which has been
considered “probably the most poorly documented of all the major divisions of NigerCongo” (Bennett 1983:23). Researchers have overlooked this language family—
especially the Adamawa branch of which Mambay is a part—due to its distance from the
coast, the small populations of many of its constituent groups, and their dispersal among
larger, unrelated languages. Other possible reasons for this situation include the
Adamawa languages’ distance from urban centres as well as the sheer number and
diversity of languages in this linguistically fragmented area of west-central Africa
(Bennett 1983:23, Boyd 1978:190, Samarin 1971:217).
Consequently, despite
Strümpell’s identification of the language as early as 1910, Mambay has long managed to
elude serious investigation. Those studies in which Mambay is mentioned (1.2.1) are for
the most part concerned with the still-unresolved genetic structure of the larger language
groupings of which it is a part, and give little information on the language itself.
The present research responds to this lacuna by providing an in-depth description of the
Mambay language, with a focus on phonology and morphology.
In the following sections of this chapter, the Mambay ethnic group is introduced within
its historical context (1.1). This is accompanied by an overview of the Mambay language
which gives attention to the current sociolinguistic situation and existing linguistic
exploration, including genetic classification (1.2).
Finally, the framework and
methodology of this study are presented (1.3).
1.1 The Mambay ethnic group
The Mambay ethnic group is found in north-eastern Cameroon and south-western Chad
(see Figure 1 on the following page). In Cameroon, they are primarily located in the
Guider and Figuil Subdivisions (Mayo-Louti Division) as well as the Bibémi and Pitoa
Subdivisions (Bénoué Division), all of which are found in the North Province (Dieu and
Renaud 1983:387, Breton and Fohtung 1991:83–7). In Chad, the Mambay are found in
Biparé Canton, which is located in the Léré Subdivision of the Lac-Léré Division
nnnn
MM
Figure 1: The Mambay ethnic area
ALGERIA
EGYPT
LIBYA
NIGER
MALI
CHAD
SUDAN
BENIN
NIGERIA
CENTRAL AFRICAN
REPUBLIC
CAMEROON
Gulf of Guinea
CONGO
EQ. GUINEA GABON
Mayo Louti
Sorawel
FIGUIL
Mayo Oulo
CHAD
Badadji
Zalbi
Baïla
13˚ 40' N
Golombé
Kaakyo’w
Kaakaala
Léré
Beepahna
Lake
Kebbi
Kaaku’
Boula
Ibbi
Djaloumé
CAMEROON
Wafango
é
Tihélé
Guégou
Padarmé
Mambay population
(majority)
Mambay population
(minority)
settlement
Mayo
Kebbi
watercourse
(seasonal)
Mayo
Lawa
13˚ 20' N
international
boundary
BIBEMI
0
Adi
Adoumri
13˚ 40' E
DEM. REP. OF
CONGO
N
14˚ E
10
20 km
© Erik John Anonby 2007
(sources consulted for geographical data: Institut Géographique National (France) and Institut National de Cartographie
(Cameroun) 1994, Institut Géographique National (France) 1974, and Defense Mapping Agency Aerospace Center 1982)
2
(formerly part of the larger Mayo-Kebbi Division) (Hamm 2001:7, Grimes 2000a:43, 68).
There are small communities of Mambay outside the language area in the cities of
Garoua, N’Gaoundéré and Maroua in Cameroon; in Chad, displaced populations live in
Léré and N’Djaména.
Members of the Mambay ethnic group call themselves tì màmbày ‘those who are (of)
Mambay,’ and they refer to their language as dâg tì màmbày ‘mouth of those who are
(of) Mambay. According to Oussoumanou, the principal informant for this study, the
name màmbày comes from the phrase màm bèyà, which in the language as it was used
by the ancestors of the Mambay people group meant ‘my friend’.
The name ‘Mambay’ has been rendered elsewhere as follows:
Mambai
Mambaï
Mambay
Mamgbay
Mamgbei
Mangbai
Mangbaye
Mangbei
Mangbaï
Mombaye
Mongbaï
Mumbaye
(Boyd 1989a, 1989b, Église des Frères Lutheriens (n.d.))
(Eguchi 1971)
(Baudelaire 1944, Lembezat 1961, Lestringant 1964, Dieu
and Renaud 1983, Elders 2000, Hamm 2001)
(Dieu and Renaud 1983)
(Dieu and Renaud 1983)
(Lukas 1937, Westermann 1940, Westermann and Bryan 1952,
Boyd 1978, Mann and Dalby 1987, Boyd 1989a, 1989b)
(Republic of Chad 1993)
(Strümpell 1910, Tessmann 1932, Greenberg 1949/55, 1963,
Samarin 1971, Ubels and Ubels 1980, Bennett 1983)
(Lembezat 1961, Westermann 1948)
(Republic of Chad 1993)
(Republic of Chad 1993)
(Hamm 2001)
Lembezat records the additional variants Bangeï, Mabai, Mambei and Mangbay
(1964:437). Additional variant spellings of the name catalogued in the Ethnologue but
for which no ulterior source has been identified are Manbai, Momboi, and Mongbay
(Grimes (2000a:68). The multiplicity of transcriptions in various sources is attributable
to the influence of competing orthographies (German, French, African languages,
phonological orthographies) on the name used by the Mambay for themselves as well as
those used by other people groups for the Mambay.
Often, the Mambay also refer to themselves as tì bò%gì [tì ò)l0gì] ‘those who are (of)
Bo’lgi’ (see, for example, Elders 2000:15). Oussoumanou insists that the term bò%gì
properly refers to the use of one’s own language as a secret or in-group language.
The Mambay have yet to form the subject of an ethnographic or historical study;
documentation of their culture and history is limited to scattered references in a few
sources (Lembezat 1961:136, 147, 191; Lestringant 1964; Hamm 2000:6, 8–13; Jogri
2006). In the following sections, three specific topics are addressed in relation to the
Mambay. First, a jumble of population figures is evaluated and a current estimate of the
3
ethnic group’s population is put forward (1.1.1). Second, the geography of the Mambay
ethnic area and the people group’s patterns of subsistence are introduced (1.1.2). Third,
historical background is presented for the Mambay with reference to both oral and
written sources (1.1.3).
1.1.1 Population
Population statistics for the Mambay are lacking, and those that exist are often outdated,
incomplete or difficult to interpret. The main issues compromising the usefulness of the
figures are: census reliability concerns; a poor understanding of the extent of the Mambay
ethnic area (especially in the south and east) by researchers; a lack of account for other
ethnic groups living in “Mambay” villages; and a converse lack of account for Mambay
living outside the ethnic area.
It seems that the Mambay population declined in the first half of the 20th century (Hamm
2001:7), but that it has, on the whole, increased since the 1960s. The following sources,
whose figures are variously given for Cameroon, Chad and both countries together,
support the trend of a recent increase:
Cameroon
Cameroon Colonial Administration
(1944) in Lestringant (1964:297,
300)
more
than
1285
Westermann and Bryan (1952:46)
3051
Cameroon Colonial Administration
(1958) in Lestringant (1964:
Appendix)
more
than
1450
Chad
860
both countries
3911
Lembezat (1961:151)
1500
Voegelin and Voegelin (1964:43)
4000
Lestringant (1964:104)
less than 5000
Welmers (1971:842)
2000
Stennes in Samarin (1971:217)
2000
uncited (1982) in Grimes (2000a:43)
2500
Dieu and Renaud (1983:161)
less than 5000
Republic of Cameroon (1969) in
Eguchi (1971:139)
5857
Republic of Cameroon (1987) in
Hamm (2001:8)
7288
Republic of Chad (1993)
2067
4
Figuil Diocese (1999), pers. comm.
Father Vladislav (2005)
13 000
Hamm (2001:8)
8000
2000
10 000
The current population of the Mambay ethnic group has been reviewed within the context
of the present study. Unfortunately, at the time of writing, the results of the 2005
Cameroon census had not been released. However, taking into account selected new
(2005/6) figures gathered during polio vaccination campaigns in both countries as well as
population growth rates for older census figures, and attempting to address the limitations
highlighted above, the population of the Mambay ethnic group is estimated to be as
follows:
Cameroon:
Chad:
Both countries:
12 000
3 000
15 000
1.1.2 Geography and subsistence
The Mambay ethnic area is dominated by a mountain and a river. Mambay Mountain is a
long, tawny inselberg known to the Mambay simply as zé’gà ‘the mountain.’ The Mayo
Kebbi (also spelled Kebi or Kébi) river, which the Mambay refer to as tí-byàá ‘the great
waters’ or síì ‘the valley, the river,’ flows year-round through floodplains located around
the northern and western slopes of the mountain.
While the mountain has historically been a place of refuge for the Mambay (see 1.1.3.1–
1.1.3.2 below), its flora and fauna continue to serve as a source of food, medicine and
building materials. When the Mambay dispersed from the mountain in the mid-19th
century, the majority of the people group relocated to villages that sprinkle the
floodplain. Since this time, the river has also played a major part in the livelihood of the
group in the areas of agriculture and fishing.
The principal food crops are various species of millet and sorghum, white and yellow
maize, peanuts, beans, taro and sweet potatoes. Wild leaves and herbs, which are
gathered during the rainy season and dried, constitute an essential element in staple
sauces. In some areas of the floodplain, there are lush groves of bananas and mangoes.
Although it has become less lucrative than it was in the latter half of the 20th century (cf.
Lembezat 1964:32–3), cotton is grown as a cash crop; in addition, onions are cultivated
in the dry season with water taken from wells along the river and sold to merchants who
distribute them to other parts of the two countries.
Fish was among the most important food items in the past, and fish were abundant in the
Mayo Kebbi as late as the 1960s (Lembezat 1964:60). However, because of consistently
low water levels and the introduction of dragnet fishing by Nigerian immigrants (now
settled in Kaaku’ (Kakou)) since this date, fish stocks have decreased dramatically and
meals eaten with traditional fish-based sauces are the exception rather than the rule. This
5
change is one of many instances in which the effects of pressure on the environment and
changes in the environment itself have affected the livelihood of the Mambay.
Interestingly, the Mambay lexicon is a witness to two other major environmental changes
which have affected the people group. First, this is evident in the domain of animal
vocabulary. Older speakers of Mambay know the names of many large mammals, and
have seen and eaten some of these animals; in contrast, younger speakers of the language
know only the names of a few large mammals which appear in folk tales, but have not
seen or consumed them. This is an indicator that, as speakers report, almost all of the
larger mammals have recently disappeared (or, as they say, “gone away”) from the ethnic
area.
Second, the Mambay calendar (described in Anonby and Oussoumanou 2008
forthcoming) hearkens to a time when the rainy season lasted for about eight lunar
months; the length of this period is deducible from the names of the months and their
place in the agricultural cycle. In the last ten years, however, the rainy season has lasted
for an average of four months. This means that rather than three major harvests in a year,
which was still the norm fifty years ago, there are now usually only two. In 2005 in
particular, only one harvest was gathered, and a small-scale famine resulted in the
Mambay area.
Upheavals in the external cultural landscape have accompanied and, in many cases,
precipitated these changes to the livelihood of the Mambay. The history of these
movements is addressed briefly in the following section.
1.1.3 Historical background
The origins of the Mambay have been recorded primarily by means of oral history.
Written documentation on the people group’s past is meagre; the principal historical
records of pre-colonial and colonial history are passing references in a few sources. For
the pre-colonial period, existing sources rely on oral history.
In the present section, oral and written sources are weighed against one another, and a
single historical account is presented. Oral historians who made a significant
contribution to this account are Oussoumanou Bouba (the principal collaborator), Saadu
Kami Taw, Kada Moïse, and Kam Kaagbungni. Written sources referring to the history
Mambay are Lestringant (1964), Lembezat (1961), Adler (1982), Mohammadou (1979),
and Nassourou (n.d.), who may have relied on Mohammadou’s work.
Themes which figure consistently in oral and written accounts are historical origins and
arrival in the present-day ethnic area (1.1.3.1), establishment of Fulbe hegemony over the
Mambay (1.1.3.2), the status of the Mambay under European colonial administration
(1.1.3.3) and their present position within the independent nations of Cameroon and Chad
(1.1.3.4).
6
1.1.3.1 From origins to arrival in the present-day ethnic area
According to the oral historians, the Mambay came in the distant past from a place to the
east of where they are now found. However, at the point where names and places are still
remembered, the Mambay were approaching their present-day ethnic area from the west.
The Fulbe (also “Fulani” or “Peul”) jihad, which began in the first years of the 19th
century, spread out from Sokoto in present-day north-western Nigeria (Trimingham 1980,
Mohammadou 1979:277). Within a couple of years from its inception, the movement’s
effects were felt across the Sahel. One front of the movement was based in Yola, the
capital of what came to be known as the Adamawa Empire. As early as 1805, the empire
began to destabilize the uneasy equilibrium that had existed beforehand in northern
Cameroon (Lestringant 1964:112).
Soon, the Adamawa Empire advanced west and north, and many small populations were
scattered before them. The outcome for these populations was bleak: many were
enslaved; some were forcibly converted to Islam and, eventually, subsumed within the
Fulbe population of the empire; others were wiped out; and still others managed to flee
(Lestringant 1964:85, Lembezat 1961:156, Mohammadou 1979).
One of the latter groups was a community of Fali situated at káà zé’gì hùùrí (Fulf.
hooseere fawru) between Yola and Garoua, the present-day capital of Cameroon’s North
Province. Over a period of about twenty years, they were consistently pushed back to the
west and north. Often, this group fled to mountain strongholds for refuge. Despite this,
in many of the years, their position was imperilled and they were forced to establish new
settlements or, in some cases, join communities living in other mountain strongholds.
Eventually, they joined a Nyam-Nyam community at gàlìm. When the Fulbe attacked
this village, they fled together with the Nyam-Nyam across the Mayo-Kebbi and together
founded the village of gàrnà; later, they moved a short distance to the south, to a village
called tárà (Kami Taw 2005, Lestringant 1964:103).
A second group of Fali, some of whom had recently been driven from the east, were
dislocated around 1825 when a Fulbe principality attacked from the north and destroyed
their settlement (located at the same place as present-day Golombé). Like the first group,
these Fali fled across the Mayo Kebbi. There, they established the village of Kaakyo’w
(Katchéo) on the north-western slope of Mambay Mountain (Lestringant 1964:291,
Oussoumanou 2004).
A third group which fled across the Mayo Kebbi was composed of members of
communities who had been part of the Guidar confederation. However, when the
confederation was destroyed, some fled to Mambay Mountain. To this day, descendents
of this migration are counted among the Mambay clans. However, their Guidar origin is
evident in that some still speak Guidar; in addition, one of their villages located on the
south-western flank of Mambay Mountain is named Biou, after the Guidar clan from
which they emerged (Oussoumanou 2004, Lestringant 1964:102).
7
Together, these three groups formed what is now known as the Mambay ethnic group.
Although there was significant interaction between the Mambay and the Mundang at a
later time (1.1.3.2), and some present-day Mundang clans are reputed to originate from
among the Mambay (Adler 1982:122–6), the Mambay do not view the Mundang as one
of the peoples from whom they originate (Kam Kaagbungni 2000, Kada 2003,
Oussoumanou 2004, Kami Taw 2005; cf. 1964:292, contra Lestringant 1964:104).
1.1.3.2 Establishment of Fulbe hegemony
For several decades, the Fulbe were unable to gain dominance over the Mambay living
on the mountain, or over the separating floodplain of the Mayo Kebbi, since their cavalry
could not control the area for much of the year. During this time, the Mambay spread out
around the mountain. Their settlements extended from Kaakyo’w and Tara on the west
and south-west to Gehgu (Guégou) to the east and Beepahna (Biparé) to the north
(Lestringant 1964:291, Oussoumanou 2004). Lestringant states that the Mambay adopted
Mundang as a common language at this time, due to close relations with the Mundang of
Léré (1964:292, 296); however, Mambay historians maintain that the Mambay continued
to use their own language among themselves as a bò%gì ‘secret code, in-group language’
(Oussoumanou 2004, Kami Tao 2005; see also 1.1).
In the years leading up to 1850 and in much of the latter half of the 19th century, the
Fulbe principality of Bibémi, centred thirty kilometres south of the mountain, attacked
and progressively conquered the Mambay villages around the mountain (Lembezat
1964:292, Nassourou n.d.). Of all the villages, only Beepahna successfully resisted the
Fulbe forces thanks to its situation by the floodplain to the west and south, and an
independent Mundang principality to the north and east (Lembezat 1964:292, contra
Nassourou n.d.).
While some of the Mambay from villages conquered by the Fulbe took refuge and, in
time, settled on top of the mountain for over a decade, others became subjects of the
Fulbe. After this period, the mountain community began to come down and settle in the
now-desolate village of bò%gì (Balgi or Boulgui) on the north side of the mountain near
Kaaku’ (Kakou). With Kaakyo’w under Fulbe dominion, the Mambay were too weak to
resist the Fulbe from the north, who took over the floodplain and set up a government at
Golombé. Eventually, the Mambay of bò%gì consented to the Fulbe hegemony and were
permitted to inhabit the north side of the floodplain, which was better suited to
agriculture (Lestringant 1964:291, 312).
1.1.3.3 European colonial administration
The first written record of the Mambay people group was made in 1851 by Barth, who
did not visit the Mambay area but distinguished them as one of many people groups in
what would later become northern Cameroon (Barth 1857 in Lembezat 1964:75). In
1889, an English expedition travelled up the Mayo Kebbi and reached the Mambay
village of Beepahna (Biparé), passing several Mambay hamlets along the way. However,
their record of the voyage gives no further details (Meckler-Ferryman 1892 in Lembezat
1964:75).
8
German troops conquered the Fulbe governments of northern Cameroon between 1900
and 1902. In doing so, they acquired domination over most of the Mambay ethnic area.
Beepahna, however, was claimed by both the French and German administrations: the
French, since Beepahna had managed to escape Fulbe control and the Germans, because
it was coveted by the intermediary Fulbe administration for the same reason.
Importantly, the Mayo Kebbi on which it was situated also represented a navigable route
to the Atlantic Ocean for the French colony of Chad (Tchad). In defiance of a treaty that
had been established between Germany and France in 1894, the German administration
decided to establish control over Beepahna. They burned it to the ground the same year
(Adler 1982:25). Again in 1905, when the chief of Beepahna protested German rule on
the grounds that they needed to respect a prior agreement with the French, the outlying
Mambay village of Kaagbungni (Kaboni) was burned—along with its inhabitants—by the
German-led police force. To this day, its names káà-gbú7nì ‘place of ruins’ and káàsá’bà ‘place of traditional salt (collected from ashes)’ recall this event (Kam Kaagbungni
2000; Lembezat 1964:156, 297; Adler 1982:25; Schilder 1994:127, 129).
The German administration lost control of Cameroon in 1915, and the French were given
a mandate over much of the former German colony. Immediately, Beepahna was
reincorporated into Chad; and from that moment onward, the Mambay have been divided
between Cameroon and Chad (Lembezat 1964:151, 157).
Under the French, the Fulbe traditional government endured, although it was
considerably weakened by the introduction of a parallel system of direct rule (Schilder
1994:133). Aspects of infrastructure, including the promotion of a cash-based market
economy and the construction of a basic transport network, government buildings,
schools, and a few health care facilities, appeared during this period (pp. 219–45).
However, since the Mambay were located at the fringes of two administrative districts
(Guidar and Bénoué), they experienced few of these benefits (p. 243).
1.1.3.4 The Mambay in independent Cameroon and Chad
Since the independence of Cameroon in 1961, Fulbe hegemony has persisted. However,
there are signs that it is being further compromised (Schilder 1994:6). For example, all
of the Mambay chiefs have been relegated to the lowest level recognized by the national
government until recently. However, in 2006 the chief of Kaakyo’w was invited to apply
for the status of 2nd-degree chief.
In Chad, the Mambay chief in Beepahna has been recognized as a high-ranking
traditional chief by the Chadian government. Because of this, Mambay in both countries
give allegiance to him as the supreme chief of their ethnic group.
From an economic perspective, the Mambay continue to experience some of the
marginalization that characterized their status under the colonial government (1.1.3.3).
For example, there is no high school (lycée) in the Mambay area. Because of this,
students who wish to pursue a high school diploma are required to relocate, usually to
Figuil. Many (perhaps most) of the students who attend high school do not return to live
in the ethnic area.
9
Another instance of marginalization is evident in the poor transportation network among
the Mambay villages. The Mambay population is distributed fairy evenly between the
north and south banks of the Mayo Kebbi. However, there is no bridge over the river
within the ethnic area; to drive—during the dry season—from Kaakaala (Kakala, pop.
2000) to Kaaku’ (Kakou, pop. 1500), five kilometers apart across the Mayo Kebbi, it is
necessary to make a ten-hour detour to the south-west and south, travelling close to
Garoua. In the rainy season, even this route is usually impassable…bàhrá )éébà ‘it is
better to swim.’ Nor are there any sealed (paved) roads in the Mambay ethnic area.
Within living memory, the markets of Kaakyo’w and Kaakaala were the main
commercial centres in the area, and people from the Fulbe, Mundang, Fali and Guidar
ethnic groups came long distances every week. However, these have died out in favour
of the markets of Figuil and Baïla, both more expediently located on a sealed road. It is
now the Mambay who must travel for hours to buy and sell, often to one another, outside
of the ethnic area.
In addition to these secular considerations, the present religious landscape of the Mambay
deserves attention. For a century after the Fulbe takeover (1.1.3.2), most of the Mambay
resisted conversion to Islam, since it was associated with those who had deprived them of
their autonomy. However, Islam grew rapidly among the Mambay between 1950 and
1980 for several reasons. First, many soldiers were stationed in predominantly Muslim
areas in northern Cameroon (see also Schilder 1994:149). Second, it provided a universal
forum within which all peoples of northern Cameroon were able to express resistance to
the French colonial administration. Third, in the first decades after independence, the
Cameroonian president Ahidjo, who was himself Fulbe, endorsed administrative policies
favourable not only to the Fulbe rulership but also to Muslim clerics and converted chiefs
(Schilder 1994:6, Oussoumanou 2004).
Christianity grew most rapidly in the same time period, although its association with the
previous colonial administration compromised its appeal. Rather than being directly
introduced to the Mambay by western Christian missionaries, as was the case for most or
all of the surrounding people groups, this faith came to them through the Mundang (Jogri
2006). As with Islam, the spread of Christianity was hampered by regional ethnic
associations, in this case with the Mundang. In the end, it grew most rapidly among the
Mambay villages of Chad, which the Fulbe had never conquered and where the influence
of Ahidjo’s policies was at best indirect. Until recently, Mundang was used in Protestant
church services, much to the dismay of Mambay inside as well as outside of the Church
(Schilder 1994:188–90, Kam Kaagbungni 2000). Catholic churches among the Mambay
have also been moving from services conducted primarily in Fulfulde to those which are
mostly in Mambay.
The last person claiming to practice traditional religion among the Mambay died in
Kaakyo’w in 2003 (Oussoumanou 2004). At present, most Mambay consider themselves
Muslim, and about 500 Mambay (3%) are adherents of Christianity (Hamm 2001:11,
Kada 2003). There is also a sizable group of secularized Mambay, perhaps 5%, who do
not claim adherence to any religion, including traditional religion; however, many people
10
who fall into this category have formerly practiced one of the three religions (Kada
2003).
A final issue which radically affects the Mambay are changes in population demography.
A major increase in the area’s population in the last half of the 20th century (1.1.1) has
resulted in crises such as decreased soil productivity, diminished fish stocks, depletion of
other fauna, and a scarcity of firewood for cooking (1.1.2). Some of this increase reflects
the incursion of clans from other ethnic groups, in particular Mundang, Tupuri, Guidar
and Guiziga. Conversely, many Mambay have left the ethnic area: the largest
concentrations of Mambay emigrants are found in Figuil and Garoua (1.1.1). Both
movements have destabilized traditional authority structures (families as well as villages)
and have resulted in increased pressure on the Mambay language, primarily from
Fulfulde (1.2.3.1).
1.2 The Mambay language
In the first part of this section, earlier studies on Mambay are catalogued (1.2.1). The
classification of the language and the sociolinguistic situation form the discussion in the
second and third portions of this section (1.2.2 and 1.2.3).
1.2.1 Earlier studies on Mambay
Mambay word lists are found in Strümpell (1910), Lukas (1937), Baudelaire (1944;
numerals), Stauch (1966; fish names), Eguchi (1971), Elders (field notes from 1992/3)
and Hamm (2001).
Classificatory remarks on Mambay are found in Tessmann (1932), Westermann (1940,
1948, 1952), Baudelaire (1944), Greenberg (1955, 1963), Samarin (1971), Boyd (1974,
1978, 1989a), Ubels and Ubels (1980), Hagège (1981), Bennett (1983), Dieu and Renaud
(1983), Mann and Dalby (1987), Bright (1992), Elders (2000), Grimes (2000a, 2000b),
and Hamm (2001). These remarks have formed the basis for the classification presented
in 1.2.2.
Among these sources, the two articles which constitute important exceptions to a general
tendency of brevity and uncertainty are those of Eguchi (1971) and Hamm (2001). In his
Esquisse de la langue Mambaï, Eguchi expresses the hope that “ce rapport préliminaire,
sans doute plein de fautes dûes au manque d’investigation intensive, pourra être utile”
(1971:139). Eguchi’s study, while basic, has nonetheless been indispensable as a starting
point for the present investigation of Mambay. It provides concise background to the
language before presenting a brief phonology and morphology; these sections are
followed by the transcription and translation of a story as well as an 800-word lexicon.
Eguchi’s work raises a number of interesting questions on the language in the areas of
consonant and vowel inventory, alternations in tone, length and nasality, tone-consonant
interaction (p. 155) and the absence of tongue-root vowel harmony. Perhaps most
remarkable is his positing of nasal implosives (p. 144). This question is revisited in the
present research in 2.1.7.1.
11
While Eguchi concentrates on linguistic aspects of Mambay, Hamm’s (2001)
Sociolinguistic survey of the Mambay of Cameroon and Chad provides a complementary
portrayal of the language. Although its stated purpose is to examine possibilities for
language development (p. 2), Hamm’s study offers findings regarding key topics such as
demographics, multilingualism, dialect variation, intelligibility with related varieties,
language attitudes and other related sociolinguistic questions.
In addition to these two longer sources, a number of articles have been written on
Mambay in the context of the present research. A provisional version of the standard
Mambay orthography appeared in 2004 (Anonby 2004a; see also 1.3.3). In the same
year, a paper was presented in which the labial flap was described in Mambay (2004b).
In that study, which has been developed in a recent article (2007), it is argued that the
labial flap is profoundly phonologized (see also 2006:224 and section 2.1.8 in the present
study). Elsewhere, a preliminary description of the structure of discourse in Mambay has
appeared (2005). In addition to these studies, an article has been published which
outlines the phonetic inventory and basic phonological system of Mambay. It is
accompanied by recordings of phonetic data, including a longer text which is also
transcribed phonetically (2006). Further, in a work that is both descriptive and
comparative/historical in nature, a set of vestigial noun suffixes is defined; its effect on
the morphological structure of nouns is delineated, and its origins are explored (2007b).
Finally, a short sketch of Mambay grammar and phonology is destined to appear in the
Mambay dictionary (Anonby and Oussoumanou 2008 forthcoming) along with an
updated version of the orthography which includes tone marking.
1.2.2 Classification
Mambay has been classified as Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North,
Adamawa-Ubangi, Adamawa, Mbum-Day, Kebi-Benue, Mambay (Williamson 1989,
Boyd 1989a, Elders 2000:9, Grimes 2000a:68; see also the following subsections).
Figure 2 (see following page) shows how each of these divisions fits into the larger
picture of Niger-Congo classification (note that relations among higher levels of
classification are still the subject of discussion). In this chart, names written with uppercase letters refer to language families, and those written with lower-case letters refer to
terminal nodes (i.e. individual languages).
Although other aspects of the language have been studied relatively little, the genetic
classification of Mambay has been subject to some controversy. Debates affecting the
classification of Mambay and the language groups to which it belongs have taken place at
all levels of its genetic hierarchy, although some intermediate labels (such as
“Adamawa”) have—for better or for worse—remained for the most part unchallenged
since their establishment. In the following sections, competing positions are reviewed,
and the classification given here is defended for lower levels.
1.2.2.1 Early classifications
Although the Mambay language was recognized as early as 1910, its genetic status
remained poorly defined until Greenberg’s (1955/63) classification. Up to that point,
Mambay was often categorized with other “Sudanic” languages. However, this grouping
12
aaaaaaaaaaaaa Figure 2: The classification of Mambay in Niger-Congo
NIGER-CONGO
MANDE
ATLANTIC-CONGO
ATLANTIC
DOGON?
KORDOFANIAN
VOLTA-CONGO
KWA
IJOID
BENUE-CONGO
KRU
NORTH
ADAMAWA-UBANGI
ADAMAWA
A. 2, 4, 5, 12
A. 6, 13, 14, Day
(MBUM-DAY)
KEBI-BENUE (MBUM / A.6)
NORTHERN
UBANGI
A. 1, 7, 10
BUA (A.13)
CENTRAL
DAMA-GALKE
Dama
Ndai-Pormi
Kali
GUR
A.8
A.9
A.3?
KIM (A.14)
A.11?
Day
SOUTHERN
TUPURI-MAMBAY
MUNDANG-KPAM/MONO
Mambay
Tupuri
(based on Williamson 1989, Williamson and Blench 2000, Boyd 1989a, Elders 2000 and
Grimes 2000a, 2000b)
13
was largely based on geography and typology, both of which have proven unreliable as
indicators of genetic affiliation in the fragmented central African linguistic area
(Greenberg 1963, Thomas 1972, Williamson and Blench 2001:14–5).
The first mention of the Mambay language is found in Strümpell’s (1910) assemblage of
word lists elicited from among the “Heidensprachen Adamauas” (Adamawa pagan
languages). Although Strümpell demonstrates relationships between a number of the
languages under investigation, Mambay is not included in these groupings.
Delafosse (1924) refers to Strümpell’s (1910) work in his classification of central African
languages; however, he neglects to mention Mambay or to place it within one of the
sixteen “soudanaises” families which he proposes.
Using the information provided in Strümpell’s (1910) article, Tessmann (1932:187–9)
provides a generic classification of Mambay within the frame of “Musiktonsprachen,
Nigritische, Nichtklassensprachen: Sudansprachen (Sudanneger).” Like Strümpell,
however, Tessmann is unable to relate Mambay to the numerous other languages and
language groups within his classification.
Lukas (1937:107) likewise makes reference to Strümpell’s article, and tentatively affirms
Mambay’s status as an unaffiliated language. However, paying particular attention to the
data, he acknowledges the possibility of a relationship between Mambay and Mundang,
and lists similarities in basic vocabulary from various domains, including lower
numerals, to support this hypothesis.
Although Mouchet (1938) classifies a number of neighbouring languages under the label
“Kabi-Benwe,” he makes no mention of Mambay.
Westermann (1940/8) classes Mambay within a “Shari-Logone-Tshad” group, itself part
of an “Innersudanische” (Inner Sudanic) division of Sudanic languages. He admits that
degrees of relationship within this group are uncertain, and provides no further
suggestions regarding the relationship of Mambay to other languages in this group
(1948:459). Elders (2000:10) has noted that Westermann’s (1940/8) classification is
based on geographic and typological rather than genetic criteria; a number of the
languages included in Westermann’s Shari-Logone-Tshad grouping are presently
classified as Chadic.
Baudelaire (1944) mentions Mambay in a comparison of numeral systems which groups
together some of the “dialectes Habé” of the upper Benue region (note that the term Habé
is based on the Fulfulde word haabe ‘pagans’ (Schilder 1994:37, 43), and is more
accurately viewed as a cultural (rather than linguistic) designation. However, he does not
attempt to relate these languages to larger genetic groupings. Oblivious to the
suggestions of Lukas (1937) and in contradiction to the similarity evident (in retrospect)
between numerals in his “Mbum-Laka-Mundang” subgrouping and those of his Mambay
list, Baudelaire concludes that Mambay appears unrelated to any other language in the
region (1944:24, 27).
14
In their (1952) classification of Sudanic languages, Westermann and Bryan provide a
more conservative grouping of Inner Sudanic than that of Westermann (1940/8). In the
later work, many of the Inner Sudanic languages are moved back into unclassified
“isolated groups.” Significantly, for the first time Mambay is included within the isolated
“Mbum” group (1952:145–7) which had itself been posited as early as Tessmann
(1932:188). This grouping prefigures most of the later lower-level classifications of
Mambay.
1.2.2.2 Position and labelling of Kebi-Benue (“Mbum”/“Adamawa 6”)
The earlier placement of Mambay within the “Mbum” group by Tessman (1932) and
Westermann (1952) is confirmed in Greenberg’s (1963; cf. 1949/55) influential
classification of African languages. Greenberg (1955:11) makes an additional advance,
however, in that he links the Mbum group with higher levels of classification. His (1949)
partition of the Sudanic languages into Niger-Kordofanian (now generally referred to as
Niger-Congo; see Williamson 1989:19) and Nilo-Saharan phyla is well-known. Within
Niger-Kordofanian, one of his innovations is the collection of a number of unclassified
languages and language families, including Mbum, under the label “Adamawa”
(1955:11). Ultimately, he joins the Adamawa languages to a neighbouring family
“Eastern” to constitute the “Adamawa-Eastern” (now Adamawa-Ubangi) branch of
Niger-Congo (1963; cf. Samarin 1971:213, 225). While some sources originally queried
this decision (e.g. Voegelin and Voegelin 1964:38–9), it has gained widespread
acceptance, although it has been defined in recent classifications as a continuum (which
may even include Gur) rather than a monolithic family (Williamson and Blench
2000:18). As regards Mambay’s inclusion among the Adamawa languages, only Caprile
(1977:18, contra 1972:36 and 1977:16) has questioned this assessment. However, he
admits that his skepticism is tentative, and does not defend it.
In Greenberg’s work, then, the Mbum family is re-labelled “Adamawa 6”—one of
fourteen Adamawa families. Boyd, who has subsequently (1974, 1978, 1989) examined
the internal structure of the Adamawa languages, views Greenberg’s groupings as
generally accurate but also as conservative: “…ces groupes sont assez homogènes,
souvent à tel point que les langues appartenant à chacun représentent plutôt de simples
dialectes d’une seule langue” (1978:187). Boyd thus proposes a conflation of Adamawa
6 (Mbum) with 13 (Bua) and 14 (Kim) into a single division (p. 190). In a (1989)
revision, he also adds the language Day to this core within Adamawa (pp. 179–80).
Essentially, the Mbum group remains an integral unit in later classifications, although
typically subsumed under the higher Adamawa 6/13/14/Day node described here
(Bennett 1983, Dieu et Renaud 1983:359 in Elders 2000:10, cp. Mann and Dalby 1987,
Boyd 1989, Bright 1992, Grimes 2000, Williamson and Blench 2000:27–8).
In addition to the terms “Mbum” and “Adamawa 6,” several other labels for this lowerlevel group have been proposed: “Lakka,” and more recently, “Kebi-Sanaga” and “KebiBenue.” Boyd (1974:17–8), followed by Ubels and Ubels (1980:1–3), uses the term
“Lakka.” However, in a later work (1989) Boyd reverts to the term “Mbum” due to the
imprecise and possibly pejorative nature of the term “Lakka.” Later suggestions
informally put forward by Boyd (pers. comm. 2004) are “Mbumoid” and “Southwestern.”
15
Elders (2000:10) has argued that the term “Kebi-Sanaga” would be preferable to “Mbum”
since it avoids the confusion caused by a single label (“Mbum”) which applies to both a
language family and a member of that family; additionally, it follows the Niger-Congo
convention of naming language families after rivers (cf. Williamson 1989:18–20). In a
later statement, issued after discussion with other scholars working in the language
family, he refines the term as “Kebi-Benue” (Elders 2006). In addition to sharing the
stated advantages of “Kebi-Sanaga,” this term is geographically appropriate, since most
of the languages in the group fall within the basins of the Kebi and Benue rivers. Finally,
it has the appeal of posterity: Mouchet proposed the term “Kabi-Benwe” for a group
containing a number of the same languages as the family under discussion as early as
1938 (1.2.2.1). Because of these reasons, the term “Kebi-Benue” has been used in this
study.
1.2.2.3 Internal structure of Kebi-Benue
Academic understanding of the genetic relationship among languages of the Kebi-Benue
family is still inadequate. Unfortunately, most of the classifications proposed have been
impressionistic rather than methodical.
The first major contribution to the internal classification of Kebi-Benue is that of Boyd
(1974), who shows a close relationship among many of the languages. Although it does
not include the whole group, Boyd’s (1974) classification of Kebi-Benue is unique in that
it is the only study in which satisfactory comparative evidence has been provided for a
large portion of the group. Although some of the northern Kebi-Benue languages
(including Mambay) signalled by Greenberg (1963:9) are absent from Boyd’s
classificatory comments, he divides the rest of the group into two divisions: Eastern
(“oriental”), which is composed of languages closely related to the major language
Mbum, and Western (“occidental”), which accounts for the other languages under
investigation. The Eastern languages are further divided into two sub-groups, “type
Pandjama” and “type ndó mbàlì” (1974:17).
The next major attempt at classification of Kebi-Benue is that of Ubels and Ubels (1980).
While following Boyd’s general Eastern/Western structure, a number of languages
passed over by Boyd (1974) are accounted for. Mundang and Kali are placed in the
Western division; the languages of the Eastern division are revised in terms of inventory,
names, and internal classification; and several unclassified languages are added (Ubels
and Ubels 1980:5). Mambay, however, is once again omitted from the discussion.
Dieu and Renaud (1983:359) alter the internal classification of Kebi-Benue with the
addition of a Northern division. Importantly, Mambay is recognized as a Kebi-Benue
language and is included in this division along with Tupuri and Mundang. The remainder
of Kebi-Benue languages are relegated to a single Southern division.
Although Boyd (1989a) cites Ubels and Ubels (1980) as his primary authority, his
classification diverges from theirs in some respects. He splits the Kebi-Benue family into
three divisions: Northern, Central and Southern. Boyd’s Northern division accounts for
the languages found in Dieu and Renaud’s (1983:359) new Northern division, but differs
16
in that it subsumes the remainder of Ubels and Ubels’ Western languages: Dama, Galke
(Ndai)/Pormi, and Kali. His Central and Southern divisions correspond to the two
branches of Ubels and Ubels’ (1980) Eastern division, but in contrast are seen as primary
divisions within Kebi-Benue. Boyd’s (1989a) resulting classification is thus as follows:
A. Northern
1. Tupuri, Mundang, Mambay
2. Dama, Galke (Ndáí)/Pormi, Kali
B. Central
1. Koh [Kuo], Sakpu
2. Karang, Pana, Njak Mbai, Ngumi, Kãr
C. Southern: Mbum, Mbere, Kpere ~ Kepere
Unclassified languages: Pondo, Gonge, Tale, Dek
Stefan Elders (2000:8–9) accepts this classification of Kebi-Benue for the most part, but
makes the important observation that Kpam/Mono has been accidentally (“fortuitement”)
omitted and places it in along with Mundang as a separate node of Kebi-Benue’s first
Northern group (Tupuri-Mundang-Mambay).
Elders (2006) provides a comprehensive overview of issues in the classification of the
Kebi-Benue group. In addition to cataloguing research which has been done in the
languages, a history of classification of Kebi-Benue is given and a number of corrections
of and additions to Boyd’s (1989a) inventory are offered. Importantly, Gikaw is added
and assigned to the same subgroup as Kpam/Mono, and Man and Tali (Tale) are included
in the Southern division (but cf. Davis and Seguin 1990:33–4).
Final modifications accepted in the present study are the placement of Gonge as a variety
of Njak Mbay, and Pondo as a variety of Pana (Davis and Seguin 1990:35, cf. Elders
2006). Considering the discussion in the present section and the sources to which it
refers, the following provisional classification of Kebi-Benue is offered:
Figure 3: Classification of Kebi-Benue
I. Northern
A. Tupuri
B. Mundang, Kpam/Mono, Gikaw
C. Mambay
II. Southern
A. Dama, Galke (Ndai)/Pormi, Kali
B. 1. Mbum, Mbere, Man, Kpere
2. a. Kuo, Sakpu
b. Karang, Pana/Pondo, Njak Mbai/Gonge, Ngumi, Kare, Tali
Unclassified language: Dek
(based on Boyd 1989a, Elders 2000, 2006 and Davis and Seguin 1990)
17
Kebi-Benue languages whose location is specified in the sources consulted are shown in
Figure 4.
Figure 4: The Kebi-Benue languages
NIGER
N
CHAD
NIGERIA
TUPURI
MAMBAY
MUNDANG
DAMA
MONO
KUO
NJAK MBAY
MBUM
KARANG
KARE
PANA
CENTRAL AFRICAN
REPUBLIC
CAMEROON
Gulf of
Guinea
CONGO
DEM.
REP. OF
CONGO
© Erik John Anonby 2007
(based on Boyd 1989a and Grimes 2000)
1.2.2.4 Controversy over Mambay’s position within Kebi-Benue
Notwithstanding a widespread acceptance of the Kebi-Benue group, the status of
Mambay within this group has been questioned on several occasions. While such
perspectives do not reflect the thrust of the comparative literature in general (1.2.2.3),
they are maintained here as residue since all arguments for Mambay’s position have up to
this point been supported with little data.
Samarin (1971) attributes Mambay’s categorization within Kebi-Benue to undue
geographical considerations and recommends a revision. He states:
18
Fali, Mangbei and Mundang, although not at all closely related, are all found in the
same geographical area…. On the basis of his own linguistic observations, de
Waard (pers. comm.) supports the integrity of this [Kebi-Benue] group with the
exception of Mangbei. Since Stennes (pers. comm.) considers Mangbei to be
closer to Fali (Group 9) [sic: Fali is Greenberg’s Group 11] than it is to Mundang
of this group, it would seem that Mangbei may indeed have to be excluded. (217)
Hagège (1981) supports the view that Mambay should be excluded from the Kebi-Benue
group. Although Hagège makes reference to “une information complémentaire,” he does
not provide evidence for this decision; he states simply that Mambay is too different from
the other languages of the Kebi-Benue group to be attached to it (1981:4).
Bennett (1983:33, 42) implicitly acknowledges this position by calling the Kebi-Benue
group “Mangbei-Mbum,” but Mambay is not investigated as part of his sample for
classification.
Based on a bare 10% apparent lexical similarity (among 227 words) between Mambay
and Mundang, Hamm (2001:6, 10) concludes that while Mambay may belong to the
Kebi-Benue group, it is likely that it should be excluded from the Tupuri-MundangMambay subgroup.
In contrast to these sources, and in keeping with other classifications starting with
Westermann (1952; see 1.2.2.1–1.2.2.3), Boyd (1989a) accepts that Mambay belongs to
the Northern division of the Kebi-Benue group. Reflecting on his previous comparative
work in the Adamawa languages (1974, 1978a), he responds skeptically to the exclusion
of Mambay from the Kebi-Benue group, claiming that no evidence has been presented to
support such a claim:
A doubt was raised about the classification of Mangbai by Samarin (1971) for
reasons that are unclear. Early word lists published by Strümpell (1910) and Lukas
(1937) reveal a clearly, if distantly, related language. Eguchi’s (1971) publication
confirms this impression. (185)
Boyd’s (1989a) resulting classification presents Mambay within the Northern division of
Kebi-Benue. Elders (2000, 2006) tentatively reiterates this position.
Given these hesitations, an in-depth comparison of Mambay with other members of the
Northern division of Kebi-Benue is needed to clarify the relationship among these
languages.
1.2.3 Sociolinguistic situation
In the following subsections, three topics are addressed: multilingualism (1.2.3.1),
domains of use of Mambay (1.2.3.2), and the dialect situation (1.2.3.3). While some of
the information is based on Hamm’s (2001) sociolinguistic survey, these observations
have been weighed in the light of field research for the present study, and additional
observations have been incorporated.
19
1.2.3.1 Multilingualism
Mambay is situated in the north-central African linguistic “core,” at the crossroads of
three linguistic phyla (Niger-Congo, Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Saharan) and host to myriad
sub-families. While genetic diversity is high, contact among languages impacts their
composition to a remarkable degree (Thomas 1972, Greenberg 1983:4).
Most Mambay speakers are proficient in at least one other language. The most common
languages of multilingualism are (in order of decreasing frequency) Fulfulde (the
language of the Fulbe), French and Mundang. Proficiency in Hausa and Arabic, two
other languages of multilingualism, is limited to a small minority of men (Hamm
2001:12).
In the Mambay language area, as throughout most of Northern Cameroon, the dominance
of Fulfulde is an inescapable part of the sociolinguistic equilibrium. This dominance is
the result of a century and a half of Fulbe hegemony (1.1.3.2–1.1.3.4); it has steadily
increased among the Mambay, with the possible exception of the last decade, since the
ethnic community has begun to show interest in the preservation of their language
(1.2.3.2). Even in interethnic encounters involving groups other than Fulbe, Fulfulde is
almost always used as a language of wider communication.
Proficiency in French is, unsurprisingly, correlated to level of education in the Frenchlanguage school systems of Cameroon and Chad. Because Mambay men have, on
average, a higher level of education than women, bilingualism in French is generally
limited to men (Hamm 2001:12–3).
Interestingly, proficiency in additional languages is also correlated to religious adherence.
The Mambay view Fulfulde as an Islamic language, and while Arabic is used for prayer,
imams in the area use Fulfulde for religious teaching; use of Mambay (or any language
other than Arabic or Fulfulde) is discouraged for Muslims in religious contexts. Because
of this, Mambay who are Muslim tend to be more proficient in Fulfulde than those who
are Christian (Hamm 2001:11–2).
In contrast, Mambay who consider themselves Christian (particularly those who are
protestant) generally have a higher level of proficiency in Mundang than those who are
Muslim. This is particularly true of Mambay Christians living on the Chad side of the
border because until recently, Mundang was the primary language used there in Christian
celebrations.
Finally, geographic proximity to other language areas is related to multilingualism:
proficiency in Mundang is more common in Chad, where the Mambay and Mundang
language areas are adjacent to one another (Hamm 2001:12). Still, although Grimes
(2000a:68) states that Mambay “speakers are reported to understand Mundang,” Hamm
demonstrates that even among the Mambay population in Chad, average proficiency in
Mundang is low (2001:12).
20
1.2.3.2 Domains of use of Mambay
As the previous section indicates, languages other than Mambay are used primarily in
situations where members of other ethnic groups are present, and in domains where
written languages are used.
Among Mambay speakers, the only place where another language is used in an oral
domain is in conversation in and around the mosque; until recently, only Fulfulde has
been permitted (Moussa Taw, pers. comm. 2005/6).
Recently, the use of Mambay has expanded into several new domains: religious services
and conversation, radio and writing. Changes in language use in religious services and
conversation are addressed in the previous section (1.2.3.1). As concerns radio,
COLAMA (Comité de Langue Mambay) has sponsored a weekly radio program in
Mambay since mid-2005.
However, the most important expansion of Mambay has been the development of a
writing system (see 1.3.3). As has been the case for other ethnic groups in the area, it has
opened a major avenue for the Mambay to assert themselves as a people, and has acted as
a catalyst for the expansion of the other domains mentioned here.
To date, numerous written materials have appeared in Mambay (transcriptions for titles in
the lists below are given as they appear on the materials). The first publication in
Mambay was a probably a catechism and prayer service, which the Catholic Church
produced. A recent revision of the prayer service has been reproduced by COLAMA in
conjunction with the Catholic Church and SIL.
Catechisme ma dag ti Mambay [Mambay catechism]
Zimfinu geh Badazi [Sunday prayer service]
On its own, COLAMA has published a calendar, and for the past few years has regularly
produced schedules, reports and minutes for language committee meetings.
Oral texts transcribed by COLAMA in conjunction with SIL in the context of narrative
discourse workshops, named with their oral sources, are as follows:
Adoum Kami:
Sahna [A prayer]
Bégui Démas:
Zooga pazi kohmna [Conference of the birds]
Kami Philippe Daouda:
Namza kohmzi [Conference of the animals]
21
Koué Agabus:
Kaa wii yo pale ka keti kpargile ma sigro na ? [Why is it that the sky
has become distant from the earth?]
Koué Lazare Bessoum:
Gogra ma nahurde7ge [The bee and the wasp]
Kwe Lazar [A story about Koué Lazare]
Kwe Nathaniel:
Asya7miya [It-doesn’t-concern-me]
Nasah [A question]
Paa fugzo ma sa’nni ee [The cotton farmer and his commerce]
Oussoumanou Bouba:
@ig tivin rama [The blind woman’s child]
Geeri nii si’la ma gyah [The north wind and the sun]
Hurtigohm [The locust]
Kaga ma liba [The chicken and the guineafowl]
Mu kyahri laa kyah, mú ku’l gbahna [You want to eat fish, so learn to fish!]
Nahra [The star]
Natu’ [Proverbs]
Taw Namuura [Taw Namuura] (with Kwe Nathaniel)
Tawso yah gwaare [Tawso took the sickle]
Wahwah [Hubbub]
Yih Mambay [The name “Mambay”]
Saadu Kami Taw:
Dag du’lo [The sacred enclosure] (with Younoussa Wouri)
Saadu Kami Taw [Autobiography of Saadu Kami Taw]
Younoussa Wouri:
Mi kyah sehro [What I desire for you]
Five of the oral texts have been selected for analysis; these texts appear in at the end of
this study.
Editions published by COLAMA in conjunction with the Église des Frères Luthériennes
include a hymnbook and a pre-primer.
Chio-hi’in Siketi ma-dag tiMambai [Songs to worship God in Mambay]
Ku’ul %e’e igga ma dag ti Mambai [Learning to write things in Mambay]
Works which have been published or are being prepared for publication in Mambay by
COLAMA in conjunction with SIL are as follows:
22
Abeseder twa ma dag ti Mambay [A new alphabet chart in Mambay]
Ig nii seh paa tu’n ku’l daga yag tii naa izire keh iga ma dag bin
[Resource for teachers of those who are literate in another language]
La’ inaa koozi Yeeso [This is how Jesus was born]
Mah ro’ra ma dag ti Mambay [Mambay dictionary]
Ná ku’l keh iga ma dag ti Mambay [Let’s learn to write in Mambay]
Naga, mú nu ga! Dehmtere ku’lni urni dag ti Mambay [Naga, don’t
sleep! A book for learning to read the Mambay language]
Namzi sigri ti Mambay [Animals of the land of the Mambay]
Dehmtere ku’lni urni dag ti Mambay 2 [A book for learning to read the
Mambay language, part 2]
1.2.3.3 Dialect situation
There is little linguistic variation among varieties of Mambay, and the variation that
exists does not significantly impede comprehension between speakers of different
varieties (Hamm 2001:9).
Three main dialect areas, which constitute links in a modest continuum, have been
identified. Varieties south of the Mayo Kebbi are at one end of the continuum, and those
in Chad, which are in the north-eastern part of the language area, are at the other end.
Varieties in the north-western section of the language area, situated north of the Mayo
Kebbi in Cameroon, are ambivalent in their affinities to the dialects at the ends of the
continuum. 20th-century migrations have disrupted this neat distribution, so that two of
the villages north of the Mayo Kebbi (Bisooli~Bissolé and Kaaguma~Kagouma) speak a
“southern” dialect, and a village south of the river (Kaaku’~Kakou) speaks a “northern”
dialect. According to some sources, the variety spoken on the south side of Mambay
Mountain, from Pyahga (Piaga) to Lam, constitutes an additional dialect area. However,
it has not been possible to gather data from this variety.
Most of the dialect differences are lexical, and are often limited to tone, nasality or a
single segment. In the database, these differences affect only about 1% of the lexicon. A
representative selection of attested variations grouped by dialect area is given in Figure 5
(see following page):
23
Figure 5: Lexical variation among Mambay dialects
eight
soldier
money
giant rat
weakness
with (adv.)
up to, until
knock over
walk (v.n.)
our (incl.)
impatient
give
learning
green monkey
water turtle
star
southern
fwàrnágà
gáhlbú
kóò
màà-ráárà
tì-dúgrì
má-geFn
háá
fwàr
té’là
)ánzá
faFhw
híí
kû%gó
kpùm káà kpèègá
lágâ7gá
náhrà
northern (Cameroon)
fwàrnágà
gáhlbú
kóò
màà-ráárà
tì-dúgrì
má-geFn
háá ~ háá
fwàr ~ fòr
té’là ~ dá’là
)ánzyá
faFy
híí
kû%vó
kpùm pùgá
lágângá
ráhnà
northern (Chad)
fwàrnâh
gáhlbó
kóbò
máà-ràárà
tà-dúgrì
má-gèé
háá
fèr
sé’là ~ dá’là
)ánzyá
faFy
híí
kû%vó
kpùm pùgá
lágângá
ráhnà
In addition to lexical variants, two regionally defined phonological differences have been
identified. The most important difference concerns the inventory of nasalized vowels.
While the other dialects exhibit three peripheral nasalized vowel positions i a u (2.2.1,
3.1), the dialect in Chad also allows nasalized mid vowels, at least on the surface. This
shows up in the linked forms of yaX- and waX-final nouns (5.2.2.2.2):
default form,
all dialects
linked form,
Chad dialect
linked form,
other dialects
fish
wink (n.)
cricket sp.
kyaFh
nà-ryáà
nà-syâ’
keFh
nà-réè
nà-sê’
kHFh
nà-ríì
nà-sî’
hole, den
fool
bracelet
nwâ’
rwáà
twâh
nô’
róò
tôh
nû’
rúù
tûh
The Chad dialect’s expanded inventory may reflect the influence of Mundang, which
exhibits nasalized vowels in seven positions (Elders 2000:40).
Another conspicuous difference exhibited by the dialect in Chad as against the other
dialects is its realization of s and z as [L] and [M] respectively with the semivowel y or,
with some speakers, before the high front vowel i.
24
phonological form,
all dialects
phonetic realization, phonetic realization,
Chad dialect
other dialects
tree sp.
shine
song
syáà
syé
syóò
[L]áà
[L]é
[L]óò
[sy]áà
[sy]é
[sy]óò
net
jackal
mistake (v.)
zyáà
zyâh
zyàgrí
[M]áà
[M]âh
[M]àgrí
[zy]áà
[zy]âh
[zy]àgrí
crocodile
valley, river
year
sígò
síì
sììrá
[L]ígò
[L]íì
[L]ììrá
[s]ígò
[s]íì
[s]ììrá
large hoe
fish sp.
gnaw
zí’gò
zìírì
zìr
[M]í’gò
[M]ìírì
[M]ìr
[z]í’gò
[z]ìírì
[z]ìr
Because of these differences, Mambay speakers often state that the Mambay in Chad
speak with a Mundang accent (local French: ton) (Hamm 2001:9). This promotes the
prevailing perception (in all dialect areas) that the varieties spoken in Cameroon are
“purer” than those spoken in Chad (13). In particular, the variety spoken in Kaakyo’w is
esteemed: the historical primacy of Kaakyo’w (see 1.1.3.1) as well as its geographical
isolation, which has minimized the influence of other languages, contribute to this
opinion.
1.3 Research framework
In this section, the research framework of this study is addressed. The first subsection
(1.3.1) outlines the scope of the research and gives an overview of the topics that are
addressed in each chapter. The next part (1.3.2) summarizes the organization and process
of field research. A final portion (1.3.3) describes the emergence of the standard
Mambay orthography and compares it to the phonological orthography used in this study,
which is based upon it.
1.3.1 Scope and overview of this study
This study is a description of Mambay as it is spoken today. The variety under
investigation is that of the principal collaborator, Oussoumanou Bouba (see 1.3.2) of
Kaakyo’w (Katchéo), Cameroon. This variety falls within the dialect spoken by Mambay
living south of the Mayo Kebbi (1.2.3.3).
Description revolves around the phonological and morphological structure of the
language. Pertinent issues in phonetics are treated within the framework of the
phonological system, and topics in syntax, discourse structure and semantics are treated
in reference to morphological classes. A number of linguistic theories and sub-theories
have been taken into account in the present study. These are, in particular, the
structuralist tradition, functional grammar, the generative movement and its progeny
25
Autosegmental Phonology, Lexical Phonology and Optimality Theory.
When
1
appropriate, theoretical insights have been incorporated ; however, the descriptive focus
of the study assumes a minimal amount of theoretical background on the part of the
reader.
In this first chapter, the Mambay ethnic group is situated geographically as well as
historically. Existing studies on the Mambay language are catalogued, and the
classification of the language and its sociolinguistic situation are considered in detail.
The final section of this chapter presents the framework and methodology of the study.
The phonology of Mambay is addressed in chapters 2–4. In chapter 2, an overview of
the phonology is presented. Contrastive phonological constituents are examined starting
with consonants and vowels, and syllable and word structure are treated in turn. A
number of interpretive issues are probed; of these, the interpretation of pharyngeal and
glottal articulations is the most involved.
Chapter 3 examines the role of nasality in the language. Nasality is shown to be
contrastive for vowels as well as consonants, and the determination of its source is often
problematic. The distribution and spread of nasality is therefore treated in reference to
domains of association, within morphemes as well as across morpheme boundaries.
Chapter 4 is devoted to an analysis of the tone system. The Mambay tone system is
depicted as a register tone system with two contrastive levels, High and Low. These
levels are organized into seven contrastive tone melodies which may be associated with
morphemes. Tonal processes, both lexical and postlexical, are also addressed. In
addition, the role of intonational phenomena, which interact with tonal phenomena, is
accounted for.
The word classes in the language are dealt with in chapters 5–9. First of all, nouns are
described in chapter 5. Of the various classes, nouns show the greatest diversity in
attested root structures. Affixational and template morphology is also a significant
attribute of nouns: this is evident in the widespread occurrence of prefixation, some
instances of which have been lexicalized, and some of which continue to function
grammatically. Template morphology, for its part, plays an active role in pluralization
and in a pervasive free vs. linked distinction on nouns. The left-headed possessive
construction, which is the primary context in which linked forms of nouns are found, is
then described in reference to three axes: spontaneous vs. lexicalized, obligatory vs.
optional possession, and alienable vs. inalienable possession. Additionally, specific types
of nouns and noun-related constructions are considered: participant noun constructions,
ideophonic nouns, proper names, compounding and other types of derivation and the
1
The contribution of Autosegmental Phonology (Leben 1973, Goldsmith 1990) is especially evident in the
description of the internal structure of consonants (2.1.5), syllable structure and syllable weight (2.4.2,
2.4.3), nasality (Chapter 3) and tone (Chapter 4); that of Lexical Phonology (Kiparsky 1982, Kenstowicz
1994) is evident in the lexical/postlexical distinction that has informed the description of tone association
and tonal processes (4.1–4.3); and the insights of Optimality Theory (Archangeli and Langendoen 1997)
have been incorporated in the discussion of constraints on the distribution of nasality (3.1.1, 3.4.1, 3.4.2)
and the distribution of vowels in adjectives (8.4.2.1.1).
26
locative function of nouns are all taken into account.
inventory of attested noun phrase types.
A final section provides an
Chapter 6, which is concerned with pronouns, is an appropriate transition between
chapter 5 on nouns and chapter 7, which is concerned with verbs. While, prototypically,
pronouns take the place of nominal referents, they also play an important role in the
verbal system, where they bear TAM (tense, aspect and mode) distinctions. The larger
part of the chapter is concerned with the basic categories of personal pronouns
distinguished in Mambay: subject, object and possessive pronouns. Each of these
pronoun types also has emphatic forms produced by various strategies. A final section
deals with interrogative pronouns.
Chapter 7 examines verbs. First, canonical morphologically simple stems are examined.
This is followed by a discussion of non-canonical stems, most of which are
morphologically complex; the most prominent group of non-canonical stems contain
verbal extensions. A description of verb word morphology then leads into a discussion of
verbal inflection, which is marked on the verb word, subject pronouns and by means of
expanded verb forms, including those which incorporate auxiliary verbs and TAM
adverbs and particles. A final section describes composite verbal expressions: these are
constructions composed of a verb stem recurrently found with another element (noun,
prepositional phrase, etc.) in the lexicon.
Chapter 8 deals with two classes of modifiers: adverbs and adjectives. Since ideophones
comprise a majority of adverbs as well as adjectives, they are also treated in this chapter
as a parallel topic with major implications for both of these word classes. One striking
trait of ideophones in Mambay is the existence of several derivational ideophonic
templates. Apart from ideophones, directional and TAM adverbs as well as a poorly
defined group of non-ideophonic adjectives are addressed.
Chapter 9 brings together three minor word classes, all of which are closed in the lexicon:
numerals, demonstratives and prepositions. Numerals in particular are morphologically
diverse; a small group of underived numerals is found, but many numerals are derived
from other parts of speech, especially nouns.
Chapter 10 serves to introduce the structure of clauses and clause combinations. The
section on clause structure, which comes first, deals with constituent order, clause and
clause constituent particles and verbless clauses; independent utterances other than
clauses are also considered. The section on clause combinations then concentrates on
strategies of coordination and subordination, giving special attention to conjunctions and
particles.
At the end of this study, a collection of five texts is transcribed and interlinearized. These
texts have been selected from a variety of genres—song, proverb, legend (account of
origins), and fable—in order to illustrate a range of morphological, syntactic and
discourse structures. In addition, there are two appendices: Appendix 1 provides an
27
inventory of inalienable possession paradigms, and Appendix 2 presents conjugations of
verbal inflection as it patterns with contrastive tonal verb classes.
One theme that is recurrently invoked in the description is that of canonicity.
Phonological structures from some of the word classes fall between two ends of a
continuum: canonical and non-canonical.
Canonical structures belong to the
homogeneous phonological core of the language and represent the vast majority of
structures in the language. However, there are small but persistent groups of marked and
highly varied structures in all of the lexically open word classes; and often, non-canonical
roots exhibit a cluster of uncommon features. The sections which discuss canonicity
reveal that some non-canonical structures, such as nasalized mid vowels (3.1.1), are
attested only a handful of times in the data. Words borrowed from other languages
usually exhibit the same behaviour as other non-canonical items in the same class (e.g.,
5.2.2.3, 7.1.2.3). In later chapters, canonicity is considered in reference to the following
topics:
- geminate consonants (2.1.2.7);
- repetition of consonants within a syllable (2.1.2.8);
- distribution of vowels within morphemes (2.2.2.3);
- syllable weight (2.4.3);
- inventory of nasalized vowels (3.1);
- noun CV structure (5.2.1.1) and tone melody (5.1.1.2);
- noun-to-noun derivation with prefixes (5.1.2.3.1);
- linked form (5.2.2.2) and plurality (5.5.1.1) templates;
- verb stem structure (7.1);
- ideophones (8.2; see also 5.11 and 7.1.2.2); and
- prepositions vs. locational nouns (9.3.3).
The Fulfulde examples given in the text have been verified using SIL (2003) and Noye
(1974), and Hausa examples are from Abraham and Mai Kano (1949) and Maarten
Kossmann (pers. comm. 2007).
1.3.2 Field research
My initial exposure to Mambay was as part of an SIL Chad team that conducted a
sociolinguistic survey on Mambay (Hamm 2001) in May 2000. Along with Cameron
Hamm and Mbernodji Calvain, I received a warm welcome and introduction to the
Mambay language and culture.
Aspects of Mambay phonology such as
pharyngealization, glottalization and the labial flap were some of the unfamiliar
phenomena that whetted my desire to better understand the phonology of the language.
In addition, the well-watered plain of the Mayo Kebbi with its lush pastures and orchards
groves was a refreshing change from the hotter, drier areas of north-east Chad where we
had been working previously (Anonby and Johnson 2001). But the kindness, hospitality
and humour of our hosts were, in the end, what drew me back to the Mambay language
area.
28
I was able to return to the Mambay area three and a half years later under a collaborative
arrangement among SIL Chad, SIL Cameroon, COLAMA (Comité de Langue Mambay)
and MINREST (Ministère de la recherche scientifique et technique) of Cameroon. While
most of my time was to be devoted to fieldwork, I was given an opportunity to contribute
as a consultant by applying the result of my linguistics research to the development of an
orthography as part of a larger language development project (this is described in detail in
the following section). Eventually, the scope of my involvement expanded to embrace a
number of additional activities.
Much of my commitment to the language development project centred on the facilitation
of linguistics and computer courses and workshops for members of COLAMA and, later
on, the Bible translation team. This included training on phonetics and orthography, data
management, community vocabulary collection and lexicography, transcription of texts,
literacy primer construction, narrative discourse and translation. I was also privileged to
play a part in the reorganization of COLAMA, which evolved from a church-run Bible
translation committee into a non-partisan language committee whose increased repertoire
of activities came to represent and serve the Muslim as well as Christian segments of the
ethnic group.
Rather than taking away from the contemporaneous investment in fieldwork,
involvement in the language development project enriched my awareness of the Mambay
language and culture (see Kutsch Lojenga’s (1996) discussion of participatory research).
In this capacity, I was able to visit most of the larger Mambay villages; happily, these
were distributed in all three of the major dialect areas (1.2.3.3). Since all of the language
committee’s activities were conducted in Mambay (see 1.2.3.2), I was forced to pay close
attention to the language, especially at the point when colleagues in the committee felt
that it was no longer necessary to translate everything for me because I was beginning to
speak and understand the language. In addition, the vocabulary collection efforts of
several members of the language committee resulted in a lexicon of almost 2000 items.
This lexicon formed an underpinning for the 3450-word vocabulary prepared for the
purposes of this study and which will, hopefully, be published in a Mambay dictionary
(COLAMA in preparation).
Fieldwork was conducted between October 2003 and February 2006, and interposed by
two periods of write-up at Leiden University in the Netherlands: six months in 2004 and
three months in 2005. Three principal localities of field research may be distinguished:
1) the Mambay ethnic area, especially Kaakaala and the Mambay quarter of Figuil; 2) the
small Mambay community of N’Djaména; and 3) Maroua, where, with reliable
electricity, intensive instruction and elicitation sessions were conducted.
A large number of Mambay speakers assisted by providing and collecting data.
The principal collaborator for this study is Oussoumanou Kaa Bouba of Kaakyo’w
(Katchéo), Bibémi Subdivision, Bénoué Division, North Province, Cameroon. He speaks
the dialect on which this study has been primarily based, namely that which is found
south of the Mayo Kebbi River (1.2.3.3). Oussoumanou, who is 47 years old, works as a
29
geotechnical engineer, Bible translator, linguist, and cultivator. He is also a member of
COLAMA (Comité de Langue Mambay), and is active as a lay reader for the Catholic
community in Kaakyo’w and Bookiré. In addition to helping with hundreds of hours of
elicitation, Oussoumanou assisted by collecting vocabulary for a dictionary (COLAMA
in preparation), proofreading transcriptions, and helping defining orthographic
conventions and linguistic terminology for Mambay (see 1.3.3).
Other collaborators who contributed significantly to this study are acknowledged in the
following paragraphs.
Kada Moïse was born in Kaakaala (Kakala), Cameroon, where he still lives. He is the
deputy chief of Kaakaala, where he also works as a cultivator and community health care
facilitator. Kada hosted our family when we first moved to Kaakaala. He taught us much
useful vocabulary, and oriented us to the culture and historical context of the Mambay
people.
Sadou Kami Tao was born in Kaalaw (Kalao), Cameroon. He has lived for many years in
Figuil, Cameroon, where he worked as a civil servant until his retirement. Sadou
recounted and allowed me to record the early history of the Mambay, his own life story
and some of the vanishing religious rituals of the Mambay.
Yunusa Wuri was born in Kaagbungni (Kaboni), Chad. He now lives in Figuil, and has
worked as a merchant’s assistant. Yunusa helped with the translation of numerous texts
into French, and collaborated extensively in the production of data for tone analysis.
Titogo Tao Justin is from Kaakaala, although his family is originally from Kaagbungni.
He is now located in Figuil, where he has finished his studies and works as a tutor. Tao
was the principal resource person using the Chadian dialect of Mambay. and helped with
the elicitation of vocabulary.
Kwe Nathaniel was born in Kaagbungni, and continues to live there. He works as a grain
merchant and cultivator, and is the coordinator for COLAMA’s literacy programme. He
provided a number of texts, contributed to vocabulary collection for the dictionary, and
was active in the development of the orthography.
Koué Agabus was born in Kaagbungni. Presently, he is a pastor of an EFL (Église des
Frères Luthériens) church in Bidé, which is near Bibémi, Cameroon. Koué is a member
of the Bible translation team. He was involved in a number of training events, and
provided consistent criticism of transcribed texts and COLAMA publications.
Pévina Salomon, originally from Kaakaala and Kaagbungni, is currently studying in a
technical training school in N’Djaména. He helped with elicitation for a major initial
portion of vocabulary for the dictionary.
Badilou Kada is originally from Kaakaala. He now lives in Figuil, where he works in a
cement factory. Badilou who was the main informant from the dialect area north of the
30
Mayo Kebbi in Cameroon, thoughtfully and enthusiastically answered selected questions
on the language over a year-long period.
As the previous list shows, all of the major contributors to the present research were men.
The selection of collaborators reflects the choice of COLAMA and, indirectly, cultural
considerations since in Mambay culture a respectful distance is observed between the
sexes in most social contexts. Despite this shortcoming, numerous smaller selections of
data were consistently collected from women in public contexts.
1.3.3 Orthography used in this study
The phonological orthography used in this study is based on the standard Mambay
orthography (Anonby 2004a), but has been modified to reflect additional phonological
considerations.
The standard orthography reflects the work of many individuals and the collaboration of
the Mambay language community as a whole. The first version of the orthography,
which appeared in three publications (1995–2000), was designed by COLAMA (Comité
de Langue Mambay) based on the orthography of other regional languages and the
phonological transcriptions used in Eguchi’s (1971) study.
Several additional
orthographic issues were addressed in consultation with Gravina (2001).
While significant strides had been made toward the development of a standard
orthography, a number of issues continued to detract from its utility: these included an
incomplete alphabetic inventory, inconsistency, problematic interpretations of ambiguous
sequences, lack of tone marking, and variation between dialects (cf. 1.2.3.3). In a series
of workshops co-sponsored by SIL and COLAMA, Anonby and members of COLAMA
began to address these issues, and conventions set forth in Tadadjeu and Sadembouo’s
(1984) Alphabet générale des langues camerounaises and DAPLAN’s (2000) manuscript
Les lettres de l’alphabet national des langues du Tchad were put into practice. A
provisional version of the standard orthography was written up in Anonby (2004a), and a
refined version which includes some tone marking is to appear in Anonby and
Oussoumanou (2008 forthcoming).
The orthography used in this study is based on the latest version of the standard
orthography, but is more phonologically robust. The principal ways in which the two
writing systems differ are summarized in Figure 6 on the following page, and examples
are provided.
Phonetic transcriptions of Mambay data are given in square brackets; phonetic detail is
reserved for realizations of the segments under discussion in a given section. For the
most part, the phonetic transcription follows IPA (International Phonetic Association)
conventions. Minor divergences from the IPA alphabet are explained in 2.1.1.
31
Figure 6: Comparison of the standard Mambay orthography
with the orthography used in this study
standard Mambay
orthography
examples
orthography used in this
study
examples
tone marking is limited
to aspectual and modal
distinctions on subject
pronouns
suuzo ‘hair’
lexical and grammatical
tone are both fully
marked
sùùzó ‘hair’
ró voro ‘[you
(2pl.)] go!
predictable nasality on
vowels is unmarked
within a syllable
nama ‘animal’
morpheme-final CyVV
and CwVV sequences
are written with a single
vowel
zya ‘net’
preglottalized nasals are
written as implosives
followed by a nasalized
vowel
ara ‘friend’
glottalization on vowels
and preglottalization on
consonants are not
orthographically distinct
ku’ ‘sand’
morpheme-initial glottal
stops are unmarked
ahra ‘canoe’
morpheme boundaries
within words are
unmarked
tivina ‘woman
(respect form)’
capitalization is used for
proper names and at the
beginning of sentences
Taw ‘(personal
name)’
biiru ‘cobra’
rwa ‘fool’
%aa ‘flow’
’wahra ‘debt’
oo ‘braid (v.)’
all nasality on vowels is
marked
ró vòró ‘[you
(2pl.)] go!
nàmá ‘animal’
bíírù ‘cobra’
morpheme-final CyVV
zyáà ‘net’
and CwVV sequences are
rwáà ‘fool’
written with a double
vowel
preglottalized nasals are
demonstrated to be
contrastive (2.1.2.3) and
are written as such
Nmárà ‘friend’
glottalization on vowels
is marked with a curved
apostrophe, and preglottalization on consonants
is marked with a straight
apostrophe
kû’ ‘sand’
glottal stops are marked
everywhere
)àhrá ‘canoe’
morpheme boundaries
within words are marked
tí-vínà ‘woman
(respect form)’
heezi ‘they
climbed’
Nnáá ‘flow’
Nwàhrá ‘debt’
)óó ‘braid (v.)’
hèè-zí ‘they
climbed’
capitalization is not used
32
tâw ‘(personal
name)’
2
PHONOLOGICAL STRUCTURE
2
PHONOLOGICAL STRUCTURE
The Mambay language is characterized by a rich system of phonological structures. In
this chapter, consonants and vowels are treated first (2.1 and 2.2). While some of the
phonetic phenomena that have been explored in Anonby (2006) are reviewed here,
analyses of phonological structures, in particular issues relating to both consonants and
vowels (2.3), are pursued in greater detail. These sections are followed by descriptions of
syllable structure (2.4) and word structure (2.5). Additional chapters have been devoted
to nasality (Chapter 4) and tone (Chapter 5); each of these phenomena represents an
involved system which functions in reference to the structures described in the present
chapter.
The section on consonants presents an inventory of twenty-nine contrastive consonants in
Mambay, with four additional consonants found in borrowed words (2.1.1). The six
attested places of articulation (labial, alveolar, palatal, velar, labial-velar and glottal)
reflect a system typical of the Niger-Congo phylum in general (Williamson and Blench
2000:37) and the Kebi-Benue languages in particular (Boyd 1974:21, Elders 2006).
However, the palatal series in particular is less developed than that which has been
described in closely related languages (ibid.); contrastive palatal stops, prenasalized
stops, fricatives and nasals are all absent in Mambay.
Nine distinct manners of consonant articulation are represented (see the chart in 2.1.1
below). These are, for the most part, the same as those of closely related languages.
However, the prenasalized stops found in other Kebi-Benue languages (Boyd 1974:21–
2)—albeit on a reduced scale in the Northern group (Elders 2006)—are lacking in words
of Mambay origin. Two other conspicuous components of the consonant inventory are a
profoundly phonologized labial flap (2.1.8) and a robust glottalic series consisting of
eight members, five of which are oral and three of which are nasal. Along with other
glottalic segments, the two implosives in the language pattern as sonorants rather than
obstruents, since they are sensitive to nasality (2.1.1 below and 3.2; see also Kaye 1981,
Creissels 1994:107 and Clements 2000:132).
The distribution of consonants, which is discussed in various syllable and morpheme
positions (2.1.2), is followed by an establishment of contrast among members of the
inventory (2.1.3). Further sections devoted to consonants regard interpretive issues
(2.1.4), internal structure of consonants (2.1.5), phonetic realizations (2.1.6), airstream
mechanisms (2.1.7) and the labial flap (2.1.8).
33
The section on vowels presents a system with five basic units: i e a o u (2.2.1). This
basic inventory is simpler than those found in most other Kebi-Benue languages, some of
which contain ten basic vowels (Boyd 1974:38–40, 56; Elders 2000:39). In contrast to
many other Niger-Congo languages, there is no ATR (advanced tongue root) vowel
harmony in Mambay; the additional vowel qualities [O] and [P] are found only as
realizations of e and o in closed syllables (2.2.5). However, the basic vowels in Mambay
occur with four other vowel modifications: length, nasalization, glottalization and
pharyngealization. In some cases, only a reduced inventory is found with a particular
modification. Since several combinations of the vowel modifications are permitted, a
total of thirty contrastive vowel qualities are represented. While vowel modifications
may have originated as consonants (Boyd 1974:56–7), they have been interpreted as
synchronically vocalic in Mambay (2.3.3.2, 2.3.3.3). The existence of pharyngeal
articulations in particular is fascinating, since in Africa this phenomenon is for the most
part restricted to the Afro-Asiatic languages of the north and north-eastern parts of the
continent, and Khoisan languages in the southwest (Clements 2000:128, 139).
The distribution of vowels in the language is presented in 2.2.2. Contrasts between
vowels are established in 2.2.3, and interpretive issues relating to vowels (2.2.4) are
followed by a discussion of their phonetic realizations (2.2.5).
The section on issues relating to both consonants and vowels first outlines limitations on
which consonants and vowels may occur with each other (2.3.1). The establishment of
contrast for glottalic sequences across syllable boundaries (2.3.2) is followed by an indepth examination of possible interpretations for semivowels (2.3.3.1 and 2.3.3.4),
pharyngeal articulations (2.3.3.2), and glottalic articulations in syllable rhymes (2.3.3.3).
The perplexing behaviour of glottalic articulations in this position is reminiscent of that
found in mid 20th-century descriptions of the Oto-Manguean languages of southern
Mexico (Aschmann 1946, Pickett 1951, Longacre 1955, Robbins 1961, Pike 1967:387)),
and a later study on Duru / Yag Dii of north-central Cameroon (Bohnhoff 1976, 1987).
While the Mexican studies treat glottalization as the distribution of glottal consonants
within syllable nuclei, Bohnhoff assigns this phenomenon to structurally discrete “double
vowels.”
The section on syllable structure catalogues the seven attested syllable shapes in the
language (2.4.1) and provides a description of syllable structure (2.4.2) and syllable
weight (2.4.3). Four noteworthy properties of syllables in Mambay, especially within the
context of sub-Saharan African languages are: the requirement that all syllables have an
onset; the existence of complex (CC) onsets; syllable codas in which most consonants
may be found; and the existence of a number of morphemes containing superheavy
CVVC syllables.
The chapter concludes with a section on word structure. The possibilities available to
phonological words are discussed in reference to syllable structure and derivational as
well as inflectional morphology (2.5).
34
The phonetic transcription in this chapter is concerned with segmental phonology; details
pertaining to nasality and tone are presented more fully in the relevant chapters (4 and 5).
In addition, phonetic detail is reserved for realizations of the segments under discussion
in a given section.
2.1 Consonants
In the present section, an inventory of consonants is provided (2.1.1). The distribution of
consonants in various morpheme and syllable positions (2.1.2) is coupled with a
demonstration of contrast among them (2.1.3). Additional topics are interpretive issues
(2.1.4), the internal structure of certain consonants (2.1.5), phonetic realizations (2.1.6)
and airstream mechanisms (2.1.7). A special section is devoted to a discussion of the
labial flap (2.1.8).
2.1.1 Inventory of consonants
The consonant inventory of Mambay, presented in phonological orthography, may be
schematized as follows:
alveolar
velar
labialvelar
glottal
voiceless stops
p
t
k
kp
())
voiced stops
b
d
g
gb
voiceless fricatives
f
s
voiced fricatives
v
z
nasal glottalic series
Nm
Nn
N7
nasals
m
n
7
flaps and trills
vb
r
oral glottalic series
%
Q
Nw
)
l
y
w
h
sonorants
obstruents
manner
approximants
palatal
labial
place
(h)
Besides these consonants, which form a core within the inventory, four additional stops j
b nd 7g are found in words borrowed from Fulfulde.
m
Default phonetic realizations of consonants whose orthographic symbolization differs
significantly from counterparts in the IPA alphabet are as follows:
Q
preglottalized palatal approximant
(IPA [)j])
y
palatal approximant
(IPA [j])
35
vb
bilabial flap
(IPA [
̟ ]; cf. 2.1.8)
j
voiced palatal-alveolar affricate
(IPA [dM])
Phonetic realizations are described in greater detail for the consonant inventory as a
whole in 2.1.6.
As shown by the chart, consonants are articulated in six different places, and nine
manners of articulation are attested. An additional precision regarding place of
articulation is that the consonants % and r are realized with either alveolar or retroflex
alveolar articulation depending on their position within a morpheme (2.1.6.2, 2.1.6.4).
Among the nine manners of articulation, a basic division exists between obstruents and
sonorants. Only for obstruents, which are represented by stops and fricatives, is a
distinction in voicing contrastive (although it is only found in morpheme-initial position;
see 2.1.3.2). In addition, obstruents are impervious to the effects of nasality, and block
the association of nasality within morphemes (3.2.1, 3.4.2).
Sonorants, in contrast, are generally voiced, and are either nasal or inherently nasalizable
(3.2). Although implosives contain a glottalic stop component, they pattern with
sonorants rather than obstruents, since they cannot retain their oral quality when nasality
is found elsewhere within the same morpheme (3.3.2.1). The glottal stop is placed in the
same category based on symmetry, although there is no language-internal phonological
evidence that points either way regarding its behaviour in reference to nasality. The
patterning of the glottal fricative h is also uncertain; it likely patterns as a sonorant, since
it does not block the spread of nasality within a morpheme (note however that there is
only one example in which the behaviour of nasality in relation to h can be observed; cf.
3.4.1), and since it alternates with y and w in certain morphological contexts (5.2.2.2.1).
For this reason, if has been classified in the table above as an approximant rather than a
fricative.
The obstruent/sonorant identity of the labial flap vb cannot be determined with respect to
nasality, since it is overwhelmingly found in morpheme-initial position (2.1.2.1), where
the blocking of nasal association within morphemes is not testable, and where there is no
attested spread of nasality to or from morphemes on the left side; also, there are no
morpheme-internal co-occurrences of vb and nasality in the data (3.4.1).
While the schematization of sonorants on the consonant chart for the most part reflects a
sonority hierarchy, glottalic sonorants and their non-glottalic counterpart have been
placed in adjacent rows (see 2.3.3.3.1.1 for further discussion of this phonological
pairing).
2.1.2 Distribution
There are limitations on the distribution of consonants related to positions in syllables
(2.4) and morphemes (2.5). The following four positions are relevant for Mambay:
36
1.
2.
3.
4.
morpheme-initial onsets (2.1.2.1);
non morpheme-initial onsets (2.1.2.2);
morpheme-final codas (2.1.2.3); and
non morpheme-final codas (2.1.2.4).
Distributional possibilities in consonant sequences are discussed separately for
morpheme-initial (2.1.2.5) and morpheme-internal (2.1.2.6) positions. Geminates, which
pattern differently than individual consonants in sequences, are treated in 2.1.2.7. All
other consonantal distribution patterns that have been observed are considered in 2.1.2.8.
2.1.2.1 Morpheme-initial onsets
Almost all consonants are found in morpheme-initial onsets; only the velar nasals 7 and
N7 are absent. Examples of consonants in this position are as follows:
p
b
t
d
k
g
gb
kp
f
v
s
z
Nm
Nn
m
n
vb
r
%
Q
Nw
)
l
y
w
h
páá
bàà
táá
dáá
káh
gáà
gbáh
kpàg
fàh
váá
sáá
zàà
Nmáá
Nnáá
màà
náá
vbáh
ráá
áà
%áá
Qáá
Nwáá
)áá
làà
yáh
wáà
hàà
cultivate
grow, harden
stir
fight (v.)
like, ask, tip over
state of fasting
catch, thicken, befit
call with the hand
seduce
bless
tell, trick, finish
cross (tr.)
respect (v.)
stretch
give an opinion
touch
share, divide
spread out
tree sp.
find, succeed, have
move away
split
open, lose taste
eat
take
fig, fig tree
surround
In words borrowed from Fulfulde, the consonants j
37
m
b nd 7g are found in this position.
j
m
b
d
7
g
n
jám
m
bây
n
dóò
7
gàm
good
manioc
that (anaphoric demonstrative)
because
2.1.2.2 Non morpheme-initial onsets
In syllable onsets in non morpheme-initial position, the following consonants are found:
p/b
t
k/g
f/v
s/z
Nm
Nn
m
n
vb
r
%
Q
l
y
w
h
zábà
kètí
kágà
ráávà
bàzá
tì-góNmi
ná-bìbùNnà
sámà
nánà T
féévbà
párà
páà
wá%à
NmàQá
sàlá
fáyá7
ná-wíwàh
bàháà
scorpion
sky, life, above
chicken
grass sp.
dancing skirt
wrinkle
small bee sp.
pregnancy
maternal uncle
pair of twins
goodness
milk
boule with sauce
fast
cowrie shell
light (weight), agile
belt made of bells
ibis sp.
Since oral obstruents (with the marginal exception of t and d; see 2.1.2.7) show no
contrast in non morpheme-initial position, they are paired in the lists in this section, and
are written in the phonological orthography using a single symbol, namely that of the
voiced counterpart (see 2.1.3.2 for further explanation).
The absence of velar nasals 7 and N7 in non morpheme-initial onsets parallels their
absence in morpheme-initial onsets (2.1.2.1). The labial-velars kp and gb and the glottal
stop ) are also absent here.
Since other glottalized consonants and semivowels are found here, the absence of Nw
likely reflects its sparse representation in the lexicon rather than a phonological
restriction.
The absence of d in non morpheme-initial onsets may be relegated to a general historical
weakening of d to r in non morpheme-initial position (Boyd 1974:23); alternatively, it
could be viewed as a synchronic neutralization of contrast between members of the pair
38
d/r. More surprising than the absence of d is the presence of t in this position in seven
words in the data:
àtì
gbàrgàtàg
kètí
sí-kètí
tí-kúr-kùùtí
vbàhtátá
wátùtáà
two
completely
sky, life, above
God
water plant sp.
strong and healthy, solid
salt, sugar
The presence of t in this position is in contradiction to the distribution of other
obstruents, all of which are voiced; for at least some of the words, this asymmetry may be
due to synchronic or historical morphological complexity.
2.1.2.3 Morpheme-final codas
In morpheme-final codas, the following consonants are found:
p/b
t
k/g
f/v
s/z
Nm
Nn
m
n
7
r
%
Q
Nw
l
y
w
ràb
kpàt
ág
ròv
gbìrìz
dèNm
gùNn
ám
kàn
lá7
zèr
sà
Qà%
tàQ
nàNw
sèl
lèy
wàhw
hug
far
meet, support
scald
frighteningly
comment (v.)
accompany
trample, carve
pass, exceed, abuse
move
comb
vomit
feel, rub
sway rhythmically
spank
dispute (v.)
groan, crash, order
bark (v.)
(The pairing and orthographic representation of obstruents, for which there is no voicing
contrast in this position, is explained in 2.1.3.2).
Missing from this position are the labial-velars kp and gb, the glottal consonants ) and h,
the preglottalized nasal N7, and the labial flap vb. The additional lack of d in this
position is discussed in 2.1.2.2.
39
The inventory of consonants in morpheme-final codas is surprisingly rich. Two
comments relate to this. First, the lexicon reveals that sonorants are much more common
in this position than obstruents. Second, some of the consonants appear to have arisen
here historically as verbal extensions which have been fused to the verb root (7.2).
2.1.2.4 Non morpheme-final codas
In non morpheme-final codas, the following consonants are found:
p/b
t
k/g
f/v
s/z
Nm
Nn
N7
m
n
7
r
%
Nw
l
y
w
gáhblà
kpâtgá
ná-kógrà
gbòvví
mìzzí
ná-dóNmnà
mûNnrá
sùN7gá
nà-kêmrá
kángà
kpò7rá
bêrgá
lólà
%â%rá
kpéNwrà
hàlgá
nà-lêyrá
gáwrà
hare
distance
worm
wash clothes
sprinkle
anus
moan, groan
razor
youthfulness (man’s)
male circumcision
tibia (of animal)
sweetness
island
sowing
melon
crab
grinding, command
savannah
(As mentioned in the preceding section, the pairing and orthographic representation of
obstruents, for which there is no voicing contrast in this position, is explained in 2.1.3.2).
As is the case for morpheme-final codas, the consonants d kp gb vb ) h are missing in
this position (re. the absence of d, see 2.1.2.2). In addition, Q is not attested. In contrast,
N7 appears in this position even though it is not attested in morpheme-final codas.
For a number of consonants that are attested in non morpheme-final codas, there are
significant morphological restrictions in distribution. The consonants Nn n % are only
found in fossilized verbal nouns (5.9.2); f/v and s/z are only found as part of geminates in
ideophonic verbs (2.1.2.7, 7.1.2.2); and t is limited to these two morphological contexts.
2.1.2.5 Morpheme-initial consonant sequences
Syllable onsets may be simple or complex (2.4.2). A complex onset, which is always
morpheme-initial, contains two C positions (2.4.2). There are distributional limitations
on the consonants that may occur in either position. In the second C position, only the
semivowels y and w may be found (the interpretation of y and w in this position is
40
defended in 2.3.3.1). As the following list shows, most consonants are attested in the first
onset position preceding these semivowels:
p
b
t
d
k
g
kp
f
v
s
z
m
n
Nm
vb
r
%
l
pyâh
byàá
tyáà
—
kyáh
gyàà
kpyáà
fyáà
vyáh
syáà
zyáà
myû’
—
—
vbyâh
ryáh
yá7
%yóò
—
stream, spring
water
fish sp.
ask, love, praise
care for a child
leopard
moon, month, festival
winnow
tree sp., bark used for rope
net
cat
cheek
curse, mourn
growl
grass sp.
pwáh
bwáà
twáà
dwáh
kwáà
gwàà
—
fwáh
vwáà
swaFh
zwâ’
mwì’
nwâ’
NmwaFN
vbwâh
rwáh
—
%wá’
lwàhná
wet (v.)
roan antelope
newness
shoot, sting, bud (v)
grass
rob
wash, bless
dog
tree sp.
ancestry
smile
hole, den
snake sp.
fog, cloudburst
anoint liberally
bloom, push aside
edible plant sp.
Consonants after which neither y nor w is found within an onset are gb 7 Nn N7 Q Nw ) y
w h. While the absence of 7 N7 Q Nw y w h in the first onset position is systematic, that
of gb and Nn may be due to their modest frequency in the lexicon, since the analogous
consonants kp as well as Nm and n are found in this context. The absence of ) is related
to the interpretation of preglottalized semivowels presented in 2.1.4.2.
In addition, y is not found after Nm or the alveolar consonants d n and l; and w is not
found after the consonants kp and , both of which also exhibit a labial articulation.
2.1.2.6 Morpheme-internal consonant sequences
Because of the robust consonant inventory in morpheme-internal onsets (2.1.2.2) and
codas (2.1.2.4), many different consonant sequences are attested across syllable
boundaries within morphemes. (Geminate consonants are treated separately in 2.1.2.7).
The inventory of consonants in the first position of heterosyllabic consonant sequences is
addressed in the section dealing with non morpheme-final codas (2.1.2.4), since the two
positions are structurally equivalent in Mambay.
The inventory of consonants found in the second position of heterosyllabic consonant
sequences is more restricted than that found in the first position. In addition to d kp gb
7 N7 Nw, which are absent from morpheme-internal onsets, t, h, the glottalic consonants 41
% Q Nw Nm Nn and the semivowels y w are absent from the second position of morphemeinternal consonant sequences. Only the following consonants are found there:
p/b
k/g
f/v
s/z
m
n
vb
r
l
kàrbá
hàlgá
kú%vò
sígzò
tàrmá
márnà
lwâgvbá
ná-kógrà
pìrlá
lungfish
crab
smoke
middle
harmattan, haze
older sibling
tenderness, youngness
worm
torch, flashlight
Once positional distribution of consonants in heterorganic clusters is taken into
consideration, there are few systematic restrictions on the combinations that may be
found. Of these constraints, the obligatory sharing of nasality is the most important, and
is discussed in 3.4.2. Another important gap concerns the sequences nr and lr, since
elsewhere l n and r are all frequently attested in both positions of consonant sequences.
In contrast, remaining patterns of combinatory possibilities are allowed. For example,
even heterorganic nasal-stop sequences, which are cross-linguistically marked, are
attested in Mambay:
fàmgá
kángà
cf. %á7gà
announcement
male circumcision
ground squirrel
2.1.2.7 Geminate consonants
Geminate consonants are uncommon, and most of the words in which they are attested
are non-canonical (1.3.1). Still, it is basically the high-frequency, phonologically noncomplex consonants which are found as geminates; a conspicuous gap in the inventory of
geminates is that of glottalic consonants and labial-velars.
Several consonants appear as geminates where they are absent in sequences: d t (first and
second sequence positions; d only in borrowed words) and y w (second position; cf.
2.1.2.6).
An exhaustive list of words with geminate consonants is as follows:
locust sp.
p/b
nà-bàbbá
d
)àddá
older female relative (cf. Fulf. adda)
èddí
increase (cf. Fulf. ezd-)
dàddà-yûhrí bunting (bird sp.) (cf. Fulf. dadda ‘grandmother’)
42
pull away
soap
pluck
unroll (shutters)
t
bìttí
ná-túttè
tùttí
vbìttí
k/g
nà-syàggàm (in nà-syàggàm àhy ‘electric fish’)
f/v
gbòvví
wash clothes
s/z
gìzzìg
mìzzí
with a flop
sprinkle
m
)àmmá
but (cf. Arabic amma ‘but,’ via Fulf. amma)
n
Nmánnà
kpánnà
sànná
truth
penis
pus
l
nà-kûllá
nà-táálUlá
youthfulness (woman’s)
ant sp.
y
)áhyyáà
)àyyéé
oh dear!
indeed! (cf. Chadian Arabic ayye ‘yes’)
w
kpàhwwà
)òwwó
rattling and glittering
yes
2.1.2.8 Other distributional patterns
In addition to the distributional constraints on consonants defined by positions in
syllables and morphemes (2.1.2.1-2.1.2.7), two other patterns have been observed. First,
there are constraints on the shared nasal value of consonants occurring together in
syllables and morphemes. This phenomenon is discussed at length in 3.4.
Second, there are only a few instances of morpheme-internal syllables in the data where
the same consonant is found in the onset and the coda of a single syllable. Where this
does occur, examples are largely limited to non-canonical words (1.3.1) and verb stems
which contain synchronically fused verbal extensions (7.2). An exhaustive list of words
containing a syllable with the same consonant in onset and coda is as follows:
p/b nà-bàbbá
locust sp.
t
soap
pluck
ná-túttè
tùttí
k/g gàg
prevent, be capable
43
góg
gógrà
gyáglè
kàgzàg
kòg
kyág
nà-kógrà
ná-kógrà
jump, fly
bee, flock of birds (cf. góg jump, fly)
flute
with a flop
see (VN)
hurt
look (n.) (cf. kòg ‘see (VN)’)
fish sp., worm
m
màmbày
nà-mâm
Mambay
opinion
n
nàn
nànzà
touch (cf. náá ‘touch’)
1&2PL.INDEP
%
%à%
%â%rá
sow, plant
sowing (cf. %à% ‘sow, plant’)
l
làl
lòl
eat time after time (cf. làà ‘eat’)
crunch, chomp, snack on
While the distribution and frequency of consonants in codas may contribute to this
tendency, it does not explain it adequately, since CVC and CCVC syllables with a wide
range of coda consonants are extremely common in the lexicon (2.1.2.3, 2.1.2.4, 2.4.1).
No other restrictions on the co-occurrence of non-contiguous consonants within
morphemes have been observed.
2.1.3 Contrast
Contrast among oral consonants may be established from the morpheme-initial inventory
(2.1.2.1), and contrast between nasal and oral consonants is evident in morpheme-final
position (2.1.2.3). Outstanding issues in contrast which call for additional evidence are
the inventory of nasals (2.1.3.1) and the limitation of voicing contrast in obstruents
(2.1.3.2).
Additional questions involving the interpretation of consonants are addressed in 2.1.4.
2.1.3.1 Contrast among nasals
Since 7 and N7 are not found in syllable onsets, contrast among nasal consonants must be
demonstrated in coda position. The following set of words shows this:
Nm
Nn
N7
hâNmgá
mînmìNngá
sùN7gá
bluntness
sterility (soil)
razor
44
m
n
7
announcement
male circumcision
ground squirrel
fàmgá
kángà
%á7gà
2.1.3.2 Limitation of voicing contrast in obstruents
Voiced and voiceless oral obstruents contrast in morpheme-initial position (2.1.2.1).
However, in non morpheme-initial positions, voicing contrast is almost always absent.
For the obstruent pairs p/b, k/g, f/v and s/z, phonetically voiceless obstruents are found
in codas, while phonetically voiced counterparts are found in non morpheme-initial
onsets. k/g is exceptional in that it may be optionally voiced in codas (2.1.6.1), but it is
consistent with the other obstruents in that there is no contrast signalled by voicing in this
position. In other words, non morpheme-initial obstruents are specified for place of
articulation, but not for voicing. Examples of obstruents in each position, along with
phonetic realizations, are as follows:
non morpheme-initial onsets:
p/b
k/g
f/v
s/z
zá(p/b)à
ká(k/g)à
nú(f/v)à
má(s/z)à
scorpion
chicken
fat (n.)
first child after remarriage
[zábà]
[kágà]
[núvà]
[mázà]
non morpheme-final codas:
p/b
k/g
f/v
s/z
nà-ré(p/b)là
pí(k/g)lò
—
—
[nàréplà]
[píklò] ~ [píYlò]
—
—
tuber sp.
bile
—
—
morpheme-final codas:
p/b
k/g
f/v
s/z
rà(p/b)
á(k/g)
rò(f/v)
gbìrì(s/z)
[ràp[]
[ák[] ~ [áY]
[ròf]
[gbìrìs]
hug
meet, support
scald
frighteningly
When voiced oral obstruents in syllable onsets are reassigned to coda position as a result
of syntactic and morphophonological processes, they lose their voicing (2.1.6.1). This is
evident in the following possessive constructions (cf. 5.3):
zá(p/b)à
zâ(p/b) )íí
scorpion
my scorpion
[zábà]
[zâp )íí]
45
ká(k/g)à
kâ(k/g) )íí
[kágà]
[kâk )íí] ~ [kâY )íí]
chicken
my chicken
nú(f/v)à
nû(f/v) )íí
[núvà]
[nûf )íí]
fat
my fat
má(s/z)à
mâ(s/z) )íí
[mázà]
[mâs )íí]
first child after remarriage
my first child after remarriage
This phenomenon strengthens the argument that the obstruent pairs do not exhibit
contrast non morpheme-initially. If the present discussion is taken into consideration, the
resyllabification of the obstruents as coda consonants is sufficient to explain the change
in voicing.
Since (with the exception of t and d) they show no contrast in non morpheme-initial
position, oral obstruents are written throughout this study using a single symbol, namely
that of the voiced counterpart (which is, as mentioned in the preceding paragraph,
devoiced as a result of resyllabification in codas). This is consistent with the standard
Mambay orthography (1.3.3).
t and d differ from other oral obstruents in three ways. First, it is the voiceless obstruent
t rather than d that is found (albeit uncommonly) in non morpheme-initial onsets
(2.1.2.2).
àtì
gbàrgàtàg
wátùtáà
two
completely
salt, sugar
Second, there is a marginal contrast between the two consonants morpheme-internally
when they appear as geminates (2.1.2.7).
t
bìttì
ná-túttè
pull away
soap
d
)àddá
èddì
older female relative (cf. Fulf. adda)
increase (cf. Fulf. ezd-)
Third, and unlike other obstruents, t seems to be inherently voiceless, since it causes
consonants which follow it to be devoiced (2.1.6.6).
kpâtgá [kpât[ká]
kpàtgì [kpàt[kì]
distance
become distant
For these reasons, the two consonants are not treated as a set, and in all contexts each
consonant retains its own symbol in the phonological orthography.
46
2.1.4 Issues in consonant interpretation
The phonological status of three consonantal phenomena requires interpretation: that of
the glottal stop in morpheme-initial position (2.1.4.1), preglottalized semivowels
(2.1.4.2), and palatal and labialized velar nasals (2.1.4.3).
2.1.4.1 The glottal stop in morpheme-initial position
The glottal stop poses interpretive challenges in morpheme-initial position as well as in
syllable rhymes. In morpheme-initial position, it is debatable whether or not the glottal
stop is a contrastive consonant or whether it is demarcative (that is, a predictable effect of
its morphological context); this question is posed in Anonby (2006:224) but is not
answered there. In syllable rhymes, the glottal stop could be interpreted as a consonant, a
vowel feature, or a feature associated with glottalic consonants that follow vowels. The
two issues are related, since positing contrast for the glottal stop in one position would
have consequences for the other position. The phonological status of the glottal stop in
morpheme-initial position is addressed in the present section, and its status elsewhere is
pursued in 2.3.3.3.
The glottal stop is phonetically salient in morpheme-initial position:
)áá
)ìn
)éé
)óó
)ùl
[)áá]
[)ìn]
[)éé]
[)óó]
[)ùl]
open, lose taste
lift, carry
fail, miss
braid rope, compress
blow
Even at the beginning of utterance-internal morphemes, including those that follow words
ending in consonants, it is retained:
ná-)áà
[ná)áà]
ná-ráh-)áà
[náráh)áà]
tí-kpâ-kpàr-)áà [tíkpâkpàr)áà]
bean leaves (cf. noun prefix ná-, )áà ‘bean’)
snake sp. (cf. ná-râh ‘snake sp.,’ )áà ‘bean’)
wheatear (bird sp.) (cf. )áà ‘bean’)
làà )ígà
[làà )ígà]
kàm )ígà
[kàm )ígà]
kòg )ígà
[kòg )ígà]
to eat something (cf. làà ‘eat (VN),’ )ígà
‘thing’)
to weave something (cf. kàm ‘weave (VN),’
)ígà ‘thing’)
to see something (cf. kòg ‘see (VN),’ )ígà
‘thing’)
There are two interpretive possibilities for the glottal stop: it could arise predictably
before vowels in morpheme-initial position, or it could be a contrastive consonant there.
On the one hand, it is not unreasonable to posit the predictable articulation of the glottal
stop whenever a morpheme is vowel-initial. Studies of other Kebi-Benue languages have
uniformly followed this interpretation (see Elders 2006 for a listing), and the most
47
important comparative/historical study in this family does not regard the glottal stop as a
member of the proto-language’s morpheme-initial consonant inventory (Boyd 1974:33).
On the other hand, there are some satisfactory arguments that the glottal stop contrasts
with other consonants in morpheme-initial position. The invariable realization of the
glottal stop before morpheme-initial vowels, as in the above examples, is one of these
indicators. The contrastive value of glottalic articulations elsewhere in the language as
part of glottalic consonants (2.1.5) and glottalized vowels (2.2.1) also supports this
possibility, and one morphophonological process in which a glottal stop contributes its
glottalic feature to a vowel (5.12.1.1) underlines such a phonological relationship.
Further, the positing of contrast here would help to address the relatively low incidence
of morphemes which would otherwise be considered vowel-initial (about 1% of nouns
and 5% of verbs). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it promotes a simpler inventory
of allowable CV shapes (cf. 2.4.1); there is no need to posit several additional V-initial
syllables.
Given these factors, the morpheme-initial glottal stop is treated as a consonant in the
present study.
2.1.4.2 Preglottalized semivowels
The categorization of phonetically preglottalized semivowels [)y] and [)w] in syllable
onsets also calls for interpretation. Given the interpretation of the glottal stop as
contrastive (2.1.4.1), and given that the language permits consonant sequences in
morpheme-initial syllable onsets where y or w is the second consonant (2.1.2.5), then two
options are available for the interpretation of [)y] and [)w] onsets: as CC clusters )y and
)w, or as contrastive C units Q (=Ny) and Nw. There is no contrast between these two
phonological possibilities in the language, so a single interpretation is appropriate.
Both [)y] and [)w] are moderately represented in the lexicon; in fact, there are about as
many words beginning with these onsets as there are words beginning with [)] followed
by a vowel. This lends a small amount of support in favour of a unitary interpretation of
[)y] and [)w], but is not decisive.
The existence of preglottalized stops in syllable codas (2.1.2.3, 2.1.2.4 above) should be a
crucial factor in determining their status in morpheme-initial onsets; however,
preglottalized stops are also ambiguous in coda position, since they depend on the
interpretation of V-glottal-C sequences as vowels followed by a preglottalized consonant
(2.3.3.3).
There is, in fact, one substantial problem with an interpretation of [)y] and [)w] as
sequences: the occurrence of [)y] in a morpheme-internal onset in two lexical items.
NmàQá
[Nmà)yá]
‘fast’
ná-dâr-kwéQà [nádârkwé)yà] ‘tree sp.’
48
Since syllables with y and w as the second onset consonant are always morpheme-initial
(and never morpheme-internal), a unitary interpretation of these onsets as Q is necessary
here. The parallel interpretation of Q as a single C in morpheme-initial position is a
natural consequence of this assessment.
In order to maintain symmetry with Q, it is appropriate to interpret [)w] as the unit
consonant Nw. The resulting analysis of Q and Nw as contrastive units accords well with
descriptions of several other Kebi-Benue languages (Ubels and Ubels 1984:20; Elders
1995:1, 2000:23, 2006; see also ambiguous data in Ruelland 1992:30).
2.1.4.3 Palatal and labialized velar nasals
The consonant chart given in 2.1.1 shows that palatal and labialized velar nasals \ and 7w
are not included in the inventory of contrastive consonants. The same is true for the
glottalized counterparts of these nasals. In reality, these gaps in the inventory result from
the interpretation of phonetic palatal and labialized velar nasals as nasalized semivowels.
The reasoning behind this interpretation is given in the present section first for palatal
nasals, and then for labialized velar nasals.
Phonetically, the palatal nasal [\] and the preglottalized palatal nasal [)\] are found in a
subset of onset and coda positions. In utterance-initial position and following
morphemes that end in an oral segment, both [\] and [)\] are found. However, when
they follow nasal or nasalized segments within an utterance, they are realized as nasalized
semivowels [y]] and [)y]] respectively (cf. 3.3.2).
[\]âh
sáà [y]]âh
stalk (n.)
in the stalk
[)\]âh
sáà [)y]]âh
name
in the name
Elsewhere, morphophonological evidence shows that the palatal semivowel y is nasalized
and pronounced as [y]] when it is found next to a nasalized vowel in the same
phonological word (3.3.2.2, 3.4.3).
páà
man
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
pá[y]]
my father (inal.)
páà-vàà
husband
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
páà-vá[y]]
my husband (inal.)
mìí
kúú
1SG:PFV.NEG grab:PFV
=yá
NEG
49
mìí kúú=[y]]á
I did not grab
kùù
=yá
cf. mìí
1SG:PFV.NEG gather.firewood:PFV NEG
mìí kùù=yá
I did not gather firewood
This causes difficulty for the interpretation of a nasal(ized) palatal consonant after a
nasalized vowel: it could either be a palatal nasal \ which is structurally equivalent to y
before nasal vowels; it could be a ny sequence, since such sequences are found with other
consonants; or it could be y underlyingly. There is no contrast between the three
structures in any position.
[\] is also found in syllable codas, but its occurrence there gives no additional support to
the existence of \ as a contrastive consonant, since it is explainable as a realization of 7
after front vowels (2.1.6.7).
bî7
bèlè7
[bî\]
[bèlè\]
forest
eagle sp.
cf. saF7
tì-tô7
kpú7
[saF7]
[tìtô7]
[kpú7]
ill omen
remains
hill
Similar issues relate to the labialized velar nasals in the data. Parallel to [\] and [)\],
both [7w] and [)7w] are found in utterance-initial position and following morphemes that
end in an oral segment. When [7w] and [)7w] are found after nasal or nasalized
segments within an utterance, they too are realized as approximants:
[7w]áà
sáà [w]]áà
nose
in the nose
[)7w]íh[)w]]íh achy and restless
Theoretically, the underlying identity of the labialized velar nasals [7w] [)7w] and
nasalized labial-velars [w]] [)w]] in these words could be any of the following pairs of
contrastive consonants or consonant sequences:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7w / )7w
7w / )7w
nw / )nw
mw / )mw
7m / )7m
w / )w
The first possibility (7w / )7w) is rejected because labialization is not a feature of the
consonant system (2.1.1). The consonant sequences 7w and N7w in (2) are not viable
alternatives, since a more basic consonant 7 is never found in onset position without
labialization (2.1.2.1, 2.1.2.2). The sequences in (3) and (4) nw mw Nmw (and Nnw by
50
extension) should be ruled out because they contrast with [7w] in morpheme-initial
position, as shown by the following words:
[7w]áà
nwaFh
mwì’
NmwaF’
nose
wound (n.)
smile
snake sp.
The possibility that the pair 7m / )7m (6) underlies the realizations [7w] [)7w] as well as
[w]] [)w]] should be regarded with caution because there are no examples of underlyingly
nasal consonants in the language which lose their oral closure (resulting in realizations
like [w]] [)w]]) any environment.
While (in contrast to y) there is no morphophonological evidence that proves that [w]] is a
realization of w in a nasal context, there is one morphophonological process in which
[7w] ~ [w]] behaves like the consonant w: namely, when w is found before a back vowel
as the result of its morphological context, it alternates with h as follows (see 5.2.2.2.1):
[7w]áà +
chief
)íí
1SG.POSS
húù )íí
my chief
wáà
fig
)íí
1SG.POSS
hóò )íí
my fig
+
Since this process reveals that [7w] is subject to the same constraints as w in a particular
context, it is not unlikely that [7w] is w underlyingly. Intuitively, the transformation of
[7w] into h in this process seems less plausible than that of w into h, since between [7w]
and h an additional difference in nasal value needs to be accounted for.
In the end, arguments for the contrastive status of the nasals \ N\ 7w and N7w are not
convincing. Such a decision would add complexity to the consonant inventory without
simplifying the analysis of other aspects of the phonology. Additionally, the distinction
between these nasals and their nasalized semivowel counterparts (shown above) would
remain unclear. Nor is the alternative analysis of these segments as the sequences ny Nny
7w and N7w a viable possibility for the consonant sequences 7w and N7w because, as
stated earlier, 7 and N7 are never found in onset position without labialization. The
limitation of this interpretation to ny and Nny would therefore introduce asymmetry into
the system by treating palatal semivowels differently than labial-velar semivowels in
reference to nasality. In contrast, an analysis where nasalized semivowels are preferred
can account for all aspects of the data. For these reasons, palatal and labialized velar
nasals [\] and [7w] have been excluded from the consonant inventory in the present
study, and have been analyzed as realizations of palatal and labial-velar semivowels y
and w in the context of nasality.
51
2.1.5 Internal structure of consonants
Two categories of consonants, both of which employ complex articulations, show signs
of internal structure: glottalic consonants % Q Nw Nm Nn N7, which exhibit a secondary
glottalic articulation (2.1.5.1), and labial-velar stops kp gb, which exhibit double
articulation (2.1.5.2). The labial-velar approximant w, which has no stop quality, does
not pattern with these consonants.
2.1.5.1 Glottalic consonants
There are four indicators of internal complexity for glottalic consonants, that is,
consonants with secondary glottalic articulation Nm Nn N7 % Q Nw. Three of these
indicators are distributional and the other is based on morphophonological evidence.
Morpheme-internally, these consonants are never found after long vowels (2.3.1.2), nor
are they found in the second position of a morpheme-internal consonant cluster (2.1.2.6).
Additionally, they are never geminated (2.1.2.7). Finally, when a glottalic consonant is
found morpheme-initially, any long vowel which precedes it in the utterance is
phonetically shortened. This suggests that, given an appropriate environment, the
glottalic element of the preglottalized segment associates with the coda position of the
previous syllable.
σ
σ
CVX
σ
CVV CV
=)y
míì Qàà yá
1SG:NONPFV.NEG finish:FUT NEG
I will not finish
[ m í ` Q à à
σ
σ
yá]
σ
CVX CVV CV
cf. míì yáh yá
1SG:NONPFV.NEG take:FUT NEG
I will not take
[ m í ì y á h y á ]
2.1.5.2 Labial-velars
The evidence for the complex internal structure of doubly-articulated labial-velar stops
kp gb is weaker, since their relegation to morpheme-initial position (2.1.2.1) limits the
contexts in which they may display internal complexity. However, consider the
following example:
52
tí-kpâ-kpàr-)áà
wheatear (bird sp.) (cf. )áà bean)
This example is ideophonic (5.11, 8.2) and probably shows reduplication (5.11.2) of the
syllable kpar. There are two difficulties with this word. First, it shows a pattern of
segmental reduplication that differs from other patterns in the lexicon, such as those
found in the following comparable words:
lè7-lé7-gérmù
tí-kéé-kèèrú
kingfisher sp. (cf. gérmù women)
firefly (cf. kéè brilliant, intense (red))
The reduplication of the onset and nucleus of kpar rather than the whole syllable is
surprising, since there are no other examples where this template is applied (reduplication
of whole syllable rhymes is, in contrast, common; see 8.4.2.1). However, the fact that kp
does not occur in non morpheme-initial position elsewhere in the data suggests that there
is indeed a morpheme boundary before both occurrences of kp in tí-kpâ-kpàr-)áà,
attributable to a morphological phenomenon such as reduplication. The question
remains, then, as to why the r of kpar is not reduplicated along with the rest of the
syllable.
A promising resolution to this puzzle is the recognition of internal structural complexity
for the labial-velar kp in Mambay, as has been described in other languages (Clements
and Hume 1995; Kutsch Lojenga 1994:47ff.). When kp is viewed as complex, it helps
explain the obstruction to the reduplication of r along with the rest of the syllable kpar:
the coda position in the preceding syllable is thus dominated by the k portion of the kp
from the second syllable. This situation may be represented as follows:
σ
σ
σ
σ
CVX
CVX
CVX
CVX
= k p
kp a r + kp a r
kp a r
kp a r
attested in: tí-kpâ-kpàr-)áà ‘wheatear (bird sp.)’
Although no similar evidence has been observed for gb, there is no reason to posit an
internal structure differing from that of kp, since a double articulation is characteristic of
both consonants.
2.1.6 Phonetic realizations
The phonetic realization of some consonants may be predicted with reference to the
consonant chart (2.1.1). However, as detailed in Anonby (2006), a number of consonants
exhibit more than one realization based on their position in syllables and phonological
53
phrases or due to the articulatory features of adjoining segments. These consonants,
which represent a large part of the consonant inventory, are:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
stops,
implosives,
preglottalized semivowels in onsets,
the central approximant r,
the semivowels y and w,
consonants which follow t,
the nasal 7,
glottalic consonants in codas, and
oral sonorants affected by nasality.
While the first seven topics are addressed here, glottalic consonants in codas are
described in the section dealing with glottalization in syllable rhymes (2.3.3.3.1), and oral
sonorants affected by nasality are discussed in the chapter on nasality (3.3.2).
2.1.6.1 Realizations of stops in syllable codas
Typically, in addition to being voiceless (see 2.1.3.2), the three oral stops which are
found in codas (p/b, t, and k/g; see 2.1.2.3, 2.1.2.4) are unreleased. This is the case
utterance-finally as well as utterance-internally.
p/b
t
k/g
utterance-finally
utterance-internally
ràb [ràp[] hug
kpàt [kpàt[] far
lèg
[lèk[] suck
nà-bàhbgá [nàbàhp[gá] acacia sp.
kpâtgá
[kpât[ká]
distance
nà-nìg.bó [nànìk[bó] civet
(The pairing and orthographic representation of obstruents, for which voicing contrast is
neutralized in this position, is explained in 2.1.3.2; the voiceless realization of the velar
stop in kpâtgá is accounted for in 2.1.6.6).
Realizations are more varied for the velar stop k/g than for the other stops, which are
always unreleased. Utterance-finally, k/g is realized as an unreleased voiceless velar stop
[k[] after front vowels i e, and as an unreleased voiceless uvular stop [q[] after back
vowels a o u.
víg
lèg
[vík[]
[lèk[]
plug, look longingly
suck
ràg
lóg
rùg
[ràq[]
[lóq[]
[rùq[]
straddle, sling
uproot
pour
In careful speech, the same realizations are also found in utterance-internal codas.
54
vHFg-nà
lêg-ná
râg-ná
loFg-nà
rûg-ná
[vHFk[nà]
[lêk[ná]
[râq[ná]
[loFq[nà]
[rûq[ná]
plugging, looking longingly
sucking
straddling, slinging
uprooting
pouring
In normal and fast speech, however, k/g is voiced and softened to [Y] or [b] in utteranceinternal codas (as in the previous examples, a uvular articulation is found after back
vowels). It is optionally realized with an open transition.
vHFg-nà
lêg-ná
[vHFYnà] ~ [vHFYinà]
[lêYná] ~ [lêYená]
plugging, looking longingly
sucking
râg-ná
loFg-nà
rûg-ná
[râbná] ~ [râbaná]
[loFbnà] ~ [loFbonà]
[rûbná] ~ [rûbuná]
straddling, slinging
uprooting
pouring
2.1.6.2 Realizations of and %
The implosives and % each exhibit several realizations, depending on their position in
utterances and syllables.
In utterance-initial position, is pronounced as a voiced bilabial implosive [], and % as
 ] (see Welmers 1973:50 as well as Ladefoged and
a voiced retroflex alveolar implosive [
Maddieson 1996:53–5, 82–7 for acoustic characteristics of preglottalized implosives, and
Greenberg 1970:129 for comments on retroflexion of alveolar implosives).
ám
úú
[ám]
[úú]
trample, carve
create, sprout
%á7
%úú
[
 á7]
[
 úú]
roll along
hit
In non utterance-initial onsets, both implosives are preglottalized.
lúò
páà
[lú)ò]
[pá)à]
sesame
milk
hú%ò
wá%à
[hú) ò]
[wá) à]
death, corpse
boule with sauce
In syllable codas, is realized as an unreleased voiceless preglottalized stop [)p[]. The
lack of voicing and release in this realization is parallel to that of oral stops (2.1.6.1). In
contrast, % is realized as a voiced preglottalized and glottalized lateral approximant [)l0].
55
sà
lólà
[sà)p[]
[ló)p[là]
vomit (v.)
island
yà%
bâ%gá
[yà)l0]
[bâ)l0gá]
feel, rub
club (stick)
The effect of syllable position on the realization these consonants is evident in the
following possessive constructions (cf. 2.1.3.2):
pâ )íí
cf. páà
[pâ)p[ dùgú]
[pá)à]
their milk
milk
wâ% )íí
cf. wá%à
[wâ)l0 dùgú]
[wá) à]
their boule with sauce
boule with sauce
2.1.6.3 Realizations of Q and Nw in syllable onsets
Typically, Q and Nw are realized as preglottalized semivowels in syllable onsets.
Qáh
Nwáh
[)yáh]
[)wáh]
call, invite
tie, decide
(Coda realizations of Q and Nw are described in the section dealing with glottalization in
syllable rhymes; see 2.3.3.3.1.1).
However, when Q is found before a nasalized and pharyngealized high vowel as a result
of morphophonological alternation, the sequence is pronounced as a syllabic nasalized
voiced aryepiglottic trill [] (this trill is sometimes non-technically described as
epiglottal) with an epiglottal stop [] onset (Anonby 2006:229).
Qîh
Qîh )ám
cf. Qâh
[]
[ )ám]
name, call, invitation of …
your name, call, invitation
[)yâ]
name, call, invitation
Prominent perceptual characteristics of this sequence’s articulation include a stop
followed by a plainly audible voiced trill whose origin is clearly further back than the
oral cavity; this is coupled with the croaking quality associated with pharyngeals. Esling,
who emphasizes the epiglottal properties of pharyngeal articulations in general (1996:84),
gives a detailed articulatory comparison of the aryepiglottic trill with other pharyngeal
and epiglottal articulations (1996, 2002).
56
2.1.6.4 Realizations of r
Like the implosives and % (2.1.6.2), the central approximant r has several realizations
which correspond to its position in utterances and syllables. In utterance-initial position
it is realized as a retroflex alveolar flap [c] or, less commonly, as an alveolar trill [r].
ríí
ráá
ròò
carry
spread out
trick, amuse
[cíí] ~ [ríí]
[cáá] ~ [ráá]
[còò] ~ [ròò]
In syllable-initial positions within utterances, the realization [c] is found.
zìírì
pààrá
dúùrú
fish sp.
field, farm
hyrax
[zìícì]
[pààcá]
[dúùcú]
In syllable codas, r is realized as an alveolar trill [r]. If it is not utterance-final, it may
also be realized with an open transition.
bìr
kàr
sùr
[bìr]
[kàr]
[sùr]
praise, snatch
put, set
put in order
bîr-ná
kâr-ná
sûr-ná
[bîrná] ~ [bîriná]
[kârná] ~ [kâraná]
[sûrná] ~ [sûruná]
praising, snatching
putting, setting
putting in order
2.1.6.5 Realizations of y and w in complex onsets
When y and w are found in complex onsets (2.1.2.5), they are normally realized as
semivowels.
gyáálà
kyàárì
[gyáálà]
[kyàárì]
medicine, fetish
paternal aunt
gwàárè
kwáàvbá
[gwàárè]
[kwáàvbá]
sickle
bush sp.
tyáà àtì [tyáà àtì]
fish.sp two
two fish (sp.)
kwàá àtì [kwàá àtì]
neck/voice two
two necks, two voices
However, when the syllable in which they are found is utterance-final, they are
phonetically realized as vowels: their duration is increased, and they carry pitch which
57
signals the underlying tone melody. The duration of the following vowel, in contrast, is
reduced.
tyáà
tyàá
[tíà]
[tìá]
fish sp.
hole-digger, jackhammer
kwàá
kwáà
[kùá]
[kúà]
neck, voice
grass
The interpretation of these semivowels as underlyingly consonantal is defended in
2.3.3.1.
2.1.6.6 Realizations of consonants after t
When a consonant follows the inherently voiceless alveolar stop t (see 2.1.2.2) across a
syllable boundary, it is devoiced. Such a sequence is only found in two related words in
the data, where it is realized as follows:
kpâtgá
[kpât[ká]
kpàtgí
[kpàt[kí]
distance (cf. kpàt ‘far,’ -ga (historical noun suffix;
see 5.1.3.2))
become distant (cf. kpâtgá ‘distance’; see 7.1.2.1 on
derived verbs)
This contrasts with the realization of consonants following the stops p/b and k/g
(2.1.3.2); in this environment, consonants are not devoiced.
nà-bàhbgá [nàbàhp[gá]
vòbgí
[vòp[gí]
síblè
[síp[lè]
acacia sp.
daub
termite sp.
nà-nìg.bó
rág.bà
dèglèm
civet
triviality, trifle
insect sp.
[nànìk[bó]
[ráq[bà]
[dèk[lèm]
(Realizations of g are described in 2.1.6.1).
2.1.6.7 Realizations of 7 after vowels
When the nasal 7 follows non-front vowels a o u, it is realized with a velar place of
articulation.
saF7
tì-tô7
kpú7
sá7nì
[saF7]
[tìtô7]
[kpú7]
[sá7nì]
ill omen
remains
hill
mortar
58
kpò7rá
gbú7nì
[kpò7rá]
[gbú7nì]
tibia (of animal)
shack
It is also realized as 7 when it follows a front vowel i or e and is itself followed by a
velar stop k/g.
tí7gà
[tí7gà]
nà-ré7gérè [nàré7gérè]
monitor lizard
hanging roots
However, when it follows a front vowel in any other context, it is realized as a palatal
nasal.
bî7
bèlè7
[bî\]
[bèlè\]
forest
eagle sp.
tî7-ná
nà-sè7rá
[tî\ná]
[nàsè\rá]
to start (cf. tì7 ‘start,’ -na verbal noun suffix)
toothache
The weakly attested preglottalized nasal N7 is not found after any front vowels in the data,
so it is not possible to establish its realization in this environment.
2.1.7 Airstream mechanisms
The Mambay language employs three airstream mechanisms. As is likely the case in all
languages, egressive pulmonic air is the primary mechanism by which segments are
articulated. In Mambay, however, two groups of consonants employ other airstream
mechanisms: implosives are articulated with an ingressive glottalic airstream (2.1.7.1),
and labial-velar stops are articulated with egressive pulmonic air accompanied by an
ingressive velaric airstream (2.1.7.2). In addition, a paralinguistic “nasal click” exhibits a
variation on a typical ingressive velaric airstream, since its release is nasal rather than
oral (2.1.7.3).
2.1.7.1 Ingressive glottalic
The implosives and % are produced with an ingressive glottalic airstream in syllable
onsets (2.1.6.2).
In Eguchi’s presentation of the Mambay consonant inventory, he also includes two
implosive nasals and symbolizes these consonants as m ̑ and n ̑ (1971:145). Ladefoged
and Maddieson admit the articulatory possibility of implosive nasals, but they state that
none have been attested in the world’s languages (1996:102–3). Careful observation
reveals that their assertion holds true for Mambay. While these nasal consonants are
contrastive and pattern with implosives as part of a glottalic series (2.1.1), they are
phonetically preglottalized rather than implosive. Consequently, they have been
symbolized as Nm and Nn in the present study.
59
2.1.7.2 Ingressive velaric
In Mambay, the labial-velar stops kp and gb are articulated with a combination of the
egressive pulmonic and ingressive velaric airstreams. Ladefoged (1968:9) catalogues this
type of articulation as one of three ways in which labial-velar stops may be produced, and
describes its articulatory and phonetic qualities in detail. In short, this airstream
mechanism is made by negative pressure in the oral cavity, accomplished by the lowering
of the jaw at the point when both velar and labial closure have been achieved. The
ingressive velaric quality of these stops in Mambay is confirmed by a “popping” sound
which is present upon their release, when air rushes into the oral cavity from both front
and back. This sound is more clearly heard with kp than it is with gb.
2.1.7.3 Ingressive velaric with rear oral release
A variation on the ingressive velaric airstream described above (2.1.7.2) is found in a
“nasal click” used by speakers of Mambay. Like labial-velar stops, it is produced with an
ingressive velaric airstream; however, for the nasal click the ingressive velaric airstream
mechanism is primary, and its release takes place at the back rather than the front of the
mouth.
The nasal click is a paralinguistic utterance used in Mambay as the default means of
communicating agreement or assent. It is typically repeated, especially when a speaker
wants to signal strong agreement. This articulation is used by speakers of many other
languages for an equivalent function; its areal distribution extends to much of northern
Cameroon, southern Chad and likely other adjacent regions. Sang-Yong Lee (pers.
comm. 2003) has suggested that the same clicking sound is also used in south-eastern
dialects of Korean, where it expresses sympathy and condolence. A similar phenomenon
is the “ingressive nasal accompaniment” which occurs with clicks in some Khoisan
languages (Ladefoged and Maddieson 1996:102). However, in that context, there is also
a release at the front of the mouth.
Descriptions of this intriguing phenomenon as it occurs in Mambay and other languages
in the region are uncommon in the literature, and those that do exist provide only modest
phonetic detail. For Mundang, Elders depicts the sound as an “injectif uvulaire” (uvular
implosive) (2000:586). He also quotes Lukas (1937:147), who describes its articulation
in Kanuri (a Saharan language of Nigeria) as a postvelar click in which the lips are
closed.
More may be said regarding the articulation of the nasal click in Mambay, some of which
is likely pertinent to its realization in other languages. Visual and auditory observation
reveals that, similar to what happens with the production of labial-velar stops (2.1.7.2),
negative pressure in the oral air chamber is accomplished by the lowering of the jaw
and/or the tongue during velar and labial closure. However, rather than releasing the
negative balance of pressure at the lips, the back of the tongue is dropped. When the
tongue’s seal with the velum is broken, air rushes into a newly unified oropharyngeal
cavity from an open nasal/pharyngeal breathing tract. The resulting sound is a sharp
click with a high-pitched onset and a low, dull reverberation in the oropharyngeal cavity,
60
and the sound may be heard from the nose as well as through the cheeks. There is no
voicing at any time during the articulation.
The direction of an accompanying pulmonic airstream is irrelevant to the
accomplishment of the articulation; in fact, breathing normally takes place through the
nose throughout the period of articulation. The negative balance of oral air pressure
described in the previous paragraph is compensated for by an increase of air rushing in
though the nose (during incidental inhalation) or an egressive pulmonic airstream (during
incidental exhalation).
2.1.8 The labial flap
The labial flap, rare among the world’s languages, is the most unusual member of the
Mambay consonant inventory.
Important cross-linguistic studies on the labial flap are those of Thomas (1972),
Greenberg (1983) and Olson and Hajek (1999, 2001, 2003, 2004; Olson 2004). For the
most part, the labial flap has been documented among languages of north-central Africa,
but it is also attested in a few languages in the south-east portion of the continent and in a
single Malayo-Polynesian language of Indonesia. In Africa, the languages in which the
labial flap has been reported belong to three major phyla: Niger-Congo, Nilo-Saharan and
Afro-Asiatic (Chadic only). By far the highest concentration is found in the AdamawaUbangi branch of Niger-Congo, of which Mambay is a member (Olson and Hajek
2003:157–60, 1.2.2).
According to Olson and Hajek, “the labial flap is produced by retracting the lower lip into
the mouth well behind the upper teeth and then bringing it forward rapidly, striking the
upper lip or teeth in passing” (2003:157). The term “labial flap” thus acts as a cover term
for two distinct phonetic entities: the labiodental flap and the bilabial flap. However, as
these two units are not known to contrast in any language, they have often been given the
same phonological label. In actual fact, most languages exhibit the labiodental sound as
the sole or primary place of articulation. Only three languages, including Mambay, are
reported to employ a bilabial articulation in all environments (Thomas 1972:113, Olson
and Hajek 2003:166). The photographs on the following page, which are taken from
Anonby (2007) and which feature the study’s principal collaborator Oussoumanou
Bouba, confirm this assessment for the labial flap in Mambay.
61
Photographic documentation of the labial flap in Mambay
Figure 1. The labial flap is shown in the word
vbìná ‘male (n.).’ At 0.00 seconds, the mouth is
in resting position.
Figure 2. At 0.30 seconds, the lower lip has been
pulled behind the upper teeth.
Figure 3. At 0.45 seconds, the upper lip is pulled
down as the lower lip begins to move forward into
contact with it. The tightening and dropping of
the upper lip is characteristic of the bilabial
variant of the flap, which is attested in Mambay.
Figure 4. At 0.55 seconds, the lower lip comes
rapidly forward into contact with the upper lip,
sealing the oral cavity briefly. Air pressure builds
up behind the closure. There is a popping sound
when the seal is released.
Figure 5. At 0.60 seconds, the outward motion of
the lower lip is complete.
62
In most of the languages which contain the labial flap, it is phonologically peripheral
(Olson and Hajek 2003:167). However, Anonby (2004b, 2007) argues that for Mambay
the labial flap must be considered a basic and contrastive member of the consonant
inventory: it is shown that the labial flap is found in about 120 lexical items representing
several word classes, and additionally occurs among a variety of phonological
environments, including complex morpheme-initial onsets (2.1.2.5) and morphemeinternal onsets (2.1.2.2). These characteristics are evident in the following sample of
words with the labial flap (represented by vb in the phonological orthography; see 2.1.1):
bùvbú7
àvbâw
féévbà
kààvbèègà
kàvbâw
lwâgvbá
ná-vbâh
pùgvbí
vbáhrà
vbàhtátá
vbààlá
vbá’là
net sp.
fish sp.
pair of twins
cucumber, squash
the end (story margin)
tenderness, youngness
distribution
scatter
clod of earth
strong and healthy, solid
testicle
chunk, muscle
vbè%
vbìgìm
vbíí
vbìlá
vbízò
vbìNn
vbó’
vbòlvbòl
vbúù
vbwâh
vbyâ’
vbyâh
peel off
green, unripe
cut, cut up
piece of boule
fishhook
hard-boil
mix
furiously
grass sp.
fog, cloudburst
marsh
cheek
There is a growing body of evidence for languages (like Mambay) in which the labial
flap patterns as an integral, contrastive phonological unit (Olson and Hajek 2001, 2003,
2004; Anonby 2004b). Because of this, the International Phonetic Association has
recently adopted the transcription [ ] for the labiodental flap (IPA 2005:261). For the
bilabial flap, the modified symbolization [ ] has been proposed, since it admits an
articulation further forward than the labiodental place of articulation (Olson and Hajek
1999:12).
2.2 Vowels
In the present section, an inventory of vowels is provided (2.2.1). The distribution of
vowels in the language (2.2.2) is followed by a demonstration of contrast among them
(2.2.3). Additional topics are vowel interpretation issues (2.2.4) and phonetic realizations
of vowels (2.2.5).
2.2.1 Inventory of vowels
The vowel inventory of Mambay consists of five basic vowel units which may be
lengthened, or modified by nasalization, glottalization or pharyngealization. These
vowels, which represent thirty distinct qualities, may be schematized in eight sets. Each
set provides contrast among its members, and a number of the sets may be contrasted
with one another, since they are morphologically equivalent. Contrasts which are not
satisfactorily demonstrated by these sets are shown in 2.2.3.
63
basic (short) vowels:
front
high
mid
low
central
back
i
e
a
o
u
zím
sèm
zám
vbòm
vúm
bend to the ground, pray
sneeze, avoid
weave or braid finely
divide, spread, ruin
blow
ii
ee
aa
oo
uu
ríí
réé
ráá
ròò
rúú
carry
melt
spread out
trick, amuse
leave without warning
i
a
u
hùùrí
bùùrá
bíírù
hyena
millet sp.
cobra
uu
ii
aa
uu
ríí
ráá
dúú
clean out, wink
blind (v.), singe
slip something into a
person’s hand
back
i’
e’
a’
o’
u’
bí’
bé’
bá’
bó’
bú’
dip
spy (v.)
fill up
put in one’s mouth
gather up
i
u
e
o
a
long vowels:
front
high
mid
low
central
ii
back
uu
oo
ee
aa
short nasalized vowels:
front
high
mid
low
central
back
i
u
a
long nasalized vowels:
front
high
mid
low
central
back
ii
aa
glottalized vowels:
front
high
mid
low
central
i’
u’
e’
o’
a’
64
pharyngealized vowels:
front
high
mid
low
central
eh
back
oh
ah
eh
ah
oh
sêh
zàh
tòh
hand of … (cf. 5.2.2.2)
cow of …
snake of …
i’
a’
u’
rí’
rà’
rú’
glue, be infected
rot
twist, extract
ih
ah
uh
ríh
Qáh
rúh
slip, crawl
call, invite
polish
nasalized and glottalized vowels:
front
high
mid
low
central
i’
back
u’
a’
nasalized and pharyngealized vowels:
front
high
mid
low
central
ih
back
uh
ah
These eight vowel sets reveal three gaps in the inventory:
1) there is no phonological distinction between high and mid nasalized or
pharyngealized vowels; nasalized mid vowels are absent (see 3.1.1 for
discussion), as are high oral pharyngealized vowels (see 2.2.4);
2) there is no contrast in length for glottalized or pharyngealized vowels (see 2.3.3.2
and 2.3.3.3); and
3) although glottalization and pharyngealization may be found with nasality, they
never occur with one another.
2.2.2 Distribution
There are a number of limitations on the distribution of vowels. In addition to general
frequency patterns (2.2.2.1), some limitations depend on the syllable shape (2.2.2.2) or
morpheme position in which vowels are found (2.2.2.3). There are also restrictions on
which vowels may occur together within a morpheme; these restrictions differ according
to the morphological class of the morpheme (2.2.2.4).
65
2.2.2.1 General frequency patterns
The presentation of vowels in 2.2.1 above is valuable in showing the range of attested
vowel possibilities. However, two additional observations regarding the frequency of
different types of vowels are instructive in communicating a more balanced picture of
vowel frequencies in the language.
First, a cursory survey of the lexicon reveals that the low vowel a/aa is by far the most
frequent vowel. High vowels i/ii and u/uu are also frequent. However, mid vowels e/ee
and o/oo are uncommon.
Second, vowels which are modified by nasalization, glottalization, and pharyngealization
are less common than unmodified vowels.
When these two patterns overlap, individual vowels representing low-frequency
tendencies are poorly attested. Thus, mid pharyngealized and mid glottalized vowels, as
well as nasalized glottalized and nasalized pharyngealized vowels, are scarce.
Because of such frequency patterns, it is difficult in some cases to find contrasts which
are morphologically equivalent for mid and modified vowels (cf. 2.2.3).
2.2.2.2 Vowels in syllables
All vowels are found in open syllables (for a discussion of syllable types, see 2.4.1; for
examples of vowels in open syllables, see word lists in 2.2.1 and 2.2.3).
Almost all instances of vowels in closed syllables are short vowels. These vowels are
generally oral or modified only by nasalization. Additionally, according to the
interpretations presented in 2.3.3, there are some instances of pharyngealized and
glottalized vowels in closed syllables. In five morphemes, unambiguously long vowels
are also found in closed syllables (2.4.1).
2.2.2.3 Vowels in morphemes
As is evident in the lists presented to demonstrate contrasts among vowels (2.2.1, 2.2.3),
all vowels are found in root-initial syllables of morphemes.
In all other morphological positions, however, the vowel inventory is restricted; long,
glottalized, and pharyngealized vowels are almost absent. In the data, the only
exceptions to this pattern which could be construed as monomorphemic are found in the
lists which follow.
long vowels:
)áhyyáà
)àyyéé
bàháà
àrgúú
oh dear!
indeed!
ibis sp.
both
66
pìpùùrí
tí-tòòn`tíì
wátùtáà
horn (instrument)
lark (bird sp.)
salt, sugar
glottalized vowels:
bìzápé’
mìhaF’
ná-dídá’
ràfá’
five
animal sp.
summit
brownness
pharyngealized vowels:
fwàrnâh
gàgàh7
gìwâh
kàrwàhz
ná-íáhrâm
ná-wíwâh
ná-zìzáh
eight
drumstick
cup
abruptly and desperately
bedbug
belt made of bells
dance sp., instrument sp.
The distribution of long, glottalized and pharyngealized vowels in these words is
unquestionably marginal in the language, and even in the words presented in the list
above, a simple morphological identity is tentative. In many cases, the words’ forms hint
at structural complexity, or may point to borrowing from Mundang (note in particular the
Ci-initial forms, which are reminiscent of the Cd-initial “preformatives” in Mundang; see
Elders 2000:125ff.). In addition, the atypical distribution of vowels in words such as
interjections, species names and musical instruments may be related to the employment
of non-canonical structures available to ideophonic words (8.2).
2.2.2.4 Co-occurrence restrictions
Within morphemes, two factors in addition to syllable (2.2.2.2) and morpheme position
(2.2.2.3) relate to restrictions on which vowels may occur in the same morpheme: the
morphological class to which a morpheme belongs, and the distribution of nasality in the
morpheme.
Morphological classes demonstrate varying degrees of restrictions on which vowels may
occur together within a morpheme. On the one hand, strong co-occurrence tendencies are
evident between vowels in the first and second syllable of nouns: identical V1-V2 vowels
and V1-a sequences are by far the most common (Anonby 2008), but these are not
binding. The following list shows attested V1-V2 sequences for the five basic vowel
qualities (2.2.1) in nouns. Whenever possible, short vowels are given; modified (long or
glottalized) vowels are shown when no short vowels are attested for a given sequence.
67
i-i
i-e
i-a
i-o
i-u
wízì
bíbél
gílà
vbízò
ná-kpíígù
wagtail (bird sp.)
summit
rainy season
fishhook
fish sp.
e-i
e-e
e-a
e-o
e-u
yèrí
bègé
béyà
—
tè’nú
clothing
small
hoe sp., friend (archaic)
a-i
a-e
a-a
a-o
a-u
làí
tálè
bàlá
—
gà’rú
left (n.), left-handedness
roof
elephant
o-i
o-e
o-a
o-o
o-u
óólì
kóólè
tórà
rógò
—
intelligent
swaddling clothes, nest lining
seed
tomorrow (n.)
u-i
u-e
u-a
u-o
u-u
tùúrì
—
kùgá
túò
sùmú
boule
side (body)
binga (flying fish)
plant sp.
blood
potter’s kiln
These data do not show any categorical limitations on which vowels may occur together
within a noun root. Rather than suggesting synchronic restrictions, the unsystematic gaps
that are found likely point to tendencies in historical noun suffixation (Anonby 2008).
On the other hand, there are tight synchronic restrictions on ideophonic modifiers, which
prohibit vowels of differing value to be found together within certain morpheme or word
structures (8.4.2.2.1). Canonical verb stems are monosyllabic (7.1.1), and are thus
exempt from a discussion of vowel co-occurrence; and other word classes do not have
enough members with more than one syllable from which to draw authoritative
conclusions on the topic.
Restrictions on the nasality of vowels in morphemes are addressed in detail in 3.4.2.
68
2.2.3 Contrast between vowels
The word sets given with the vowel inventory in 2.2.1 demonstrate contrast among the
members of each set. In addition, a number of the sets given there may be contrasted
with one another, since they uniformly present verbs consisting of an open syllable. This
is the case for the following sets:
-long vowels
-long nasalized vowels
-glottalized vowels
-nasalized glottalized vowels
-nasalized pharyngealized vowels
However, there are a few vowel sets whose context is not comparable (i.e., it is
something other than a verb consisting of an open syllable). Consequently, in the present
section, additional evidence is presented for contrasts in length on oral and nasalized
vowels (2.2.3.1), pharyngealized vowels with short and long vowels (2.2.3.2), and short
vowels with glottalized vowels (2.2.3.3).
2.2.3.1 Length
Each of the short, basic vowel qualities i e a o u contrasts with a long counterpart.
i
ii
gílà
gììlá
rainy season
quiver (for arrows)
e
ee
bègé
bèèlá
slave
pangolin
a
aa
bàlá
báálà
elephant
captive
o
oo
tórà
gòòrá
seed
roof, preparation
u
uu
súgò
sùùgó
ear
thought, wisdom
This contrast in length is also characteristic of nasalized vowels:
i
ii
nínù
nììnú
eye, face, life
bottom, meaning
a
aa
wárà
wààrá
mosquito
valley, used pasture
69
u
uu
bùrí
pìpùùrí
wild manioc sp.
horn (instrument)
2.2.3.2 Pharyngealization
Pharyngealized vowels, which do not exhibit distinctions of length (cf. 2.2.1, 2.3.3.2),
contrast with basic short vowels and long vowels:
eh
e
béhlég
%élé7
small
intelligent
eh
ee
%èh
pèè
bow low
cease, be limited
ah
a
wàhlá
wálà
nape (of neck)
orphan
ah
aa
baFh
báà
rain
cane rat
oh
o
kpòhròm
tí-tóró7
blunt
small bronze bell
oh
oo
gòh
tí-góò
narrow
window (in dâg
tí-góò ‘window’)
Pharyngealized vowels also contrast with glottalized vowels:
eh
e’
héh
hé’
stop
bang, bang into
ah
a’
sáh
sá’
ask, rip, play
buy
oh
o’
tòh
dò’
snake of …
belly of … , centre of …
2.2.3.3 Glottalization and short vowels
Glottalized vowels contrast with short vowels:
i’
i
sí’là
tílà
cold (n.)
sickness, blight
e’
e
pè’gá
bègé
tree hollow, beehive
slave
a’
a
sà’lá
sàlá
rope, trap
cowrie shell
o’
o
ò’lá
tórà
tumor
seed
u’
u
kù’rá
túrà
melon
millet
70
2.2.4 Issues in vowel interpretation
There are two major issues related to vowels which necessitate interpretation: lack of
contrast in length on glottalized and pharyngealized vowels, and the underlying height of
non-low pharyngealized vowels. The first issue is addressed in 2.3.3.2 and 2.3.3.3, where
it forms part of a general discussion considering the consonantal vs. vocalic identity of
glottalized and pharyngealized vowels; the second issue is addressed in the present
section.
Underlying height of non-low pharyngealized vowels
A comparison of oral and nasalized inventories of pharyngealized vowels reveals that, at
least on the surface, oral non-low pharyngealized vowels are mid ([eh] and [oh]), but
nasalized non-low pharyngealized vowels are high ([ih] and [uh]).
Three possible interpretations for the underlying height of non-low pharyngealized
vowels are as follows:
1. Other than a basic low/non-low distinction, pharyngealized vowels are not
underlyingly specified for height (i.e., mid vs. high).
2. Non-low pharyngealized vowels are all underlyingly mid.
3. Non-low pharyngealized vowels are all underlyingly high; the mid phonetic value
of the oral members is an articulatory consequence of pharyngealization.
4. Oral non-low pharyngealized vowels are underlyingly mid, and nasalized non-low
pharyngealized vowels are underlyingly high.
The first, second and third explanations are helpful in that they advocate symmetry
between the oral and nasalized pharyngealized vowel inventories. While the second
explanation does not respect restrictions on nasalized mid vowels in the language (cf.
3.1.1), the third explanation does so explicitly. The second explanation also falls short in
that it needs to account for the high realization of the nasalized pharyngealized vowels.
The fourth explanation, in contrast, advocates asymmetry between oral pharyngealized
and nasalized pharyngealized vowels. Like the third explanation, it explicitly respects the
absence of nasalized mid vowels in the language. However, it is less abstract; it
conveniently proposes underlying forms which correspond exactly to surface realizations.
A final piece of evidence in support of the fourth explanation relates to vowel distribution
in ideophones. As described in 8.4.2.1.1, there are strong limitations on which vowels
may occur within the same ideophonic modifier. In most cases, a single vowel position is
permitted.
kpìgzìm
làràg
vbérgé
òglòm
thick (dimension)
flat-nosed
runt-like
bulging
71
This is the case even if one of the vowels is modified by glottalization or pharyngealization.
gàh7gàrà7
vbàhtátá
kàrwàhz
abnormally doubled
strong and healthy, solid
abruptly and desperately
The following list shows ideophones which contain pharyngealized vowels eh and oh in
the same ideophonic modifier as another unmodified vowel.
béhlég
gòh7rò7
kpòhròm
póh7gó7gó7
small, a bit
bent
blunt
narrow
(*béhlíg)
(*gòh7rù7)
(*kpòhrùm)
(*póh7gú7gú7)
Forms such as those on the right (marked with asterisks) are not permitted. In each of the
attested cases, however, the value of the unmodified vowel, which represents the same
vowel position as the pharyngealized vowel, is mid rather than high.
Because of these data, and weighing the other factors given above in support of each
explanation, the fourth explanation has been chosen for this study: oral non-low
pharyngealized vowels are treated as underlyingly mid (eh and oh), and nasalized nonlow pharyngealized vowels are treated as underlyingly high (ih and uh).
2.2.5 Phonetic realizations
Three types of vowels exhibit more than one phonetic realization depending on where
they are found in syllables and utterances and, in some cases, the speed and register at
which they are articulated: short mid vowels, glottalized vowels and pharyngealized
vowels. Realizations of short mid vowels are described in the present section. However,
realizations of glottalized and pharyngealized vowels are described in the sections on the
interpretation of those vowels (2.3.3.2 and 2.3.3.3).
Short mid vowels
Short mid vowels e and o are realized as phonetic close-mid vowels [e] and [o] in open
syllables.
bègé
tì-kóólè
[bègé]
[tìkóólè]
slave
pipe
tórà
gììgó
[tórà]
[gììgó]
seed
firewood
In closed syllables, however, they are realized as open-mid vowels [O] and [P].
72
gèmná
kêrgá
[gO`mná]
[kOfrgá]
entrance hut
loose-weave basket
kómnà
gòg.bá
[kPTmnà]
[gP`gbá]
hunger
ill omen
bègé [bègé] -zslave
PL
bègzé [bO`gzé] (cf. singular form above)
slaves
tórà [tórà]
seed
tórzà [tPTrzà] (cf. singular form above)
seeds
-zPL
2.3 Issues relating to both consonants and vowels
In the present section, issues relating to both consonants and vowels are explored. A
discussion of consonant/vowel distribution patterns (2.3.1) is followed by a
demonstration of contrast for specific sequences (2.3.2). Four interpretive issues, all of
which have major implications for the phonological structure of the language, are
addressed in 2.3.3.
2.3.1 Consonant/vowel distribution patterns
Besides restrictions defined by positional distribution constraints (2.1.2, 2.2.2), there are
few limitations on the consonants and vowels that may occur next to one another.
Within syllables, most possibilities are attested. With the exception of nasal consonants
and the semivowels y w Q Nw, all onset consonants (2.1.2.1) are followed by vowels
representing all of the five basic vowel positions (2.2.1). Similarly, with the exception of
the same consonants, there do not appear to be any systematic constraints on which of the
basic vowels may occur together with attested coda consonants (2.1.2.3 and 2.1.2.4).
While the distribution of vowels after nasal consonants is treated in 3.4.1, the distribution
of vowels next to semivowels is discussed in the following subsection (2.3.1.1).
In morphemes with more than one syllable, long vowels, glottalized vowels and
pharyngealized vowels are not found before glottalized consonants, even across a syllable
boundary (2.3.1.2). No other heterosyllabic inventory constraints have been observed.
2.3.1.1 Limited distribution of vowels with semivowels
Within syllables, a limited inventory of vowels is found adjacent to the semivowels y w
and glottalized semivowels Q Nw in all positions: simple onsets (2.3.1.1.1), complex
onsets (2.3.1.1.2), and codas (2.3.1.1.3).
2.3.1.1.1 After simple onsets
After simple syllable onsets (2.4.2), the high front vowel i never follows y or Q, and the
distribution back vowels o u is almost excluded after w and Nw.
73
yi
ye
ya
yo
yu
—
yè
yàg
yôm
yúh
Qi
Qe
Qa
Qo
Qu
—
Qèl
Qá%
—
Qúú
peace, wholeness
ululate
enough
narrow
disturb
feel, rub
penetrating like an
arrow
then
virginity
leave
yes
3SG.POSS (fast speech)
wi
we
wa
wo
wu
wîr
wéy
wàr
)òòwó
)úùwú
Nwi
Nwe
Nwa
Nwo
Nwu
NwíhNwíh achy and restless
Nwêy
fish sp.
Nwàg
such
—
—
The absence of Qo in the data is probably due to chance rather than a systematic gap,
since yo is found and because the sequence is pronounced without alteration in words of
Fulfulde origin such as Qóólà (place name).
Conversely, occurrences of wo and wu are limited. While wo is found only in the word
)òòwó ~ )òwwó ‘yes,’ wu is limited to the morphemes )úùwú and - `wú, casual speech
variants of úùrú (3SG.POSS) and - `rú (3SG.POSS.INAL; cf. 6.1.4). Words of Fulfulde
origin with the sequence wu are reinterpreted with hu in Mambay; for example, Fulfulde
wuro ‘village’ is pronounced húrò. In addition, the arisal of wo and wu in some
complex morphological contexts results in the alternation of w with h before back vowels
(5.2.2.2.1).
2.3.1.1.2 After complex onsets
Distribution restrictions on vowels after complex syllable onsets are parallel to those
found after simple onsets (2.3.1.1.1), although only y and w are found here (2.1.2.5).
The high front vowel i is absent after y, and back vowels o u are absent after w.
yi
ye
ya
yo
yu
—
yè%
byàá
%yóò
fyùú
wi
we
wa
wo
wu
repeat oneself
water
grass sp.
completely
zwî’gá
kwérè
kwàá
—
—
beauty, fineness
fence
neck, voice
Although all of these sequences are attested, the vast majority CCy and CCw sequences
are found with the vowel a and its modified counterparts.
2.3.1.1.3 Before codas
As is the case in syllable onsets, there are restrictions on the inventory of vowels that may
occur next to semivowels in syllable codas. The following sequences have been attested:
74
iy
ey
ay
oy
uy
—
wéy
faFy
—
—
iQ
eQ
aQ
oQ
uQ
—
—
kpàQ
—
—
virginity
fish sp.
swing the hips
iw
ew
aw
ow
uw
—
nà-gbéhwrà wild hibiscus sp.
kaFw
frog sp.
támbyòw
billy goat
—
iNw
eNw
aNw
oNw
uNw
kpíNwsí
kpéNwrà
nàNw
kyôNw
—
shallow
melon
spank (v.)
warthog, pig
A number of factors limit this inventory of combinations.
1. The sequences iy and uw do not contrast with the long vowels ii and uu; all
instances of these sequences have been interpreted as long vowels (2.3.3.4).
2. Similarly, the sequences iQ and uNw do not contrast with the glottalized vowels i’
and u’; all instances of these sequences have been interpreted as glottalized
vowels (2.3.3.3), which do not show a distinction in length.
3. There are no instances where the vowel-semivowel sequences uy and iw contrast
with the semivowel-vowel sequences win/ wii and yu / yuu. All potential
occurrences of these sequences have been interpreted as semivowel-vowel
sequences (2.3.3.4); the length of the vowel in each case is determined by
behaviour of the word in non utterance-final position (cf. 2.1.6.5). A parallel
interpretation is not available for and uQ (which is not in any case attested) and
iNw, since VNC sequences are in most cases interpreted as a vowel followed by a
glottalized consonant (see 2.3.3.3).
4. The sequence oy appears to be supplanted by we / wee in Mambay. Evidence of
this comes from the borrowed Mambay word bwéè ‘domestic helper,’ which is a
reinterpretation of the word boy (Colonial British English via Hausa and Fulfulde
boy).
5. aw and ow are in variation in non morpheme-final syllables (for example,
lâwrán~ lôwrá ‘large egret sp.’), where aw is the preferred variant in careful
speech.
6. The glottalized semivowels Q and Nw are only modestly attested in coda position.
Consequently, especially as concerns Q, inherent restrictions on the vowels that
may follow these consonants are difficult to establish.
75
2.3.1.2 Limitation of vowel length and quality before glottalized consonants
With the exception of words borrowed from Fulfulde, there are no Mambay words in
which long vowels are found before glottalized consonants, even across a syllable
boundary. In addition, glottalized and pharyngealized vowels are never found in this
position. The apparent restriction on glottalized vowels results from the interpretation of
most syllable-internal V’C sequences as vowels followed by glottalized consonants
(2.3.3.3). In contrast, the absence of pharyngealized vowels before glottalized
consonants reflects a manifest gap in the phonological system.
These distributional restrictions likely originate in the complex internal structure of
glottalized consonants (2.1.5.1).
2.3.2 Contrast
Although most contrasts have been established in the sections devoted to consonants
(2.1.3) and vowels (2.2.3), additional contrasts involving glottalic sequences (2.3.2.1) and
codas affected by nasality (2.3.2.2) relates to both groups of segments.
2.3.2.1 Glottalic sequences
There are a number of distributional gaps (2.3.1.2) and ambiguous sequences (2.1.4.1,
2.1.4.2, 2.3.3.3) associated with glottalic articulations. Over a syllable boundary,
however, glottalized vowels followed by a b contrast with non-glottalized vowels
followed by the implosive . This contrast persists in spite of the penetration of
glottalization from glottalic consonants into the vowels of preceding syllables (2.1.5.1).
Phonetically, the contrast is signalled by the presence vs. absence of glottalization on the
vowel in the first syllable, the persistence of phonetic implosion on the (phonetically
preglottalized) implosive stops, and the possibility of a phonetically open vs. closed
transition (i.e., oral release) between the glottalic element and the stop element.
lê’bá
[lêbá] ~ [lé)èbá] ~ [lê)bá]
tí-sì’bá [tísìbá] ~ [tísì)ìbá] ~ [tísì)bá]
páà
túò
[pá)à]
[tú)ò]
metal, money
honour
milk
blood
This contrast suggests that vocalic glottalization and consonantal glottalization are
phonologically independent of one another in this environment.
An equivalent contrast that might be expected with d and % is not possible because d is
never found non morpheme-initially in Mambay (2.1.2).
2.3.2.2 Codas affected by nasality
There is contrast between V7 and VV codas. This is evident in the following examples:
dú7
dúú
bend down
slip something into a person’s hand
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nà-kààrá
nà-kà7rá
faithful companion, disciple
cane, coward
2.3.3 Interpretive issues
There are number of interpretive issues involving both vowels and consonants. This
topic has major implications for segmental and syllable inventories. These issues
concern the interpretation of y and w in complex onsets (2.3.3.1), pharyngeal
articulations (2.3.3.2), glottalic articulations in syllable rhymes (2.3.3.3), and syllable
rhymes ending in high vowels and semivowels (2.3.3.4).
2.3.3.1 y and w in complex onsets
Clements has noted that “it is often hard, in synchronic analysis, to determine whether a
phonetic segment such as [kw] should be analysed phonemically as /ku/, /kw/, or even as
the single segment /kw/” (2000:130). In other words, it is possible that onsets comprised
of a consonant-semivowel sequence be interpreted as CV, CC or C. In Mambay, where
this interpretive question arises, none of the three alternatives is without shortcomings.
The weakest of the three possible interpretations is that of CV (Ci and Cu). Arguments
for this alternative are that:
1. In utterance-final monosyllables, y and w are phonetically realized as vowels:
their duration is greater in this position, and they carry pitch which signals the
underlying tone melody (2.1.6.5).
tyáà
kwáà
[tíà]
[kúà]
fish sp.
grass
2. y and w participate in vowel height assimilation processes in certain
multimorphemic contexts (5.2.2.2.2).
tyáà
+
fish sp.
)íí
1SG.POSS
téè )íí
my fish sp.
kwáà
grass
)íí
1SG.POSS
kóò )íí
my grass
+
However:
1. The designation of y and w as vowels in this context would require an
introduction of vowel diphthongs or non-identical vowel sequences into the
phonology, since none are found unambiguously in the language.
2. Even more problematic is the existence of a marginal contrast in vowel length
after Cy and Cw sequences. CyVV and CwVV syllables are not uncommon. On
the contrary, there are only ten words in the data with CyV and CwV syllables;
and of these, two are borrowed, and at least one is a morphologically complex
77
ideophone. Still, in light of certain data (for example: kwérè fence, nà-dwárà7
sore, pimple; vs. gwàárè sickle, gwáàlá thief, robbery), this contrast in vowel
length must be recognized. An interpretation of y and w as V in this context
would therefore necessitate the recognition of three-mora vowels (VVV) syllables
in the phonology, even though there is no evidence for these elsewhere in the
language.
Somewhat more satisfactory is a C (Cy and Cw) interpretation, where y and w are seen as
palatal or labial modifications of consonants. The key argument for this is that syllableinitial consonant clusters are otherwise unattested; with this interpretation, all complex
onsets can be accounted for as single consonants rather than sequences, and no new
syllable types need to be accounted for in the inventory (cf. CV and CC interpretations).
However:
1. Phonetically, y and w typically accompany consonants as an off-glide rather than
as a secondary articulation. That is, the point of greatest palatal and labial closure
is after the release of the accompanied consonant, not with it. The lack of
phonetic connection between the consonant and y or w is even greater in
utterance-final syllables, where y and w are pronounced as vowels (cf. the first
argument in favour of CV above, and 2.1.6.5).
2. y and w may accompany most consonants, including those which are labial
(2.1.2.5). Thus, rather than applying to a limited number of consonantal series
(especially velar consonants), this interpretation would entail the applicability of
palatalization and labialization to the consonant inventory as a whole. While
possible, this is a marked configuration.
3. Complex onsets involving y and w are limited to morpheme-initial position
(2.1.2.5). If the interpretation of these onsets as Cy and Cw were followed, the
relegation of all palatalized and labialized consonants to morpheme-initial
position would lend imbalance to the distributional patterns of consonants in the
language, since codas as well as onsets have rich inventories (2.1.2). However,
because syllabic complexity is typical of morpheme-initial syllables (2.4), it could
be more appropriate to assign y and w to an additional syllable position as in the
third alternative (CC) below.
4. The morphophonological process in which y and w coalesce with adjacent vowels
(given just above and in 5.2.2.2.2) is difficult to explain if y and w are interpreted
as consonantal features. If this were the case, one would expect that in addition to
affecting the following vowels, the palatal or labial feature would remain on the
host consonant. However, it does not; the only remaining indications of y and
w’s presence are the fronting or backing of a following vowel and its raising from
low to mid.
A CC (Cy and Cw) interpretation is also worth considering.
alternative are that:
78
Arguments for this
1. The phonetic realizations of y and w in this position are best represented by this
option (cf. the first arguments presented in favour of CV and C interpretations).
2. Although this interpretation is perhaps less satisfying than a CV interpretation in
explaining the morphophonological process in which y and w coalesce with
adjacent vowels (cf. the second argument in favour of a CV interpretation and the
fourth argument in favour of a C interpretation; see also 5.2.2.2), it is more
convincing than a C interpretation, since the dissociation of the palatal and labial
features from the syllable-initial consonant is not an issue in need of resolution.
Still, in spite of these advantages:
1. Significantly, it requires the recognition of CC-initial syllables in the phonology,
and there are no other kinds of syllable-initial consonant clusters in the language.
Although neither the second (Cy and Cw) nor the third (Cy and Cw) interpretation of
complex onsets is without limitations, both are adequate. Throughout this study, the third
interpretation is used as a basis for transcription and discussion.
2.3.3.2 Pharyngeal articulations
Pharyngeal articulations are contrastive in Mambay, and present a major interpretive
challenge. In examining the issue, topics which have been invoked range from phonetics,
distribution, and syllable structure to the analysis of systematic errors by learners of
Mambay as a written language. Even in light of all these issues, none of the analytical
alternatives is entirely satisfying.
Interpretive possibilities allow that pharyngeal articulations pattern as one of three
structures:
1. an inherent quality of a pharyngeal consonant;
2. an inherent quality of pharyngealized vowels; or
3. a suprasegmental pharyngeal feature which associates with larger units such as
syllable rhymes or syllables.
In the analysis that follows, the distribution and phonetic realizations of pharyngeal
articulations are reviewed (2.3.3.2.1). Evidence for a consonantal interpretation
(2.3.3.2.2) is followed by that which supports a vocalic interpretation (2.3.3.2.3).
Drawbacks to each position are assessed (2.3.3.2.4 and 2.3.3.2.5), and a suprasegmental
interpretation is briefly considered (2.3.3.2.6). The issue is concluded in 2.3.3.2.7.
2.3.3.2.1 Distribution and phonetic realizations
Pharyngeal articulations are primarily associated with syllable rhymes, although the
articulatory effect of pharyngealization sometimes extends to onset consonants (2.1.6.3).
Phonetically, such articulations exhibit both vocalic and consonantal qualities. Because
an understanding of the phonetic situation contributes toward an interpretation,
79
realizations will be described here in each of the three contexts in which they occur: non
utterance-final open syllables, utterance-final open syllables, and closed syllables.
In an utterance-final syllable which is otherwise open, the only realization which is
attested is a pharyngealized vowel followed by a voiceless pharyngeal fricative
component.
f[á
U]
path
In a non utterance-final syllable which is otherwise open, a pharyngeal articulation is
realized with at least a pharyngealized vowel. In some cases, it is realized with an
accompanying pharyngeal fricative component, which is itself optionally voiced. In
addition, an open transition consisting of a pharyngealized echo vowel optionally follows
the fricative component in this position. (Transcriptions are arranged from slow, careful
speech to fast, casual speech).
f[á
g]là ~ f[á
ga
]là ~ f[á
g]là ~ f[á
ga
]là ~ f[á
]là
frog sp.
In an unambiguously closed syllable, attested realizations are slightly different. Here, a
pharyngealized vowel may be realized without a following pharyngeal fricative
component; and when a fricative component is present, it is never accompanied by an
echo vowel. In every case, the syllable-final consonant is also pharyngealized.
k[á
lU
]gá ~ k[á
lU
]gá ~ k[á
lU
]gá
bitterness
With these phonetic realizations in mind, it is appropriate to evaluate each of the three
interpretive possibilities listed above.
2.3.3.2.2 Factors supporting a consonantal interpretation
Four factors support a consonantal interpretation for pharyngealization in Mambay.
First, and most obviously, a consonantal quality is evident in most phonetic realizations
of pharyngeal articulations (this is shown in the examples immediately above).
According to this line of reasoning, pharyngealization found on vowels (and, in some
cases, on other consonants in the same syllable) would be interpreted as a phonetic effect
of an adjacent or nearby pharyngeal consonant. In addition, the optional presence of an
echo vowel after the point of greatest consonantal closure is in keeping with the
articulation of the consonant g in coda position (2.1.6.1).
A second factor in favour of a consonantal interpretation is the attractive possibility that
pharyngeal articulations reflect the realization of h in coda position. This is the
conclusion given by Eguchi (1971:147–8).
A third argument is based on morpheme-internal distributional patterns: namely,
glottalized consonants never follow pharyngeal articulations (2.3.1.2). This is parallel to
80
the morpheme-internal prohibition on glottalized consonants following other consonants
(2.1.2.6).
A final point in favour of a consonantal interpretation for pharyngealization relates to the
acceptance of complex onsets in the language (2.4.2). As is shown in the examples
above, a pharyngeal articulation may precede another coda consonant. If complex
onsets—and ones in which the C position next to the nucleus is restricted to a subset of
the consonant inventory—are permitted in the language, then why not complex codas,
which would be a near-mirror image of the onsets?
2.3.3.2.3 Factors supporting a vocalic interpretation
There are also two substantial arguments which support the interpretation of
pharyngealization as an inherent quality of a subset of the vowel inventory.
First, and even more decisive than the equivalent argument given for consonants, is the
point that whenever it occurs, the phonetic realization of pharyngeal articulations is
always found at least on vowels. According to a vocalic interpretation, although
pharyngealization is underlyingly vocalic, it may be phonetically realized with an
accompanying consonantal quality in some environments (cf. 2.3.3.2.1).
Second, pharyngealization occurs with only three of the five oral vowel positions, and
with three nasalized vowels (two of which have a different underlying place of
articulation than unmodified vowels) (2.2.1). The fact that pharyngealization is found
with specific vowels corresponding to all five of the basic vowel positions, but not with
any complete oral or nasalized set of five vowels, suggests that it is an inherent quality of
the vowels with which it is found.
2.3.3.2.4 Arguments against a consonantal interpretation
Several arguments of varying significance highlight difficulties with a consonantal
interpretation of pharyngealization.
First, if pharyngeal consonants were accepted, two additional syllable shapes would have
to be accounted for: CVCC and CCVCC (incidentally, because of the lack of vowel
length contrast in pharyngeal articulations (2.2.1), no C(C)VVCC syllables would arise).
Still, the existence of CC onsets is itself the result of an interpretation; and, based on
ambiguous data, the positing of configurations which necessitate the recognition of
additional syllable shapes cannot be done lightly.
C(C)VCC syllables, of which there would be many if one were to follow a consonantal
interpretation of pharyngealization, would contain three segments in the syllable rhyme.
In this respect, they would be comparable to CVVC syllables, which are superheavy (i.e.,
three-mora; cf. 2.4.3), since all vowels and coda consonants contribute a unit of weight in
Mambay (2.4.3). However, there are very few (only five) unambiguous examples of
morphemes containing CVVC syllables (2.4.3). Elsewhere, a constraint against
morpheme-internal superheavy syllables holds sway. And although superheavy syllables
arise in some complex morphological contexts, they are resisted in others (see, for
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example, the plural form of wàá ‘hump’ in the following paragraph). The general
constraint against superheavy syllables, then, should be considered when positing
additional syllables of this type.
If C(C)VCC syllables were, after all, accepted as part of the inventory, one might expect
that other glide-like consonants be allowed to fill the first coda position. However,
semivowels y and w are never followed by another consonant in the same coda. Also, in
plural constructions, morphemes ending in glides y and w or other consonants
consistently avoid the insertion of r or l that is obligatory in pharyngeal rhymes without
an additional consonant, and that also occurs often with syllables containing long vowels
(5.5.2.1), as shown in the following examples:
syllables with pharyngeal rhymes and long vowels:
vâh + -zV arrow
PL
váhlzà
arrows
wàá + -zV hump
PL
wàlzá
humps
cf. syllables ending in semivowels and other consonants:
kaFw + -zV frog sp. PL
kàwzá (*kàwlzá)
frogs (sp.)
kâ7+
-zV bowstring PL
ká7zà (*ká7lzà)
bowstrings
A further factor which weakens a consonantal interpretation of pharyngealization is a
constraint on the distribution of vowels before the purported pharyngeal consonant. In
contrast to the regular gaps in the distribution of vowels before semivowels within
syllable rhymes (2.3.1.1.3), restrictions on vowels before a pharyngeal consonant would
be odd: while underlying high vowels are absent from the oral inventory, underlying mid
vowels are absent from the nasal inventory (cf. 2.2.1). This shows that even if a
pharyngealized consonant avoids co-distribution with high vowels, it accepts a high
vowel under the pressure of the language-wide constraint against nasalized mid vowels
(3.1.1).
A final argument against a consonantal interpretation comes from observations of errors
Mambay speakers already literate in French, Fulfulde and in some cases, Mundang, make
when learning to write their own language. In the standard Mambay orthography (1.3.3),
word-initial h is written as h, and syllable rhymes with a pharyngeal articulation are
written Vh (i.e., eh, ah, oh, etc.). Although no systematic errors are made when writing
h in syllable onsets, it is common that subjects write long (orthographically double)
vowels in place of h in pharyngealized syllable rhymes (in particular, those with no
82
additional coda consonant). The number of segment places is still correct, but there is no
consonant marked there. If pharyngealization were the realization of h in syllable codas,
one would not expect this systematic error. This situation may also show that pharyngeal
articulations are not perceived as underlyingly consonantal: if a consonantal
interpretation of pharyngealization is upheld, it is difficult to account for the
systematically erroneous writing of a double vowel rather than the coda consonant
symbol used in the standard orthography.
2.3.3.2.5 Arguments against a vocalic interpretation
Although the factors supporting a vocalic interpretation of pharyngeal articulations are
less decisive than those supporting a consonantal interpretation, the arguments against a
vocalic interpretation are less numerous.
Crucially, following an interpretation of pharyngealization as an inherent quality of some
vowels in the inventory, there is no contrast between short and long pharyngealized
vowels. In itself, this is not problematic, and evidence could be gathered which would
indicate whether pharyngealized vowels are short or long. For example, they occur in
nouns comprised of an open syllable, a structure never attested with a short vowel (in
other words, there are no CV nouns in the data; see 5.1.1.1):
fâh
kaFh
vbaFh
path
placenta
large mixing stick
In addition, they are commonly found in closed syllables, an environment where, with the
exception of five non-canonical words (2.4.3), long vowels are not found unambiguously.
A selection from the numerous words in which pharyngeal vowels are found in closed
syllables is as follows:
díht
fêhm
gáhlbó
kâhlgá
kaFhm
róhlgóm
rôh7gá
warbler
fish sp.
soldier
bitterness
wool
joint (body)
smoothness, slipperyness
In sum, the interpretation of pharyngealized vowels as either uniformly long or uniformly
short is problematic. It is precisely this problem which the consonantal interpretation of
pharyngealization given above attempts to resolve by positing additional syllable types.
2.3.3.2.6 A suprasegmental interpretation of pharyngealization
Because of the drawbacks associated with consonantal and vocalic interpretations of
pharyngealization, it is instructive to consider a suprasegmental interpretation of the
issue.
83
In one case, pharyngealization could be viewed uniquely as a feature that associates with
syllable rhymes or even syllables as a whole. Such an explanation corresponds to facts
relating to the wide-ranging realization of pharyngealization within syllables (2.1.6.3,
2.3.3.2.1); however, since these realizations are predictable, it is not necessary to invoke
pharyngealization as an independently operating feature. A suprasegmental solution
would be preferable if there were evidence of long-distance alignment or spread of
pharyngealization among units on the same tier (such as vowels with vowels, or
consonants with consonants), but in the data there is no evidence of this.
Alternatively, pharyngealization could be viewed as a feature usually hosted by a
contrastive pharyngeal consonant but one which is hosted by a vowel when the syllable is
closed. This alleviates a major concern of the consonantal interpretation, namely the
positing of complex codas. However, the dual identity (consonant and feature) of
pharyngealization is unsettling, especially since there are no demonstrably contrastive
pharyngeal consonants in the language, even in syllable onsets. Finally, because of the
other concerns mentioned for a consonantal interpretation, this solution is less than ideal.
2.3.3.2.7 Conclusion
In sum, none of the interpretations of pharyngealization is without significant limitations.
For the remainder of this study, the interpretation of pharyngealization as an inherent
quality of some vowels in the inventory has been employed. In regard to CV structure,
pharyngealized vowels in open syllables are treated along with long vowels, and in closed
syllables these vowels are treated along with short vowels. The possibilities for phonetic
realizations given in 2.3.3.2.1 above suggest, but do not prove, that this reading may be
phonologically suitable. Additionally, this convention respects the commonly attested
morpheme structures for each word class.
2.3.3.3 Glottal articulations in syllable rhymes
The interpretation of glottal articulations in syllable rhymes presents many of the same
possibilities and challenges as the interpretation of pharyngeal articulations (2.3.3.2).
While evidence from a variety of areas has been examined, there is no single clear
interpretive solution that emerges.
Interpretive possibilities allow that glottalic articulations pattern as one of several
structures:
1. an inherent quality of a glottal or preglottalized consonant;
2. an inherent quality of glottalized vowels; or
3. a suprasegmental glottalic feature which associates with larger units such as
syllable rhymes or syllables.
Additionally, it should be noted that Bohnhoff (1976:26–9, 1987:15–6), who has tackled
a comparable issue with Duru / Yag Dii in north-central Cameroon, posits structurally
discrete “double vowels.” However, his conclusion has yet to be successfully integrated
into a theory of segment and syllable structure (cf. Segerer 1995:69–75).
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In the analysis that follows, the distribution and phonetic realizations of glottalic
articulations are described (2.3.3.3.1). Complexities pertaining to the behaviour of
glottalic articulations in unambiguously closed syllable rhymes are given special attention
(2.3.3.3.1.1). Two consonantal interpretations (0) are contrasted with a vocalic
interpretation of the issue (2.3.3.3.3). The issue is concluded in 2.3.3.3.4.
2.3.3.3.1 Distribution and phonetic realizations
In syllable rhymes, glottalic articulations are realized in various ways depending on the
environment in which they are found. Three pertinent environments, each with its own
characteristic phonetic realizations, are: non-utterance final syllable rhymes which could
be interpreted as open; utterance-final syllable rhymes which could be interpreted as
open; and syllable rhymes which are unambiguously closed. In each environment, there
are striking similarities with the phonetic realizations associated with pharyngealization
(2.3.3.2.1).
In a non utterance-final syllable rhyme which is otherwise open, a glottalic articulation is
realized with at least a glottalized vowel. In some cases, there is glottal closure. In
addition, a glottalized echo vowel optionally follows the glottal closure in this position.
(Transcriptions are arranged from slow, careful speech to fast, casual speech).
k[ù)]rá ~ k[ù)ù]rá ~ k[ù]rá
melon
In an utterance-final syllable rhyme which is otherwise open, glottal closure after the
glottalized vowel is obligatory, and a glottalized echo vowel is optional in fast speech.
k[û)] ~ k[ú)ù]
sand
In an unambiguously closed syllable, there are two types of glottal articulations. In
glottal articulations where the syllable-final consonant is glottalized or has a glottalized
counterpart, there is always glottalization on a vowel and a coda consonant, and there is
an optional glottal closure between the two segments; however, there is no vocalic
articulation after the closure (see 2.1.6.2).
d[è)m] ~ d[èm]
comment (v.)
Otherwise, there is variation between a lack of complete glottal closure and an open
transition (echo vowel) between the glottal closure and the syllable-final consonant.
[)á) ár ]và ~ [)ár]và
run (VN) (cf. )à’ ‘run (perfective)’; this and similar examples
are analyzed in 0)
At this point, it is appropriate to address further complexities regarding glottalic
articulations in unambiguously closed syllable rhymes (2.3.3.3.1.1), since these have
major implications for the interpretation of glottalic articulations elsewhere.
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2.3.3.3.1.1 Description of glottalic articulations in closed syllable rhymes
A detailed account of glottalic articulations in unambiguously closed syllable rhymes is
an important step toward their interpretation in general.
Obstruents appear to be absent in rhymes with glottalic articulations. Consonants which
are permitted may be divided into two categories. The first category contains consonants
which are glottalized or, alternatively, have a non-glottalic counterpart (see the discussion
in this section below). These consonants, shown in the context of glottalized syllable
rhymes, are as follows:
y, Q
t[ày] ~ t[à)y]
sway rhythmically
w, Nw
m, Nm
n, Nn
7, N7
n[àw
] ~ n[à)w
]
d[èm] ~ d[è)m]
g[ùn] ~ g[ù)n]
s[ù7]gá ~ s[ù)7]gá
spank
comment (v.)
accompany
razor
(p/b), (t, d), l, %
s[àp ] ~ s[à)p]
Q[àl ] ~ Q[à)l]
vomit
feel, rub
Importantly, there is no contrast between glottalic and non-glottalic consonants in
syllable rhymes which contain glottalic articulations.
While the symmetry between the first five pairs of non-contrasting consonants is clear,
non-glottalic counterparts of and % need further explanation. In this context, p/b is not
an ideal non-glottalic counterpart for , nor is t or d for %, since no obstruents are found
unambiguously in this glottalic environment. Interestingly, l is a preferable candidate for
the non-glottalic counterpart of %. There are five reasons for this:
1) l is not an obstruent, and is therefore (in contrast to t and d) not barred from
glottalic syllable rhymes;
2) % is realized as )l in codas (2.1.6.2);
3) V% does not contrast with V’l in rhymes;
4) verbs which appear to contain a historical verbal extension -l on a glottalized verb
root (7.2) exhibit the same phonetic realization;
5) there is no open transition realization of V’l in syllable rhymes parallel to that of
V’r (see the next paragraph as well as the following section).
The second category of consonants is limited to r. Glottalized syllable rhymes with r
differ from those with other consonants in three ways. First, r is the only non-glottalic
sonorant consonant found in syllable codas that does not have a glottalic counterpart in
the phonology. Second, the phonetic realization of r in a glottalized rhyme is unique.
Unlike other consonants, when glottal closure is employed, it is accompanied by an open
transition consisting of a glottalized echo vowel. It is an open question whether
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differences in its realization are the product of a contrastive phonological identity or
whether they are a phonetic consequence of its rhotic or periodic (exhibiting repeated
movement) articulation. Third, unlike other consonants in the same position, it is
extremely uncommon; its distribution is restricted to four irregular verbal nouns (see the
following section for further discussion).
2.3.3.3.2 Consonantal interpretations of glottalization
Two types of consonantal interpretation are available for glottalic articulations in syllable
rhymes. While the first interpretation is relevant for all syllable rhymes, the second
interpretation is relevant in particular for glottal articulations in closed syllable rhymes.
The first interpretation is that glottalic articulations in this position are contrastive
realizations of an independently occurring glottal stop. This interpretation is, on the
whole, acceptable for glottalic articulations in open syllables. It reflects the consonantal
quality found in some realizations of such utterances (2.3.3.3.1). Also, as is the case for
pharyngeal articulations (2.3.3.2), the optional presence of an echo vowel after the point
of greatest consonantal closure is reminiscent of the articulation of the unambiguously
consonantal g in coda position (2.1.6.1). Notably, an interpretation in which glottalic
articulations in syllable rhymes are consonantal also respects the positing of a contrastive
glottal stop at morpheme boundaries (2.1.4.1). There are even two situations in which a
glottal stop at a morpheme boundary alternates with a glottal articulation in a syllable
rhyme2:
sá’buy
+
tí-
+
AUG
n
CAUS
sà)án
sell
)ízà
(female name)
tí’zà
(female name, respect form)
One objection to this first consonantal interpretation, that of evidence from writing errors,
is parallel to that presented in the discussion on a consonantal interpretation of
pharyngealization (2.3.3.2.4). As stated above, observations have been made concerning
the errors Mambay speakers already literate in French, Fulfulde and in some cases,
Mundang, make when learning to write their own language. In the standard Mambay
orthography (1.3.3), the contrastive morpheme-initial glottal stop (2.1.4.1) is not written,
and otherwise open syllable rhymes with a glottalic articulation are written V’. When
writing an open syllable rhyme with this articulation, it is common that subjects write a
long (orthographically double) vowel (VV) rather than a glottalized vowel (V’). This
may indicate that glottalic articulations in such syllable rhymes are perceived as vocalic
rather than consonantal.
2
The first of these alternations is productive and occurs whenever a suffix consisting of a nasal consonant
is added to a root ending in a glottalic rhyme (6.1.4.2.1, 7.2.3.1, 7.3.1.2.1, 7.3.1.5.1); the second (5.12.1.1)
is idiosyncratic. Also, the first applies in one direction and the other in the opposite direction.
87
A similar objection to a consonantal interpretation of glottalic articulations originates in
an observation on the language style used in Mambay choral music (this style includes
both traditional dance music and church music). Importantly, in choral lyrics there is no
glottalic quality in open syllable rhymes, even in articulations which in spoken language
are glottalic. In other words, open glottalic rhymes are sung as unmodified vocalic
rhymes. This differs from morpheme-initial glottal stops and preglottalized consonants,
where glottalic articulations are retained in singing.
This first interpretation, where glottalic articulations in this position are contrastive
realizations of an independently occurring glottal stop, is faced with a major difficulty in
unambiguously closed syllables. As is the case for a consonantal interpretation of
pharyngeal articulations, it would lead to the creation of CC codas and, consequently, the
recognition of new superheavy syllable types (cf. 2.4.3). For example, the word d[èm] ~
d[è)m] ‘comment (v.)’ would be interpreted as a CVCC sequence d-è-)-m (or d-è-)Nm). The positing of such syllables causes the same difficulties as have been discussed in
2.3.3.2.4.
However, a second possibility exists for a consonantal interpretation of glottalic
articulations in unambiguously closed syllable rhymes: namely, that glottalization is part
of the coda consonant (V-NC). Importantly, this rhyme sequence never contrasts with V’C or V’-NC rhymes. A review of attested glottalic articulations in such syllables
(2.3.3.3.1.1), when compared with the inventory of contrastive glottalized consonants
(2.1.1), shows that in the vast majority of cases, a closed glottalic rhyme could be
interpreted as an unmodified vowel followed by a preglottalized consonant. Thus, a word
like d[èm] ~ d[è)m] ‘comment (v.)’ would be analyzed as a CVC sequence d-è-Nm.
The only difficulty facing this interpretation is the presence of four irregular verbal nouns
in the data, in which a glottalic articulation accompanies the consonant r within a syllable
rhyme (there are no other words with this configuration):
[)ár ]và ~ [)á) ár]và
run (VN) (cf. )à’ (perfective))
Nm[ ír]và ~ Nm[ í)ír ]và go down (VN) (cf. mì’ (perfective))
k[ír]và ~ k[í)ír ]và
grow to a gigantic size (VN) (cf. kì’ (perfective))
m[ár ]và ~ m[á) ár]và
make a sound (VN) (cf. mà’ (perfective))
These four examples are ambiguous, and it is evident from the consonant inventory
presented in 2.1.1 that there are no unambiguous examples of a contrastive preglottalized
counterpart Nr. Thus, a CVC interpretation is problematic for CVNr rhymes, which in
addition exhibit phonetic characteristics slightly different than those containing other
consonants in the same position (2.3.3.3.1.1). If a CVC analysis is adhered to for all
other glottalized articulations in closed rhymes, three possibilities are available to account
for CV Nr sequences:
88
1) even though Nr only occurs ambiguously, it should be classified as part of the
consonant inventory;
2) the four words with CVNr rhymes should be analyzed as containing exceptional
CVCC syllables; or
3) the verbal nouns in which CVNr rhymes are found should be analyzed as
morphologically complex.
The first explanation is obviously weak, since contrast or another strong argument should
be demonstrated for each segment in the consonant inventory. The second explanation
exhibits the same weakness in relation to the syllable inventory (note that, if adhered to, it
would create additional ambiguity by alleviating the necessity of a CVC interpretation for
other unambiguously closed glottalic syllable rhymes).
The third explanation, however, deserves further consideration; and since CVNr rhymes
are only found in four words, it is useful to examine these words. One pattern that
emerges is that all four words have a nasalized first syllable. While there may be a
historical explanation for this, nasality does not appear to provide insight into the
preferability of any of the three interpretations. More promising in this regard is the
likelihood of morphological complexity. All four words are irregular verbal nouns and,
as shown in their presentation above, each may be identified with a source verb stem.
However, in the description of verbal nouns (5.9.2), it is stated that fossilized verbal
nouns are structured in (almost) the same way as other nouns, including the historical
noun suffixes that are found with most of them. Although there are correspondences
between irregular verbal nouns and the verbs from which they originate, these
correspondences are varied and in many cases idiosyncratic. Consequently, the
morphological boundary between verbal noun root and verbal noun suffix is probably
better considered a historical boundary.
In the end, the third explanation does not provide a way out of the interpretive difficulties
which CVNr sequences pose to a consonantal interpretation of glottalic articulations. It is
possible that, as suggested by the second explanation, CVCC syllables have arisen or are
arising in the language as a result of morphological reconfigurations driven by historical
processes such as that which has generated irregular verbal nouns.
2.3.3.3.3 A vocalic interpretation of glottalic articulations
The most basic argument in support of a vocalic interpretation for glottalic articulations
in syllable rhymes is the fact that such articulations are always realized at least on
vowels. A vocalic interpretation maintains that although glottalic articulations are
underlyingly vocalic, they may be phonetically realized with an accompanying
consonantal quality in some environments (cf. 2.3.3.3.1).
Simply put, the only other factors in support of a vocalic interpretation are those which
stand in opposition to a consonantal interpretation (0).
One oddity resulting from a uniform vocalic interpretation of glottalic articulations in
syllable rhymes is a complete absence of preglottalized consonants in this position. In
89
cases where preglottalized consonants in syllable onsets are resyllabified as coda
consonants due to morphophonological processes (see especially the free/linked
alternation of nouns in 5.2.2.2), the glottalic quality of the rhyme would be reassigned to
the preceding vowel (recall phonetic realizations and the discussion of the relationship
between % and l specified in 2.3.3.3.1.1):
páà
milk
+ )íí
*pâ’b )íí my milk (cf. preferable form pâ )íí)
1SG.POSS
wá%à
+ )íí
*wâ’l )íí my boule with sauce (cf. preferable
boule with sauce
1SG.POSS
form wâ% )íí)
This is unfortunate, because it promotes a phonological identity for these coda
consonants which is less defendable than one where a glottalized consonant retains its
identity even when it has been reassigned to a new syllable position. In addition, it masks
the phonetically salient contrast between glottalized vowel / non-glottalic consonant and
non-glottalized vowel / preglottalized stop sequences across a syllable boundary (2.3.2).
Also, as is the case for pharyngealized vowels (2.3.3.2), there would be no contrast
between short and long glottalized vowels. Further, it would be unclear whether these
vowels which do not have a contrast in length were underlyingly short, long, or both.
What would be interpreted as glottalized vowels are found in some environments in
which short vowels are never found, such as nouns consisting of a single open syllable
(5.1.1.1):
faF’
kâ’
naF’
mouse sp.
medicine, care
side chamber
In contrast, with an across-the-board vocalic interpretation these vowels would be found
in closed syllables, an environment where, with the exception of five non-canonical
words (2.4.3), long vowels are not found unambiguously. Example words containing
syllables which would have to be interpreted as long vowels followed by a consonant
have been given in 2.3.3.3.1.1 above.
2.3.3.3.4 Conclusion
In sum, each interpretation of glottalic articulations is significantly limited. While
arguments in favour of a consonantal interpretation are stronger than those for a vocalic
interpretation, so are objections toward it. Also, as is the case for pharyngealized vowels,
a suprasegmental interpretation does not provide additional insight into the issue.
Bohnhoff’s (1976, 1987) ad hoc positing of structurally discrete “double vowels” a is
convenient interpretation, but has yet to be integrated into a theory of segment and
syllable structure.
For the remainder of this study, a split interpretation has been followed in regards to
length. For syllables which are otherwise open, glottalic articulations have been
90
interpreted as long glottalized vowels phonologically parallel to pharyngealized vowels
(2.3.3.2). In light of the lack of contrast between V’-C, V-NC and V’-NC rhymes, and
considering the identical articulation of these syllable rhymes with those containing
unambiguous preglottalized stops in syllable onsets which have been resyllabified as
codas (2.1.3.2), glottalic articulations in closed syllable rhymes with consonants other
than r are treated as short unmodified vowels followed by glottalic consonants. Syllablefinal V-glottal-r sequences, which do pattern neatly with either of these other groupings
(0), are treated as short glottalized vowels followed by a non-glottalized consonant.
2.3.3.4 Rhymes ending in high vowels and semivowels
There is no contrast between syllable rhymes ending in high vowels and those ending in
semivowels (non-glottalized or glottalized). Rhymes which exhibit a single place of
articulation are interpreted as long vowels rather than VC sequences. This interpretation
assures that the inventories of long and glottalized vowels (2.2.1) are complete.
ii/iy
síì
sììgó
valley, river
mosquito larva
uu/uw
kúù
kúúrà
fields, bushland
hunt (n.)
i’/iQ
sí’
sí’là
fish (v.), bloat
cold (n.)
u’/uNw
kû’
kù’rá
sand
melon
All attested rhymes in which the vowel’s place of articulation differs from the unit which
follows it are ambiguous, since they contain a high element which could be semivocalic
rather than vocalic. In order to avoid the positing of non-identical vowel sequences based
on ambiguous data, these rhymes are interpreted as VC sequences, since VC rhymes
occur commonly in the language (2.4.1). Examples of each attested sequence are given
below; whenever possible, both morpheme-final and morpheme-internal examples are
shown.
ei/ey
wéy
nà-lêyrá
virginity
grinding, command
ai/ay
faFy
fish sp.
eu/ew
nà-gbéhwrà wild hibiscus sp.
au/aw
kaFw
gáwrà
frog sp.
savannah
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ou/ow
támbyòw
billy goat
a’i/aQ
kpàQ
swing the hips
i’u/iNw
kpíNwsí
shallow
e’u/eNw
kpéNwrà
melon
a’u/aNw
nàNw
tâNwgá
spank (v.)
rope
o’u/oNw
kyôNw
warthog, pig
Reasons for distributional gaps in attested vowel-semivowel sequences are given in
2.3.1.1.3.
2.4 Syllable structure
A number of syllable shapes are attested in Mambay, and some of them are reasonably
complex. In the present section, an inventory of allowable syllable shapes is provided
(2.4.1). This is followed by a description of syllable structure (2.4.2) and a discussion of
syllable weight (2.4.3).
2.4.1 Inventory of syllable shapes
The following syllable shapes are found in Mambay:
CV
CVV
CVC
CVVC
gé
déé
dím
fááwh
get lost
chop
faint
light (weight)
CCV
syè
shine
CCVV gyáá take out, gather up
CCVC bwàr untie
Words containing examples of attested syllable shapes are found in relevant sections at
the beginning of descriptions of each word class (Chapters 6–9).
2.4.2 Syllable structure
Syllables (σ) contain three parts: onset (O), nucleus (N), and coda (Cd). Together, the
nucleus and coda constitute the rhyme (R) of the syllable. Possible syllable structures in
Mambay are accounted for in the following diagram:
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σ
R
O
N
Cd
C (C) V (V) (C)
As the diagram shows, all syllables are found with a consonantal onset. Syllable onsets
may be simple, consisting of a single C, or complex, in which case they are comprised of
a CC sequence (see 2.3.3.1). The lack of V-initial syllable shapes in the inventory is in
keeping with the interpretation of the glottal stop as a contrastive unit (2.1.4.1).
A syllable nucleus contains a single vowel. This vowel is either short (V) or long (VV)
(2.2.3.1).
Codas are optional syllable constituents. When they occur, they contain a single C.
Although the vast majority of codas are found following a V nucleus, a few morphemes
exhibit syllables containing codas after a VV nucleus (2.4.3 below).
The maximal potential syllable CCVVC, which contains a complex onset, a long vowel
and a coda, is not attested in the data.
2.4.3 Syllable weight
In Mambay, syllables may be light, heavy or superheavy.
In Mambay, each segment in a syllable rhyme contains a single unit of weight, called a
mora (µ) (cf. Broselow 1995). A light syllable contains a single mora, and a heavy
syllable contains two. Superheavy syllables, which are uncommon, contain three morae
(see Broselow 1995:202 for other descriptions which appeal to more than two morae; see
also the Mambay example in this section below). These structures may be schematized
with reference to syllable weight as follows:
light syllable:
σ
R
O
N
C (C)
µ
V
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heavy syllables:
σ
σ
R
O
R
N
µ µ
C (C) V V
superheavy syllable:
O
N
Cd
C (C)
µ
V
µ
C
σ
R
O
N
Cd
µ µ
C (C) V V
µ
C
While light and heavy syllables are common, five non-canonical (cf. 1.3.1) morphemes in
the data contain a superheavy syllable:
fááwh
fíítg
nà-táálUlá
rùùg`
tí-tòòn`tíì
light (weight)
(sound of fingers wiping a plate clean)
ant sp.
cylindrical shape
lark (bird sp.)
However, superheavy syllables also arise when stems take suffixes comprised of a
consonant:
fàà
+
back:LF
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
làà
+
eat:PFV
-nT
fààmi
your (sg.) back, skin (inal.)
(cf. 6.1.4.2)
làànT
feed (i.e., cause to eat; cf. 7.2.3.1)
CAUS
The defining of syllable weight is useful for two reasons. First, distribution of syllables
in words is constrained by the weight of the syllables (see the distribution sections in
each chapter). Second, syllable weight is central to an understanding of the tone system,
since tones associate with the morae which are made available by segments in syllable
rhymes (4.1.2.1). While a light (one-mora) syllable may bear only one tonal unit, two
tonal units may be associated with a heavy syllable, and up to three with a superheavy
syllable. An instance of the mapping of three tonal units on a superheavy syllable is as
follows:
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HLH
Qáà-mi
move.away:PERF-2SG.REFL
µµµ
[Q á à mii ]
in: mù Qáàmi ‘you have moved away’
2.5 Word structure
Many word structures are attested in Mambay. The diversity in allowable forms is in
keeping with a rich syllable inventory (2.4.1), the fact that morphemes of more than one
syllable are allowed in the language (see following paragraph), and inflectional and
derivational morphology. Word structure, for which association of a single tonal melody
is the primary defining criterion in this study (cf. 4.1.2, especially 4.1.2.3), varies
according to morphological class and is therefore addressed in the relevant sections in
chapters on each word class.
Minimally, a phonological word is comprised of a single morpheme. Morphemes range
in shape from a single light syllable to several syllables. While verbs and some minor
word classes exhibit some monomorphemic words comprised of a light syllable, nouns
are minimally comprised of a heavy syllable (5.1.1.1). Monomorphemic nouns in
particular may contain three syllables, more than one of which may be heavy.
For a number of word classes, derivational morphology results in the formation of
complex stems. This is achieved through affixation (nouns and verbs), compounding
(nouns), and the application of morphological templates (modifiers).
Inflectional morphology, which is found on nouns and verbs, allows further complexity
in the structure of phonological words. Usually, but not always, nasality and tone
function within composite phonological words in the same way they function within
morphemes (3.4.3, 4.1.2.3).
95
3
NASALITY
3
NASALITY
Nasality in Mambay is a feature of vowels as well as consonants. It cannot be described
with reference to only one or the other; there are numerous examples of words in which
nasality is only found on consonants, or only on vowels (see 3.4.1).
Nasality is found with short as well as long vowels (3.1), and may co-occur with
pharyngealization and glottalization. However, restrictions on nasalized mid vowels
result in the limitation of nasality to a subset of the vowel inventory (3.1.1).
Consonants may be split into the basic categories of obstruents, which cannot bear
nasality, and sonorants, which can (3.2). In particular, sonorants are divided into several
types based on their behaviour in reference to nasality.
Two issues relate to nasality on vowels as well as consonants: degrees of phonetic
nasalization, and effects of vocalic nasality on oral consonants (3.3).
Nasality exhibits consistent distributional patterns. The domains in which nasality is
found are described within syllables, within morphemes and across morpheme
boundaries (3.4).
In the phonological orthography used throughout this study (1.3.3), a cedilla3 is used to
mark nasalization on vowels. In the phonetic transcriptions in this chapter, phonetic
detail is limited to issues pertaining to nasality; otherwise, the phonological orthography
is used.
3.1 Vocalic nasality
Several sets of contrastively nasalized vowels are found in Mambay (2.2.1). Both short
and long nasalized vowels are found. Also, nasalization on vowels may co-exist with
pharyngealization and glottalization. In the latter situations, however, there is no
contrastive distinction for length (cf. 2.2.1, 2.3.3.2, 2.3.3.3). Contrast between oral and
nasalized vowels as well as contrast among nasalized vowels is established in 2.2.1 and
2.2.3. As shown earlier (2.2.1), the four sets of nasalized vowels are:
3
The use of the cedilla to mark nasalization is in keeping with the conventions established in Tadadjeu and
Sadembouo’s (1984) Alphabet générale des langues camerounaises as well as that which is used for the
standard Mambay orthography (1.3.3). For this reason, and due to limitations in available fonts at the time
of research, other conventions such as the typographically similar Polish hook (also known as the ogonek),
the tilde and the under-tilde (cf. Pullum and Ladusaw 1996:254–5, 261) have not been adopted.
96
short nasalized vowels:
long nasalized vowels:
i
ii
u
a
uu
aa
vowels with nasalization
and glottalization:
vowels with nasalization and
pharyngealization:
i’
ih
u’
a’
uh
ah
The vowel o also appears in two morphemes in the data (see 3.1.2).
3.1.1 Restrictions on nasalized mid vowels
The most prominent restriction on the inventory of nasalized vowels is a near-absence of
nasalized mid vowels in morphologically simple items; with only two exceptions (3.1.2),
no mid vowels are nasalized—either contrastively or non-contrastively.
Even
pharyngealized vowels, which in oral contexts are phonologically mid (2.2.4), are high
when associated with nasality.
An indicator that nasalized mid vowels are also disfavoured in morphologically complex
contexts is found with the linked forms of nouns in noun phrases (5.2.2). For nouns
ending in a Cy- or Cw-plus-low vowel sequence, the sequence in the corresponding
linked form is usually levelled to C-plus-mid vowel. However, sequences in nouns
ending in Cyaa or Cwaa are changed to high vowels rather than mid vowels (see
5.2.2.2.2).
kyáà +
container
)íí
1SG.POSS
kíì )íí
my container
cf. tyáà +
fish sp.
)íí
1SG.POSS
téè )íí
my fish sp.
kwáà +
fly
)íí
1SG.POSS
kúù )íí
my fly
cf. kwáà +
grass
)íí
1SG.POSS
kóò )íí
my grass
In addition to conforming to the language’s patterns of the distribution of nasality (3.4),
the following borrowings show the same intolerance for mid vowels in a nasal
environment:
97
tí-ríírì
onion (cf. Fulf. tinyeere)
tí-búúnúúzè date (fruit) (cf. Fulf. dibinooje (pl.))
3.1.2 Exceptional nasalized mid vowels
A phonologically peripheral nasalized vowel o is found in a morphologically simple
context in two items in the data:
nògtí
tì-góNmì
knead
wrinkle (n.)
Since o is in each case found beside a nasal consonant, it is possible to attribute its
nasality to the presence of the nasal consonant rather than to inherent nasality in the
vowel. In any case, both interpretations highlight an inconsistency in the phonological
system, since no other examples of a mid vowel are found in a morphologically simple
environment where nasalization is obligatory (3.4.1, 3.4.2).
Nasalized mid vowels also arise in one morphologically complex environment: when the
second person singular reflexive suffix is attached to a stem ending in a consonant or a
short vowel, the second person reflexive suffix -mi is realized as -nVgm (where V is a
vowel which echoes the final vowel of the stem) (7.3.1.2.1).
mù àr-nám
you got better
2SG get.better:PFV-2SG.REFL
mù nú-núm
you had slept
2SG sleep:PLUPERF-2SG.REFL
This process applies equally to mid vowels, which are restricted from bearing nasality in
almost all other contexts (3.1.1). Taking this into consideration, the mid quality of the
vowel and/or its nasality may better be viewed as an effect of its phonetic context rather
than an underlying trait.
mù )èr-ném
you got up
2SG get.up:PFV-2SG.REFL
mù ròv-nóm
2SG scald:PFV-2SG.REFL
you scalded yourself
3.2 Consonantal nasality
Consonantal nasality functions as part of a complex system; consonants may be classified
based on their behaviour in reference to nasality. A basic phonological division may be
made between (oral) obstruents, which are not nasalizable, and sonorants, which are (cf.
Le Saout 1973, Bole-Richard 1985, Kaye 1981, Creissels 1994:107 and Clements
2000:132).
98
manner
labial
alveolar
palatal
(labial-)
velar
retroflex
alveolar
If a complete analysis of contrast has not been done for consonants, it may appear at first
that there is full complementarity between nasal sonorants and a corresponding set of oral
sonorants, depending on the oral or nasal specification of adjacent vowels. Such analyses
have been presented for other Niger-Congo languages (Le Saout 1973; Kutsch Lojenga
1976, 1985:3–4; Bole-Richard 1985:6; cf. Schadeberg 1982a). The possibility of an
equivalent situation in Mambay is taken into consideration by the presentation of
sonorants in the following chart (cf. the consonant chart in 2.1.1; non-contrastive
phonetic realizations are included in square brackets):
nasal glottalic series
Nm
Nn
[N\]
N7
oral glottalic series
%
Q
Nw
nasals
m
n
[ɳ̆ ]
[\]
7
l
r [c]
y
w
place
oral approximants
In actual fact, the situation is more complex than this. Five groups of consonants must be
distinguished based on their behaviour in regard to nasality:
1. obstruents, which are inherently oral (3.2.1);
2. Type 1 sonorants, which are inherently nasal (3.2.2);
3. Type 2 sonorants, which are oral but which alternate with contrastive nasal
counterparts (3.2.3);
4. Type 3 sonorants, which alternate non-contrastively for nasality (3.2.4); and
5. remaining consonants, for which there is insufficient evidence for placement in
one of the other groups (3.2.5).
Contrast among consonants has been established in 2.1.2 and 2.1.3, but patterns of
contrast and complementarity will be addressed in the following discussion. The
distribution of these groups of consonants in syllables and larger units is discussed in
detail separately in 3.4.
3.2.1 Obstruents
At one end of the spectrum, obstruents are inherently and necessarily oral. These
consonants cannot be nasalized by the presence of an adjacent nasalized vowel or nasal
sonorant.
b p t d k g kp gb f v s z
Examples of words with obstruents are as follows:
99
mààbá
páàgá
vbààzá
tail hair, mane, trap
dirtiness, black filth
fish sp.
3.2.2 Type 1 sonorants
Type 1 sonorants are at the other end of the nasality spectrum: they are inherently nasal.
These consonants are as follows:
m n 7 Nm Nn N7
Examples of words with Type 1 sonorants are as follows:
kpò7rá
ná-dóNmnà
nàmá
tibia (of animal)
anus
meat, animal
Type 1 sonorants may not occur in the onset of a syllable with an oral vowel. However,
they may be found in the coda of a syllable with an oral vowel, where they contrast with
Type 2 sonorants, which are contrastively oral (3.2.3).
Interpretation and realizations of preglottalized nasals in particular have been addressed
in 2.1.4.2 and 2.1.4.3.
3.2.3 Type 2 sonorants
Another group of contrastively oral sonorants, labelled Type 2, is as follows:
l %
Examples of words with Type 2 sonorants are as follows:
àrá
%áá
làà
(female proper name)
find, succeed, have
eat
Type 2 sonorants l % contrast with Type 1 sonorants (i.e., nasals) in syllable codas
(2.1.2.3). Contrast between the two groups is, however, neutralized in syllables which
contain a nasalized vowel, since realizations are necessarily those of the nasal
counterparts (n Nm and Nn respectively; see 3.3.2.1) in this position.
3.2.4 Type 3 sonorants
A third group of sonorants alternates for nasality, but nasal vs. oral counterparts are never
contrastive. These sonorants are nasalized in the presence of an adjacent nasalized vowel
or contrastively nasal consonant (i.e., Type 1 sonorant), and only then. Type 3 sonorants
are as follows:
100
r y Q w Nw
Examples of words with these sonorants are as follows:
mààrá
NmàQá
nwaFh
[ma]Ua]Uɳ̆
ɳă ]g]
[Nma]UQj a]g]
F
[nw]a]h]
gift
fast (adv.)
wound
Type 3 sonorants exhibit an array of realizations based on nasality and position within a
syllable. Oral realizations of this group of sonorants are presented in greater detail in
2.1.6, and nasal realizations are presented in 3.3.2.1 and 3.3.2.2. A summary is as
follows:
Group 3 realization realization realization realization realization
in oral
in oral
in initial
in nasal
consonant
in medial
onset
coda
nasal onset nasal onset
coda
r
[c]
[r]
[ɳ̆ ]
[ɳ̆ ]
[rj]
y
[y]
[y]
[\]
[y]]
[y]]
Q
[)y]
[)y]
[)\ ]
[)y]]
[)y]]
w
[w]
[w]
[7w]
[w]]
[w]]
Nw
[)w]
[)w]
[)7w]
[)w]]
[)w]]
3.2.5 Remaining consonants
There is not adequate evidence to place the remaining Mambay consonants h ) and vb in
any of the other categories with confidence. This is because (with the exception of h in
one ideophonic noun: bàháà ‘ibis sp.’) the three consonants are not found in nasalized
word-medial environments where their distribution in relation to the minimal domain of
nasality (in particular, two light syllables separated by Type 1 or Type 3 sonorants; see
3.4.2) may be observed. Phonetic evidence is ambivalent, since the voicelessness of the
laryngeals h ) and the brief articulation of vb (cf. 2.1.8) makes a nasal value difficult to
determine. Given that laryngeals such as h and ) are often considered to be unspecified
for nasality (Kenstowicz 1994:146), they would likely behave as Type 3 (noncontrastively alternating) sonorants (3.2.4). There is no evidence in the language or (to
the author’s knowledge) in accounts of other languages which could be confidently used
to predict the potential behaviour of vb.
Similarly, the phonological identity of the peripheral borrowed consonants j mb nd 7g
does not fall neatly into any of the above categories. As stated earlier (2.1.1), the words
in which they are found in the data are all borrowed from Fulfulde. Since Fulfulde (and
thus material of Fulfulde origin in the data) does not have nasalized vowels, it is not
possible to confirm the behaviour of the borrowed consonants when they are adjacent to a
nasalized vowel. The restriction of these consonants to positions in front of oral vowels
101
is therefore better considered a case of limited distribution.
In sum, because the
m n 7
consonants j b d g do not observably participate in the system of nasality, they will
not be included into the present discussion.
3.3 Issues relating to vowels and consonants
Two topics in nasality which must be discussed in reference to vowels as well as
consonants are degrees of phonetic nasality (3.3.1) and effects of nasality on oral
consonants (3.3.2).
3.3.1 Degrees of phonetic nasality
Similar to what has been described in some related languages (Bentinck 1975:10–4,
Ruelland 1992:26, Elders 2000:65), the researcher’s impressions suggest that there are
several degrees of phonetic nasality in Mambay.
Obviously, nasality is phonetically strongest on nasal and nasalized sonorants; there, it is
always strongly articulated, even when the nasality originates from adjacent vowels
rather than from the consonants themselves. This is especially evident in the nasalized
realizations shown in 3.3.2.1.
On vowels, phonetic nasality is strongest on nasalized vowels which follow an oral
obstruent.
In addition to being perceptually less salient, nasality seems to be more weakly
articulated on vowels which follow a nasal or nasalized sonorant. It is weakest on short
vowels which follow a nasal(-ized) sonorant, but it is also weak on long vowels in the
same position. Along with articulatory factors, the weakness with which nasality is
realized on these vowels could be attributable to the fact that nasality is automatic rather
than contrastive in this context (3.4.1).
A final environment in which weak nasality appears is on phonologically oral vowels
which precede a contrastively nasal sonorant. The conclusion that such vowels are not
contrastively nasalized is supported by the occurrence of mid vowels, which resist
nasalization (3.1.1).
3.3.2 Effects of nasality on sonorants
Nasality influences sonorants in different ways. Sonorants which are not inherently nasal
(i.e., those which are not Type 1) are influenced by nasality in syllable onsets (3.3.2.1) as
well as codas (3.3.2.2). Obstruents, on the other hand, are typically impervious to the
effects of nasality (3.3.2.3).
3.3.2.1 Sonorants in syllable onsets
Sonorants which are not inherently nasal (i.e., those which are not Type 1) are influenced
by nasality in syllable onsets. This is due to a constraint whereby the nasal value of a
sonorant must be the same as that of the vowel which follows it (3.4.1). Although the
phonetic consequences of this constraint are equivalent for Type 2 and Type 3 sonorants,
their distributional status in this position falls into two groups.
102
For Type 2 sonorants l % (3.2.3), there is contrast with Type 1 nasal counterparts n Nm
Nn in codas but complementarity in syllable onsets. Contrast in codas is shown by the
following data (see also 2.1.2.3):
Type 2 sonorants
Type 1 counterparts
l sèl
dispute (v.)
sà vomit (v.)
% gbù% germinate
n
Nm
Nn
sìn
dèNm
béNn
pick up tiny things
comment (v.)
first
Complementary distribution in onsets is reflected by the following data:
l làà
eat
àrá (female proper name)
% %áá find, succeed, have
n
Nm
Nn
náá
Nmárà
Nnáá
touch
friend
stretch
There are no examples of Type 2 sonorants followed by a nasalized vowel, nor of their
contrastive nasal counterparts followed by an oral vowel (see also 3.4.1).
l *làà
*àrá
% *%áá
n
Nm
Nn
*náá
*Nmárà
*Nnáá
There is clear morphophonological evidence that l alternates with n when it comes under
the influence of nasality across a morpheme boundary (3.4.3.3). Evidence from similar
contexts shows that alternates with Nm (3.4.3.8.1) and % with Nn (3.4.3.2). This
suggests that in respect to nasality l and % pattern sonorants rather than with obstruents.
For Type 3 sonorants r y Q w Nw (3.2.4), nasality spreads from an adjacent nasal(-ized)
segment onto the onset sonorant. The attribution of underlying nasality to somewhere
other than the sonorant is possible because nasalized realizations of the sonorant are only
ever found in the immediate environment of another contrastively nasal consonant or
nasalized vowel.
This application of nasality to the second set of sonorants generates a series of striking
realizations a) in utterance-initial position and b) whenever the onset follows an oral
segment over a syllable boundary. In these two contexts, all of these sonorants are
articulated with oral closure:
r
y
[ɳ̆ ]
[\]
Q
[)\ ]
w
[7w]
Nw
[)ŋw
]
103
Example realizations of these sonorants in utterance-initial onsets, both oral and
nasalized, are as follows:
consonant
r
y
Q
w
Nw
oral environment
ráá
yáh
Qáh
wáà
Nwáá
nasal environment
spread out (v.)
take
press
fig, fig tree
split
ráá
yâh
Qáh
wáà
NwíhNwíh
[ɳ̆a]ga]g]
blind (v.)
[\a]kh]
stalk (n.)
[)\0a]gh]
call, invite
w
[7 a]ga]U]
nose, chief
) w )
[ ŋ̰ Hjgh w]0Hjgh] achy and restless
(for the realization of the
second instance of Nw in this
word, see the next paragraphs)
In syllable onsets which are preceded by a nasal or nasalized segment, all of the Type 3
sonorants are nasalized; here, only r exhibits an oral closure.
r
y
Q
w
Nw
[ɳ̆ ]
[y]]
[Qj ]
[w]]
[)w]]
Example realizations of these sonorants in onsets preceded by a nasal(-ized) segment are
as follows:
consonant
example
r
y
Q
w
Nw
mààrá
sáà yâh
NmàQá
sáà wáà
NwíhNwíh
[ma]Ua]Uɳ̆
ɳă ]g]
[sa]ga]U y]a]kh]
[Nma]UQj a]g]
[sa]ga]U w]a]ga]U]
[)ŋw̰ Hjgh)w]0Hjgh]
gift
inside the stalk (cf. sáà ‘inside,’ yâh ‘stalk’)
fast
inside the nose (cf. sáà ‘inside,’ wáà ‘nose’)
achy and restless (for the realization of the
first instance of Nw in this word, see the
previous paragraphs)
The phonetic effect of nasality on the semivowel portion of complex onsets Cy and Cw is
the same as on those which are in onsets preceded by a nasal(-ized) segment (as shown in
the previous paragraph).
Cy
Cw
kyáà
kwáà
[ky]a]ga]U]
[kw]a]ga]U]
container
fly (n.)
104
3.3.2.2 Sonorants in syllable codas
The phonetic effect of nasality on sonorants in codas is similar to that observed in onsets
(3.3.2.1), with the exception that Type 1 (inherently nasal) sonorants may follow oral
vowels. This is caused by a partial independence of coda nasality from that of the
nucleus (3.4.1).
After an oral vowel, there is contrast among all sonorants—both nasal (3.2.1) and oral
(3.2.1). After a nasalized vowel, nasality will necessarily spread to sonorants. Because
of this oral sonorants l % (Type 2, which have contrastive nasal counterparts; see 3.2.1)
are absent; only nasal sonorants and nasalizable oral sonorants r y Q w Nw (Type 3) are
found (see 3.4.1).
As is the case before a nasalized vowel, Type 3 sonorants are nasalized after a nasalized
vowel. Except for r, their realization is the same as when they are found in an onset after
a nasal or nasalized segment in the preceding syllable (3.3.2.1). In a nasalized coda, r is
realized as a nasalized trill [r]] (cf. [r], which is the oral realization of r in codas; see
2.1.6.4).
Example realizations of these sonorants in codas affected by a preceding nasalized vowel
are as follows:
consonant
example
r
y
Q
w
Nw
kúrgún
fày
kpàQ
kàvbâw
nàNw
[kujgrjgun]
[fa]Uyj]
[kpa]UQj ]
[kàvba]kw]]
[na]UNw]]
oval
twist up one’s mouth
swing the hips
the end (of a story)
spank (v.)
3.3.2.3 Obstruents
Typically, obstruents are impervious to the effects of nasality (3.2.1, 3.4.2). None of the
obstruents can be phonologically nasalized, and they inhibit the spread of nasality within
words.
It should be noted that the labial-velar kp, which employs a secondary velaric airstream
mechanism (Ladefoged 1968:9–13, 2.1.7.2), exhibits a phonetically nasal release before
nasalized vowels (cf. Elders 2000:64):
kpáávìrá [kpŋma]ga]gvìrá] plant sp. with bulb
cf. kpáhlà [kpáhlà]
stool, chair
This obvious nasal release does not surface with the voiced labial-velar gb, however:
105
gbíìgú
gbììgú
[gbHjgHjUgú]
[gbììgú]
game bird sp.
goat milk
3.4 Distribution and spread
The feature of nasality is associated with individual vowels and consonants (3.1, 3.2);
however, it is also limited to specific phonological domains within syllables (3.4.1) and
morphemes (3.4.2), and it spreads across morpheme boundaries (3.4.3).
3.4.1 Distribution within syllables
Within syllables, there are clear limitations on the distribution of the feature of nasality
depending on the types of consonants in the syllable.
In the distribution table on the next page, the following symbols are used (symbols refer
to the types of consonants described in 3.2):
N
L
R
H
O
V
Ṽ
Type 1 sonorant (i.e., inherently nasal consonant)
Type 2 sonorant (i.e., oral with contrastive nasal counterpart)
Type 3 sonorant (i.e., alternates non-contrastively for nasality)
laryngeal
obstruent
oral vowel
nasalized vowel
106
Distribution of nasality within syllables
rhyme
onset
V
Ṽ
VV
ṼṼ
VN
ṼN
N
—
VR
ṼR
nàmá
animal
níí
defecate
—
L
lágà
mud
shelter
—
làà
eat
R
wágà
skin
wárà
mosquito
wàá
hump
H
húgò
bone
húmù
kapok
fruit
O
dágà
mouth
gùrá
crane
—
nàn
touch
—
nàr
drive
—
—
làm
prepare
drink
—
làr
rinse
—
wáá
diminish
wà7
gossip
yàn
spread
out
wàr
leave
hàà
háá
surround squeeze
húm
crush
húm
swell
zám
weave
—
zàà
cross
záá
pull
107
VL
ṼL
VO
ṼO
—
—
núg
sleep
(tr.)
lòl
crunch
—
lèg
suck
—
(accid.
gap?)
wàl
bring up
—
ràg
straddle
(accid.
gap?)
hàr
hurry
hàr
tear
hà%
cough
—
hâg
break
(VN)
hìg
give
(VN)
zàr
tread
zìr
gnaw
zàl
explain
—
góg
jump
—
A number of clear patterns are visible in this table. First, there is complementarity in the
first two rows, since oral vowels never follow a nasal (N = Type 1 sonorant) onset, and
nasalized vowels never follow Type 2 sonorants l % (i.e., L = oral sonorants with nasal
counterparts). In other words, where nasality can be shared by onset and nucleus, it must.
The distribution of Type 2 sonorants l % in codas mirrors distribution in onsets: these
consonants are never found after a nasalized vowel in the same syllable. However, in
contrast to the absence of oral vowels after nasal (N) onsets mentioned in the first
paragraph above, oral vowels may be found before a nasal coda. This situation allows for
contrast between nasal (Type 1) and Type 2 sonorants l % in the coda following an oral
vowel (2.1.2.3). The oral identity of some vowels before a nasal coda is confirmed by
three factors: frequent distribution of mid vowels (which resist nasality; see 3.1.1) in this
position (ex. vbòm ‘divide’); the presence of Type 2 sonorants in onsets preceding the
vowels (ex. làm ‘prepare drink’), keeping in mind that Type 2 sonorants always share the
nasal value of the following vowel; and, surprisingly, contrast between oral and nasalized
vowels before a nasal coda consonant in word pairs like húm ‘crush’ vs. húm ‘swell.’
Obstruents (O) and Type 3 sonorants r y Q w Nw (i.e., R = those which alternate noncontrastively for nasality) may precede or follow oral as well as nasalized vowels within
a syllable. In both positions, Type 3 sonorants alternate for nasality in keeping with the
nasal value of the adjacent nucleus vowel; however, this alternation is never contrastive
in itself. The same pattern of non-contrastive alternation appears to hold for laryngeals
(i.e., H, cf. 3.2.5), which are only found in onsets.
Since specification for nasality is always shared between a sonorant onset (nasal or oral)
and the nucleus but, as stated above, may differ between the nucleus and a sonorant coda,
it seems in Mambay that—at least in terms of nasality—the nucleus is more intimately
linked with the onset than it is with the coda.
An additional group of patterns involve constraints on nasality on short vowels in closed
syllables, especially those that begin with an obstruent. Most importantly, as indicated by
the dashed line in the table, there are no examples of oral/nasal contrast on short vowels
between an obstruent and a nasal (N) coda. The example (zám ‘weave’) has been placed
in the oral vowel column because, as noted above, the oral identity of some or all vowels
in this position is confirmed by frequent occurrence of mid vowels (ex. vbòm ‘divide’).
Contrast exists between oral and nasal vowels for closed syllables beginning with
laryngeal (H) consonants, but there are very few examples (ex. hàr ‘hurry’ vs. hàr ‘tear’;
hâg ‘break (verbal noun)’ vs. hìg ‘give (verbal noun)’). A parallel contrast with Type 3
sonorants, while to be expected if these sonorants function like laryngeals (cf. the
paragraph on Type 3 sonorants above and 3.2.5), is absent from the data; all examples of
this structure are found with oral vowels (ex. wàr ‘leave,’ ràg ‘straddle’). Finally, short
nasalized vowels are conspicuously absent from syllables with both obstruent onset and
obstruent coda. Taken together, these facts show that, whether historically or
synchronically, contrast in nasality for short nasalized vowels is disfavoured in closed
syllables.
108
In the five instances of morpheme-internal superheavy syllables within a morpheme
(2.4.3), two patterns should be noted. First, as is the case for short oral vowels, long oral
vowels are allowed before a nasal coda (tí-tòòn`tíì ‘lark (bird sp.)’). Second, in
contradiction to restrictions on nasality for short vowels in a syllable with obstruents in
both onset and coda, nasality is allowed for long vowels in this context (fíítg ‘(sound of
fingers wiping a plate clean)’).
3.4.2 Distribution within morphemes
In morphemes, as in syllables (3.4.1), there are coherent patterns in the distribution of
nasality; these are consistent across all word classes. The following patterns hold for the
vast majority of data:
If nasality is found in a morpheme with no obstruents (cf. 3.2.1) and no mid vowels (cf.
3.1.1), it is found throughout the morpheme.
NmàQá
níínà
rámà
wárà
fast
lower millstone, mill
blindness, blind person
mosquito
If there is nasality in a morpheme with an obstruent, it does not associate with or through
the obstruent.
kpáávìrá
páàgá
súúbà
vbààzá
plant sp. with bulb
dirtiness, black filth
urine
fish sp.
Similarly, if there is nasality in a morpheme with a mid vowel, it does not associate with
or through the mid vowel.
doF7nì
kpò7rá
lómnà
pêmná
wealth
tibia (of animal)
sourness, acidity
ant sp.
In six Mambay items in the data, the distribution of nasality is irregular: it is incomplete
within the morpheme even where it is not blocked by an obstruent or a mid vowel.
dàrmí
hùùnú
límà
lwàhná
màlà
súùná
clay
thigh (cf. historical body part suffix -nú; see 5.1.3.2)
lameness, lame person
edible plant sp.
art, craft
in-law
109
Minimal domain of association
Nasality requires a specific minimal domain in order to associate. Minimal domains are
as follows (the first four of these five domains have already been delineated in 3.4.1):
- a nasal coda (ex. vbòm ‘divide’);
- a long vowel (ex. záá ‘pull’);
- a nasal(-ized) onset plus a nasal(-ized) nucleus (ex. núg ‘sleep (tr.)’);
- a nasal(-ized) nucleus plus a nasal(-ized) coda (ex. zìr ‘gnaw’); or
- two short vowels separated by a nasal(-ized) sonorant (ex. gùrá ‘crane’).
Thus, within a morpheme, nasality may be limited to a single nasal consonant if that
consonant is in syllable-final position (3.4.1; see also 3.4.2 immediately above).
%á7gà
fáyá7
làm
vbóm
ground squirrel
light (weight), agile
prepare hot peanut drink
divide, spread, ruin
Otherwise, there must at least two adjacent nasalizable vowel or consonant units in the
morpheme (a long vowel being two units), as is the case for the following examples,
some of which are repeated from above:
gùrá
hàr
kúmù
má
núg
páàgá
záá
zìr
crane
tear
herder
with, and
sleep (tr.)
dirtiness, black filth
pull
gnaw
The first and third items given in the list above express an additional constraint on the
minimal domain of nasality in morphemes with more than one syllable: a nasalized short
vowel in an open syllable is only found when there is another nasalized vowel in the
morpheme, and the two vowels are separated by a nasal(-ized) sonorant. A single
divergence from this pattern is the allowing of short nasalized vowels in the first syllable
after a nasal consonant if an obstruent begins the second syllable. Thus, plausible
morphemes of the following types are absent (C here refers to any type of consonant):
1. *CVCṼ;
2. *CṼCV (except for NṼOV, which is permitted).
110
The only items in the data which do not conform to this pattern are the following two
words (both of which also exhibit non-canonical obstruent voicing suggestive of
morphological complexity; cf. 2.1.3.2):
ràfá’
wátùtáà
brownness
salt, sugar
3.4.3 Spread across morpheme boundaries
There are six cases in which nasality spreads across morpheme boundaries:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
between inalienable pronominal suffixes and nouns (3.4.3.1);
between reflexive verb suffixes and verb stems (3.4.3.2);
between nouns and plural affixes (3.4.3.3);
between verb stems and a perfect affix (3.4.3.4);
between Optative verb stems and an appended vowel (3.4.3.5); and
between a phrase-final constituent and a negation clitic (3.4.3.6).
The first case of spread involves the leftward incorporation of a suffix’s nasality into a
stem vowel. In the second case, the leftward direction of spread is even clearer. The
other four cases of spread are rightward. Of these, two are from stem to affix, and the
last one is from any preceding verb phrase constituent onto a clitic.
The extent and limitations of the spread of nasality are considered in 3.4.3.7. Contexts in
which the nasal feature is lost are discussed in 3.4.3.8.
3.4.3.1 Inalienable pronominal suffix to noun
In all six cases where a noun ending in a long oral vowel takes the 1SG inalienable
possessive pronominal suffix -í (cf. 6.1.4.2 and Appendix 1), the nasality of the suffix
appears in the syllable into which the suffix is incorporated.
páà
man
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
páy
my father (inal.)
páà-vàà
husband
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
páà-vaFy
my husband (inal.)
túù
mother
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
tíí
my mother (inal.)
kwàá
neck
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
kwìí
my neck (inal.)
syâh
hand
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
síh
my hand (inal.)
111
dwaF’
belly
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
dwHF’
my belly (inal.)
None of the stems with which the 1SG inalienable possessive pronominal suffix is found
end with a nasalizable oral consonant, so the possible effect of nasality in this exact
context cannot be determined; however, the behaviour of nasal-initial reflexive suffixes
(3.4.3.2) suggests that leftward spread could occur.
3.4.3.2 Nasal-initial reflexive suffix to verb stem
When nasal-initial reflexive suffixes follow a stem-final Type 2 sonorant l or %, the
nasality of the pronoun assimilates to the left and the stem-final oral sonorant is realized
as the respective nasal counterpart n Nm or Nn (cf. 3.2.3, 7.3.1.2.3).
nà
1&2
zòl
leave:PFV
+
-ná
nà zònná
-1&2SG.REFL
we (you (sg.) and I) left
mì
1SG
sà
vomit:PFV
+
-ní
-1SG.REFL
mì sàNmní
I vomited
mù
2SG
zà%
+
tremble:PFV
-nVgm -2SG.REFL
mù zàNnnám
you trembled
3.4.3.3 Noun to plural affix
Various strategies are used to pluralize nouns (5.5.2). In one type of construction, when
the plural template -lzV is applied to a noun in which the last syllable contains a
nasalized vowel, the nasality of the noun spreads rightward onto it.
kwáà
fly
-lzV
cf. kwáà
grass
-lzV
gaFh
beard
-lzV
kwánzà
flies
kwálzà
grasses
gàhnzá
beards
nà-kpyàhlzá
francolins
PL
PL
PL
cf. nà-kpyaFh
-lzV
francolin (bird sp.) PL
In the above examples, the transcription appears to suggest that the nasalized vowel is
actually denasalized when its nasality spreads onto the adjacent l. However, this is
simply a consequence of the non-marking of nasality in syllables with an obstruent onset
and a nasal coda, since nasality is never contrastive in this position (3.4.1).
112
3.4.3.4 Verb stem to Perfect affix -rì
When the Perfect affix -rì is attached to a verb stem ending in a nasalized vowel or a
nasal consonant, the nasality of the verb stem spreads rightward onto it (7.3.1.3). In the
pairs of examples below, the first example shows the spread of nasality onto -rì, and the
second example shows a similar context in which there is no spread of nasality.
mì
1SG
cf. mì
1SG
mì
1SG
cf. mì
1SG
mì
1SG
cf. nà
1&2
kúú
grab:PERF
kùù
gather.firewood:PERF
Qáh
call:PERF
-rì
-rì
mì kúúrì
I have grabbed
mì kùùrì
I have gathered firewood
mì Qáhrì
I have called
mì Qáhrì
I have pressed
mì dú7rì
I have bent down
nà dú7zírì
we (incl.) have bent down
PERF
-rì
PERF
Qáh
press:PERF
PERF
dú7
bend.down: PERF
PERF
dú7
-zí
bend.down:PERF PL
PERF
-rì
-rì
-rì
PERF
3.4.3.5 Optative verb stem to appended vowel -í
When there is no explicit object with an Optative and the verb is phrase-final, an
additional vowel -í is appended after some consonants (7.4.2.1). If -í follows a stem-final
nasal consonant, nasality spreads from the consonant onto it.
mú
2SG:OPT
kàn-í
pass:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] pass (something)!
mú
2SG:OPT
zòNm-í
fix:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] fix (something)!
cf. the oral vowel -í after stems ending in an oral consonant:
mú
2SG:OPT
lòl-í
crunch:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] crunch (something)!
mú
2SG:OPT
sà-í
vomit:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] vomit (something)!
113
3.4.3.6 Negation particle yá
The particle yá is used in negation (10.1.2.3). In terms of nasality, it functions as a clitic:
whenever it follows any morpheme ending in a nasalized vowel or nasal consonant,
nasality spreads from that morpheme onto the clitic.
mìí
kúú
1SG:PFV.NEG grab:PFV
=yá
mìí kúú=yá
I did not grab
mìí kùù=yá
I did not gather firewood
mìí làà nàmá=yá
I did not eat meat
mìí làà vúù=yá
I did not eat the goat
NEG
cf. mìí
kùù
=yá
1SG:PFV.NEG gather.firewood:PFV NEG
mìí
làà
nàmá
1SG:PFV.NEG eat:PFV meat
cf. mìí
làà
vúù
1SG:PFV.NEG eat:PFV goat
=yá
NEG
=yá
NEG
3.4.3.7 Extent and limitations of spread
Nasality spreads across morpheme boundaries only in the six contexts described above
(3.4.3.1–3.4.3.6). Even within phonological words, the spread of nasality is sensitive to
morphological boundaries (cf. 2.5.1, 4.1.2.2). For example, nasality does not spread
across prefix-noun or other noun-internal boundaries:
prefix-noun boundary (5.1.2.2):
bean leaves
phlegm, moist object
dragonfly
large heron sp.
ná-)áà
nà-rúvò
tí-náánì
tí-kà-ràhgú
boundary between a regular verbal noun and a dummy object (5.9.1.1):
làà
eat:VN
-na
-OBJ
làánà
eating (something)
gîr
insult:VN
-na
-OBJ
gîrná
insulting (something)
other noun-internal boundaries (5.4.2):
lè7-lé7-gérmù
tâw-nîn-gáhlà7
tôr-nà-múùrá
kingfisher sp. (cf. gérmù ‘women’)
fish sp. (cf. tâw ‘(male proper name),’ nínù ‘eye,’ gáhlà7
‘faceted’)
maize (cf. tórà ‘seed,’ nà-múùrá ‘jinn’)
114
Conversely, while nasality spreads across the boundary to the negation clitic yá from the
word that precedes it (3.4.3.6), tonal boundaries remain intact in this context. This is
evident in the following example:
múùrá=yá
silt = NEG
(in: mùú kó múùrá=yá you did not see the silt)
If there were no tonal boundary between the two morphemes, the sequence would
constitute a single tonal word múúràyá with a HLH melody, like other HLH words of
the same shape (4.1.2.2). However, this is not the case.
3.4.3.8 Loss of the nasal feature
There are four contexts in which a nasal feature is lost. In the first case, it is lost from a
consonant (3.4.3.8.1), and in the other cases it is lost from a vowel (3.4.3.8.2–3.4.3.8.4).
3.4.3.8.1 The ideophone plural template
In the plural template used with ideophones (8.5.1), the nasal feature is lost from a
consonant. In this context, the consonant Nm is copied to a position immediately before
an oral vowel íì; as a result, its nasality evaporates and it is realized as .
source ideophone
derived ideophone
NmíNn-NmíNn
very thin
íì-NmíNn
very thin (pl.)
The data contain no examples of the derivation of ideophones beginning with other nasal
consonants.
3.4.3.8.2 Plural marking on nouns
When a plural template containing z (5.5.2) applies to a noun ending in a light syllable
with a nasalized vowel, the nasal feature is lost from that syllable. This happens because
when it is preceded by the obstruent z, the short nasalized vowel is deprived of the
minimal domain required for the hosting of nasality (3.4.2).
singular
plural
bùrí
wild manioc sp.
bùrzí
wild maniocs (sp.)
rámà
blind person
rámzà
blind people
115
ná’rà
sauce
ná’nzà
sauces
núúrú
breast
núrzó
breasts
3.4.3.8.3 The 1SG inalienable possessive suffix -í
It appears that when the 1SG inalienable possessive suffix -í (6.1.4.2) attaches to one of
three obligatorily possessed nouns (5.3.3.2), its nasal feature is lost. As is the case with
plural marking on nouns (3.4.3.8.2), a constraint against a short nasalized vowel after an
obstruent (cf. 3.4.2) is active here.
)ázì T +
member.of.
)àzgárà:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
)ázì
my member of
member.of.)àzgárà: )àzgárà (inal.)
1SG.POSS.INAL
(see Glossary)
fààzì
+
member.of.
fààzárà:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
fààzí
my member of
member.of.fààzárà:
fààzárà (inal.)
1SG.POSS.INAL
(see Glossary)
fâhzì
+
member.of.
fàhzárà:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
fâhzí
my member of
member.of.fàhzárà: fàhzárà (inal.)
1SG.POSS.INAL
(see Glossary)
The underlying forms of these three nouns have been established with reference to their
shapes throughout the inalienable possession paradigms (see Appendix 1). They may be
historically composed (note the consistent -zi ending). Still, whatever morphological
complexities may be present, the loss of the suffix’s nasal feature is clear.
An alternative explanation, and one which is ad hoc but admissible, is that the 1SG
inalienable possessive suffix is a floating H tone without segmental support (the deletion
of the excess H tone in )ázì T is discussed in 4.3.1.4).
In the two other examples of nouns ending in an obstruent-V syllable which are found
with inalienable pronominal possession, the suffix -í retains its nasality.
súgò
ear
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
súgí
my ear (inal.)
sábà
tail
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
sabí
my tail (inal.)
The reasons for this difference in nasal value of -í in comparable environments (z vs. g
and b) are unclear, but it is worth noting that neither of the final examples is obligatorily
possessed, and that both refer to body parts rather than social relations.
116
3.4.3.8.4 Irregular verbal nouns
Long nasalized vowels found before an obstruent in the context of irregular verbal nouns
(5.9.1.2) alternate with V7. In these cases, the nasal value of the vowel evaporates.
sú7gà
sú7zírà
cf. sùù
yá7gà
yá7zírà
cf. yàà
lie down (VN)
lie down (VN:PL)
lie down
sit, be, stay (VN)
sit, be, stay (VN:PL)
sit, be, stay
The difference in vocalic nasality is confirmed by the realization of the y, which is
strongly nasalized (as described in 3.3.2.1) in yàà.
117
4
TONE AND INTONATION
4
TONE AND INTONATION
Like the vast majority of Niger-Congo languages, Mambay is tonal. All syllables in all
utterances are affected by tone, and its behaviour in the language is systematic.
In the context of a rich inventory of consonants, vowels, syllable and word shapes, and
contrastive nasality (Chapters 2 and 3), the functional load of tone in distinguishing
lexical items within word classes is moderate, and minimal tone pairs within classes are
surprisingly uncommon. However, its role in the language is much broader than this.
Among other things, tone is an important means of distinguishing among word classes
(4.1.2.4). In addition, tone plays a central role in the verbal system, where it is used as a
basic means of TAM (tense/aspect/mode) marking (7.3.2.2). Further, tone is sensitive to
boundaries of phonological phrases (4.3); the resulting limitation of tonal processes in
phrase-final position helps provide pragmatic coherence and contrast in discourse.
Two contrastive tone levels are found in Mambay: H (high) and L (low). Tones from
these two levels are organized into contrastive tone melodies and associated with
morphemes or, in some cases, phonological words (4.1).
Additional structural aspects of the tone system include floating tones, replacive tone
melodies, and interaction between tone and other phonological structures (4.2).
Four major processes affect the tone system. While tone deletion is a lexical process,
postlexical processes consist of downstep, H tone spread and L tone spread (4.3).
In addition to a complete tonal system, two important intonational phenomena are
attested in Mambay: tone register shift (which is different than downstep) and an
expectation marker. Both interact closely with the tone system (4.4).
Terminology and transcription
Whenever phonologically contrastive tonal elements are under discussion, the terms
“tone” and “tone melody” are used. In contrast, the term “pitch” is limited to phonetic
descriptions of tonal realizations.
Regarding the transcription of tone, several comments are in order. For typographical
reasons, the phonological orthography used in this study consistently limits tone marking
to orthographic vowels; the tone marked on vowels is thus applicable to the whole
118
syllable. This convention is pertinent for syllables with a VC coda, which have two tonebearing units (2.4.3). In cases where the tonal value of the coda C is different than that of
the preceding V, it is transcribed on the V as follows:
underlying
simplified
phonological phonological
form
orthography
example
/ká7`/
/kùmi/
bowstring, drum snare
baobab
kâ7
kuFm
This convention also applies to pharyngealized and glottalized vowels (whether
phonologically long or short; see 2.2.1, 2.3.3.2–3), which are represented with Vh and V’
in the phonological orthography.
/fáhU/
/fà’g/
fâh
faF’
path
mouse sp.
Exceptionally, in superheavy syllables (2.4.3), tone is marked on all the tone-bearing
units.
fááwh
nà-táálUlá
light (weight)
ant sp.
Qáà-mi
(in: mù Qáàmi ‘you have moved away’)
move.away:PERF-2SG.REFL
In the present chapter, the phonetic detail provided in the transcriptions between square
brackets is limited to pitch. Otherwise, the transcription is phonological. Phonetic
phenomena relating to structures other than tone are addressed in the sections on
consonants (2.1), vowels (2.2), and nasality (Chapter 3).
4.1 Tone inventory
The following sections provide an inventory of the tone levels in Mambay (4.1.1), and
the melodies which are produced by combining these two levels (4.1.2).
4.1.1 Tone levels
Two underlying tone levels are found in Mambay: H (high) and L (low).
ká
kà
(attributive copula)
when, and then
háh
hàh
gather
prevent
119
Qáá
Qàà
move away
finish
The phonetic interval between H and a following L is twice as great as the interval
between L and a following H; this difference is attributable to the effect of downstep (see
pitch traces in 4.3.2).
In addition to the level pitches at which H and L are often realized, contour pitches are
also found. A phrase-final light syllable may host a falling pitch, and heavy syllables (cf.
2.4.3) may be realized with falling or rising pitch. However, according to the present
analysis, contour pitches are not in and of themselves contrastive. Rather, they may be
attributed to contrastive tone melodies (4.1.2) associated with words as well as
postlexical processes which affect the realization of these melodies (4.3).
A mid pitch, halfway between H and L, is also attested in restricted contexts (4.3.3.1.2).
However, as is the case for contour pitches, it can be explained with reference to
postlexical processes.
4.1.2 Tone melodies
H and L tones combine to produce various underlying tone melodies. Seven melodies
have been observed in morphologically simple words in Mambay:
H
HL
HLH
HLHL
L
LH
LHL
The following discussion describes the association of these tone melodies with tonebearing units (TBUs) (4.1.2.1), and shows that the melodies which may be associated
with a word are limited by the number of TBUs in that word (4.1.2.2). The formation of
tone melodies in composite phonological words is then examined (4.1.2.3). In addition, it
is pointed out that each word class exhibits its own inventory of tone melodies, and that
frequencies of attested melodies vary greatly from one class to another (4.1.2.4).
Contrasts between melodies are demonstrated (4.1.2.5) and examples, including phonetic
realizations, are given for each of the attested combinations of CV shape and tone melody
in the data (4.1.2.6).
4.1.2.1 Tone-bearing units (TBUs)
The most important limitation on the melodies which can be found with a word is the
word’s quantity of tone-bearing units (TBUs). In Mambay, the pertinent TBU is the
mora (µ). A mora is acknowledged for each V or C found in a syllable’s nucleus or coda
(see 2.4 for discussion of the mora). Each mora is associated with a single underlying H
or L tonal value. Thus, words comprised of a single light (one-µ) syllable may only host
the melodies H or L.
120
H
L
µ
ká
µ
kà
(attributive copula)
when, and then
In contrast, words with two morae—and this may be represented by either a single heavy
(two-µ) syllable or two light syllables—may host melodies with up to two tonal values,
namely: H, L, HL and LH.
H
L
µµ
Qáá
µµ
Qàà
move away
HL
LH
µµ
láà
µµ
làá
gourd
H L
finish
haunch
H L
µ µ
lágà mud shelter, scaffolding
µ µ
làgá lie, Mundang
Likewise, three- and four-mora words may be found with up to three and four alternating
(between H and L) tonal values respectively. This pattern of tone-melody distribution,
which is almost completely consistent throughout the data, may be summarized as
follows:
tone melody
H
L
HL
LH
HLH
LHL
HLHL
1-µ word
x
x
—
—
—
—
—
2-µ word
x
x
x
x
—
—
—
3-µ word
x
x
x
x
x
x
—
4+-µ word
x
x
x
x
x
x
x
Two morphologically simple exceptions to this pattern have been observed in the data;
both of these are two-mora kinship terms with a three-unit (HLH) melody of which the
third unit floats on the right edge of the morpheme:
121
HLH
HLH
µ µ
nánà T maternal uncle
µµ
)ázì T member of )àzgárà (see Glossary)
At the end of a phrase, the final H tone is not realized on such words (4.3.1.4); however,
in the context of possessive constructions (5.3), its effects are evident (4.3.3.3).
In addition, the verbal noun dummy object suffix -na exhibits polar behaviour which
may be related to the presence of more tones than tone-bearing units in verbal nouns; see
the extended discussion in 5.9.1.1.1.
gîr
insult:VN
-na
-OBJ
gîrná
insulting (something)
kòg
see:VN
-na
-OBJ
koFgnà
seeing (something)
4.1.2.2 Association of tones with TBUs
It is generally acknowledged that initial association of tones with TBUs proceeds on a
one-to-one basis from the left edge of the word to the right (Yip 2002:93). Still, at the
point when postlexical processes apply in Mambay (cf. 4.3), tones appear to be associated
in reference to the right edge of the word. This configuration shows up when the number
of available TBUs is greater than the number of tones, since the associated tone furthest
to the left is associated with the remaining TBUs all the way to the left edge of the word.
This situation suggests that, after initial left-to-right association, there is a subsequent
lexical shift of all tonal units as far to the right as possible, with a one-to-one tone-toTBU re-association taking place. Thus, for example, a HL melody will associate at the
lexical level with various CV shapes as follows (an exhaustive table of association with
attested CV shapes is found in 4.1.2.6):
HL
µµ
láà
HL
µµ
kâ7
gourd
HL
µ µ
lágà
H
bowstring, drum snare
L
µµ µ
léérà
mud shelter, scaffolding
122
poultry flea, louse
H
L
µµ µµ
má 7 sî7
H
L
µµ µ µ
síígírò
amoebic dysentery
stork sp.
For words which (like the three examples in the right column) contain more TBUs than
tonal units, a hypothetical lexical association pattern other than that which is given here is
not possible.
H
L
*
µµ µ
léèrà
Thus, tone melodies associate according to a subset of possible tone sequence
possibilities.
In the same way, a LH melody will associate at the lexical level with various CV shapes
as shown in the following examples (an exhaustive table of association configurations is
found in 4.1.2.6):
LH
LH
µµ
làá
µµ
kuF m
haunch
LH
µ µ
làgá
baobab
L H
µµ µ
vààlá
lie, Mundang
grass sp.
L H
L
µµ µ
fìrlá
µµ µ µ
g ù ù g ì n ú gill
torch
H
There are two restricted exceptions to this language-wide pattern of lexical association.
First, there is an intolerance for the association of LH (i.e., a rising contour) on a heavy
syllable if a mora to the left is available to host the L tone (cf. the monosyllabic LH
examples immediately above, where there is no available mora to the left).
L H
HL H
µµ µµ
tùlgúm fish sp.
µµ µ µ
tí ì rí m
123
fish sp.
Second, in the two nouns in the data with more tones than tone-bearing units, the
rightmost tone is underlyingly floating on the right edge of the morpheme (cf. 4.1.2.1); it
only makes itself known non phrase-finally, in the context of possessive constructions
(4.3.3.3):
HLH
HLH
µ µ
nánà T maternal uncle
µµ
)ázì T
member of )àzgárà (see Glossary)
The fact that the floating tone is on the right rather than the left edge of these words
supports the idea of an initial left-to-right association, whereby the excess tone is left
floating on the right. However, since there are only two such examples in the data,
conclusions about their implications for the tone system as a whole should be held
lightly.
4.1.2.3 Phonological word melodies
The melody of a phonological word (2.5.1) is usually the sum of the melodies of its
constituent morphemes.
fàà
+
back:LF
-ró
2PL.POSS.INAL
hèè
+
climb:PFV
-zí
PL
+ -n`
to.here
fààró
your (pl.) back, skin (inal.)
(cf. 5.3.4.2.4)
hèèzîn
they climbed to here
(cf. 7.3.2.2.3)
When adjacent morphemes in a phonological word exhibit identical tones, these tones are
usually merged in accordance with the Obligatory Contour Principle (OCP; cf. Leben
1973, Snider 1999:32, Yip 2002:84).
káà
+
head:LF
- `rú
3SG.POSS.INAL
hèè
+
climb:PERF
-zí
PL
+ -ré
3PL.REFL
káàrú
his/her/its head (inal.)
(cf. 5.3.4.2.4)
hèèzìré
they climbed to here
(cf. 7.3.2.2.3)
However, simple addition and merging of the tone melodies does not always take place
within a phonological word. In some cases, the melody of a phonological word is
simpler than that of the melodies of its constituents.
káà
+
head:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
káání
my head (inal.)
(cf. 5.3.4.2.4)
Additional instances of simplification are examined in the section on lexical tone deletion
below (4.3.1).
124
In other cases, the mismatch between the melody of the phonological word and those of
its constituents cannot be explained as simplification. This is the case for replacive tone
melodies (see 4.2.2).
Qaa
+
finish:PERF
-zí
PL
+ -ré
3PL.REFL
Qààzírè
they have finished (intr.)
Finally, there are two cases where merging of tones within a phonological word does not
take place. First, the tone melody of noun prefixes is tonally separate from that of the
nouns to which they are attached (5.1.2.2).
tì-kúrgú
dwelling, main room (cf. hypothetical single tonal word *tìkùrgú)
nà-dígzílè algae
(cf. hypothetical single tonal word *nàdìgzílè)
Second, each of the nouns that makes up a compound usually retains its distinctive tone
melody (5.4).
ná-rím-byàá
1&2:OPT-dip:OPT-water
cormorant, darter (bird sp.)
tóò-nîn-gáhlà7
Taw:LF-eye:LF-faceted
fish sp.
4.1.2.4 Tone melodies and word classes
Possibilities for tone melodies associated with words are limited not only by the quantity
of available TBUs (4.1.2.1), but are also restricted by the word class to which a word
belongs. For example, although most verb roots are comprised of a single heavy syllable
(2.4.3), in their basic (Perfective) form they make use of only two of four possible
melodies (H and L but not HL and LH) (7.3.2.2.1). The vast majority of nouns, in
contrast, are associated with complex tone melodies (especially HL, LH and HLH), and
the simple melodies H and L are associated with non-canonical nouns (5.1.1.2).
An inventory of tone melodies associated with attested CV shapes of members of each
word class is found at the beginning of the relevant sections in the following chapters.
4.1.2.5 Contrasts between tone melodies
Each of the seven underlying tone melodies is contrastive. Word pairs are given in a
table on the following page to demonstrate these contrasts, and a minimal distinction
between the words in the same word class (here: nouns or verbs) is provided whenever
possible (an exhaustive list of each of the melodies associated with all attested shapes is
given in 4.1.2.6).
125
Contrast between tone melodies
H
L
HL
LH
Qáá ‘move away’
Qàà ‘finish’
HLH
L
kpú7 ‘hill’
kâ7 ‘bowstring’
màrvà ‘regret’
márnà ‘older sibling’
fém ‘stupidity’
kpà7 ‘different’
súmù ‘night’
kuFm ‘baobab’
kpaF7 ‘salty’
sùmú ‘potter’s kiln’
núúrú ‘breast’
wàrbà ‘strength’
gyáálà ‘medicine’
òòzá ‘seam’
múùrá ‘silt’
bêrgá ‘sweetness’
gyáàlá ‘nanny’
óòzá ‘clod’
núúrú ‘breast’
màánì ‘mother (al.)’
Nwà7gà ‘hardness’
doF7nì ‘wealth’
gbú7nì ‘shack’
doF7nì ‘wealth’
dàmná ‘thatch’
doF7nì ‘wealth’
HL
126
LH
HLH
séègá ‘red-brownness’
LHL
lèégè ‘nightjar’
Because its CV shape lacks a close equivalent with other morphemes, there are no solid
illustrative pairs for tonal contrasts with the single HLHL morpheme in the data; the
existence of HLHL as a distinct tone melody has instead been established with reference
to principles of tone association (4.1.2.1) in order to account for the idiosyncratic
phonetic form of the HLHL example in the data (4.1.2.6).
4.1.2.6 Examples of tone melodies associated with attested CV shapes
Each of the seven attested tone melodies is shown here with all of the CV shapes with
which it is found in the morphologically simple data.
Where postlexical processes (4.3) cause the tone melody of a morpheme to be realized
differently than might be inferred from the orthographic representation of its underlying
form (see the introduction to this chapter), underlying forms as well as surface
realizations are provided.
The exclusion of lexical prefixes from the CV shape and from the tone melody of nouns
is discussed in 4.1.2.3 and 5.1.2.2.
tone
melody
H
L4
surface
realization
CV shape
example
CV
CVV
CVC
CVVC
ká
náá
kpú7
fíít
CV.CV
CV.CVV
CV.CVC
CVV.CV
CVC.CV
CVC.CVC
CV.CV.CV
CVV.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CVC
óró
(ná-)dídá’
kókól
núúrú
kpá7gú
úndún
únúnú
béhlégí
má7dírí
ká7kárá7
(attributive copula)
this, these
hill
(sound of fingers wiping a
plate clean)
deep, far away
summit
small drum
breast
early
dwarf, withered
pursed (lips)
few
tree sp.
dried out and hard
CV
CVV
CVC
CVVC
CV.CV
kà
bèè
gàl
rùùg`
màlà
when, and then
without
baldness, receding hairline
cylindrical shape
art, craft
4
gloss
Note that in contrast to most other Niger-Congo languages (Snider 1999:46), the pitch of L does not fall
in phrase-final position in Mambay.
127
CV.CVC
CVV.CV
CVV.CVC
CVC.CV
CVC.CVC
CV.CV.CV
CV.CVC.CV
CVV.CV.CV
CVV.CV.CVC
CVC.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CVC
CVC.CVC.CV
gàràm
gbòòrò
zùùrùm
màrvà
dèglèm
gàzèrè
(nà-)gbògò7gà
wààgùnà
bààbùrùm
gbòndòrò
kù7kùrù7
sìnzàhwlà
HL
CVV
CVC
CVVC
CV.CV
CV.CVV
CV.CVC
CVV.CV
CVV.CVC
CVC.CV
CVC.CVC
CV.CVV.CVC
CV.CVC.CV
CV.CVC.CVV
CVV.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CVC
CVC.CVV.CV
síì
kâ7
fááwh
bá%à
(ná-)wíwâh
zó%ôm
tíílò
(tí-)fúúgûm
búglì
má7sî7
(ná-)íáhrâm
%í%óh7gì
(ná-)kúrúmáà
síígírò
(nà-)dígzílè
(tì-)kó7kórô7
támbúúrà
LH
CVV
CVC
CV.CV
CV.CVV
CV.CVC
CC.CC
CVV.CV
CVC.CV
CVC.CVC
CV.CVV.CV
CVV.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CV
fùú
kuFm
gùrá
ràfá’
bùvbú7
mhmhhmi
vbààlá
fìrlá
tùlgúm
pìpùùrí
gùùgìnú
(nà-)gìzgìró
hippo-hide whip
bald, bare
fish sp.
regret
insect sp.
short
waterlily bulb
large basket
main room
puff adder
hunched
porcupine
[síî]
[ká7f]
[fááwf]
[bá%â]
[náwíwáhf]
[zó%ómf]
[tíílô]
[tífúúgúmf]
[búgTlî]
[má7sí7ff]
[náíáhgrámf]
[%í%óhg7Tgî]
[nákúrúmiáâ]
[síígírô]
[nàdígTzílê]
[tìkó7Tkóró7f]
[támibúúrâ]
[kùmi]
128
valley, river
bowstring, drum snare
light (weight)
tamarind
belt made of bells
ten
eagle sp.
edible wild plant sp.
hat
amoebic dysentery
bedbug
bent
fish sp.
stork sp.
algae
red ant sp.
pigeon, dove
trench
baobab
fish trap
brownness
net sp.
yes
testicle
torch
fish sp.
horn (instrument)
gill
antelope sp.
HLH
CV.CV
CVV.CV
CVV.CVC
CVC.CV
CVVC.CV
CV.CV.CV
CV.CVC.CV
CVV.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CV
nánà T
háàvá
tíìrím
bêrgá
(nà-)táálUlá
kíkòví
lágâ7gá
híívìlá
(nà-)lé7gìrá
[nánâ] (see 4.3.1.4)
[háává]
[tíírími]
[bérTgá]
[nàtáálglá]
[kíkóví]
[lágá7Tgá]
[híívílá]
[nàlé7Tgírá]
maternal uncle
snake sp.
fish sp.
sweetness
ant sp.
coward
water turtle sp.
slimy mud
movement
LHL
CV.CVV
CV.CVC
CVV.CV
CVC.CV
bàháà
àvbâw
lèégè
zoF7nì
[bàháâ]
[àvbáwf]
[lèégê]
[zò7Tnî]
CVVC.CVV
CV.CV.CV
CVV.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CV
(tí-)tòòn`tíì
kòzágà
vwàhgílè
tàrnágà
[títóòn`tíî]
[kòzágâ]
[vwàhUgílê]
[tàr`nágâ]
ibis sp.
fish sp.
nightjar
large bracelet for legs or
arms
lark (bird sp.)
red millet
intrusion
seven
CV.CV.CVV
wátùtáà
[wátùtáâ]
salt, sugar
HLHL
4.2 Other structural aspects of the tone system
In addition to tone levels and melodies (4.1), three structural aspects of the tone system
deserve consideration. These are: floating tones (4.2.1), replacive tone melodies (4.2.2),
and interaction between tone and other phonological structures (4.2.3).
4.2.1 Floating tones
Underlying floating tones are sparsely attested in the data. In fact, the positing of floating
tones is needed to describe the tonal constitution of only two groups of words: nouns with
more tones than TBUs, and Perfect verb words in a subset of the six tonal Classes
(7.3.2.2.1). While the occurrence of floating tones on nouns has been addressed in
4.1.2.2 and 4.3.3.3, floating tones on Perfect verb words is addressed here.
In most cases, the tone melody of the verb word is a fusion of tonal TAM inflection on
the verb stem (7.3.2.2.1) and the tone of the suffixes (7.3.1); the resulting lexical melody
associates starting at the right edge of the word (cf. 4.1.2.2). However, for Perfect forms
of intransitive verb stems in Class 1 and Class 2 comprised of a heavy syllable, this is not
the case. Instead, it is necessary to posit a floating H tone on the left edge of the Perfect
verb word (7.3.2.2.3).
mì
1SG
T[Qàà-ní
move.away:PERF-1SG.REFL
129
mì Qáàní
I have moved away
nà
1&2
T[Qàà-zínzá
move.away:PERF-1&2PL.REFL
Ø
3:PFV
T[Qàà-zí-ré
move.away:PERF-3PL.REFL
nà Qáàzìnzá we (incl.) have moved
away
Qáàzìré
they have moved away
For Perfect forms of intransitive Class 1 verbs with a CV stem, a floating L tone marks
the right edge of the Perfect verb word (7.3.2.2.3). Alternatively (cf. 4.2.2), this could be
viewed as a replacive HL melody which dominates the entire Perfect verb word.
I have gotten lost
mì
1SG
gé-ní] `
mì génì
get.lost:PERF-1SG.REFL-CL1CV:PERF
nà
1&2
gé-zínzá] `
nà gézínzà we (incl.) have gotten lost
get.lost:PERF-1&2PL.REFL-CL1CV:PERF
Ø
gé-zí-ré] `
gézírè
3:PFV get.lost:PERF-3PL.REFL-CL1CV:PERF
they have gotten lost
4.2.2 Replacive tone melodies
In addition to positing floating tones for some Perfect verb forms, it is necessary to posit
replacive tone melodies for others. Replacive tone melodies are inflectional morphemes
which, in contrast to other phonological word melodies in Mambay (cf. 4.1.2.3),
dominate words without reference to the sum of the underlying melodies of the
consitutent morphemes (Snider 2007:9).
For Perfect forms of transitive Class 4 verbs, a L melody dominates the entire verb word
and does not allow the underlying H tone of the verbal plural morpheme -zí (7.3.1.1) to
surface.
laa-rì
Ø
3:PFV eat:PERF-PERF
lààrì
he/she/it has eaten
Ø
laa-zí-rì
3:PFV eat:PERF-PL-PERF
lààzìrì
they have eaten
For Perfect verb words from Class 5 and Class 6, a replacive LHL melody characteristic
of a transitive source verb dominates transitive as well as derived detransitivized forms
(cf. 7.3.2.1.2) of these verbs. This is shown by the following pair of examples showing a
transitive source verb contrasted with its detransitivized counterpart:
Ø
Qaa-zí-rì
3:PFV finish:PERF-PL-PERF
Qààzírì
130
they have finished (tr.)
Ø
Qaa-zí-ré
3:PFV finish:PERF-PL-3PL.REFL
Qààzírè
they have finished (intr.)
4.2.3 Interaction between tone and other structures
There is no significant interaction between tone and phonological structures other than
the TBUs with which they are associated. All consonants and vowels are found in
syllables with H and L tones, as are the vowel modifications of glottalization,
pharyngealization and nasalization (2.2.1). Normal acoustic and perceptual consequences
of features such as preglottalization (2.1.6) and glottalization (2.2.1) are in operation, but
are not associated with a phonological system of tone raising or lowering. Specific
phonetic effects of segments and suprasegmental features on tone are open to further
exploration.
4.3 Tonal processes
A number of tonal processes occur in Mambay, one of which is lexical and several of
which are postlexical.
A lexical tone process is one which affects the composition of underlying tone melodies
(4.1.2) associated with phonological words (4.1.2.2). In Mambay, a process of lexical
tone deletion (4.3.1) is found in a number of contexts. Tones which are deleted at this
level are never realized.
Postlexical tone processes are those which affect the phonetic realization of a
phonological word’s tone melody. In Mambay, three such processes are downstep
(4.3.2), High tone spread (HTS; 4.3.3), and Low tone spread (LTS; 4.3.3.3). In the case
of HTS and LTS, a general preference for the simplification of contours is operative. The
postlexical nature of all three processes is evident in the applicability of downstep and
HTS across word boundaries, and the dependence of LTS on the concurrent application
of HTS.
Postlexically, adjacent identical tones are realized at the same pitch level; thus it is
assumed that, in accordance with the Obligatory Contour Principle (OCP; cf. Leben
1973, Snider 1999:32, Yip 2002:84), they are merged.
4.3.1 Lexical tone deletion
Lexical tones are deleted in the following four cases:
1)
2)
3)
4)
in linked forms of LH, HLH and LHL nouns (4.3.1.1);
in HL nouns inalienable possessive constructions (4.3.1.2);
in idiosyncratic linked forms of HL nouns (4.3.1.3); and
when they float in phrase-final position (4.3.1.4).
4.3.1.1 Linked forms of LH, HLH and LHL nouns
In most cases, the tone melody of a noun’s free form is the same as that of its linked form
(5.2.2.1) However, LH contours are not permitted on linked forms of nouns; this affects
linked forms of nouns with LH, LHL and HLH melodies. Consequently, linked forms of
131
nouns with LH and LHL melodies pattern as L; and the final H on linked forms of nouns
with an HLH melody is not realized (5.2.2.1).
fùú + gbòndòrò
trench
puff.adder
LH
L
=
µµ
µ µ µ µ
[fùù gbòn`d òrò]
trench of puff adder
kíkòví + gbòndòrò
coward
puff.adder
H L H
L
==
µ µ µ µ
µ µ µ
[k í k ó vì gbòn` d òrò]
coward of puff adder
doF7nì + gbòndòrò
wealth
puff.adder
LH L
L
=
µµ µ
µ µ µ µ
[dò7` n ì gbòn`d òrò]
wealth of puff adder
Idiosyncratically, the linked form of the single HLHL noun in the data (wátùtáà ‘salt,
sugar’) retains the full tone melody of its free form (5.2.2.1).
4.3.1.2 HL nouns in inalienable possessive constructions
When they are found with inalienable possessive pronouns (6.1.4.2), HL nouns undergo,
in addition to segmental reduction (5.3.4.2.1), the deletion of their L tone (5.3.4.2.4).
káálà
head
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
káání
my head (inal.)
This tone deletion does not take place in alienable possessive constructions.
káálà +
head
)íí
1SG.POSS
káà )íí
my head (al.)
4.3.1.3 Idiosyncratic linked forms of HL nouns
There are a handful of idiosyncratic HL nouns which, in addition to segmental reduction
(5.3.4.2.1), lose their L tone when they are found as linked nouns in a possessive
construction (5.2.2.1).
Nmárà +
friend
ígà
child
Nmár ígà [NmárT ígâ]
friend of child
132
This contrasts with the normal realization of HL nouns in the same context, where the
retention of the L tone is signalled by downstep (4.3.2) on subsequent H tones.
ígà
child
+
Nmárà
friend
îg Nmárà [ígT Nmárâ]
child of friend
4.3.1.4 Floating H tones in phrase-final position
There are two nouns in the data with floating H tones on their right edge (4.1.2.2).
HLH
HLH
µ µ
nánà T maternal uncle
µµ
)ázì T member of )àzgárà (see Glossary)
Only nánà T may occur phrase-finally, because )ázì T is obligatorily possessed (5.3.3.2)
and therefore only found in the initial position of possessive constructions. At the end of
a phrase, the final H tone does not surface on nánà T, which is realized tonally like other
two-mora CVCV nouns: [nánâ]. For evidence of the floating tone on underlying form of
this word, see 4.3.3.3.
4.3.2 Downstep
Downstep is a central feature of the Mambay tone system, and with few exceptions,
applies throughout the language. Downstep in Mambay refers to the phonetic lowering
of the tone register (4.3.2.1).
In Mambay, both automatic downstep (also called downdrift) (4.3.2.2) and non-automatic
downstep (also simply called downstep) (4.3.2.3) are found, and are treated as two
aspects of the same phenomenon: automatic downstep takes place when a L tone is nonfloating, and non-automatic downstep takes place when a L tone is floating. The
terminology used here follows that of Stewart (1983) and Snider (1999). Environments
in which downstep appears not to apply are treated in 4.3.2.4.
In the phonetic transcriptions, the symbol [] is used to mark non-automatic downstep; in
contrast, automatic downstep is assumed whenever the necessary conditions are met
(4.3.2.2). Supplementary pitch transcriptions (where [ © ] represents a high pitch and
[ ! ] a low pitch) are, however, provided where they are helpful in clarifying the phonetic
effects of automatic downstep.
4.3.2.1 Phonetic effect and placement of downstep
For descriptive purposes, the phonetic interval between H and a following L may be
described as the spanning of two equal levels. If the number 2 represents an utteranceinitial H tone, and the number 0 represents an adjacent L tone, the phonetic effect of
downstep may be schematized as follows:
133
2
1
0
-1
-2
H
H
L
H
L
H
L
As the diagram shows, H tones are lowered to one level below that of the previous H
whenever they follow a L tone. This lowering effect is iterative; it takes place with each
HLH sequence. In Mambay, it is not clear whether the tonal register is lowered between
L and H, or between H and L. Regarding other languages, this topic has been considered
elsewhere (Snider 1999:21ff.).
In recordings of texts elicited from Oussoumanou Bouba, the principal collaborator, the
effect of downstep is clear. The interval between H and a following L tends to be about
40 Hertz (Hz; 150–110 Hz), and the interval between L and a following H tends to be
about half that (20 Hz; 110–130 Hz). The interval between two H tones separated by a L
tone appears to be the same (20 Hz) whether or not the L is realized on the surface; in
other words, the effect of automatic downstep appears to be the same as that of nonautomatic downstep.
In the following sections, these claims are supported by pitch traces of utterances
exhibiting both types of downstep (4.3.2.2 and 4.3.2.3). However, it should be noted that
recordings are excerpted from longer texts and are therefore not controlled for the effects
of tone register shift (4.4.1) and utterance length.
4.3.2.2 Automatic downstep
Automatic downstep refers to the lowering of a H tone after a HL sequence in which the
L is realized on the surface.
síì nàmá
valley animal
[ © © ! e]
[síí nàmá ]
valley of animal
búglì bègé
hat slave
[ © © © ! e]
[búglí bègé]
hat of slave
)îg kyàg dígní thing:LF hurt:VN liver:1SG.POSS.INAL
[ © ©
! ! e e e]
[)ígT kyàg` dígní]
thing that hurts my liver
High tone spread (4.3.3), which has applied to the first word in each of these examples,
has no effect on the phonetic realization of downstep here or elsewhere.
A pitch trace of the third example, )îg kyàg dígní ‘thing that hurts my liver,’ is provided
on the following page. This pitch trace confirms the operation of automatic downstep.
134
Pitch trace5 showing automatic downstep (see 4.3.2.2)
[ ) í gT
F0 (Hz):
156.7
k y à g`
117.9
à
5
d í gT
135.5
í
n
í
137.9
]
In this pitch trace as well as the one on the following page, the pitch (i.e., F0 = fundamental frequency) of
each tone-bearing unit is given in Hertz (Hz). A short vertical stroke is used to mark the point at which the
pitch has been measured; this point has been selected according to the principles set out in Snider
(1998:97–8). The occurrence of echo vowels after g in this example is accounted for in 2.1.6.1.
135
4.3.2.3 Non-automatic downstep
Non-automatic downstep refers to the lowering of a H tone after a HL sequence in which
the L tone is floating (i.e., not realized on the surface). The floating L tone comes about
as a result of HTS (4.3.3) both within words and across word boundaries.
bêrgá
kíkòví
sweetness
HL H
=
µµ µ
[b é rTgá]
coward
H L H
=
µ µ µ
[k í k ó ví]
síì kpú7
valley hill
HL H
=
µµ
µµ
[síí kpú7T]
valley of hill
H
búglì kpú7
hat hill
L H
=
µµ µ µµ
[búgTT l í kpú7T]
hat of hill
L
zòògì sáà kwérè
bird:LF inside fence
HL
HL
=
µ µ
µµ µ µ µ
[zòògì sá á kwérê]
bird inside the fence
A pitch trace of the final example, zòògì sáà kwérè ‘bird inside the fence,’ is provided
on the following page. This pitch trace confirms the operation of non-automatic
downstep.
136
Pitch trace6 showing non-automatic downstep (see 4.3.2.3)
[
F0 (Hz):
6
z ò ò g ì
s á á
122.0
118.0
146.8
See note 5 in the previous section.
137
k w é r ê
]
127.5 124.5–103.0
4.3.2.4 Non-application of downstep
There are two restricted contexts in which downstep does not (or appears not to) apply: in
nouns (either simple or compound) with a HLHL melody, and in sections of text for
which tone register shift (4.4.1) has counterbalanced the effect of downstep.
The non-application of downstep in nouns (both morphologically simple and complex)
with a HLHL melody is shown in the following examples:
wátùtáà
[ © ! © ¡]
[wátùtáâ ]
salt, sugar
ná-kândé%è
[ © © ¡ © ¡]
[nákán`dé%ê ]
clitoris
máà-dùùgárè
[ © © ! ! © ¡]
[máádùùgárê]
stork sp.
This appears to be a result of local raising of H tones before L tones, a phenomenon
which has been reported in other languages (for example, see Snider 1990:456, 1998).
However, the environment in which local raising takes places in Mambay is more
specific than what is described in these accounts.
Apparent suspension of downstep is also one of several ways in which tone register shift
may affect words or phrases in a discourse. The function and phonetic consequences of
this phenomenon are discussed in 4.4.1, and an example text in which tone register shift
has counterbalanced the effect of downstep is also provided.
4.3.3 High tone spread (HTS)
HL sequences in the language consistently provoke High tone spread (HTS), a pervasive
postlexical process in which H tone spreads rightward onto an adjacent L-toned mora.
The application of this process differs based on whether or not the HL sequence is
phrase-final (4.3.3.1, 4.3.3.2). The case of HTS non-application with two-mora HLH
nouns is given special attention (4.3.3.3).
4.3.3.1 Typical application of HTS
For most HL sequences—both word-internally and across word boundaries—the
application of HTS involves a rightward spreading of a H tone onto an adjacent L-toned
mora, and a delinking of the L tone from that mora. This is the most common application
of HTS and is valid for non phrase-final HL sequences in particular (a variation is
described in 4.3.3.1.2.
4.3.3.1.1 Word-internally
Word-internally, four of the seven tone melodies (4.1.2) contain HL sequences: HL,
HLH, LHL and HLHL. Except for the first HL sequence in HLHL words and two-mora
words with a HLH melody (4.3.3.3), the HL sequences in all of these melodies undergo
HTS.
138
HL
Within HL words in non phrase-final position, HTS invariably applies. When a
following word begins in a H tone, the presence of the floating L tone is signalled by
downstep on that word.
HL H
=
µµ
µµ
[síí kpú7T]
valley of hill
síì kpú7
valley hill
H
búglì kpú7
hat hill
L H
=
µµ µ µµ
[búgTT l í kpú7T]
hat of hill
When a HL word is followed by a word beginning with a L tone, the H tone of the first
word spreads onto its final mora, and the L tone of the first word detaches and is not
realized on that mora.
síì gbòndòrò
valley puff.adder
HL L
=
µµ µ µ µ µ
[síí gbòn` d òrò]
valley of puff adder
H
búglì gbòndòrò
hat puff.adder
L L
=
µµ µ µµ µ µ
[búgTT l í gbòn` d òrò]
hat of puff adder
HLH
Within HLH words, HTS also applies to a full extent. Since the HL sequence within a
HLH melody is necessarily non phrase-final, HTS applies to HLH words in both phrasefinal and non phrase-final position. This is evident in the following example:
kíkòví
coward
H L H
=
µ µ µ
[k í k ó ví]
Even when it does not surface, the persistent presence of the floating L tone in the first
example is signalled by a downstep in the pitch the following subsequent H tones.
139
In addition to HTS, non phrase-final examples also undergo LTS (4.3.3.3).
kíkòví súù
coward yesterday
in: %áá kíkòví súù
H L H HL
==
µ µ µ µ µ
[k í k ó vì súû]
he/she/it found a coward yesterday
LHL
The HL sequence in word-internal LHL melodies also undergoes HTS (in addition, LTS
must take place; cf. 4.3.3.3).
doF7nì súù
wealth yesterday
in: %áá doF7nì súù
LH L H L
==
µµ µ µµ
[dò7`n í súû]
he/she/it found wealth yesterday
Because the LHL melody is levelled to L in possessive constructions (4.3.1.1), the
structural conditions which trigger HTS are removed in that particular context.
HLHL
In the single HLHL morpheme in the data, the final HL sequence melody undergoes HTS
in the same way as occurs in HL words. However, the first sequence does not.
H L HL
wátùtáà salt, sugar
µ µ µµ
[w á t ù t á â]
Note also that downstep does not apply in this context (as described in 4.3.2.4).
4.3.3.1.2 Across word boundaries
HTS applies whenever a HL sequence is found across word boundaries. As is the case
for word-internal HL sequences, it typically involves a rightward spreading of a H tone
onto an adjacent L-toned mora, and a delinking of the L tone from that mora. This is
shown in the following examples:
140
tí- + gbòndòrò
AUG
puff.adder
H L
=
µ µµ µ µ
[tígbón` d òrò]
large puff adder
H
kpú7 gbòndòrò
hill puff.adder
L
=
µµ µ µ
µµ
[kpú7T gbón` d òrò]
hill of puff adder
H
kpú7 bègé
hill slave
L H
=
µµ µ µ
[kpú7T bégé]
hill of slave
However, when the L tone of the second word is associated with an initial first syllable
and at least one additional mora, the L is not delinked when H tone spreads onto the mora
with which the L is associated. Instead, the H and L cohabit the initial light syllable of
the second word; the underlying tonal contour is simplified and realized with a mid pitch.
H L
µ µ µµ
tí- + gàràm
[tígal r àmh]
AUG hippo-hide.whip large hippo-hide whip
H
kpú7 gàràm
hill hippo-hide.whip
L
µµ µ µµ
[kpú7T gal r àmh]
hill of hippo-hide whip
4.3.3.2 Application of HTS phrase-finally
When an underlying HL sequence is found phrase-finally (i.e., on the last two morae),
HTS applies. However, its effect is limited by an obligatory realization of utterance-final
L tones. Consequently, when the H tone spreads onto the last mora, the L associated with
this mora is not deleted, and the final mora is realized with a falling (high-low) contour
pitch. This is the case whether the HL sequence is found within a word or across a word
boundary.
141
HL
síì
valley
µµ
[síî]
H
búglì
hat
L
µµ µ
[búgTT l î]
H
kpú7 rè
hill TOPIC
L
µµ µ
[kpú7T rê]
hill…
4.3.3.3 The case of HTS non-application with two-mora HLH nouns
As stated above, there are two examples of a HLH melody on two-mora nouns (4.1.2.2):
nánà T ‘maternal uncle’ and )ázì T ‘member of )àzgárà’ (see Glossary). The second H
tone of these nouns floats on their right edge. Phrase-finally, it has no realization or other
effect; such nouns sound like HL nouns in this context (4.1.2.6).
HL (phrase-final):
nínù
[nínû]
HLH (phrase-final): nánà T [nánâ]
eye, face, life
maternal uncle
However, when two-mora HLH nouns are found as linked forms (5.2.2) in the head
position of possessive constructions (5.3), they behave differently than HL nouns: HTS is
prevented from applying to the first H of two-mora HLH nouns because of the presence
of the floating H on the right edge, which itself prevents the L tone from being delinked
(for a description of segmental alternations that accompany the linked form, see 5.2.2.2).
HLH L H
nân T + dùgú
maternal.uncle:LF 3PL.POSS
µµ µ µ
[ná n` dùgú]
their maternal uncle
cf. HL nouns, where HTS applies in the same context:
nîn + dùgú
eye:LF 3PL.POSS
HL L H
=
µµ µ µ
[ní n T d ù g ú ]
their eye
142
It is interesting that the presence of the floating H tone in nân T dùgú is allowed to
persist on the surface (in the form of perturbation in the realization of other tones), since
other LH contours in linked nouns are consistently simplified to L (4.3.1.1):
kíkòvì gbòndòrò (*kíkòví gbòndòrò)
coward:LF puff.adder
kíkòví + gbòndòrò coward
puff.adder
This brings into question the very existence of a floating H tone in nánà T and )ázì T,
since a process which affects some H tones could affect them all in the same way (i.e.,
non-realization). Still, it is a reasonable conjecture that a floating H might behave
differently than one which is associated (cf. Yip 1989:151). Since no other workable
account has been ascertained, the idea of a floating H tone on the right edge of nánà T
and )ázì T has been maintained throughout the discussion.
4.3.4 Low tone spread (LTS)
Low tone spread (LTS), a second pervasive postlexical process, involves the rightward
spread of L tone onto an adjacent H-toned mora. In this way, it shows a strong
resemblance to HTS (4.3.3). However, there is an imbalance between the two processes:
LTS differs in that its application is limited to non phrase-final words. (Since H tone
deletion applies to LH sequences in linked nouns in possessive constructions (4.3.1) and
thus eliminates the environment in which LTS would otherwise apply, this construction is
not used in the examples).
Examples of LTS are as follows:
fùú súù
trench yesterday
in: %áá fùú súù
LH H L
=
µµ µ µ
[fùù súû]
he/she/it found a trench yesterday
LH L
H
==
µµ µ µ µ
fùú fààlé
[fùù fá à lé]
trench back:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
in: %áá fùú fààlé
he/she/it found a trench behind it
143
L
dàrmí súù
clay yesterday
in: %áá dàrmí súù
H HL
=
µµ µ µ µ
[dàr`m ì súû]
he/she/it found clay yesterday
L
H
=
µµ µ
[dàr`m ì
dàrmí fààlé
clay back:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
in: %áá dàrmí fààlé
kíkòví súù
coward yesterday
in: %áá kíkòví súù
L
H
=
µ µ µ
fá à lé]
he/she/it found clay behind it
H L H HL
==
µ µ µ µµ
[k í k ó vì súû]
he/she/it found a coward yesterday
H L H L H
= ==
µ µ µ µµ µ
kíkòví fààlé
[k í k ó vì fá à lé]
coward back:3C/I.SG.POSS.INAL
in: %áá kíkòví fààlé
doF7nì súù
wealth yesterday
in: %áá doF7nì súù
he/she/it found a coward behind it
LH L H L
==
µµ µ µµ
[dò7`n í súû]
he/she/it found wealth yesterday
144
LH L L H
==
µµ µ µ µ µ
doF7nì fààlé
[dò7`n í f à à lé]
wealth back:3C/I.SG.POSS.INAL
in: %áá doF7nì fààlé
he/she/it found wealth behind it
LTS does not apply to word-internal LH sequences in two cases: when the word that
hosts the melody is phrase-final, and within HLHL morphemes. This is because in these
contexts, there is no available mora onto which the L of the LH sequence can spread: the
H tone, having no place onto which it can fully spread, is unable to delink and thereby
free up its own mora for the L; and a LH sequence on a single mora is not permitted here
(nor is it attested anywhere else in the language). The following examples show that LTS
does not apply in phrase-final words (cf. the preceding set of non phrase-final examples):
LH
fùú
trench
µµ
[fùú]
LH
bègé
slave
µ µ
[bègé]
L
dàrmí
kíkòví
H
clay
µµ µ
[dàr`m í ]
coward
H L H
=
µ µ µ
[k í k ó ví]
LH L
doF7nì
wealth
µ µ µ
[d ò 7T n î ]
The absence of LTS is also evident for the LH sequence within the single HLHL
morpheme in the data:
145
H L HL
wátùtáà salt, sugar
µ µ µµ
[w á t ù t á â]
Note also that downstep does not apply in this context (as demonstrated in 4.3.2.4).
4.3.5 Adjacent operation of postlexical processes
Both HTS (4.3.3) and LTS (4.3.3.3) spread one mora, and to the right. Consequently,
they never interfere with one another. However, they often operate in adjacent positions.
Because of this, and because of the application of downstep (4.3.2), the underlying tonal
structure of an utterance may be quite different than the surface realization initially seems
to indicate. In addition to the examples in the previous section, the following example
from the data illustrates this situation:
mìí Qàá nàmá
1SG:IRR finish:FUT meat
LH L H L H
= == =
µµ µ µ µ µ
[mì ì Qáà ná má ]
I will finish the meat
4.4 Intonational phenomena
Although most pitch-related configurations in Mambay can be explained by reference to
the tone system, there are two frequently-occurring phenomena which appear to be
intonational rather than tonal: tone register shift (TRS) (4.4.1) and the expectation marker
(4.4.2). Both use intonation to signal pragmatic functions and thus interact closely with
the tone system: while TRS controls the pitch register upon which tone is realized,
expectation marking applies in reference to this register as well as to the tones related to
it (for a detailed definition of intonation and a discussion of the interaction between tone
and intonation, see Ladd 1996:7–8).
Declination, an intonational phenomenon whereby the tone register goes down gradually
over the course of an utterance (Yip 2002:12, Snider 1990:453–4), has not been observed
in Mambay. Instead, the effect of physiological constraints usually resulting in
declination is overshadowed by downstep, which allows tonal register to drop according
to phonologically determined intervals (cf. Yip 2002:12).
4.4.1 Tone register shift (TRS)
Tone register shift (TRS) is pervasive in discourse, and involves the raising and lowering
of the register at which tones are realized. The pragmatic prominence of a given portion
of text determines the degree to which its tone register is raised.
In keeping with features typical of a tonal system, TRS involves the vertical shifting of a
pitch register at specific junctures rather than the gradual rise or fall of pitch over the
course of an utterance.
146
However, one key feature of TRS suggests that its behaviour is more closely aligned with
an intonational system than a tonal system: it arises as a result of stimuli in the pragmatic
realm rather than structures in the phonological context. Two factors are related to this.
First of all, TRS acts across syntactically unified portions of an utterance rather than
individual morae. Secondly, the tone register may shift either up or down, and the degree
to which a register shifts is not limited to incremental values, but is relative to the degree
of pragmatic pressure in a given discourse.
In this study, the symbols [↗] and [↘] are used to indicate the direction of register shift
(up or down); the number of times each one is used provides a relative indication of the
vertical magnitude of the shift.
TRS applies in the following examples from the data:
)à
3:IMPFV
kòg
see:VN
cf. )à
3:IMPFV
kòg
see:VN
)à
3:IMPFV
cf. )à
3:IMPFV
↗
TRS
ká
↗
ATTRIB
TRS
ká
ATTRIB
mí
1SG.OBJ
he/she/it sees me
mí
1SG.OBJ
he/she/it sees me
párà
goodness
it is good
párà
goodness
it is good
gyâh mûn ↗↗ lúgù
sun then TRS go.out:VN
↗
TRS
toFg sóórà
be get.hot:VN
↗
TRS
↘
m,
EXPECT TRS
toFg ↗↗
be TRS
toFg sóórà
be get.hot:VN
↗↗
TRS
héérà
toFg héérà
climb:VN be climb:VN
toFg sóórà
be get.hot:VN
then the sun comes out, it is rising, it is rising, it is getting hot, it is getting hot, it
is getting hot!
In the final example, TRS marked with a single rising arrow (↗) is realized as a
neutralization of downstep (4.3.2) on the following text. Where two rising arrows are
shown, the register is raised phonetically (a recording of this text is available from the
online posting of Anonby 2006:231).
The present description provides only a general overview of TRS, and a number of
aspects of the phenomenon deserve further investigation. These include: TRS and pitch
range variation; relationship between syntactic constituents and the application of TRS;
147
differences in the extent to which TRS is used in various oral genres; and differences in
the extent to which TRS is employed by various speakers of the language.
4.4.2 The expectation marker m
The expectation marker (here symbolized as m ) is a non-segmental morpheme which
raises the pitch of a phrase-final mora. Although its phonological identity may initially
seem unclear, evidence suggests that like TRS (4.4.1), it is intonational rather than tonal
(4.4.2.2). It has three important roles in the cohesion of text, all of which broadly relate
to expectancy in a discourse: topicalization, the signalling of an incomplete utterance, and
rhetorical question marking (4.4.2.3).
4.4.2.1 Phonetic realizations
The expectation marker has the consistent effect of raising the register of a phrase-final
mora. When it links to a L-toned mora, this mora is realized with a high pitch equivalent
to that of an (actual or hypothetical) preceding H-toned mora; and when it links to a Htoned mora, the mora is realized with a super-high pitch several intervals (4.1.1) above
the baseline realization of the H-toned mora.
kúù
bushland
nàmzá
animal:PL
m
[kúú]
bushland, …
(cf. 4.4.2.3)
[nàmh↗zá]
animal, …
(cf. 4.4.2.3)
EXPECT
m
EXPECT
4.4.2.2 Phonological identity
Phonologically, the expectation marker displays behaviour characteristic of both tone and
intonation. Its confinement to a single mora as well as its phonetically consistent effect
on pitch (4.4.2.1) are occurrences one might expect of a tonal element.
However, there is evidence that the expectation marker is essentially intonational. As
the examples in the preceding section show, the expectation marker may attach to and be
realized in words for which each TBU is already associated with a tone.
Because it does not require its own mora to be realized, it is necessary to address the
possibility that the expectation marker might be a replacive tone. However, the mora to
which it links continues to reflect the relative pitch of the underlying tone (the pitch of
raised L is still a consistent interval lower than raised H; see the examples immediately
above and 4.3.2.1). In this respect, the expectation marker functions intonationally rather
than tonally.
4.4.2.3 Pragmatic functions
The expectation marker has three important roles in the cohesion of text, all of which
broadly relate to expectancy in a discourse: topicalization (cf. 10.1.2.4), floor-holding (cf.
10.1.2.4), and rhetorical question marking (cf. 10.1.2.1). An example of each role is as
follows:
148
topicalization:
nàmzá
animal:PL
m
EXPECT
gâh )éré
má
midst 3PL.POSS with
nàpùgpùgá
humankind
the animals, their dwelling was with humankind
floor-holding (cf. Payne 1997:358):
náhzí
take.out:PFV
kááré
head:3PL.POSS.INAL
vòró
kúù
to.there bushland
m,
EXPECT
mûn tììzí
nàmzí
kúù
then become:PFV animal:PL:LF bushland
they departed for the bush […], and became wild animals
marking of rhetorical questions:
mù húm nàkógrà
2SG come look(n.)
m
EXPECT
you came to look, didn’t you?
Interestingly, the first two of these three roles overlap with those of the topicalization
particle rè (10.1.2.4), and the two morphemes may be used together, as shown by the
following example:
mì rè
1SG TOPIC
m,
EXPECT
mì yáá
1SG stay:PFV
149
kâ’
here
as for me, I stayed here
5
NOUNS
5
NOUNS
This chapter is a description of nouns in Mambay. The first major section (5.1) outlines
the morphological structure of nouns. In particular, noun roots are presented in reference
to attested root shapes and allowable tone melodies. Prefixation is then analyzed as a
morphologically salient process involving a mixture of compounding and derivation.
Suffixation, in contrast, is referred to as a primarily derivational process which, although
it has significantly impacted noun structure, is synchronically unproductive and
morphologically indistinct. Reduplication, a minor phenomenon in regard to nouns, is
mentioned briefly.
A second major section (5.2) deals with a basic morphological distinction between free
(unmarked) and linked noun forms. Linked forms, which are subject to various
morphological templates depending on the structure of their free form, are used for head
nouns in most noun phrase constructions. Following this, a section on possessive
constructions (5.3) complements the discussion, since both free and linked forms are used
in this context. The description of possessive constructions, which are the most
important type of noun phrase construction in the language, revolves around three axes.
First of all, a continuum between spontaneous and fixed possession is established. The
issue of optional vs. obligatory possession is then considered. The greatest part of the
discussion, however, deals with the distributional and structural characteristics of
alienable vs. inalienable possession. A section on compound nouns (5.4) follows
naturally on that of possessive constructions, since most compound nouns are structured
in the same way. Formal and behavioural particularities of compound nouns are also
accounted for.
Plural formation, which comprises an additional topic (5.5), is achieved by means of a
loosely defined morphological template. In this section, the scope of pluralization is
delimited, and a range of possible structural alternations is recognized. Collective
constructions, which constitute an alternative plural-like strategy for some nouns, are also
considered (5.6).
In subsequent sections, four derivational topics are considered: participant noun
constructions (5.7), diminutives and augmentatives (5.8), verbal nouns (5.9) and the
promotion of modifiers to independent noun status (5.10). A mixture of derivational
strategies, including but not limited to affixation, is common to all four phenomena. For
verbal nouns in particular, complications in determining the direction of derivation are
150
acknowledged. Ordinal numerals, which constitute a closed category of nouns derived
from numerals, are dealt with in the presentation on numerals (9.1.3).
In later sections, ideophonic nouns (5.11) and proper names (5.12) are given special
attention, and the locative function of nouns is delineated in 5.13. In the final section, an
overview of noun phrase constructions is provided (5.14).
5.1 Morphological structure
The relatively large syllable shape inventory of Mambay (2.4.1) allows for an array of
noun root shapes (5.1.1.1) accompanied by a variety of tone melodies (5.1.1.2). These
roots vary from between one and four syllables.
Affixation plays a basic role in Mambay noun structure. Nouns may take prefixes (5.1.2)
as well as suffixes (5.1.3). Noun prefixes in Mambay do not appear to be related to the
systems of noun classification prevalent elsewhere in Niger-Congo (5.1.2, Anonby
2008:3; contra Greenberg 1963:9, 11). Mambay noun prefixes, which are associated with
derivation (for example, noun-to-noun and verb-to-noun), do not operate in conjunction
with any system of noun class concord or singular/plural alternation. Although most or
all of the prefixes are reflexes of simplified linked nouns (see 5.3.3.3.1), the compoundlike nature of many of the prefixes is no longer semantically transparent. In addition, the
process of prefixation itself is no longer productive for many of the prefixes, which are
obligatorily found with specific nouns in the lexicon.
Apart from pronouns in inalienable possessive constructions (5.1.3.1), productive noun
suffixation is lacking in Mambay. Although some suffixes carry a definable semantic
value, most are phonologically fused to the roots they accompany. Evidence for
historical suffixation is reviewed in 5.1.3.2.
In addition to affixation, the noun system exhibits reduplication of noun roots. The forms
and possible functions of this process are discussed in 5.1.4.
Compound nouns and verbal nouns, which are well-represented in the lexicon, are
described in later sections (5.4 and 5.9 respectively).
5.1.1 Noun root structure
Noun roots show considerable diversity in their structure. There is a wide variety of
attested root shapes (5.1.1.1), and noun roots are found with all of the seven contrastive
tone melodies found in the language (5.1.1.2).
5.1.1.1 Attested root shapes
The large inventory of noun root shapes in Mambay is in keeping with the large syllable
inventory (2.4.1) and the allowing of noun roots with more than one syllable. In total, 30
distinct noun root shapes are attested in words of Mambay origin, and an additional 14
shapes are found in borrowed words.
151
While the minimal noun root consists of a single heavy syllable, roots with more than one
syllable are numerous. In fact, disyllabic noun roots are by far the most common type in
the lexicon. On the contrary, trisyllabic roots are uncommon, and the distinction between
a noun root and an opaque compound noun is often difficult to make in such cases (see
5.4.3). Noun roots with four syllables are limited to borrowed words.
Below is an inventory of all the attested CV shapes of non-borrowed, simple noun roots
in the data (i.e., those that are not verbal nouns or compounds), of which there are a total
of 707. The number of occurrences of each root shape is given, and each shape is
illustrated with an example. Examples with no or little phonological ambiguity (cf. 2.1.4,
2.2.4, 2.3.3) are given when possible. This inventory is followed by a list of root shapes
found only in borrowed words, along with an example of each shape.
As explained in 5.1.2.2, obligatory noun prefixes (e.g. na-, ti-, etc.) are not included as
part of the noun root shape. The length of pharyngealized vowels (Vh) in the examples
below follows the convention established in 2.3.3.2.7.
root shape
# of occurrences
monosyllabic roots: 5 shapes
CVV
(66)
CVC
(31)
CCVV
(66)
CCVC
(2)
CVVC
(1)
example
báà
zûm
kwàá
swâhy
rùùg`
cane rat
seam, hem, divide
neck, voice
elder, old man
cylindrical shape
disyllabic roots: 13 shapes
CV.CV
(120)
CV.CVV
(1)
CV.CVC
(16)
CCV.CV
(1)
CCV.CVC
(1)
CVV.CV
(209)
CVV.CVC
(6)
CVC.CV
(119)
CVC.CVC
(9)
CCVV.CV
(19)
CCVC.CV
(5)
CVVC.CV
(1)
CVVC.CVV
(1)
sírò
bàháà
kùrùm
kwérè
nà-dwárâ7
kéélà
zùùrùm
pìrlá
má7sî7
fwáánà
gyáglè
nà-táálUlá
tí-tòòntíì
grave
ibis sp.
ground hornbill
fence
sore, pimple
arrow shaft
fish sp.
torch, flashlight
amoebic dysentery
snail, shell
flute
ant sp.
lark (bird sp.)
trisyllabic roots: 12 shapes
CV.CV.CV
(7)
CV.CV.CVV
(1)
kíkòví
wátùtáà
coward
salt, sugar
152
CV.CVV.CV
CV.CVV.CVC
CV.CVC.CVV
CV.CVC.CV
CCV.CV.CV
CVV.CV.CV
CVV.CV.CVC
CCVV.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CVC
CVC.CVC.CV
(3)
(1)
(1)
(4)
(1)
(5)
(1)
(1)
(5)
(1)
(2)
pìpùùrí
ná-íáhrâm
ná-kúrúmáà
lágâ7gá
kwèzágà
wààgùnà
bààbùrùm
vwàhgílè
nà-dígzílè
tí-kó7kórô7
sìnzàhwlà
horn (instrument)
bedbug
fish sp.
water turtle sp.
red millet
large basket
main room
intrusion
algae
red ant sp.
porcupine
root shapes found only in borrowed words: 14 shapes
CVVCC
CV.CCVC7
CVV.CVV
CVC.CVV
CV.CV.CVV
CV.CV.CVC
CV.CVC.CCV
CV.CCVV.CV
CVV.CVV.CV
CVV.CVC.CV
CVC.CVC.CCV
CVC.CCVV.CV
CV.CV.CVV.CV
CV.CVC.CV.CV
tááblU
mìsyô7
wàhsóò
làmpóò
)ávòkáà
)ánánâz
sóló7zyì
múswáárì
géélóóbà
fúúná7gè
tándáwzyè
múzkwáárè
málápáárè
)àlà7gétà
table (French borr.)
mission (French borr.)
gift (Fulf. borr.)
tax (French borr.)
avocado (French borr.)
pineapple (French borr.)
green monkey (Fulf. borr.)
sorghum (Fulf. borr. via Mundang)
camel (Fulf. borr.)
north (Fulf. borr.)
taro (coarse variety) (Fulf. borr.)
sorghum (Fulf. borr.)
hat sp. (Fulf borr.)
flute (Fulf. borr.)
As is evident from the numbers given in the table above, the most common noun shapes
are a single heavy syllable, two light syllables, and a heavy syllable followed by a light
one. These shapes may be considered canonical, and are compatible with the linked noun
(5.3.3.3.1) and plural templates (5.5); other, less-attested shapes tend to exhibit packages
of non-canonical features and resist morphological templates (see, for example 5.2.2.3
and 5.5.1.1).
5.1.1.2 Allowable tone melodies
All seven tone melodies (H, L, HL, LH, HLH, LHL, HLHL; see 4.1.2) are found with
noun roots. Contrast between these melodies is demonstrated in 4.1.2.5. Selected
examples of each of the tone melodies associated with noun roots of various shapes are
7
This interpretation has been chosen for this item because semivowels are never found in the second
position of a morpheme-internal consonant sequence in the Mambay data (2.1.2.6). Whenever Cy occurs
word-internally, it is the onset of a morpheme-initial syllable within a morphologically complex word
(5.1.2.2).
153
reviewed here. The number of simple noun roots with which each tone melody occurs is
also given.
H (22 occurrences):
kpú7
ná-dídá’
kókól
núúrú
má7dírí
L (38 occurrences):
hill
summit
small drum
breast
tree sp.
yè
màlà
gàràm
dèglèm
wààgùnà
LH (241 occurrences):
HL (321 occurrences):
síì
bá%à
tíílò
búglì
síígírò
valley, river
tamarind
eagle sp.
hat
stork sp.
fùú
gùrá
vbààlá
tùlgúm
pìpùùrí
trench
fish trap
testicle
fish sp.
horn (instrument)
LHL (23 occurrences):
HLH (61 occurrences):
háàvá
tíìrím
bêrgá
kíkòví
híívìlá
peace, wholeness
art, craft
hippo-hide whip
insect sp.
large basket
snake sp.
fish sp.
sweetness
coward
slimy mud
bàháà
àvbâw
lèégè
doF7nì
vwàhgílè
ibis sp.
fish sp.
nightjar
wealth
intrusion
HLHL (1 occurrence):
wátùtáà
salt, sugar
As is evident from the numbers of occurrences in the list above, the tone melodies HL
and LH are far more commonly found on noun roots than other melodies. In contrast,
other melodies are uncommon, and the roots with which they are found tend to be noncanonical (1.3.1).
5.1.2 Prefixation
The Mambay language, like its close relatives Mundang and Tupuri (Elders 2000:125–
47, Ruelland 1992:144–6), is characterized by recurrent noun prefixes. In Mambay, there
is a series of twelve derivational prefixes:
dàfàfíka-
kìmanapa-
sitati)ì-
154
While some of the prefixes are used synchronically as a productive means of derivation,
others are an obligatory component of specific nouns (over 200 of 707 simple roots, as
well as many compound and verbal nouns; see also 5.1.2.1 and 5.9.2.1). It is likely that
all of the prefixes originated as typical possessed (head) nouns but have been reduced to a
CV shape through frequent usage. Proposed etymologies, which are defended in the
discussions on each prefix (5.1.2.4), are as follows:
dàfàfíkakìmanapásiti)ì-
from
from
from
from
from
from
from
from
from (?)
from (?)
from
from (?)
dàá
fààlá
fíílò
káálà
kyaF’
màánì
nàmá
páà
síì
sììrá
tíìrá / túù
)ígà
papa
back, skin, place
house
head, reason
place, time, atmosphere
mother (al.)
animal, meat
man, father
valley, river; or
year
mother (al.), matron / mother (inal.)
thing
The prefix ta- has not been identified with a possible source noun in Mambay.
Some of the prefixes are semantically transparent, but the synchronic semantic
contribution of others is in many cases variable. The prefixes fí-, kì-, tí- (when used as a
female participant prefix or in an augmentative capacity; see 5.7.2 and 5.8.2) and )ì- are
completely productive and, unsurprisingly, their semantic contribution is consistent; in
contrast, the other prefixes, all of which are confined to use as part of specific lexical
items, supply an unpredictable and at times negligible semantic value. These prefixes do
not operate in conjunction with any system of noun class concord or singular/plural
alternation (Anonby 2008).
In the subsections that follow, the structure and distribution of noun prefixes are
described (5.1.2.1), and reasons for positing the morphological distinctness of these
prefixes are provided (5.1.2.2). After a demonstration of their derivational nature
(5.1.2.3), each of the prefixes is presented along with examples which illustrate its
distribution and clarify its semantic contribution (5.1.2.4).
5.1.2.1 Structure and distribution
Each prefix is comprised of a single light (CV) syllable. This contrasts with noun roots,
which are minimally comprised of a heavy syllable (5.1.1.1).
Prefixes bear a simple H or L tone. The tone found on a given prefix is not
synchronically correlated with the tone melody of the accompanying noun root; both H
and L prefixes are attached to nouns representing H-initial and L-initial tone melodies.
155
ká-síblè
ká-kààlá
termite sp.
cocoon
kà-á’rè
kà-kàhlé
fish sp.
throw-knife
In addition to showing the tonal independence of prefixes, such examples illustrate the
dual tonal identity of some of the prefixes. In particular, tí-/tì-, ná-/nà- and ká-/kà- are
sometimes found in the lexicon with H tone, and sometimes with L tone; however, the
tone of a prefix which is an obligatory component of a given prefixed lexical item is
invariable with that item. With the exception of the three synchronically productive
derivational prefixes (5.1.2.4.3, 5.1.2.4.5, 5.1.2.4.11), there is no consistent semantic or
tonal explanation for the appearance of some prefixes with either H tone or L tone.
Nasality does not spread across the prefix-noun boundary.
nà-rúvò
ná-yâgrá
tí-náánì
tí-kà-ràhgú
phlegm, moist object
ululation
dragonfly
large heron sp.
It is possible for a sequence of two prefixes to be part of a single lexical item. The
combinations ná-sí-, pá-tá-, ti-ka- and ti-nà- are attested, as shown by the following
examples:
ná-sí-swaFh
leech
pá-tá-kpáhbrù cuckoo
tí-ká-uF’
tí-kà-ràhgú
tì-kà-zû’
aquatic plant sp.
large heron sp.
fish sp.
tí-nà-bùùzà
tí-nà-dáázá
tì-nà-múùrá
Orion’s belt
spider
jinn, totem, vision
Prefixes may attach to simple noun roots (as shown in the examples above) or
morphologically complex stems. Examples of prefixes used with compound nouns (5.4)
and reduplicated nouns (5.1.4) are as follows:
compound nouns:
tí-nàm-kùù-dù’gá
giraffe
PFX-animal:LF-neck:LF-length
tì-kùm-tí-sùú
sorcery sp.
PFX-protect:VN:LF-PFX-fabric
156
reduplicated nouns:
tí-%úú-%ùù
tì-gbúl-gbùl
owl sp.
large air bubble in water
5.1.2.2 Morphological distinctness of prefixes
For productive as well as lexically determined prefixes, there are a number of indicators
of the morphological distinctness of prefixes from the nouns with which they are
associated.
To begin with, prefixes are found recurrently in the lexicon. The prefix na-, for example,
is an obligatory component of 171 non-compound noun roots in the data (5.1.2.4.7).
Prefixes are all comprised of a single light CV syllable; noun roots, on the other hand, are
minimally comprised of a heavy syllable (5.1.1). In this regard, prefixation is
morphosyntactically distinct from noun + noun compounding in Mambay, which links
two morphologically satisfactory nouns (5.4.2).
Further, the inventory of CV shapes attested among non-prefixed noun roots is equivalent
to the inventory of CV shapes found on the root portion of obligatorily prefixed nouns. If
prefixes were to be included as part of noun roots, it would compromise the regularity of
the inventory of CV shapes: most of the existing root shapes would have to be duplicated
in the inventory with an initial CV syllable; and the only four-syllable nouns of Mambay
origin would be those with a prefix.
Segmental distribution also strengthens the idea that prefixes are not part of the noun
root: C-semivowel consonant clusters (2.1.2.5) and specific consonants (d, kp, gb and );
cf. 2.1.2), which are elsewhere found only in morpheme-initial position, are found after
prefixes.
ná-syàá
fire, gun
tí-gwáá-vààrí ancestral spirit sp.
pá-dálà
tí-kpéhwè
nà-gbáhrà
ná-)áà
oribi (antelope sp.)
goose sp.
peace
bean leaves
Moreover, prefixes do not form part of the lexical tone word; the tone of the prefix is
associated independently from the highly constrained tone melody sequence on the
accompanying root. If the prefix were part of the tonal word, it would associate in the
same way as equivalent CV structures where there is no prefix (4.1.2.2).
tì-kúrgú
nà-dígzílè
dwelling, main room (hypothetical single tonal word: *tìkùrgú)
algae
(hypothetical single tonal word: *nàdìgzílè)
157
The fact that nasality does not spread across the prefix-noun boundary (3.4.3.7) is an
additional phonological argument for the morphological distinctness of prefixes and the
nouns with which they are associated.
nà-rúvò
tí-náánì
phlegm, moist object
dragonfly
Since, elsewhere in the language, nasality regularly associates throughout morphemes
unless blocked by obstruents or mid vowels (3.4.2), it is evident that prefixes—even
those which are lexically determined—have not been phonologically incorporated into
noun roots.
Finally, perhaps the strongest argument for morphological distinctness is the alternation
of prefixes in noun-to-noun and verb-to-noun derivation. This is explored in the
following section.
5.1.2.3 Derivation with prefixes
Prefixation is a mechanism by which nouns are derived from nouns (5.1.2.3.1), verbs
(5.1.2.3.2) and other parts of speech (5.1.2.3.3). In noun-to-noun derivation, some
prefixes are synchronically productive (see 5.1.2.1). In other cases, however, prefixes are
obligatory components of specific nouns; in such instances, prefixation must be treated as
a historical inheritance rather than a synchronic process.
5.1.2.3.1 Noun-to-noun derivation
Prefixes are used to derive nouns from other nouns. In the case of the prefixes fí-, kìand tí- (when used as an augmentative; see 5.8.2), this derivational mechanism is
synchronically productive (see examples of each prefix in 5.1.2.4).
fí-gòòrá
fí-sú7gà
kitchen (i.e. room of preparation)
bedroom (i.e. room of lying down)
cf. gòòrá
cf. sú7gà
preparation
lying down
In other cases, a prefix’s distribution is lexically determined; however, the historical role
of derivation is often discernible. The following list presents obligatorily prefixed nouns
where a semantically related source noun is independently attested in the language.
dà-zwâ’
fà-dágà
fà-syâh
nà-)áà
nà-fâh
nà-kwàá
nà-pùgá
sí-kètí
tí-sígò
tí-níínà
grandfather
crumbs after a meal
handprint, writings
bean leaves
doorway
necklace
person
God
fetish against thievery
molar
158
cf. zwâ’
cf. dágà
cf. syâh
cf. )áà
cf. fâh
cf. kwàá
cf. pùgá
cf. kètí
cf. sígò
cf. níínà
ancestry
mouth, edge
hand
bean
path
neck, voice
blackness, darkness
sky, above
crocodile
lower millstone, mill
tí-vúù
antelope sp.; ibis sp.
cf. vúù
sheep, goat
As the above examples show, there are many cases where a semantic relationship
between a derived noun and its source is apparent. In a few instances, there is little or no
semantic difference between the two:
nà-núúrú
nà-nììnú
tí-zà’rá
breast
bum
dance sp.
cf. núúrú
cf. nììnú
cf. zà’rá
tì-nà-múùrá = nà-múùrá
tí-síblè ~ ká-síblè ~ tí-ká-síblè = síblè
breast, human milk
bottom, meaning
dance
jinn, totem, vision
termite sp.
In numerous cases, however, the semantic relationship between a derived noun and its
apparent source is unclear.
nà-vbyâ’
ká-kààlá
tì-nà-múùrá
tí-nà-dágà
treachery
cocoon
jinn, totem, vision
Pleiades
cf. vbyâ’
cf. kààlá
cf. múùrá
cf. dágà
marsh
axe
silt
mouth, edge
In a number of cases, a sort of historical noun-to-noun derivation has applied in which
borrowed nouns are reinterpreted as having noun prefixes. There appear to be two
reasons for this. First, the interpretation of existing word-initial syllables helps borrowed
nouns to conform to common root shapes (cf. 5.1.1.1).
má-swàrì
tí-búúnúúzè
tí-kúúzè
tì-páà
tí-ríírì
sorghum (Chad dialect)
date (fruit)
papaya
tobacco
onion
(cf. Fulf. muskuwaari)
(cf. Fulf. dibinooje (pl.))
(cf. Fulf. dukuuje (pl.))
(cf. Fr. tabac)
(cf. Fulf. tinyeere)
Second, prefixation may underline the non-canonical status of some borrowed words (cf.
1.3.1).
ná-búndúgáá rifle
(cf. Arabic bunduqnyah/bundugnyah)
nà-lígtíríg
electric fish (cf. English electric via Hausa; Fr. électrique)
tí-kéérééwà
giraffe
(cf. Fulf. kireewa)
5.1.2.3.2 Verb-to-noun derivation
Prefixes also appear on irregular verbal nouns, where they reflect a historical verb-tonoun derivation.
nà-sêl
nà-tû’
dispute (n.)
proverb
cf. sèl
cf. tú’
159
dispute (v.)
show, teach
ululation
tì-ryâh
cf. ryáh
cry (v.)
Other characteristics of verb-to-noun derivation are discussed in 5.9, where numerous
examples are also provided.
5.1.2.3.3 Derivation of nouns from other parts of speech
The prefix )ì- (5.1.2.4.12) is productively used to derive modifiers from a number of
word classes by promoting them to the status of independent noun (5.10).
bàhlàm
gúrúrú
kètí
náá
zó%ôm
thick, fat
deep
above
this, these
ten
)ì-bàhlàm
)ì-gúrúrú
)ì-kètí
)ì-náá
)ì-zó%ôm
that which is thick, fat
that which is deep
that which is above
this (n.), these (n.)
the ten [of them]
5.1.2.4 Inventory of prefixes
In the present section, each of the noun prefixes is presented in alphabetical order along
with comments on productivity, frequency in the lexicon, historical origins, and semantic
value, as well as examples.
5.1.2.4.1 dàThe prefix dà- is lexically determined, and is attested with two nouns in the data:
dà-vá7
dà-zwâ’
minnow sp.
grandfather
(cf. zwâ’ ‘ancestry’)
Considering the meaning of zwâ’ in dà-zwâ’, it is possible to posit the origin of dà- in
dàá ‘papa’ (compare also Mundang dì / d- ‘man, person’; see Elders 2000:125, 138–
40).
That the word dà-vá7 ‘minnow sp.’ is a prefixed CVC root rather than a CVCVC noun
is confirmed by the fact that high tone of the root does not flatten to L in the context of
the possessive construction, as is the case with LH nouns (cf. 5.2.2.1):
dà-vá7
dà-vá7 )íí
minnow sp. / my minnow sp.
cf. tùlgúm
tùlgùm )íí
fish sp. / my fish sp.
5.1.2.4.2 fàThe prefix fà- is lexically determined, and is attested with four nouns in the data:
fà-gbàh7
fà-Nmàhná
fà-pààrá
fà-syâh
outside (n.)
footprint
ground readied for cultivation
handprint
160
(cf. Nmàhná ‘foot’)
(cf. pààrá ‘field, farm’)
(cf. syâh ‘hand’)
It is likely that fà- originates in the noun fààlá (linked form: fàà; cf. 5.2.2.2.6.1) ‘back,
skin, place,’ and this semantic value is appropriate given the nouns in the data. It should
also be noted, however, that Mundang has a prefix fà- derived from fàn"` ‘thing’ (Elders
2000:125, 136–7).
For three of the four terms above, whose root is also independently attested, there is a
structural as well as semantic difference between nouns with fà- as an obligatory prefix
and those with fàà as a possessed noun.
fà-Nmàhná footprint
(cf. fàà Nmàhná ‘top of the foot, area behind the foot, place of the foot’)
fà-pààrá
ground readied for cultivation
(cf. fàà pààrá ‘back of the field, area behind the field, place of the field’)
fà-syâh
handprint
(cf. fàà syâh ‘back of the hand, area behind the hand, place of the foot’)
In dialects north of the Mayo Kebbi, the prefix fà- is synchronically productive rather
than lexically determined, and consistently carries the meaning of fààlá / fàà ‘back, skin,
place.’ Because of this, there is no distinction in these varieties between the noun pairs
directly above.
5.1.2.4.3 fíThe prefix fí- is synchronically productive and exhibits the same range of meaning as its
historical source fíílò: ‘house, room, chamber, concession, dwelling, context.’ Since
there is no commonly used alternative linked form for fíílò (see 5.2.2.2.6), the prefixnoun constructions in which it is found function semantically like compounds and/or
possessive constructions. Prefix-noun constructions in which it is attested in the lexicon
include the following words:
fí-gòòrá
fí-kòòlá
fí-nìì-mírà
fí-súúbà
fí-sú7gà
fí-tí-nà-dáázá
fí-zòògá
5.1.2.4.4
kitchen
womb
outhouse
bladder
bedroom
spider’s web
bird’s nest
(cf. gòòrá ‘preparation’)
(cf. kòòlá ‘birth’)
(cf. níí ‘defecate,’ mírà ‘excrement’)
(cf. súúbà ‘urine’)
(cf. sú7gà ‘lying down’)
(cf. tí-nà-dáázá ‘spider’)
(cf. zòògá ‘bird)
ka-
The prefix ka- is lexically determined, and it has two tonal forms (ká-/kà-) which are
also lexically determined; the reason for the appearance of two forms is unknown. It is
attested with twelve nouns in the data:
161
kà-á’rè
kà-féè
kà-kàhlé
kà-ràhbá
tí-kà-kàà
tí-kà-ràhgù
tì-kà-zû’
fish sp.
coffee
(cf. Fr. café)
throwing knife
blueness
goose sp.
large heron sp.
fish sp.
ká-síblè ~
tí-ká-síblè
ká-tárkó
ká-kààlá
tí-ká-vbû’gá
termite sp.
bridge
cocoon
plant sp.
(cf. Fulf. katarko)
(cf. kààlá ‘axe’)
There does not seem to be any consistent semantic difference between nouns of each
tonal form. It is possible that ka- originates in the common Mambay word káálà ‘head.’
Mundang also has a tonally ambivalent prefix ka- and Tupuri has kV- ; for both of these,
the historical origin is undetermined (Elders 2000:125, 146; Ruelland 1992:145).
kìThe prefix kì- is synchronically productive and exhibits the same range of meaning as
kyaF’ ‘place, time, state, atmosphere, condition,’ from which it is historically derived. As
is the case for fí-, the prefix-noun constructions in which it found function semantically
like compounds and/or possessive constructions. Prefix-noun constructions in which it is
attested in the lexicon include the following words:
5.1.2.4.5
kì-gòh7rò7
kì-puF’
kì-rí’rò
kì-róhlgòm
kì-sòògá
kì-vìrìm
kì-zàà-byàá
bend (n.)
light, clarity
entryway
joint (body)
dry season, galaxy
thin darkness
ford
(cf. gòh7rò7 ‘bent’)
(cf. puF’ ‘whiteness, innocence’)
(cf. rí’rò ‘entering’)
(cf. róhlgòm ‘joint (body)’)
(cf. sòògá ‘hotness, smithy’)
(cf. vìrìm ‘thinly dark’)
(cf. zàà ‘cross,’ byàá ‘water’)
kì- is also used productively in verbal noun constructions involving place or intent (cf.
7.6.3).
vè-lé kì-kòg zaFh
he/she/it went to see the ox
go:PFV-3SG.REFL place:PFX-see:VN ox
5.1.2.4.6
ma-
The prefix ma- is lexically determined and is attested with four nouns in the data:
162
má-nâ’
má-ràrírà
má-swàrì
mà-zwâ’
man’s mother-in-law
oily substance
sorghum (Chad dialect)
grandmother
(cf. Fulf. muskuwaari)
(cf. zwâ’ ‘ancestry’)
The occurrence of ma- in mà-zwâ’ ‘grandmother’ is parallel to is appearance in dàzwâ’ ‘grandfather’ (cf. 5.1.2.4.1). It may be historically derived from màánì ‘mother
(al.)’. That the H-toned form is indeed a prefix is underlined by the tone melody of máswàrì ‘sorghum,’ which does not exhibit a standard tonal association of HL starting on
the right edge of the word (cf. 4.1.2.2). Its appearance with H tone in Mambay could be
the result of borrowing or pressure from Mundang, which has a má$- noun prefix
originating in má$nì% ‘mother’ (Elders 2000:125, 132–6).
naThe prefix na- is lexically determined, and it has two tonal forms (ná-/nà-) which are
also lexically determined; the reason for the appearance of two forms is unknown. Of the
obligatorily attached prefixes, na- is the most common: there are 25 occurrences of náand 146 occurrences of nà- as obligatory components of non-compound noun roots.
Examples of words exhibiting both tonal forms are as follows:
5.1.2.4.7
nà-gbògò7gà waterlily bulb
nà-lèhgá
bat
nà-sâh
request
nà-sè7rá
toothache
nà-vàhlá
minnow
ná-gáhgù
ná-gbóglà
ná-kpìrvílè
ná-rìmnú
ná-tárgì
crow
toad, frog
dust devil
tongue, bud
seasonal river
The largest group of nouns with which na- is found are species names and other natural
phenomena, and there are also quite a few verbal nouns (see 5.9.2.1). The high
proportion of species names accords well with the positing of the historical origin of nain nàmá (linked form: nàm; cf. 5.2.2.2.3) ‘animal, meat.’ In Mundang a parallel prefix
nà- is found, but no source noun has been identified for it (Elders 2000:125, 146).
5.1.2.4.8
pá-
The prefix pá- is lexically determined and is attested with four nouns in the data:
pá-dálà
pá-dâg-vâh
pá-tá-kpáhbrù
oribi (antelope sp.)
fish sp.
(cf. dágà ‘mouth,’ vâh ‘arrow’)
cuckoo
163
pá-wâ%-nìì-gyàh whydah (bird sp.)
(cf. wâ%-nììnú ‘buttocks,’ gyàh ‘longtailed’)
It appears to be historically derived from páà ‘man, father,’ and resembles the Mundang
prefix pá- which originates in pánì ‘father’ (Elders 2000:125, 127–31).
5.1.2.4.9 siThe prefix si- is lexically determined and is attested with six nouns in the data:
dâg-sì-sí’
ná-sí-swaFh
sí-gâ’
sí-kètí
sí-nùú
sí-síì
spots on skin
leech
ring
God
the day(s) before yesterday
waxbill (bird sp.)
(cf. dágà ‘mouth, edge’)
(cf. gâ’ ‘fulfillment of needs’)
(cf. kètí ‘sky, life’)
(cf. nùú ‘that (dem.)’)
While five of the six occurrences of si- are H-toned, one is L-toned. The reason for the
appearance of two tonal forms is unknown. The origin of si- is, according to a popular
etymology cited by the principal informant, the noun síì ‘valley, river.’ A similar
Mundang suffix -s' has been attributed to the Mundang word síì ‘year’ (Elders 2000:125,
141), for which the cognate in Mambay is sììrá ‘year.’
5.1.2.4.10 taThe prefix ta- is lexically determined and is attested with four nouns in the data:
pá-tá-kpáhbrù
tà-tàhrgú
tà-dúgrì
tà-vbêr
cuckoo
rock pile
weakness (Chad dialect)
(village name)
(= tì-dúgrì ‘weakness’)
While three of the four occurrences of ta- are H-toned, one is L-toned. The reason for
the appearance of two tonal forms is unknown. No convincing historical source noun has
been identified for ta-, but in Mundang the similar prefix tà- (for which, similarly, no
source noun has been identified) is found (Elders 2000:125, 146).
5.1.2.4.11 tiThe prefix ti- is represented by a synchronically productive augmentative/female form tías well as the ambivalent form tí-/tì-, whose tonal value and distribution is lexically
determined.
The productive form tí- carries augmentative and/or female connotations, which suggests
that ti- (or at least the form tí-) may be historically derived from túù ‘mother’ and/or
tíìrá ‘matron’ (also compare Mundang t- and Tupuri tV-; see Elders 2000:125, 141–4
164
and Ruelland 1992:146). Examples of this prefix, which is discussed in further detail in
5.7.2 and 5.8.2, are as follows:
tí-byàá
tí-kpèègá
large water-body
large tree
(cf. byàá ‘water’)
(cf. kpèègá ‘tree’)
tí-dìgì
tí-bùù sé%gà
female neighbour
female potter
(cf. dìgì ‘neighbourship’)
(cf. búú ‘build,’ sé%gà clay cooking pot’)
A productive prefix tì- is used as a collective marker for human nouns (see 5.6.1).
Examples in which this prefix appears are:
tì-màmbày
tì-ná-syàá
the Mambay people (cf. màmbày ‘(ethnic name)’)
white people
(cf. ná-syàá ‘fire, gun‘)
There is not, however, any semantic evidence for a relation between the collective prefix
tì- and the obligatory noun prefix of the same shape.
As is the case with ka- and na-, when ti- is an obligatory component of specific lexical
items, it has two tonal forms (tí-/tì-) which are lexically determined; the reason for the
appearance of two forms is unknown. There does not seem to be any consistent semantic
difference between nouns of each tonal form. The largest group of nouns with which tiis found are species names, and there are also a number of reduplicated nouns (5.11.2).
While an augmentative and/or female semantic value is not incompatible with the nouns
of which it is a part, neither is it transparent.
ti- is well-represented in the lexicon: there are 65 occurrences of tí- and 13 occurrences
of tì- as an obligatory component of non-compound noun roots. Examples of words
exhibiting both tonal forms of the prefix ti- are as follows:
tí-syá’rì
tí-fúúgûm
tí-kíí-kìì
tí-sì’bá
tí-zoFr
millet stalk missed during harvesting
edible wild plant sp.
whooping cough
honour
rafter
tì-dúgrì
tì-góhm
tì-kóólè
tì-tèvbírè
tì-ryá7-ryà7
weakness
tree and fruit sp.
pipe
flute sp.
edible gourd sp.
165
5.1.2.4.12 )ìThe prefix )ì- is productively used to promote modifiers from a number of word classes
to the status of independent noun (5.10).
example modifier
bàhlàm
gúrúrú
kètí
náá
zó%ôm
thick, fat
deep
above
this, these
ten
modifier promoted to
independent noun status
)ì-bàhlàm
)ì-gúrúrú
)ì-kètí
)ì-náá
)ì-zó%ôm
that which is thick, fat
that which is deep
that which is above
this (n.), these (n.)
the ten [of them]
Because of its segmental and grammatical value (especially as regards nominalization), it
is tempting to posit )ígà ‘thing’ as the historical source of )ì-; the implications of its
tonal value for this interpretation are inconclusive.
5.1.3 Suffixation
Noun suffixation in Mambay functions synchronically to a limited degree (5.1.3.1), but
there is evidence that it has functioned pervasively in the history of the language
(5.1.3.2).
5.1.3.1 Synchronically productive suffixation
Synchronically productive noun suffixation in Mambay is limited to inalienable
possessive constructions (5.3.4).
linked
form
inalienable
assoc. pn.
inalienable
assoc. construction
káà
+
head:LF
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
káámi
head:2SG.POSS.INAL
your (sg.) head (inal.)
While some nouns in some plural constructions and some noun phrase types (5.5.2 and
5.14) appear to employ suffixation, they have been described in reference to
morphological templates rather than suffixes. Plural alternations include:
bî7
yèrí
óólì
bùmgó
forest
clothing
lion
ribcage
pl. bí7zò
pl. yèrzí
pl. ólzì
pl. bùmzó
Linked forms (5.2.2) of nouns in some noun phrase constructions include:
166
free form
linked form
kpèègá
píglò
kpèègì )íí
píglì )íí
tree / my tree
bile / my bile
5.1.3.2 Evidence of historical suffixation
There are several indicators that, in addition to having a synchronically limited
contribution, suffixation is a pervasive historical reality. In an article on the subject,
Anonby (2008) outlines three synchronic arguments for the existence of vestigial suffixes
in Mambay. First, there is a segmental imbalance in the noun lexicon. On CV-final
nouns, which make up most of the simple noun lexicon, over three-quarters of endings
contain one of the consonants r l g n and almost exactly two-thirds of endings contain
the vowel a; most remaining vowel endings assimilate to the value of preceding root
vowel (pp. 4–6). Examples of nouns which exhibit these recurrent sequences include:
túrà
zìírì
millet
fish sp.
kpèègá
wágà
tree
skin
káálà
pìrlá
head, reason
torch, flashlight
tììná
gèmná
bush sp.
entrance hut
Second, there are many irregular verb-to-noun alternations marked by the historical
addition of a suffix (pp. 6–8; see also 5.9.2.1).
gà’rá
cf. gà’
nail (n.)
nail (v.), stay fixed
sì’lá
cf. sí’
fishing
fish (v.), bloat
páhnà
cf. pàh
mud, clay
wet (v.)
vbô’gá
cf. vbó’
stirred-up waters
mix, get caught up in
a dispute
Third, there is a definable semantic value associated with a few of the historical noun
suffixes, in particular a body part suffix -nu, non-count suffixes with labial consonants,
and a generic or collective suffix -(g)VrV (pp. 8–11). An exhaustive list of noncompound nouns containing the suffix -nu, which is found almost exclusively with body
parts, is as follows:
dígnù
fínù
gìhgìnú
gì’nú
gùùgìnú
hùùnú
)ínù
kìhnú
liver
forehead
wing, fin
small of back
gill
thigh
body, self
waist, hip
nà-gbíínú
nà-rígnù
ná-rìmnú
nà-vínù
ná-nììnú
nììnú
nínù
síínù
167
(village name)
underarm
tongue
co-wife
bum
bottom
eye, face, life
horn, antenna
tè’nú
tìnú
side (of body)
front, genitals
tooth, tusk
zínù
Non-count nouns, which account for a clear majority of nouns with labial consonants in a
final CV syllable, include the following:
-bV:
bùùbá
gííbò
hì’bá
màhbá
-mV: dìmá
nàmá
sámà
tàrmá
white hair
alcoholic drink
hunger
adultery
-V:
lúò
páà
táà
túò
sesame
milk
flour
blood
beauty
animal, meat
pregnancy
fog, haze
-vV:
kpá%và
kú%vò
núvà
màrvà
leprosy
smoke
fat, oil
regret
Nouns containing the generic or collective suffix -(g)VrV often alternate with other verbs
and nouns in the lexicon. A complete list of these nouns, which are either generic stative
nouns or collective terms (cf. 5.6.2), is as follows:
)àzgárà
fààzárà
fàhzárà
màngárà
nà7gárà
reciprocal social unit (see Glossary)
reciprocal social unit (see Glossary)
reciprocal social unit (see Glossary)
age-group
maternal uncles
cf. )ázì Tmember of )àzgárà
cf. fààzí member of fààzárà
cf. fâhzí member of fàhzárà
cf. màn age-mate
cf. nánà T maternal uncle
bààgárà
òògárà
fìmgórò
fùhgárà
ná-vyà7gárà
rà’gárà
rè’gárà
sò7górò
sòògárà
syàhgárà
hardness
cf. bàà be hard, bààgá hardness
bonus
cf. óó hit
heaviness
cf. fìm be heavy, fìmgó weight
spreading of a smell
cf. fùh smell (v.); fùhgá smell (n.), stink
jealousy, ambition, polygamy
rot (n.)
cf. rà’ rot (v.), rà’gá rot (n.), stink
fruit, fruit production cf. ré’rà bear, produce fruit, clump
aging
cf. sò7gí age (v.), sò7gó old age
heat
cf. sòò get hot, boil; sòògá hotness, smithy
coolness, dampness
cf. syàh get cold, syàhgá chill
A comparison of numerous noun roots with reflexes in other Kebi-Benue languages
confirms the historical contribution of suffixation in Mambay (pp. 11–20). Most of the
suffixes in Mambay and closely related languages cannot be traced to a historical system
of noun classification; rather, they are the product of an unevenly applied reconfiguration
of noun structure in the languages of the language family (pp. 20–1).
168
Because the historical noun-suffix boundary is in many cases difficult to determine, and
because historically-suffixed nouns function synchronically as a morphologically simple
phonological word with respect to voicing (cf. 2.1.3.2), nasality (3.4) and tone (4.1.2.2),
such nouns are treated as roots in the present study.
5.1.4 Reduplication
Reduplication is not a synchronically productive means of deriving nouns. Rather, it
appears to serve an ideophonic function. Some instances of reduplication are
appropriately described as a type of compounding (5.4.2.6). Examples of reduplicated
nouns are:
%èlè7-%élé7 bell
lèhrù-lèhrù large-eared person
wàh-wàh
hubbub
tí-kíí-kìì
whooping cough
tì-kpá%-kpà% malaria
tì-gbúl-gbùl large air bubble in water
Reduplication is discussed in greater detail in the section on ideophonic nouns (5.11.2).
5.2 Free and linked forms
In Mambay, nouns are found as one of two basic forms: free and linked. In the following
sections, the distribution of free and linked nouns is contrasted (5.2.1), and intricacies in
the structures exhibited by linked forms are catalogued (5.2.2).
5.2.1 Distribution
When a noun is found without any of its own syntactically dependent elements in a noun
phrase, its free (unmarked) form is used. The free form exhibits the noun’s full
phonological identity. This is evident with the example nouns húgò ‘bone’ and zòògá
‘bird’:
húgò
bone
dâg
húgò
mouth:LF bone
skeleton (lit. mouth of bone)
nìì
dâg
húgò
bottom:LF mouth:LF bone
bottom of skeleton
zòògá
bird
dâg
zòògá
mouth:LF bird
beak (lit. mouth of bird)
nìì
dâg
zòògá
bottom:LF mouth:LF bird
bottom of beak
169
When a noun is found with a syntactically dependent element other than a numeral, its
linked form (LF) is used. A noun’s linked form is the result of morphological templates
which, in many cases, diminish or otherwise alter the phonological identity of the free
form (5.2.2). Linked forms of the nouns húgò ‘bone’ and zòògá ‘bird’ are used in the
following example constructions:
hûg
kágà
bone:LF chicken
bone of chicken
dâg
hûg
kágà
mouth:LF bone:LF chicken
skeleton (lit. mouth of bone) of chicken
hûg
)íí
bone:LF 1SG.POSS
my bone
hûg
ìltì7
bone:LF dirty
dirty bone
zòògì kpèègá
bird:LF tree
tree bird (lit. bird of tree)
dâg
zòògì kpèègá
mouth:LF bird:LF tree
tree bird’s beak (lit. mouth of bird of tree)
zòògì )íí
bone:LF 1SG.POSS
my bird
zòògì %élé7
bird:LF intelligent
intelligent bird
Nouns in typical count constructions (5.14.3) exhibit a free rather than a linked form.
This provides evidence that the use of linked forms is sensitive to grammatical relation as
well as a noun’s position within a phrase.
wáà
àtì
nose/chief two
cf. húù
àtì
nose/chief:LF two
two noses / two chiefs
the two noses / the two chiefs (restricted
usage; see 5.14.3, 9.1.1)
Nouns in apposition, including nouns followed by a dependent element promoted to the
status of independent noun by the prefix )ì- (5.10), also exhibit a free rather than a linked
form. This underlines the fact that each of the components in such constructions
constitutes a separate noun phrase.
170
nouns in apposition:
the chief Kada / Kada, the chief
wáà
ká%à
nose/chief Kada
cf. húù
ká%à
nose/chief:LF Kada
Kada’s nose / Kada’s chief
noun + dependent element prefixed with )ì-:
và’zá
leaf
cf. và’zì
leaf:LF
)ì-bá%à
HEAD-tamarind
the tamarind leaf
bá%à
tamarind
tamarind leaf
Comparable free vs. linked oppositions are found in a number of other Kebi-Benue
languages (Elders 2006). In Mundang, for example, linked forms are attested for nouns
and some nominals (noun-like words including verbal nouns, adjectives, numerals and
possessive pronouns; see Elders 2000:102). However, the distribution of linked forms in
Mundang is more tightly based on occurrence in non phrase-final position.
Several of the basic numerals in Mambay exhibit linked forms in non phrase-final
position (9.1.2.1.1). This pattern is, like that of Mundang, defined by syntactic position
rather than grammatical relations.
5.2.2 Linked form structure
Nouns’ linked forms are based on their unmarked free forms. This is true as concerns
tone melody, where correspondences between free and linked forms are regular (5.2.2.1).
Segmental alternations are more complex. For most nouns with canonical shapes
(5.2.2.2), significant segmental alternations accompany the appearance of linked forms;
these are most fittingly described not in terms of affixation, but rather morphological
templates. Non-canonical nouns, in contrast, do not typically exhibit segmental
alternation (5.2.2.3). Linked forms of morphologically complex nouns are discussed in
5.2.2.4.
The following subsections show that in cases where there is alternation, the linked form
contains a reduced subset of the free form’s phonological information. For example,
linked forms of nouns whose free forms have L, LH and LHL tone melodies are all
realized with a L melody (5.2.2.1).
L:
LH:
LHL:
regret
bird
mouse sp.
free form
linked form
màrvà
zòògá
zùúrà
màrvì
zòògì
zùùrì
171
In addition, the linked form of certain CV shapes is associated with the loss of a free
form’s final vowel (5.2.2.2.3).
bone
clothing
tamarind
free form
linked form
húgò
yèrí
bá%à
hûg
yèr
bâ%
Further examples reveal that the linked form does not retain contrast for some segmental
sequences in the free form (5.2.2.2.2):
free form
linked form
large hole-digger tí-tyàá
bush sp.
tí-tèé
tí-tèè
tí-tèè
roan antelope
boasting
bóò
póò
bwáà
póò
The morphological templates which produce linked forms may also add phonological
information, but it is predictable. For example, in linked forms of nouns with certain CV
shapes, the noun’s final vowel is replaced with a uniform vowel i (5.2.2.2.4, 5.2.2.2.5).
drum
lion
white hair
free form
linked form
vbíílò
óólì
bùùbá
vbíílì
óólì
bùùbí
Linked forms of nouns which are found in the context of inalienable possessive
constructions are highly irregular. These forms are addressed in the discussion on
inalienable possession (5.3.4.2, 6.1.4.2).
Linked forms are always produced with a subsequent noun phrase element (5.2.1).
Because of this, most of the examples below are given in this context. While there are
many possible items with which linked forms may be found, the first singular possessive
pronoun )íí ‘my (al.)’ has been used throughout for the sake of simplicity and uniformity.
5.2.2.1 Tone melody
Tonally, the melody of the linked form is often the same as that of the free form, although
it may associate differently depending on the availability of tone-bearing units (4.1.2.2).
This is the case for linked forms corresponding to nouns whose free forms are associated
with H, L and HL tone melodies. (As noted in the previous paragraph, the pronoun )íí
‘my (al.)’ has been used throughout to provide a natural context for example linked
forms).
172
free form
linked form
H:
só’lé
kókól
só’lí )íí
kókól )íí
greatness / my greatness
small drum / my small drum
L:
màrvà
dìgì
màrvì )íí
dìg )íí
regret / my regret
neighbourship / my neighbourship
HL:
húgò
zyáà
hûg )íí
zéè )íí
bone / my bone
net / my net
However, LH tone contours are not permitted on linked forms of nouns with LH, LHL
and HLH melodies. Because of this, linked forms of nouns with LH and LHL melodies
pattern as L; and the final H on linked forms of nouns with an HLH melody is not
realized (4.3.1.3). (The special case of HLH on two-mora nouns is treated in 4.3.3.3).
free form
linked form
LH:
zòògá
gùrá
zòògì )íí
gùr )íí
bird / my bird
fish trap / my fish trap
LHL:
zùúrà
doF7nì
zùùrì )íí
dò7nì )íí
mouse sp. / my mouse sp.
wealth / my wealth
HLH:
óòzá
kíkòví
óòzì )íí
kíkòvì )íí
clod / my clod
coward / my coward
The linked form of the single HLHL noun in the data retains the full tone melody of its
free form.
free form
linked form
HLHL: wátùtáà
wátùtáà )íí
salt, sugar / my salt, sugar
Four other instances of idiosyncratic correspondences between the tone melody of free
and linked forms are listed in 5.2.2.2.6 and 5.2.2.4.1. Further detail on tonal phenomena
in noun phrases is found in 4.3.1.
5.2.2.2 Canonical nouns
Linked forms of nouns with some of the canonical noun shapes (5.1.1.1) undergo
segmental alternations as a result of morphological templates applied to their
corresponding free forms. While CVV and C(C)VC nouns are exempt from segmental
alternation, other canonical nouns are usually modified as follows:
173
free form of
canonical noun
CCVV
C(C)V.CV
C(C)VV.CV
C(C)VC.CV
corresponding
linked form
CVV
C(C)VC
C(C)VV.Ci
C(C)VC.Ci
Examples of typical linked forms of each of the canonical CV shapes are given in the
following sections (5.2.2.2.1–5.2.2.2.5), and irregular linked forms are also catalogued
(5.2.2.2.6).
The presence of prefixes (5.1.2) on otherwise canonical nouns does not affect their
eligibility for morphophonological alternation.
free form
linked form
nà-kwàá
cf. kwàá
nà-kùù )íí
kùù )íí
necklace / my necklace
neck, voice / my neck, voice
5.2.2.2.1 CVV and C(C)VC
Linked forms of nouns with CVV and C(C)VC shapes are usually the same as
corresponding free forms:
free form
linked form
báà
fùú
kaFh
síì
tí-tèé
bî7
gôm
ká-ràm
kyôNw
tì-tùm
báà )íí
fùù )íí
kàh )íí
síì )íí
tí-tèè )íí
bî7 )íí
gôm )íí
ká-ràm )íí
kyôNw )íí
tì-tùm )íí
cane rat / my cane rat
trench / my trench
placenta / my placenta
valley / my valley
bush sp. / my bush sp.
forest / my forest
vine sp. / my vine sp.
reedbuck / my reedbuck
warthog, pig / my warthog, pig
ancestor / my ancestor
In the linked forms of nouns comprised of yVV or wVV syllables containing low vowels,
the initial semivowel alternates with h. Also, when the low vowel is non-nasalized, it
coalesces with the high semivowel, resulting in a mid vowel:
wáà
wàá
wâh
hóò )íí
hòò )íí
hôh )íí
fig, fig tree / my fig, fig tree
hump / my hump
cup / my cup
174
However, when the low vowel of the free form is nasalized, it is realized in the linked
form as a high rather than a mid nasalized vowel. These forms reflect the language-wide
restriction on nasalized mid vowels (3.1.1).
yâh
wáà
hîh )íí
húù )íí
stalk / my stalk
nose, chief / my nose (al.), chief
Although there is no corresponding consonantal alternation, a similar vowel alternation is
attested in the linked form of Qâh ‘name; yellow weaver (bird sp.)’ (there are no other
nouns with an equivalent preglottalized semivowel–nasalized vowel CVV structure).
Qâh
Qîh )íí
name/weaver (bird sp.) / my name/weaver
5.2.2.2.2 CCVV
The linked form of some CCVV nouns is signalled by the application of a CVV template.
When the template applies to noun roots comprised of CyVV or CwVV syllables
containing low vowels, the onset’s semivowel coalesces with its vowel. This results—
similarly to what happens to yVV or wVV nouns (5.2.2.2.1)—in linked forms with front
and back mid vowels respectively:
byàá
kwáà
nà-swàá
syáà
syâh
bèè )íí
kóò )íí
nà-sòò )íí
séè )íí
sêh )íí
water / my water
grass / my grass
peanut / my peanut
tree sp. / my tree sp.
hand / my hand (alienable)
(Exceptionally, the linked form of kwàá ‘neck, voice’ is kùù.)
When the low vowel is nasalized, its realization in the linked form is high rather than
mid. These forms reflect the language-wide restriction on nasalized mid vowels (3.1.1).
kwáà
kyaFh
nà-syâ’
nwâ’
rwáà
kúù )íí
kìh )íí
nà-sì’ )íí
nû’ )íí
rúù )íí
fly / my fly
fish / my fish
cricket sp. / my cricket sp.
hole, den / my hole, den
fool / my fool
There are four CCVV nouns in the data containing a non-low vowel. The linked forms of
these nouns are not modified.
%yóò
kyóò
%yóò )íí
kyóò )íí
myû’
syòó
myû’ )íí
syòò )íí
grass sp.
underdeveloped child / my underdeveloped
child
cat / my cat
song / my song
175
5.2.2.2.3 C(C)V.CV
The linked form of C(C)V.CV nouns is signalled by a loss of the final vowel. In other
words, a C(C)VC template is applied.
bá%à
húgò
kwérè
pìzá
yèrí
bâ% )íí
hûg )íí
kwêr )íí
pìz )íí
yèr )íí
tamarind / my tamarind
bone / my bone
fence / my fence
horse / my horse
clothing / my clothing
One CVC noun also exhibits a morphophonological alternation which is more commonly
found with CVV nouns (see 5.2.2.2.1).
wágà
hôg )íí
skin / my skin (al.) (also attested: wâg )íí)
5.2.2.2.4 C(C)VV.CV
The linked form of C(C)VV.CV nouns is signalled by the replacement of the final vowel
with i.
bùùbá
óólì
kwáàvbá
kpèègá
vbíílò
bùùbì )íí
óólì )íí
kwáàvbì )íí
kpèègì )íí
vbíílì )íí
white hair / my white hair
lion / my lion
bush sp. / my bush sp.
tree / my tree
drum / my drum
If the final vowel of the free form of the noun is nasalized, this nasality is retained on the
i of the template.
hùùrí
sààrá
tí-níínà
hùùrì )íí
sààrì )íí
tí-níínì )íí
hyena / my hyena
tortoise / my tortoise
molar / my molar
5.2.2.2.5 C(C)VC.CV
As is the case for C(C)VV.CV nouns (5.2.2.2.4), the linked form of C(C)VV.CV nouns is
signalled by the replacement of the final vowel with i.
fìrlá
lwâgvbá
fìrlì )íí
lwâgvbì )íí
ná-kógrà
píglò
tì-dúgrì
ná-kógrì )íí
píglì )íí
tì-dúgrì )íí
torch / my torch
tenderness, youngness / my tenderness,
youngness
worm / my worm
bile / my bile
weakness / my weakness
176
If the final vowel of the free form of the noun is nasalized, this nasality is retained on the
i of the template.
gèmná
nà-pê7rá
sá7nì
gèmnì )íí
nà-pê7rì )íí
sá7nì )íí
entrance hut / my entrance hut
wild fruit sp. / my wild fruit sp.
mortar / my mortar
5.2.2.2.6 Irregular linked forms
Some canonical nouns exhibit irregular linked forms. A small number, including body
parts as well as a few other common nouns, have more than one form (5.2.2.2.6.1).
Linked forms with other irregularities are given in 5.2.2.2.6.2.
5.2.2.2.6.1 Nouns with more than one linked form
There are a number of body parts and other commonly used nouns with optional
monosyllabic linked forms. There is significant but incomplete overlap between words
with these short linked forms and words which may be used in inalienable possessive
constructions (compare the list in 5.3.4.1).
Invariably, monosyllabic linked forms are more commonly used than the
morphologically regular longer forms (i.e., those which are subject to the morphological
template given in 5.2.2.2). When questioned concerning differences in the usage of
respective long and short forms, Mambay speakers cite factors such as formal vs.
informal register, whole vs. part designation, neutral vs. emphatic linking, and
distant/intangible vs. proximal/tangible presence. However, none of these variables have
been consistently borne out by elicited examples, and instances of the longer forms are
altogether absent in the spontaneous text that has been gathered. It is possible that the
longer forms are archaic but legal alternatives for the short forms. An exhaustive list of
nouns with optional monosyllabic linked forms is given here, and has been broken down
based on morphological patterns.
First, there are a number of CVV.CV words with a regular (long) CVV.Ci linked form
and a short CVV form.
free form
linked form
(regular/long)
linked form
(short)
à’rá
fààlá
à’rì )íí
fààlì )íí
à’ )íí
fàà )íí
káálà
gì’rá
mùhná
káálì )íí
gì’rì )íí
mùhnì )íí
káà )íí
gì’ )íí
mùh )íí
ná-nììnú
ná-rìmnú
ná-nììnì )íí
ná-rìmnì )íí
ná-nìì )íí
ná-rìm )íí
177
seed / my seed
back, skin, place /
my back, skin, place (al.)
head / my head (al.)
gourd / my gourd
vulva, centre /
my vulva, centre (al.)
bum / my bum (al.)
tongue, bud /
my tongue, bud (al.)
nììnú
nììnì )íí
nìì )íí
ná’rà
rò’rá
sààrá
sììrá
vbààlá
wàhlá
zà’rá
ná’rì )íí
rò’rì )íí
sààrì )íí
sììrì )íí
vbààlì )íí
wàhlì )íí
zà’rì )íí
nâ’ )íí
rò’ )íí
sàà )íí
sìì )íí
vbàà )íí
wàh )íí
zà’ )íí
bottom, meaning /
my bottom, meaning (al.)
sauce / my sauce
word, issue / my word, issue
root, sinew / my root, sinew
year / my year
testicle / my testicle (al.)
nape (of neck) / my nape (al.)
dance / my dance
It is interesting to note that the consonant in the last syllable of each of these nouns
(which is deleted in the short linked form) is one of the common alveolar segments r l or
n. There is no consistent phonological distinction that sets these nouns apart from most
other nouns (without a short linked form) that have r l or n in the last syllable (e.g.,
5.2.2.2.4, 5.2.2.2.5). However, the lack of short linked forms which correspond to free
forms with g in the last syllable is conspicuous, since in the lexicon as a whole g is also
very common in this position (5.1.3.2).
There is a single CVV.CV word with a regular (long) CVV.Ci linked form and a short
CV prefix form which is tonally simplified (see 5.1.2.4.3).
fíílò
fíílì )íí
fí-)íí
house / my house
The same pattern has been observed for the word fààlá ‘back’ among some speakers of
dialects north of the river (cf. fààlá / fàà earlier in this section):
fààlá
fààlì )íí
fà-)íí
back, skin, place /
my back, skin, place (al.)
One CCVV and one CV.CV noun also exhibit this pattern.
kyaF’
kè’ )íí
kì-)íí
Nmárà
Nmár )íí
Nmá-)íí
place, time, state / my place,
time, state (cf. 5.1.2.4.5)
friend / my friend (see also
5.2.2.2.6.2 re. the tonally
irregular long form)
Two CVV.CV nouns exhibit other atypical short forms alongside the long linked form.
páhnà
síínà
páhnì )íí
síínì )íí
páhn` )íí
síín` )íí
mud, clay / my mud, clay
play / my play
Finally, three CVV nouns (all of which, incidentally, contain pharyngealized vowels)
exhibit optional long forms which are not warranted by the synchronic structure of their
free form.
178
gaFh
NmaFh
vbyâh
gàhnì )íí
Nmàhnì )íí
vbéhlì )íí
gàh )íí
Nmàh )íí
vbêh )íí
beard / my beard (al.)
foot / my foot (al.)
cheek / my cheek (al.)
5.2.2.2.6.2 Other irregularities
Five CVV.CV nouns (cf. 5.2.2.2.5) which exhibit irregular linked forms that lose the
final vowel but retain the last syllable’s consonant are as follows:
free form
linked form
gì’nú
kàhrá
hùùnú
sáhmà
síínù
gìNn )íí
kàhr )íí
hùùn` )íí
sâhm )íí
síín` )íí
small of back / small of my back
wax, glue, birdlime / my wax, glue, birdlime
thigh / my thigh
feather / my feather
horn, antenna / my horn, antenna (note that the
linked form is neutralized with the
“intermediate” form of síínà ‘play’ in the
previous section)
There are also two CVC.CV (cf. 5.2.2.2.5) nouns with irregular CV.CVC linked forms
(these two nouns have irregular plurals which are formed in a similar way; see 5.5.2.1.5):
dígnù
dígîn )íí
(nìì) nà-rígnù (nìì) nà-rígîn )íí
liver / my liver
armpit / my armpit
Finally, in addition to all of these nouns with segmentally irregular linked forms, three
CV.CV noun roots (cf. 5.2.2.2.3) exhibit an irregular tonal alternation. Rather than
retaining the complexity of their basic tone melody in their linked form, as is the case for
other HL nouns (5.2.2.1), their HL tone melody is simplified to H.
mírà
Nmárà
mír )íí
Nmár )íí
vínà
vín )íí
excrement / my excrement
friend / my friend (also: Nmá )íí; see
5.2.2.2.6.1)
woman / my woman
5.2.2.3 Non-canonical nouns
Linked forms of non-canonical nouns are segmentally identical to their free counterparts.
This is true of nouns with non-canonical CV shapes (cf. 5.1.1.1):
rùùg`
kókól
tí-díìrím
séréré
wátùtáà
rùùg` )íí
kókól )íí
tí-díìrìm )íí
séréré )íí
wátùtáà )íí
cylindrical shape / my cylindrical shape
small drum / my small drum
bare gums, molar / my bare gums, molar
thinness / my thinness
salt, sugar / my salt, sugar
179
wààgùnà
wààgùnà )íí
bààbùrùm
tí-tòòn`tíì
bààbùrùm )íí
tí-tòòn`tíì )íí
large basket / my large basket (also attested:
wààgùn )íí; cf. 5.2.2.4.3)
main room / my main room
lark (bird sp.) / my lark
There are also a number of examples of nouns of canonical CV shape which have
segmentally invariable linked forms. These nouns are non-canonical in other ways:
non-canonical nasality pattern (cf. 3.4.2):
màlà
màlà )íí
art, craft / my art, craft
uncommon noun endings e and u (cf. 5.1.3.2):
lèégè
núúrú
tí-kà-ràhgù
lèègè )íí
núúrú )íí
tí-kà-ràhgù )íí
nightjar (bird sp.) / my nightjar
breast / my breast
large heron sp. / my large heron sp.
uncommon root-internal obstruent distribution (cf. 2.1.2.2):
kètí
kètì )íí
sky, life / my sky, life (also attested: kèt )íí)
borrowed noun (cf. 1.3.1):
%éré
%éré )íí
yam sp. / my yam sp.
a combination of the above factors:
)àddá
)àddà )íí
bàkà
bàkà )íí
lúúmù
lúúmù )íí
ná-túttè
ná-túttè )íí
older female relative / my older female
relative (cf. Fulf. adda)
older male relative / my older male relative
(cf. Fulf. baka)
market, week / my market, week
(cf. Fulf. luumo ‘market’)
soap / my soap (also attested: ná-túttì )íí)
Conversely, two nouns have been attested which, although they have a non-canonical CV
shape, exhibit alternating linked forms:
ná-bìbùNnà
ná-táálUlá
ná-bìbùNn )íí
ná-táálUlì )íí
small bee sp. / my small bee sp.
ant sp. / my ant sp.
5.2.2.4 Morphologically complex nouns
Linked forms of three categories of morphologically complex nouns are examined here:
plurals (5.2.2.4.1), nouns with -(g)VrV suffixes (5.2.2.4.2), and compound nouns
(5.2.2.4.3).
180
5.2.2.4.1 Plurals
Plurals, which typically conform to a CVC.zV template (5.5.2.1), exhibit linked forms
the same as those of other CVC.CV nouns: namely, the final vowel alternates with i.
Examples of linked forms of typical plurals are as follows:
free form of
plural noun
linked
form
lálzà
tyárzà
fùlzó
kwérzè
yèrzí
lálzì )íí
tyárzì )íí
fùlzì )íí
kwérzì )íí
yèrzì )íí
gourds / my gourds
fish sp. (pl.) / my fish sp. (pl.)
trenches / my trenches
fences / my fences
pieces of clothing / my pieces of clothing
Linked forms of irregular plurals (5.5.2.2) also conform to templates for morphologically
simple nouns of the same CV shape.
élà
vyá’rà
zàrá ~ zàrzá
êl )íí
vyá’rì )íí
zàr )íí ~ zàrzì )íí
children / my children
mice / my mice
oxen / my oxen
Exceptionally, and like its singular counterpart vínà ‘woman’ (5.2.2.2.6.2), the linked
form of gérêm ‘women’ is marked by a simplification of the corresponding noun’s tone
melody from HL to H.
gérêm
5.2.2.4.2
women / my women
gérém )íí
Nouns with -(g)VrV suffixes
Linked forms of nouns with -(g)VrV suffixes (5.1.3.2) are formed by the alternation of
the first suffix vowel with i and the dropping of the final suffix vowel.
free form of
suffixed noun
)àz-gárà
fìm-górò
nà-ré7-gérè
sò7-górò
syàh-gárà
linked
form
in-laws / my in-laws
weight / my weight
hanging roots / my hanging roots
aging / my aging
coolness, dampness / my coolness, dampness
)àzgìr )íí
fìm-gìr )íí
nà-ré7-gîr )íí
sò7-gìr )íí
syàh-gìr )íí
5.2.2.4.3 Compound nouns
Linked form templates are applied to the final root of a compound noun (5.4), which is
transformed in the same manner as if it were not part of a compound:
181
dâg
mouth:LF
gèmnì
entrance.hut:LF
cf. dâg
mouth:LF
fàà
back:LF
cf. fàà
back:LF
)íí
my entryway
1SG.POSS
entryway
gèmná
entrance.hut
pààrì
field:LF
my abandoned field
)íí
1SG.POSS
abandoned field
pààrá
field
This extends to compound nouns which are partially or completely opaque (cf. 5.4.3):
my cormorant, darter (bird sp.)
(also attested: ná-rím-byàà )íí)
ná-rím-bèè
)íí
PFX-dip?-water:LF 1SG.POSS
cf. ná-rím-byàá
PFX-dip?-water
cormorant, darter (bird sp.)
tàm-bú’lì
)íí
my courtyard
(opaque compound; see 5.4.3):LF 1SG.POSS
cf. tàm-bú’là
(opaque compound; see 5.4.3)
courtyard
Similar to their singular counterparts just above, the linked forms of compound plurals
(5.5.2.4) are based on the CV shape of the pluralized final root:
free form of
linked
compound plural form
dâg gèmzá
tàm-bú’lzà
dâg gèmzì )íí entryways / my entryways
tàm-bú’lzì )íí courtyards / my courtyards
5.3 Possessive constructions
Possessive constructions are a central means of noun expansion in Mambay. They are a
type of noun phrase (5.14): in terms of internal syntax, possessive constructions are
minimally composed of a possessed head noun followed by a dependent possessor noun.
The semantic relation signalled by the dependent noun in reference to the head noun is
often possessive, but many other types of relations are attested. An overview of semantic
and structural characteristics of possessive constructions is provided in 5.3.1 and 5.3.2.
Peculiarities of tone in possessive constructions are covered in 5.2.2.1 and in relevant
subsections below.
182
Possessive constructions are further described in reference to three axes: spontaneous vs.
fixed, obligatory vs. optional, and alienable vs. inalienable possession (5.3.3). Alienable
and inalienable possessive constructions, which are both defined by complex
morphology, are considered further in 5.3.3.3.1 and 5.3.4.
Compound nouns, which typically exhibit a structure identical to that of alienable
possessive constructions, are treated separately in 5.4.
5.3.1 Semantic relations
In Mambay as well as other languages, the semantic relations signalled by possessive
(i.e., “genitival” or “associative”) constructions are much more varied than possession.
In possessive constructions, possession is prototypical but semantic relations are varied
and flexible; those commonly signalled by the dependent noun in reference to the head
noun include the following (these examples are alienable possessive constructions; see
5.3.3.3):
possession:
hûg vwáà
bone:LF dog
bone of dog
social relation: túù ígà
mother:LF child
mother of child
part-whole:
sûg vwáà
ear:LF dog
ear of dog
description:
pâ ô7gá
milk:LF acidity
sour milk
composition:
nâ’ ná-)áà
sauce of bean leaf
sauce:LF PFX-bean.leaf
location:
nìì nwâ’
bottom:LF hole
purpose:
bèè doFg-nà
drinking water
water:LF drink:VN-OBJ
count:
sìì àtì
year:LF two
bottom of hole
the two years (cf. 5.14.3)
5.3.2 Structural characteristics
Possessive constructions are minimally composed of a possessed head noun followed by
a dependent possessor noun. As is typically the case for head nouns followed by a
dependent element, the head noun exhibits the linked noun form; the dependent noun
exhibits the unmarked free form (5.2.1, 5.14). This is evident in the following N + N
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possessive constructions composed of the nouns ‘hole’ (free form: nwâ’; linked form:
nû’) and ‘mud wasp’ (free form: hámzà; linked form: hámzì) (alternations between free
forms and linked forms of nouns are addressed in 5.2.2 above):
nû’ hámzà
hole:LF mud.wasp
hole of mud wasp
hámzì nwâ’
mud.wasp:LF hole
mud wasp of hole
When the dependent possessor noun is the possessed head of another element, it exhibits the
linked form of the noun. This is evident in the following N + [N + N] constructions:
nû’ [hámzì só’lé]
hole of large mud wasp
hole:LF mud.wasp:LF greatness
hámzì [nû’ só’lé]
mud wasp of large hole
mud.wasp:LF hole:LF greatness
There is no formal bracketing of internal phrase structure. Consequently, the above
examples could be construed as [N + N] + N constructions:
[nû’ hámzì] só’lé
large hole of mud wasp
hole:LF mud.wasp:LF greatness
[hámzì nû’] só’lé
large mud wasp of hole
mud.wasp:LF hole:LF greatness
Both internal structures are commonly attested. In cases of formal ambivalence, only the
referential context may clarify which meaning has been invoked.
Like other nouns, possessive pronouns are commonly found in the dependent position of
possessive constructions. An additional formal distinction, that of alienable vs.
inalienable possession, is attested with possessive constructions composed of certain
nouns followed by possessive pronouns (it is not, however, available to constructions
with two typical/non-pronoun nouns; cf. 5.3.3.3):
páà )íí
man:LF 1SG.POSS
my colleague
páy
man:1SG.POSS.INAL
my father, my intimate friend
Alienable vs. inalienable possession is described in detail in 5.3.3.3 below.
184
5.3.3 Axes of description
Possessive constructions may be described in reference to three axes. The first axis,
spontaneous vs. fixed possession, deals with the variable status of possessive
constructions in the lexicon (5.3.3.1). The second axis, obligatory vs. optional
possession, is concerned with whether or not a noun can occur syntactically without a
possessor (5.3.3.2). The third axis, alienable vs. inalienable possession, treats a formal
distinction available to constructions involving (certain) nouns followed by possessive
pronouns (5.3.3.2).
5.3.3.1 Spontaneous vs. fixed possession
Possessive constructions may be either spontaneous or fixed.
In spontaneous
constructions, any noun may be possessed by any other semantically appropriate noun.
nû’ hámzà
hole of mud wasp
hole:LF mud.wasp
fâh nàmá
path:LF animal
path of animal
hámzì nwâ’
mud wasp of hole
mud.wasp:LF hole
nàm fâh
animal:LF path
animal of path
In contrast, fixed possessive constructions have membership in the lexicon and are
essentially a kind of compound noun (Dimmendaal 2000:167ff., 179; Payne 1997:94)
(see 5.4 for a more complete treatment of compound nouns).
pâ ô7gá
sour milk
milk:LF acidity
sààrì túò
sinew:LF blood
blood vessel
nàm kúù
wild animal
animal:LF bushland
bèè )ínù
water:LF body
colour
In many cases it is difficult to assign a possessive construction to either end of the
spontaneous vs. fixed continuum; the difference is gradient rather than quantal, and must
be based on frequency of usage rather than form.
5.3.3.2 Optional vs. obligatory possession
The second axis which defines possessive constructions is a distinction between optional
and obligatory possession. This has been described elsewhere as a distinction between
free and relational nouns (Welmers 1973:212) and non-inherent vs. inherent relation
(Payne 1997:105–6). In contrast to alienability (5.3.3.3), this axis is syntactically rather
than morphologically defined. Nouns which are obligatorily possessed are those which
are only found as head nouns in a possessive construction; such nouns are always
accompanied by a dependent possessor noun. In contrast, optionally possessed nouns,
which represent the great majority of nouns in the lexicon, may occur either with or
without a dependent possessor.
A full listing of obligatorily possessed nouns in the data is given here. Most of these
nouns are confined to alienable possession (5.3.3.3.1):
185
úríùrì …
úùrúm …
dúùrú …
gbèh …
kâ% …
kúùrín …
kpôhlgóm …
màn …
má-nâ’ …
páà …
syâg …
tí-gìgí% …
tì-tô7 …
zàzà …
zàhwràw …
zwárá7 …
piece of …
block of …
adam’s apple of … (in: dúùrú kwàá; cf. kwàá ‘neck’)
adam’s apple of … (in: gbèh kwàá)
reputation of …
pile of …
adam’s apple of … (in: kpôhlgóm kwàá)
age-mate of …
parent-in-law of …
man, father, person of …
own, self of … (as in: ‘on its own, by itself’)
base of …
remains of …
piece of …
spiky pile of …
entirety of …
Ordinal numerals (9.1.3) are also included:
áàrí …
bìsâhrí …
(etc.)
second of …
third of …
Also, six obligatorily possessed nouns may express either alienable or inalienable
possession (5.3.3.3).
)ázì T …
fààzí …
fâhzí …
páà …
súùní …
túù …
member of )àzgárà (see Glossary) of …
member of fààzárà (see Glossary) of …
member of fàhzárà (see Glossary) of …
man, father of …
younger in-law of …
mother of …
5.3.3.3 Alienable vs. inalienable possession
A third and final axis concerns a morphologically formalized distinction of alienable vs.
inalienable possession. As stated in the previous section, this axis is morphologically
defined; this contrasts with optional vs. obligatory possession, which is syntactically
defined (5.3.3.2). And rather than signalling intrinsic properties of specific nouns (as is
the case with optional vs. obligatory possession), this axis deals with the relationship
between nouns: alienable vs. inalienable possession falls under what has been called
indirect vs. direct determination (Boyeldieu 1987:20). It is not uncommon for both
optional/obligatory and alienable/inalienable distinctions to interact in a single language
(Payne 1997:106), as is the case in Mambay.
186
Although many other languages extend an alienable/inalienable distinction to possessive
constructions in general, in Mambay it is only formalized between possessed nouns and
possessive pronouns.
Examples of alienable possessive constructions involving a
possessed noun and a possessive pronoun are as follows:
páà )íí
man:LF 1SG.POSS
my colleague
ár )íí
friend:LF 1SG.POSS
my friend (i.e., a friend who is not close)
kùù )íí
neck:LF 1SG.POSS
my neck (i.e., the neck of an animal which is mine)
Corresponding inalienable possessive constructions, which exhibit morphological fusion
of the possessed noun and possessive pronoun, are as follows:
páy
man:1SG.POSS.INAL
my father, my intimate friend
árí
friend:1SG.POSS.INAL
my intimate friend
kwìí
neck:1SG.POSS.INAL
my neck (i.e., the neck which is part of my own body)
Alienable and inalienable noun-pronoun constructions are explored in the following
subsections (5.3.3.3.1 and 5.3.4).
5.3.3.3.1 Alienable possessive constructions
Alienable possessive constructions are the default means of relating possessed nouns with
possessor nouns, including pronouns. Their structure, which has been described above
(5.3.2), involves the linked form of the head noun followed by the free (unmarked) form
of the dependent noun. This is evident in the following constructions involving the nouns
‘milk’ (free form: páà; linked form: pâ) and ‘neck’ (free form: kwàá; linked form:
kùù):
pâ nàmá
milk:LF animal
milk of animal
nàm páà
animal:LF milk
animal of milk (i.e., animal used to provide milk)
The pronouns used in alienable possessive constructions differ from those found in
inalienable possessive constructions (5.3.4.2). Alienable possessive pronouns, which are
187
presented in 6.1.4.1, are reproduced here in the context of an alienable possessive
construction:
person
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF/IMPERS
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF/IMPERS
example
pâ )íí
pâ )ám
pâ )áná
pâ )úùrú ~
pâ )úùwú
pâ )éé
pâ )írí
pâ )óró
pâ )ánzá
pâ dùgú
pâ )éré
gloss
my milk
your (sg.) milk
our (your (sg.) and my) milk
his/her/its milk
his/her/its (coref.) milk; its milk
our (excl.) milk
your (pl.) milk
our (incl.) milk
their milk
their (coref./impers.) milk
5.3.4 Inalienable possessive constructions
Inalienable possessive constructions formalize an inherent, intimate and natural
possession between certain nouns and their pronominal referents. As stated above
(5.3.3.3), the alienable/inalienable distinction in Mambay is not available to possessive
constructions involving two nouns unless the second noun is a pronoun. Inalienable
possession is formalized by the fusion of the linked form of a noun (5.2) and an
inalienable possessive pronoun (5.3.4.2.2, 6.1.4.2).
páy
man:1SG.POSS.INAL
my father, my intimate friend
árí
friend:1SG.POSS.INAL
my intimate friend
kwìí
neck:1SG.POSS.INAL
my neck (i.e., the neck which is part of my own body)
In the subsections below, the closed inventory of nouns which may be used in inalienable
possessive constructions is provided (5.3.4.1), and the structure of inalienable possessive
constructions is described (5.3.4.2).
5.3.4.1 Inventory of inalienably possessible nouns
Inalienable possession is available to a closed set of nouns comprised of some body parts
as well as some terms of kinship and social relation. Body part nouns (here limited to
those with synchronically indivisible roots and opaque compounds) which may be used
with inalienable possessive pronouns are as follows:
188
dágà
mouth
dígnù
liver
dwaF’
belly
fààlá
back, skin
fínù
forehead
gaFh
beard
gìhgìnú
wing, fin
gì’nú
small of back
gùùgìnú
gill
hùùnú
thigh
)ínù
body, self
káálà
head
(káà) ná-wâ%nììnú buttocks
káà nà-sí’nù
knee
kìhnú
waist, hip
kwàá
neck, voice
kpánnà
penis
mùhná
vulva
Nmàhná
foot
ná-kànsí’nù
ná-kànsí’nù
ná-nììnú
nà-púrà
(nìì) nà-rígnù
ná-rìmnú
nììnú
nínù
sábà
síínù
súgò
syâh
tè’nú
tìnú
vbààlá
vbyâh
wáà
wàhlá
zínù
shadow, soul, spirit
kneecap, fontanelle
bum
navel
underarm
tongue
bottom
eye, face, life
tail
horn, antenna
ear
hand, finger
side
front, genitals
testicle
cheek
nose
nape (of neck)
tooth, tusk
About half of these nouns contain a historical derivational body part suffix -nu (5.1.3.2;
Anonby 2008). Although many of the body part nouns in the list can also be used
locatively in inalienable possessive constructions (see 5.13), the glosses in this section
reflect their prototypical use as body parts.
Nouns which specify kinship or social relations and which may be used with inalienable
possessive pronouns are as follows:
)ázì T
fààzí
fâhzí
kyáá-rììná
márnà
Nmárà
nánà T
páà
páá-ná-rììná
páà vàà
náábà
nà-vínù
súùní
túù
member of )àzgárà (see Glossary)
member of fààzárà (see Glossary)
member of fàhzárà (see Glossary)
paternal aunt
eldest sibling
friend
maternal uncle
man, father
paternal uncle
husband
colleague
co-wife
younger in-law
mother
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There are many compound nouns which contain one of these nouns as a possessor. Such
compounds may also be found with inalienable possessive pronouns:
îg Nmárà
child:LF friend
îg Nmárí
friend’s child / my friend’s child
child:LF friend:1SG.POSS.INAL
gbèh kwàá
adam’s.apple:LF neck
gbèh kwìí
adam’s apple / my adam’s apple
adam’s.apple:LF neck:1SG.POSS.INAL
páà fààlá
man:LF back
páà fààní
witness / my witness
man:LF back:1SG.POSS.INAL
sà’lì nà-púrà
rope:LF PFX-navel
sà’lì nà-púrí
umbilical cord / my umbilical cord
rope:LF PFX-navel:1SG.POSS.INAL
Exceptionally for two prefixed words, possessed nouns (which are, in addition,
suppletive) rather than the possessor nouns take the inalienable pronominal suffix:
dà-zwâ’
father:PFX-ancestry
páy zwâ’
man:1SG.POSS.INAL:LF ancestry
grandfather /
my grandfather
mà-zwâ’
mother:PFX-ancestry
tíí zwâ’
mother:1SG.POSS.INAL:LF ancestry
grandmother /
my grandmother
5.3.4.2 Structure
Inalienable possession is formalized by the fusion of the linked form of a noun (5.2) and
an inalienable possessive pronoun.
fàà
+
back:LF
-ró
2PL.POSS.INAL
fààró
back:2PL.POSS.INAL
your (pl.) back, skin
(inal.)
It is not possible to pluralize a noun in the context of an inalienable possessive
construction (5.5.1.2). Therefore, depending on the referential context, the gloss of the
previous example could just as well be ‘your (pl.) backs, skins.’
The segmental structure of inalienable linked nouns is described in 5.3.4.2.1, and
inalienable possessive pronouns are presented in 5.3.4.2.2. Idiosyncratic inalienable
possessive construction paradigms are listed in 5.3.4.2.3. The tone and nasality of
inalienable possessive constructions are discussed separately in 5.3.4.2.4 and 5.3.4.2.5
respectively.
Complete paradigms are given for inalienable possessive constructions in Appendix 1.
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5.3.4.2.1 Inalienable linked noun forms
For the most part, the segmental value of the inalienable linked noun forms corresponds
to the segmental value of linked forms in alienable possessive constructions (5.2.2):
noun
free (unmarked)
form
inalienable
linked form
alienable
linked form
beard
body
friend
gaFh
)ínù
Nmárà
gàh)ínmár-
gàh
)în
már
When a regular (long) linked form (5.2.2) as well as a short linked form (5.2.2.2.6.1) are
available to a given noun, the segmental value of the inalienable linked noun form in a
possessive construction corresponds to that of the short form.
noun
free (unmarked)
form
nììnú
bottom
nape (of neck) wàhlá
testicle
vbààlá
inalienable
linked form
short alienable regular alienable
linked form
linked form
nììwàhvbàà-
nìì
wàh
vbàà
nììnì
wàhlì
vbààlì
Besides nouns with idiosyncratic paradigms (5.3.4.2.3), which in many cases have more
than one linked form, there are only two nouns in the data with inalienable linked forms
that differ segmentally from those of their alienable counterparts (see 5.2.2.2.6.2):
noun
free (unmarked)
form
inalienable
linked form
alienable
linked form
liver
underarm
dígnù
(nìì) nà-rígnù
dîgn(nìì) nà rîgn-
dígîn
(nìì) nà-rígîn
5.3.4.2.2 Inalienable possessive pronouns
The inalienable possessive pronouns paradigm is distinct from that of alienable
possessive pronouns (5.3.3.3.1, 6.1.4.1). Basic inalienable possessive pronoun forms are
given in the table below, and their behaviour is shown for the example word káálà
‘head,’ whose short linked form is káà (cf. 5.2.2.2.6.1):
191
person
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF/IMPERS
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF/IMPERS
inalienable
possessive
pronoun
-í
-mi
-ná
- `rú ~
- `wú
-lé
-rí
-ró
-zínzá ~
-zíná
(dùgú)
-ré
example
usage
káání
káámi
kááná
káàrú ~
káàwú
káálé
káárí
kááró
káázínzá ~
káázíná
(káà dùgú)
kááré
gloss
my head (inal.)
your (sg.) head (inal.)
our (your (sg.) and my) head (inal.)
his/her/its head (inal.)
his/her/its (coref.) / its head (inal.)
our (excl.) head (inal.)
your (pl.) head (inal.)
our (incl.) head (inal.)
their head
their (coref./impers.) head (inal.)
A detailed section on inalienable possessive pronouns is found in the chapter on pronouns
(6.1.4.2). Morphophonological alternations, which frequently accompany inalienable
possessive pronouns, are addressed there.
5.3.4.2.3 Idiosyncratic paradigms
The following nouns exhibit segmentally idiosyncratic inalienable possession paradigms:
dwaF’
kwàá
kyáá-rììná
márnà
Nmárà
náábà
nánà T
nà-púrà
belly
neck, voice
paternal aunt
eldest sibling
friend
colleague
maternal uncle
navel
ná-rìmnú
páà
páá-ná-rììná
páà vàà
syâh
túù
wáà
tongue
father
paternal uncle
husband
hand
mother
nose
Four of the paradigms are incomplete in the language; speakers of the language use
alienable possessive pronouns to fill in gaps (see Appendix 1). Gaps reflect usage:
singular forms are more complete than plural pronominal forms, and address forms (‘my
friend,’ etc.) are more complete than non-address forms.
The paradigm of túù ‘mother’ has, in addition to other irregularities, a suppletive root.
tíí
kyááná
my mother
our (your (sg.) and my) mother
Complete paradigms are given for all of these idiosyncratic constructions in Appendix 1.
192
5.3.4.2.4 Tonal structure
Like the segments of inalienable noun-pronoun possessive constructions, which are fused
into a single phonological word, a simplified tone melody is found on inalienable nounpronoun possessive constructions. The tone melody of the resulting forms is dependent
both on the tone of the linked noun roots and the tone of the possessive pronouns.
5.3.4.2.4.1 Linked forms corresponding to HL nouns
When a linked form corresponding to a HL-toned noun is fused with a H-toned
inalienable possessive pronoun, the resulting melody of the composite phonological word
is usually H. This is shown by constructions involving káálà ‘head’ (linked forms are
accounted for in 5.2.2):
linked
form
inalienable
assoc. pn.
inalienable
assoc. construction
káà
+
head:LF
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
káámi
head:2SG.POSS.INAL
your (sg.) head (inal.)
káà
+
head:LF
-ró
2PL.POSS.INAL
kááró
head:2PL.POSS.INAL
your (pl.) head
When a linked form corresponding to a HL-toned noun is fused with a LH-toned
inalienable possessive pronoun, the resulting melody of the composite phonological word
is HLH. Consider constructions involving káálà ‘head’ (linked forms are accounted for
in 5.2.2):
káà
+
head:LF
- `rú
3SG.POSS.INAL
káàrú
head:3SG.POSS.INAL
his/her/its head (inal.)
Exceptionally, as concerns -zínzá in particular (but not its alternate form -zíná; see
6.1.4.2), three tonal forms have been attested in inalienable possessive constructions with
linked forms corresponding to HL-toned nouns. This is shown with the noun páà ‘man,
father’:
páà
+
man:LF
-zínzá
1&2PL.POSS.INAL
páázínzá ~
our (incl.) father (inal.)
páà zínzá ~
páà zìnzá
man:1&2PL.POSS.INAL
The first form (ex. páázínzá), which is tonally parallel to other inalienable possessive
constructions, is the most common. The second and third forms (ex. páà zínzá ~ páà
zìnzá), which are less common, resemble constructions involving the third person plural
pronoun dùgú in that the tonal form of its possessed head noun—as in alienable
constructions—is not fused with the suffix. Still, as is sometimes the case with dùgú, a
semantically inalienable construction is expressed (6.1.4.2). Although the issue has been
193
probed, no semantic difference has been identified among the three tonal forms found
with constructions involving the noun páà or other kinship terms.
However, when the same tonal forms are found with body parts which can be used to
indicate location (5.13), the third form (only) indicates locative (see 5.3.1) rather than
part-whole semantic relation. This is shown in reference to káálà ‘head’:
káà
+
head:LF
káázínzá ~
our (incl.) head (inal.)
káà zínzá
head:1&2PL.POSS.INAL
-zínzá
1&2PL.POSS.INAL
cf. káà zìnzá
on us (incl.)
head:1&2PL.POSS.INAL
5.3.4.2.4.2 L-toned linked forms
When a L-toned linked form is fused with a H-toned inalienable possessive pronoun, the
resulting melody of the composite phonological word is LH. This is shown in
constructions involving fààlá ‘back, skin’:
fàà
+
back:LF
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
fààmi
back:2SG.POSS.INAL
your (sg.) back, skin
(inal.)
fàà
+
back:LF
-ró
2PL.POSS.INAL
fààró
back:2PL.POSS.INAL
your (pl.) back, skin
(inal.)
When a L-toned linked form is fused with a LH-toned inalienable possessive pronoun,
the resulting melody of the composite phonological word is LH:
fàà
+
back:LF
- `rú
3SG.POSS.INAL
fààrú
back:3SG.POSS.INAL
his/her/its back, skin
(inal.)
In contrast to tonal patterns found when -zínzá is attached to linked forms corresponding
to a HL-toned noun, (5.3.4.2.4.1), there is a single and regular tonal pattern for L-toned
linked forms.
fàà
+
back:LF
fààzìnzá
our (incl.) back, skin
back:1&2PL.POSS.INAL
(inal.)
-zínzá
1&2PL.POSS.INAL
5.3.4.2.4.3 Linked forms corresponding to HLH nouns
When a linked noun form corresponding to a HLH noun is fused with a H- or LH-toned
inalienable possessive pronoun, the resulting melody of the composite phonological word
is HLH. This is shown in the following three-mora (cf. 2.4.2) constructions with the
nouns fâhzí (linked form: fâhzì) and )ázì T (linked form: )ázì T):
194
fâhzì
+
member.of.
fàhzárà:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
fâhzí
my member of
member.of.fàhzárà: fàhzárà (inal.)
1SG.POSS.INAL
(see Glossary)
fâhzì
+
member.of.
fàhzárà:LF
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
fâhzám
your (sg.) member of
member.of.fàhzárà: fàhzárà (inal.)
2SG.POSS.INAL
)ázì T +
member.of.
)àzgárà:LF
- `rú
3SG.POSS.INAL
)ázìrú
his/her/its member of
member.of.)àzgárà: )àzgárà (inal.)
3SG.POSS.INAL
(see Glossary)
When the resulting construction contains more than 3 available morae, the tonal
association for the possessed noun portion adheres to that found on the normal linked
form of the HLH noun, where a LH contour may not be realized (this restriction is
described in 5.2.2.1 and 4.3.1.3); the second H is not realized on the possessed noun
portion.
fâhzì
+
member.of.
fàhzárà:LF
-ná
1&2SG.POSS.INAL
fâhzìná
our (your (sg.) and my)
member.of.fàhzárà: member of
1&2SG.POSS.INAL
fàhzárà (inal.)
This pattern of association contrasts with morphologically simple nouns (including those
which are HLH-toned), where tones consistently associate with morae from the right end
of the word.
bâhgá
nà-ráávìrá
dregs
foam
Right-edge tones which exceed the number of available morae are not realized (see also
4.1.2.2). This is shown in a construction with )ázì T(linked form: )ázì T)
)ázì T +
member.of.
)àzgárà:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
)ázì
my member of
member.of.)àzgárà: )àzgárà (inal.)
1SG.POSS.INAL
5.3.4.2.5 Nasality
There is no spread of nasality between linked nouns and inalienable possessive pronouns.
fàà
+
back:LF
-ná
1&2SG.POSS.INAL
fààná
our (your (sg.) and my)
back:1&2SG.POSS.INAL back, skin (inal.)
nà-nìì +
bum:LF
-ró
2PL.POSS.INAL
nà-nììró
bum:2PL.POSS.INAL
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your (pl.) bum (inal.)
For nouns with linked forms ending in -zi, the nasality of the first person pronoun -í does
not appear in the resulting inalienable possessive construction:
)ázì T +
member.of.
)àzgárà:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
)ázì
my member of
member.of.)àzgárà: )àzgárà (inal.)
1SG.POSS.INAL
5.4 Compound nouns
Compound nouns are extremely common in Mambay; of the non-borrowed lexicalized
nouns in the data, almost half (811 of 1625) are compounds. In the following discussion,
differences between compound nouns and noun phrases are reviewed (5.4.1). The
morphological and semantic constitution of compound nouns is then examined in 5.4.2
and 5.4.3.
Pluralization of compound nouns is described in 5.5.2.4, and the behaviour of compound
nouns in inalienable possessive constructions is discussed in 5.3.4.1.
5.4.1 Compound nouns vs. noun phrases
The vast majority of compound nouns exhibit an internal structure identical to noun
phrases, and in particular that of possessive constructions, which contain a possessed
head noun followed by a dependent possessor noun (5.3.3.3.1).
nàm kúù
animal:LF bushland
wild animal
In other words, the primary way in which compound nouns may be distinguished from
spontaneous possessive constructions is the compound nouns’ membership in the lexicon
(cf. Payne 1997:94; as stated in 5.3.3.1, lexical membership of possessive constructions
in Mambay is based on frequency and is therefore a gradient rather than quantum
distinction).
Another important way of distinguishing compound nouns from spontaneous possessive
constructions is the occurrence of compounds in which the meaning of the compound is
different than the sum of the meaning of its parts. This is developed in the section on
semantic constitution below (5.4.3).
However, noun + noun compounds differ subtly from possessive constructions in a
number of other respects. First, although plurality is marked on the semantically plural
morphological constituent of a spontaneous possessive construction, it has the additional
possibility of cliticizing on some noun + noun compounds (5.4).
compound noun
plural
láà túò
gourd:LF blood
láà túzò ~ lálzì túò
gourd:LF blood:PL ~
gourd:PL:LF blood
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heart / hearts
cf. láà páà
gourd:LF milk
lálzì páà
gourd:PL:LF milk
milk gourd / milk gourds
Additionally, and importantly, noun phrases other than possessive constructions may
constitute compounds (5.4.2).
vbîz bóm
fishhook:LF one
fishing line
There are, however, several types of words that are attested as dependent elements in
noun phrases but not in compound nouns: possessive pronouns (5.14.1 and 6.1.4),
specifiers (5.14.4 and 9.2), and relative clauses (5.14.6 and 10.2.2.3).
Further, there is a small number of compounds which differ from noun phrases in that
they do not contain a constituent head noun. Instead, they are comprised of a clause
(5.4.2.4).
mì-háà-làárè
1SG-return:VN-Léré
duck sp.
Finally, there are words in some categories of compound nouns which literate speakers of
the language consistently prefer to write as single orthographic words: nouns with
semantically opaque components (5.4.3), those composed of a clause (5.4.2.4), those
containing proper names (5.4.2.5), and those which exhibit reduplication (5.4.2.6). This
differs from spontaneous noun phrases which, with the exception of inalienable
pronominal possessive constructions, are always written with separate orthographic
words.
5.4.2 Morphological constitution
Most compound nouns are composed of the linked form of one noun (5.3.3.3.1) followed
by the free (unmarked) form of another noun.
nàm kúù
wild animal
animal:LF bushland
sààrì túò
blood vessel
sinew:LF blood
As stated above, such compounds are formally equivalent to spontaneous possessive
constructions (5.3.3.1). Attested variations on the prototypical noun + noun compound
construction are as follows:
- three- and four-noun compounds (5.4.2.1);
- noun + numeral compounds (5.4.2.2);
- compounds containing prepositional phrases (5.4.2.3);
- clausal compounds (5.4.2.4);
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- compounds containing proper names (5.4.2.5); and
- nouns exhibiting reduplication (5.4.2.6).
Examples of compound nouns representing each of these structures are given in the
following paragraphs, and formally equivalent constructions are noted when they occur.
5.4.2.1 Three- and four-noun compounds
Some compounds are composed of three or even four nouns. In each case, these nouns
are internally organized such that one of the nouns in the construction is itself a
compound noun and/or a possessive construction. Examples of three-noun compounds
are as follows:
káà [và’zì dágà]
head:LF leaf:LF mouth
lip (cf. và’zì dágà ‘lip area’)
vbíílì [káà wáà]
drum:LF head:LF chief
drum sp. (cf. káà wáà ‘chief (respect form)’)
Four-noun compounds include the following:
nàm [[dâg tèNn] bà7gè]
gazelle sp. (cf. dâg tèNnú ‘bottom of the rib’)
animal:LF mouth:LF side(body):LF rust.colour
tí7gì [fàà [Nmàh zaFh]]
monitor lizard sp.
monitor.lizard:LF back:LF foot:LF ox
As these examples suggest, embedded compound nouns are more commonly found in the
possessor position rather than the possessed position of three- and four-noun compounds.
As is the case for spontaneous possessive constructions, which are formally equivalent,
the internal formal structure of the compound is ambiguous (cf. 5.3.2). For example, if
such a referential context were possible, nàm dâg tèNn bà7gè could also be understood
to mean ‘animal of mouth/edge of side of rust-colour.’
5.4.2.2 Noun + numeral compounds
Other compound nouns contain a numeral (9.1) as a dependent element.
hèègì dâg àt
knife:LF mouth:LF two
circumcision knife, scissors
tòh dâg àt
snake:LF mouth:LF two
snake sp.
vbîz bóm
fishhook:LF one
fishing line
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These compounds are formally equivalent to count constructions in which the head noun
is definite (5.14.3, 9.1.1.1). For example, depending on the referential context, vbîz bóm
may also be understood to mean ‘the one fishhook.’
5.4.2.3 Compounds containing prepositional phrases
A few compound nouns in the data contain or are comprised of prepositional phrases
(9.3):
páà bèè káálà
man:LF without head
stupid person
sáà dwaF’
inside belly
womb
The prepositional phrases in these compounds are formally equivalent to normal
prepositional phrases (9.3.1). For example, depending on the referential context, sáà
dwaF’ may also be understood to mean ‘inside the belly.’
5.4.2.4 Clausal compounds
A number of compounds consist of combined clause elements. Minimally, there is a
subject and a predicate (most often represented by a pronoun and a conjugated verb
respectively). As shown by the example below, other components may include objects,
negation clitics, locative complements and clitics, and adverbial ideophones.
compound noun with
etymological parsing
gloss
explanation
mì-háà-làárè
1SG-return:VN-Léré
duck sp.
lit. “I am returning from Léré.” This
duck species (White-faced Whistling
Duck) has a call which reportedly
sounds like such a phrase.
ná-)áà-báhrà
PFX-bean.leaves-better
fish sp.
lit. “bean leaves [are] better.” This
fish type (small stage of “Kanga” /
Heterotis niloticus) is often so bitter
when improperly prepared that it is
better to eat bean leaves, which
constitute the simplest sauce.
ná-rím-byàá
1&2:OPT-dip:OPT-water
cormorant,
darter (bird sp.)
lit. “let’s [1&2 (sg.)] dip [in] the
water.” These birds catch fish by
diving.
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nà-rígrí-mírà
1&2-roll:VN-excrement
scarab beetle
lit. “we [1&2 (sg.)] are rolling
excrement.” These insects, also
known as dung beetles, roll
excrement into small balls.
ná-dím-kpírá
1&2:OPT-dip:OPT-IDEO
heron sp.
lit. “let’s [1&2 (sg.)] cover with a
kpírá-like posture.” This heron sp.
(Black Heron) catches its prey under
an umbrella which it forms of its
wings.
ná-gbáh-n`-záh
1&2:OPT-catch:OPTto.here-ox
Orion’s belt
lit. “let’s [1&2 (sg.)] catch the ox
[by bringing it] toward [ourselves].”
This formation of three stars in a
line looks like a person chasing an
ox, which is in turn chasing another
person.
Ø zàà-fâh-yá
3:PFV cross:VN-path-NEG
tiny shrew sp.
lit. “it did not cross the path.” This
shrew is so small that it has
difficulty crossing even a path.
In the data, such compounds describe the appearance or behaviour of a species or natural
phenomenon. In most cases, literate Mambay speakers insist that these terms should be
written as single words.
In Mambay, there are no compounds comprised of only a verb phrase (e.g. “run-a-gate”
or “cache-sexe”); such compounds are expressed by clauses (as shown in this section) or
participant noun constructions (5.7).
5.4.2.5 Compounds containing proper names
A further group of compounds, namely those which contain proper names, are of interest
for several reasons. First of all, these nouns contain only canonical names (5.12.1.1).
Secondly, the internal structure of these nouns is complex; in some cases, like those
shown in the previous section (5.4.2.4), these nouns are composed of clause elements.
Thirdly, and as is also the case with most nouns composed of clause elements (5.4.2.4),
speakers of the language insist that nouns containing proper names should be
orthographically fused.
compound noun with etymological parsing
gloss
nà-syàg-gàm àhy
1&2-shine:VN-Gam like.electricity
electric fish
200
tóò-nîn-gáhlà7
Taw:LF-eye:LF-faceted
fish sp.
tóò-pyàá
Taw:LF-?
lizard sp.
tí-gàm-kùù-kpà’lá
AUG-Gam:LF-neck:LF-snail
stork sp.
tí-kwéé-má-gâw
AUG-Kwee:LF-with-hunter
secretary bird
5.4.2.6 Nouns exhibiting reduplication
Nouns exhibiting reduplication differ from other compounds in that they are composed of
two morphologically similar or identical roots whose semantic value is opaque (see
5.11.2 for further discussion).
%èlè7-%élé7
fùgù-fúgú
tì-kòht-kôht
bell
lungs
hornbill sp.
tí-kíí-kìì
whooping cough
vùrùm-bùrùm satchel
wàh-wàh
hubbub
5.4.3 Semantic constitution
Often, the meaning of a compound noun may be predicted from the meaning of its parts .
nú’ byàá
hole:LF water
well
tîl súgò
earache
sickness:LF ear
sùùzì )ínù
hair:LF body
body hair
tòh byàá
water snake
snake:LF water
However, there are many compounds in which the meaning of the whole construction
diverges from the literal sum of its parts. Still, a semantic connection is usually
discernable.
)àhrì kètí
canoe:LF sky
airplane
bèè )ínù
water:LF body
colour
hú% fyàá
lunar eclipse
death:LF moon
kpân vwáà
penis:LF dog
praying mantis
In some cases, the meaning of one part of a compound is synchronically opaque.
201
dàm-kà-ràhbá kingfisher sp.
?:LF-PFX-blueness
nàm-bááyá
animal:LF-?
baboon
hùr-tì-góhm
?-PFX-tree.sp.
locust sp.
ná-ráh-baFh
PFX-?:LF-rain
snake sp.
tì-kùm-súbà
fire-sorcery
PFX-protect:VN:LF-?
In other cases, it is appropriate to posit compounds even when both component noun
roots are synchronically opaque. Complexity in CV shape (cf. 5.1.1.1), abnormal tone
melody association (cf. 4.1.2.2) and recurrent segmental elements (including prefixes; see
5.1.2.1) point toward the morphological complexity and internal structure characteristic
of compound nouns.
hùr-tí-kpîm
?-PFX-?
locust sp.
ná-hùr-kpyáglé fish sp.
PFX-?:LF-?
5.5 Plural formation
In Mambay, morphologically explicit pluralization is compatible with a large
proportion—well over half—of nouns. Limitations on the application of pluralization are
discussed in 5.5.1. Pluralization strategies, which are based on a morphological template,
are outlined in 5.5.2. Collective constructions, which provide an alternative means of
signalling semantic plurality on nouns, are discussed in 5.6.
Productive plural constructions associated with verbs and ideophonic modifiers are
discussed in the relevant sections (7.3.1.1 and 8.5.1).
5.5.1 Limitations on the application of pluralization
There are three major limitations on the application of pluralization: phonological
(5.5.1.1), semantic (5.5.1.2), and pragmatic (5.5.1.3).
5.5.1.1 Phonological limitations
There are strong phonological limitations on which nouns may be pluralized. Noun
pluralization applies almost exclusively to canonical noun roots (5.1.1.1), which are
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represented by the following shapes: a single heavy syllable, two light syllables, and a
heavy syllable followed by a light one.
During field research, no plural forms of non-canonical root shapes were observed in
spontaneous speech. In elicited speech, some Mambay speakers produced plurals for a
small number of non-canonical noun root shapes (see 5.5.2.1.6 for examples). This
given, there was often lack of agreement among subjects concerning the shape and
productivity of these plural forms; thus, no conclusion is promoted in the present study
regarding the legitimacy or pervasiveness of such constructions.
In addition to CV shape-related limitations, there is a tendency for nouns whose
rightmost consonant is an obstruent (besides g) or vb to resist pluralization. Thus, there
are many nouns which appear to be pluralizable from a CV-shape and semantic point of
view (5.5.1.2), but which cannot be pluralized. A few of these nouns are as follows:
féévbà
kwáàvbá
mázà
ná-kpéévà
wízì
zììbó
pair of twins
bush sp.
first child after remarriage
kite (bird) sp.
wagtail (bird)
werewolf
5.5.1.2 Semantic limitations
A number of semantic categories of nouns are rarely or never found with plurals.
Those which are rarely pluralized are non-count nouns: irregular verbal nouns and other
abstract nouns, including those which describe physical attributes, or human states and
conditions; substances without a fixed shape, including gases, liquids, grains, powders
and pastes; and things which are found collectively. In addition, borrowed words are
seldom pluralized, even if they meet the phonological and semantic criteria for
pluralizable nouns. Examples of non-pluralizable nouns from each of these categories
are as follows:
fossilized verbal nouns (5.9.2):
gaF%lè
kììló
nà-ryáà
nà-wâhwrá
sâ’gá
vóglà
deaf person (cf. gà% ‘be deaf’)
walk (n.) (cf. kíí ‘set in motion’)
wink (n.) (cf. ríí ‘clean out, wink’)
barking (cf. wàhw ‘bark’)
number (cf. sá’ ‘buy’)
watch (n.), beginning of dry season (cf. vóg ‘watch, guide’)
203
attributes of the physical world:
dù’gá
kpâtgá
pâh
pùgá
séègá
wíìgá
size, length
distance
wetness, newness
blackness, darkness
red-brownness
thickness, fatness
human states and conditions:
dwáhlà
thirst
ná-vyà7gárà jealousy
nà-kûllá
youthfulness (woman’s)
tí-gwâhrí
sickness from breaking a taboo
tí-táárì
weakness, unsteadiness, staggering
púùgá
ugliness, badness
other abstract nouns:
dìgì
gâ’
kárà
hì’bá
tí-saF’
tí-sî’bá
neighbourship
fulfillment of needs
drought
abundance
chance
honour
substances without a fixed shape, including gases, liquids, powders and pastes:
dàrmí
gííbò
kú’lvò
múùrá
súúbà
tùúrì
clay
alcoholic drink
smoke, dust
silt
urine
boule
things which are found collectively:
bùùbá
bùùrá
nà-dígzílè
nà-ré7gérè
pêmná
síblè
white hair
millet sp.
algae
hanging roots
ant sp.
termite sp.
204
borrowed words:
gâw
húrò
lèèmú
hunter (cf. Fulf. gawjo)
village (cf. Fulf. wuro)
citron (cf. English lemon via Hausa lèèmóó (sg.) / léémúúnàà
pêl
sírlà
zííbà
and Fulf. leemun)
shovel, scoop (cf. Fr. pelle ‘shovel’)
trousers (cf. Fulf. sirla)
pocket (cf. Arabic j,b via Fulf. jiiba)
(pl.)
Nouns which are inherently non-pluralizable are names of people and places, regular
verbal nouns, and nouns in the context of inalienable possessive constructions. Examples
of non-pluralizable nouns from each of these categories are as follows:
names of people and places (5.12):
búrò
gaFm
káàrá
kà%gà
tâw
vbaFglà
(clan name)
(female name)
(place name)
(clan name)
(male name)
(place name)
regular verbal nouns (5.9.1.1):
bà7
âr
kôhm
kùh
rò’
zyágrì
tying, knot (cf. bá7 ‘tie’)
getting better, healing (cf. àr ‘get better’)
gathering together, meeting (cf. kòhm ‘gather together’)
becoming scarce, scarcity (cf. kúh ‘be scarce’)
talking, saying, conversation (cf. ró’ ‘talk, say’)
making a mistake, mistake (cf. zyàgrì ‘make a mistake’)
nouns in the context of inalienable possessive constructions (5.3.4):
káání
my heads(s)
head:1SG.POSS.INAL
káázínzá
our (incl.) head(s)
father:1&2PL.POSS.INAL
páy
my father(s)
man:1SG.POSS.INAL
páázínzá
our (incl.) father(s)
man:1&2PL.POSS.INAL
5.5.1.3 Pragmatic limitations
Even for nouns that are phonologically and semantically pluralizable, the application of
pluralization in discourse is moderate. Some general observations which put this
situation into perspective are as follows:
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- Even when phenomena in the referential realm are semantically plural, morphologically
explicit plural constructions appear to be the exception rather than the rule.
kà%á má
zaFh.
Kada with ox
Kada has oxen. (Or: Kada has an ox.)
- When a morphologically explicit plural is used, the semantic plurality of the referent is
emphatic:
kà%á má
zàhlzá.
Kada with ox:PL
Kada has oxen.
- Morphologically explicit plurals are rarely with numerals (9.1), since the plurality of the
referent is already understood from an inherently plural number.
kà%á má
zaFh
Kada with ox
Kada has two oxen.
àtì.
two
- Additionally, and in contrast to other pluralizable nouns, human or personified nouns
are most often pluralized when there is a plural referent, even if the plurality of the
referent is not emphatic (cf. Corbett 2000:55ff.):
kà%á má
gérêm.
Kada with woman:PL
Kada has wives (i.e., Kada is married and has more than one wife).
gérêm
má ná-túttè.
woman:PL with PFX-soap
The women have soap.
tí-gérêm
wáà %à%-zí
túrà kúù.
AUG-woman:PL chief sow:PFV-PL
millet fields
The wives of the chief sowed millet in the fields.
nà-pùgzá
lùg-zí.
PFX-person:PL go.out:PFV-PL
The people went out.
nàmzá
nm
gâh
)éré
má nà-pùgpùgá.
animal:PL TOP dwelling 3PL.POSS with PFX-humankind
The animals had their dwelling with humankind.
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In addition to the animacy hierarchy, pragmatic factors such as definiteness and
grammatical (subject vs. object, head vs. non-head position) and discourse roles
(including topicalization and definiteness) may condition the use of morphologically
explicit pluralization on nouns; these issues deserve further investigation.
5.5.2 Pluralization strategies
Noun plurals are typically formed with a template containing the consonant z (5.5.2.1).
In addition, there are a number of noun plurals which are formed irregularly (5.5.2.2).
The tone of typical and—with one exception—irregular plurals is the same as that of the
singular nouns from which they are derived.
The application of the plural template can result in the morphophonological alternation of
vocalic as well as consonantal nasality (5.5.2.3).
The presence of derivational prefixes on nouns (5.1.2) does not affect the application of
pluralization to accompanying noun roots:
kwàá
ná-kwàá
neck, voice
necklace, bead
pl. kwàlzá
pl. ná-kwàlzá
The preceding examples also show that in plural constructions, in contrast to some linked
noun forms (5.2.2.2.1, 5.2.2.2.2), semivowels do not participate in morphophonological
alternation.
Pluralization strategies on possessive constructions and compounds are discussed in
5.5.2.4.
5.5.2.1 Typical plurals
Typical plurals appear to be formed by the addition of various affixes containing the
consonant z. However, when pluralized nouns are reviewed as a group, it becomes clear
that they consistently conform to a C(C)VC.zV template. This plural template is
achieved for any given root shape in at least two of the following five ways:
1. addition of the consonant z to the onset of a final syllable;
2. deletion of existing onset consonants in the final syllable, or shifting them to
the coda of the second-last syllable;
3. addition of l or r to the coda of the second-last syllable;
4. shortening of long vowels in the second-last syllable; and
5. addition, retention, or alteration of a final vowel.
The application of these strategies depend on the shape of the host root, but there is a
surprising amount of variation among resulting plural forms even when base nouns are
not greatly different. For example, the identity of the final vowel (#5 above) depends on
the structure of the noun which is subject to pluralization (this is shown in further detail
in 5.5.2.1.1–5.5.2.1.6 below).
207
An additional instance of this strategic variation is that in most cases (but cf. 5.5.2.1.5),
there is no synchronically discernable phonological motivation for the insertion of l
versus r in a pluralized noun (#3 above). This is evident from the following examples:
báà
áà
cane rat
tree sp.
pl. bárzà (also: bárà, but not bálzà)
pl. álzà (but not árzà)
baFh
taFh
rain
tree sp.
pl. bàhlzá or bàhrzá
pl. tàhrzá (but not tàhlzá)
dwaF’
vwaF’
belly, centre
large-spotted genet
pl. dwà’lzá (but not dwà’rzá)
pl. vwà’rzá (but not vwà’lzá)
kwáà
kwàá
grass
neck, voice
pl. kwálzà or kwárzà
pl. kwàlzá (but not kwàrzá)
láà
làá
fig, fig tree
hump
pl. lálzà (but not lárzà)
pl. làlzá (but not làrzá)
wáà
wàá
fig, fig tree
hump
pl. wálzà or wárzà
pl. wàlzá (but not wàrzá)
The choice of l versus r for plural nouns often varies between dialect areas, but not in a
readily apparent direction for the lexicon as a whole. Within a single dialect area,
Mambay speakers are usually consistent in their use of a given plural. However, for
nouns which are infrequently used, speakers may accept or even provide inconsistent
forms in the context of elicitation. The sociolinguistic complexities of this situation are
acknowledged in the present research, but deserve further exploration.
One consequence of the application of a consistent morphological template to nouns of
different CV shapes is the neutralization of contrast among plural forms. Consider the
following singular/plural alternations:
wáà
wàá
wálà
wààlá
fig, fig tree
hump
orphan
basket rim, wheel
pl. wálzà ~ wárzà
pl. wàlzá
pl. wálzà
pl. wàlzá
Hypothetically, plurals of nouns from all of the canonical shapes (5.1.1.1) could be
neutralized to a single shape:
wáà
wâl*
wálà
fig, fig tree
[hypothetical root]
orphan
pl. wálzà
pl. wálzà
pl. wálzà
208
wáálà*
wálgà*
[hypothetical root]
[hypothetical root]
pl. wálzà
pl. wálzà
However, there are no examples of such a profound neutralization in the data.
The output of each of the five template-accommodating processes listed at the beginning
of this section is further explored in reference to the specific noun root shapes to which
they apply:
- C(C)VV (5.5.2.1.1);
- C(C)VC (5.5.2.1.2);
- C(C)V.CV (5.5.2.1.3);
- C(C)VV.CV (5.5.2.1.4);
- C(C)VC.CV (5.5.2.1.5); and
- other CV shapes (5.5.2.1.6).
5.5.2.1.1 C(C)VV roots
CVV and CCVV noun roots conform to the noun plural template C(C)VC.zV by the
addition of z to the root, the addition of l or r to the coda of the first syllable (see the first
part of 5.5.2.1), the shortening of the long vowel in the first syllable, and the addition of a
final vowel. With roots containing the vowel aa the added final vowel is the same
quality as that of the root:
láà
kwàá
nà-pàá
gourd
neck, voice
antelope sp.
pl. lálzà
pl. kwàlzá
pl. nà-pàlzá
báà
dàá
tyáà
cane rat
papa
fish sp.
pl. bárzà (also: bárà; see 5.5.2.2)
pl. dàrzá
pl. tyárzà
However, with CVV and CCVV noun roots containing the vowels ii, oo, (there is only
one example of each in the data) and uu, the added final vowel is o:
sìí
fish sp.
pl. sìnzó (see 5.5.2.3.1 regarding nasality)
syòó
song
pl. syòlzó
fùú
nà-súù
túù
trench
insect sp.
fish sp.
pl. fùlzó
pl. nà-súlzò
pl. túlzò
tí-vúù
antelope sp.
pl. tí-vúrzò
There are no CVV and CCVV noun roots in the data which contain ee and which may be
pluralized.
209
5.5.2.1.2 C(C)VC roots
Only a few of the C(C)VC noun roots in the data may be pluralized. Each of these roots
conforms to the noun plural template C(C)VC.zV by the addition of z and a final vowel
to the root.
For CVC roots containing the vowel a, the added final vowel is a or o:
kâ7
kaFw
bowstring, drum snare
frog sp.
pl. ká7zà
pl. kàwzá ~ kàwzó
For CVC roots containing other vowels, the added final vowel tends to be o:
bî7
fêhm
kuFm
kyôNw
kpú7
Nwêy
forest
fish sp.
baobab
warthog, pig
hill
fish sp.
pl. bí7zò
pl. féhmzò
pl. kùmzó
pl. kyó’wzò
pl. kpú7zó
pl. Nwéyzò ~ Nwéyzà
5.5.2.1.3 C(C)V.CV roots
CV.CV and CCV.CV noun roots conform to the noun plural template C(C)VC.zV by the
addition of z to the onset of the root’s final syllable, shifting of the existing onset
consonant in the final syllable to the coda of the second-last syllable and, for roots ending
in the vowels i e a o, the retention of the final vowel.
yèrí
vbìlá
súgò
kwérè
clothing
piece of boule
ear
fence
pl. yèrzí
pl. vbìlzá
pl. súgzò
pl. kwérzè
For roots ending in the vowel u, the final vowel becomes o:
kpúgù
sùmú
zínù
tree sp.
potter’s kiln
tooth, tusk
pl. kpúgzò
pl. sùmzó
pl. zínzò
Exceptionally, for C(C)V.CV roots in which the onset of the final syllable is z, four
strategies have been observed. This is illustrated using data gathered for vbízò
‘fishhook,’ a root with which all four strategies have been attested:
1.
2.
3.
4.
invariable plural:
addition of l to coda of first syllable:
addition of r to coda of first syllable:
gemination of z:
210
vbízò
vbílzò
vbírzò
vbízzò
Although the fourth strategy accords with that which is normally used for other
C(C)V.CV roots, in roots where z is the final syllable’s onset it has only been observed
with a single speaker. While a number of people have given plural forms with l or r in
this situation, the invariable plural is even more commonly employed (see 5.5.1.1).
5.5.2.1.4 C(C)VV.CV roots
CVV.CV and CCVV.CV noun roots typically conform to the noun plural template
C(C)VC.zV by the addition of z to the onset of the root’s final syllable, addition of l or r
to the coda of the second-last syllable, shortening of long vowels in the second-last
syllable and, for roots ending in the vowels i e a o, the retention of the final vowel.
óólì
fíílò
tíìrá
tì-kóólè
lion
house
mother, matron
pipe
pl. ólzì
pl. fílzò
pl. tîrzá
pl. tì-kólzè
Plural forms of C(C)VV.CV noun roots ending in u are the same, except that the final
vowel of the plural form is o rather than the identical vowel u.
bíírù
dúùrú
hùùnú
cobra
hyrax
thigh
pl. bírzò (cf. 5.5.2.3.1 re. nasality)
pl. dûrzó
pl. hùnzó (cf. 5.5.2.3.1 re. nasality)
When the consonant in the last syllable of a C(C)VV.CV noun is an obstruent, the
obstruent is replaced by the z of the plural tempate.
óòzá
kpèègá
Nwáàgá
lump of mud
tree
crack
pl. ôlzá
pl. kpèlzá
pl. Nwâlzá
Almost all CVV.CV and CCVV.CV nouns roots ending in rV and lV consistently insert
r and l respectively during pluralization (as evident from the examples earlier in this
section). This could also be viewed as the shifting of these consonants from the coda of
the last syllable to the onset of the first syllable. There are, however, a few exceptions in
the data, including:
fúúrà
gì’rá
tí-dî’rá
hernia
gourd
millet sp.
pl. fúlzà ~ fúrzà
pl. gì’lzá
pl. tí-dî’lzá ~ tí-dî’rzá
5.5.2.1.5 C(C)VC.CV roots
CVV.CV and CCVV.CV noun roots conform to the noun plural template C(C)VC.zV by
the addition of z to the onset of the root’s final syllable, deletion of the existing onset
211
consonant in the final syllable and, for roots ending in the vowels a and o, the retention
of the final vowel.
dàmná
nà-fóblà
ná-gwálgà
bùmgó
hîmgó
nà-kpô7gó
thatch, grass sp.
water hyacinth
mountain pass
ribcage
owl sp.
chameleon
pl. dàmzá (cf. 5.5.2.3.1 re. nasality)
pl. nà-fóbzà
pl. ná-gwálzà
pl. bùmzó
pl. hîmzó
pl. nà-kpô7zó
There are two C(C)VV.CV noun roots ending with the vowel u that are pluralized in a
similar fashion, except that the final vowel becomes o:
ná-rîmnú
rúglò
tongue, bud
fish sp.
pl. ná-rîmzó (cf. 5.5.2.3.1 re. nasality)
pl. rúgzò (also: rúgúlzò; see below)
None of the C(C)VV.CV noun roots in the data which end in i or e may be pluralized.
Exceptionally, three plurals retain the existing consonant in the final root syllable after z
has been added. This results in the copying of the previous syllable’s vowel before the
persistent consonant, and the consequent creation of an addition syllable:
dígnù
liver
nìì nà-rígnù armpit
rúglò
fish sp.
pl. dígínzò
pl. nìì nà-rígínzò
pl. rúgúlzò (also: rúgzò; see above)
5.5.2.1.6 Other root shapes
Apart from those noun roots exhibiting one of the canonical shapes presented in the
sections immediately above, there are very few roots which can be pluralized. Even
those who are able to provide plural data for other shapes are cautious about the validity
and frequency of most of these forms. A representative list of non-canonical nouns for
which plurals have been elicited is as follows:
bàháà
àvbâw
gùùgìnú
gìhgìnú
gìwâh
lágângá
nà-sógôngá
pùpùùrí
ibis sp.
fish sp.
gill
wing, fin
cup
water turtle sp.
earthworm
horn (instrument)
pl. bàhánzà
pl. àvbáwzò
pl. gùùgìnzó
pl. gìhgìnzó
pl. gìwáhlzà
pl. lágânzá
pl. nà-sógônzá
pl. pùpùrzí
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A possible reason for the pluralizability (however marginal) of these words is that they
could be perceived as morphologically complex (prefixed or compound) words, which
may take plural morphology if at least one of the roots is pluralizable (5.5.2.4).
5.5.2.2 Irregular plurals
Ten of the nouns in the data, most of which are commonly used vocabulary items,
employ alternative pluralization strategies. For eight of the ten words, the irregular plural
exists alongside a typical plural form; however, the irregular forms are more commonly
used.
For six monosyllabic nouns, the plural is formed by the addition of a -ra (after a low
vowel) or -ro (after u) suffix. (For comparative discussion of this suffix, see Anonby
2008:15–7; Ruelland 1992:142–3, 249–52; and Elders 2000:118, 122–3). Three of the
six nouns contain contrastively long vowels, and in each of these cases the root vowel is
shortened during pluralization. Another way of expressing the process of pluralization
for these nouns is the subjection of the singular C(C)VV roots to a plural template
C(C)VrV. These alternations are as follows:
báà
kyáà
vúù
cane rat
container
sheep, goat
pl. bárà (also: bárzà)
pl. kyárà (also: kyánzà; see 5.5.2.1.3)
pl. vúrò (also: vúrzò)
The remaining three of the six nouns which employ this strategy contain vowels which
are modified: in two cases by pharyngealization, and in the other case by glottalization.
However, pharyngealized and glottalized vowels do not support contrast in length (2.2.1).
Consequently, for two of the words, the C(C)VrV plural template does not affect the
length of the modified root vowels. These singular/plural alternations are as follows:
hâh
vyâ’
shepherd’s stick,
herd of 100 cows
mouse
pl. háhrà (also: háhlzà)
pl. vyá’rà (also: vyá’rzà)
The evaporation of pharyngealization on a final monosyllabic noun is without parallel in
the language. It is associated with the shortening of the vowel in both of its two irregular
plural forms.
zaFh
ox
pl. zàrá, zàrzá (also: zàhlzá)
Other irregular plurals are unpredictable. For two nouns, idiosyncratic plural forms show
only a nominal similarity to the singular roots:
ígà
náábà
child
colleague, intimate friend
213
pl. élà
pl. nágrò
For two additional nouns, however, there is no discernible resemblance between singular
and plural forms:
vínà
vbìná
woman
male (n.), husband
pl. gérêm ~ gérmù (also: vínzà)
pl. húrmù (also: vbìnzá)
5.5.2.3 Morphophonological alternation of nasality
There are two cases in which nasality is subject to a morphophonological alternation
when the noun plural template is applied. First, nasality evaporates from the final vowel
of a root to which the noun plural template is applied (5.5.2.3.1). Second, l alternates
with n in a nasal environment (5.5.2.3.2).
5.5.2.3.1 Evaporation of nasality from the final vowel of a pluralized root
When the C(C)VC.zV plural template (5.5.2.1) is applied to a noun root in which the
final vowel is nasalized, nasality on that vowel evaporates.
bùrí
gèmná
hámà
nà-kààrá
sá7nì
sììrá
wild manioc sp.
entrance hut
duiker sp.
faithful companion, disciple
mortar
year
pl. bùrzí
pl. gèmzá
pl. hámzà
pl. nà-kàrzá
pl. sá7zì
pl. sìrzá
This alternation takes place because the intervening obstruent z of the plural template
deprives the word-final final nasalized vowel of the minimal environment required to
host nasality (3.4.2, 3.4.3.8).
5.5.2.3.2 Alternation of l and n in a nasal environment
Whenever l is inserted into a nasal environment as part of a plural template (as described
in 5.5.2.1), it is realized as n.
kwáà
cf. kwáà
fly
grass
pl. kwánzà ~ kwárzà
pl. kwálzà ~ kwárzà
ná’rà
cf. vbá’là
sauce
chunk, muscle
pl. ná’nzà
pl. vbá’lzà
nà-syâh
cf. syaFh
sucking air between teeth and lip
boundary
pl. nà-syáhnzà
pl. syàhlzá
sàá
cf. sáà
woman’s loin-garment, menstruation pl. sànzá
stone
pl. sálzà ~ sárzà
214
When the inserted n is found as part of a plural construction, the singular root with which
it is associated always exhibits a nasal environment; because of this, it is apparent that the
underlying form of the inserted consonant is l rather than n (3.3.2.3).
5.5.2.4 Possessive constructions and compounds
In alienable possessive constructions (5.3.3.3.1), plurality is marked on the semantically
plural morphological constituent. Either noun or even both nouns in the possessive
construction may be pluralized, depending on the semantic intent. This is evident in the
possible plural forms of fàà syâh ‘back of the hand’:
fàà syâh
back:LF hand
fàlzì syâh
back:PL:LF hand
backs of the hand
fàà syáhlzà
back:LF hand:PL
back of the hands
fàlzì syâh
back:PL:LF hand
backs of the hands
On lexicalized noun + noun compounds (5.4), which typically appear to be identical to
alienable possessive constructions (5.3.3.1), plural morphology may cliticize on the
dependent possessor noun even if the possessed head noun carries the semantic plurality.
This is the case with the compound noun ‘heart’:
láà túò
gourd:LF blood
láà túzò
gourd:LF blood:PL
hearts
~ lálzì túò
gourd:PL:LF blood
hearts
There is no plural marking on inalienable possessive constructions; semantic plurality on
such constructions is unspecified (5.5.1.2).
5.6 Collective constructions
Collective constructions are used with human nouns, and differ from plural constructions
(5.5) in their morphology and in that they prototypically refer to groups as a whole rather
than to multiple members within a group. Collective constructions in Mambay are
signalled in two ways: prefixation with tì- (5.6.1), and use of inherently collective nouns
(5.6.2).
5.6.1 The human collective prefix tìThe human collective prefix tì- is used with names of social groups, such as ethnic
groups, clans, inhabitants of a locality, and religious groups. Ethnic groups include:
tì-byúù
the Guidar people (cf. byúù ‘(locality name)’)
215
tì-hàwsà
tì-káà-byàá
tì-làkà
tì-làgá ~ tì-làgzá
tì-màmbày
tì-ná-syàá
tì-zàmí
the Hausa people
white people (cf. káálà / káà ‘head, reason, on’; byàá ‘water’)
southern Chadians (especially Laka, Ngambay, Sara)
the Mundang people (cf. làgá ‘lie (n.)’ / pl. làgzá)
the Mambay people
white people (cf. ná-syàá ‘fire, gun’)
the Fulbe people
Mambay clans (5.12.2) include:
tì-gáà
tì-kà%gà
tì-sáà-búúrà
tì-tárà
the gáà clan
the kà%gà clan
the sáà-búúrà clan
the tárà clan
Inhabitants of localities (see 5.12.1.4 for discussion of locality names) include:
tì-bèè-páhnà
tì-káà-kààlá
tì-káà-síì
tì-zé’gà
inhabitants of Beepahna
inhabitants of Kaakaala
inhabitants of the Mambay area (cf. káálà / káà ‘head,
reason, on’; síì ‘valley, river’)
inhabitants of the mountain (cf. zé’gà ‘mountain’)
Adherents to Islam and Christianity, the two major religious groups, are labelled in
various ways. Muslims are referred to as follows:
tì-)ìzlâm
tì-mìzìlmâ7
tì-zìm-fínù
(cf. Arabic islam and Fr. islam)
(cf. Fr. musulman)
(cf. zìm ‘hit (v.n.)’; fínù ‘forehead, front’)
Christians are referred to as follows:
tì-fí-sí-kètí
(cf. fí- ‘house,’ sí-kètí ‘God’)
tì-kìrîz ~ tì-kríztù (cf. Fr. christ)
tì-mìsyô7
(cf. Fr. mission via Fulf. misyo-)
tì-njàpá
(cf. Sango / Fulf. njapa ‘mission’) (Eguchi 1971:186)
The prefix )ì- (5.10) lends emphasis to the identity of the group.
tì-)ì-màmbày ~ tìì màmbày
those who are Mambay people
COLL-HEAD-Mambay ~ COLL:HEAD Mambay
cf. tì-màmbày
COLL-Mambay
the Mambay people
216
As the above example shows, the emphatic form of collective nouns has two possible
realizations; both of these are formed with tì- and the prefix )ì- (5.10). While the first
form (tì-)ì-màmbày) is more phonologically regular, it is the second form (tìì
màmbày) which is almost always used, even in formal contexts. The absence of the
glottal stop in tìì is significant in this morphological context, since it persists in
segmentally comparable constructions such as tì-)ìzlâm ‘Muslims’ (see above in this
section).
tìì appears frequently as the collective form of male/generic and female participant nouns
(5.7).
singular form
páà fâh
man:LF path
collective form
messenger
tìì fâh
messengers / those who
COLL:HEAD path
are messengers
páà vbìì nàmá butcher
man:LF cut:VN animal/meat
tìì vbìì nàmá
butchers / those who are
COLL:HEAD cut:VN butchers
animal/meat
(tí-)vín bùù sé%gà potter (female
(AUG-)woman:
profession)
LF-build:VNclay.cooking.pot
tìì bùù sé%gà
potters / those who are
COLL:HEAD build:VN- potters
clay.cooking.pot
5.6.2 Inherently collective human nouns
There is a handful of inherently collective nouns which refer to social groups. These
nouns, which contain a historical derivational suffix -(g)VrV (see 5.1.3.2), are as
follows:
)àzgárà
fààzárà
fàhzárà
màngárà
nà7gárà
reciprocal social unit (see Glossary)
reciprocal social unit (see Glossary)
reciprocal social unit (see Glossary)
age-group
maternal uncles
cf. )ázì Tmember of )àzgárà
cf. fààzí member of fààzárà
cf. fâhzí member of fàhzárà
cf. màn age-mate
cf. nánà T maternal uncle
5.7 Participant noun constructions
Participant noun constructions are used to identify people and objects by what they do or,
more broadly, things by which they are identified. These constructions are described
separately in this study because of their productivity in spontaneous constructions, their
important contribution to the lexicon (well over one hundred items in the data), and
because they are formed by two distinct means: possessive constructions and prefixation.
Participant noun constructions are of three types in Mambay: male/generic (5.7.1), female
(5.7.2) and non-human (5.7.3).
217
As is the case in many African languages (Dimmendaal 2000:170), participant nouns in
Mambay are typically found as possessed head nouns in the context of possessive
constructions. This is true of all three types (male/generic, female and non-human). An
additional and equivalent female participant noun construction in Mambay involves the
addition of a prefix to a noun. Possessor nouns which follow the possessed noun or
prefix are commonly, but not exclusively, verbal nouns (cf. 5.9.1). Participant nouns
may have either an agentive or a patientive role in relation to verbal nouns.
Participant nouns employ varied pluralization and collective strategies (5.7.4).
5.7.1 Male/generic participant nouns
Male/generic participant noun constructions are formed by inserting the noun páà ‘man,
father, owner’ in the possessed-noun position of a possessive construction. The
prototypical usage of páà as an alienable noun is that of ownership:
owner
páà )ígà
man:LF thing
Although páà is typically used for male referents, and Mambay speakers consistently
give the gloss ‘man, father,’ it may also be used generically:
páà bîn
man:LF another
another person (male or female)
páà só’lí )ì-vínà
man:LF greatness:LF HEAD-woman
female boss (cf. páà só’lé ‘master, lord’)
A wide representation of syntactic possibilities is found with male/generic participant
nouns, which comprise about two-thirds of the participant nouns in the data. Participant
noun constructions composed of páà and a typical (i.e., non-verbal) noun are illustrated
by the following examples:
páà
páà
páà
páà
páà
páà
dìgì
fâh
)ígà
káálà
ràhbá
sò7gó
neighbour
messenger
owner
guide
poor man
old man
cf. dìgì neighbourship
cf. fâh path
cf. )ígà thing
cf. káálà head, reason
cf. ràhbá poverty
cf. sò7gó old age
Constructions involving other components are as follows:
páà + verbal noun:
páà sûm-ná
acquaintance
man:LF know:VN-OBJ
218
páà + compound noun:
páà tí-vín hú%ò widower (cf. tí-vín hú%ò ‘dead woman’)
man:LF AUG-woman:LF die:VN
páà + prepositional phr.: páà bèè káálà
stupid person
man:LF without head
páà + adjective:
dwarf
páà gbéndén
man:LF short
páà + nominalized adv.: páà tùm
man:LF forward
guide
Of the various participant noun constructions, those containing verbal nouns are the most
common. In all cases, the participant noun is the subject of the verb (whatever the
semantic role of the subject in relation to the verb):
páà hú%ò
man:LF die:VN
dead person
páà pààrá
man:LF cultivate:VN
farmer
páà ryáhrà
man:LF cry:VN
caller, wailer
páà tígrò
man:LF fall:VN
falling person
For regular verbal nouns derived from transitive verbs, an object (either explicit or the
dummy object suffix -na; cf. 5.9.1.1) always accompanies the verbal noun.
páà sàh )ígà
man:LF play:VN thing
musician
páà kòg kyaF’
man:LF see:VN situation
diviner, fortune-teller, prophet
páà vbìì nàmá
man:LF cut:VN animal/meat
butcher
páà gêy-ná
man:LF boast:VN-OBJ
boaster
páà hHFh-nà
man:LF fear:VN-OBJ
coward
219
messenger
páà sôg-ná
man:LF send/order:VN-OBJ
5.7.2 Female participant nouns
Female participant noun constructions may be formed in one of two ways: by inserting
the noun vínà ‘woman’ or its respect form (cf. 5.8.2) tí-vínà in the possessed-noun
position of a possessive construction; or by attaching an augmentative/female prefix tí(cf. 5.8.2) to a noun.
(tí-)vín sûm-ná
acquaintance
(AUG-)woman:LF know:VN-OBJ
= tí-sûm-ná
female
= woman:PFX-know:VN-OBJ
The two forms appear to be interchangeable, although it is possible that (tí-)vínà may be
associated with more formal speech or used to focus on the female identity of the
participant.
Participant noun constructions composed of (tí-)vínà / tí- and a typical (i.e., non-verbal)
noun are illustrated by the following examples:
(tí-)vín dìgì / tí-dìgì
(tí-)vín só’lé / tí-só’lé
female neighbour
first wife
cf. dìgì neighbourship
cf. só’lé greatness
Constructions involving other components are as follows:
(tí-)vínà ~ tí- + verbal noun:
(tí-)vín sûm-ná
= tí-sûm-ná
female acquaintance
(AUG-)woman:LF know:VN-OBJ = woman:PFX- know:VN-OBJ
(tí-)vín bùù sé%gà
(AUG-)woman:LF build:VN
clay.cooking.pot
= tí-bùù sé%gà
= woman:PFX-build:VN
clay.cooking.pot
potter (female
profession)
(tí-)vín káà pít
(AUG-)woman:LF head:LF
adultery
= tí-káà pít
= woman:PFX- head:LF
adultery
prostitute
(tí-)vín mùh sìgró
(AUG-)woman:LF centre:LF
land
= tí-mùh sìgró
= woman:PFX-centre:LF
land
first wife
(tí-)vínà ~ tí- + compound noun:
220
(tí-)vínà ~ tí- + adjective:
(tí-)vín sâ’
(AUG-)woman:LF elderly
= tí-sâ’
= woman:PFX-elderly
elderly woman
5.7.3 Non-human participant nouns
Non-human participant noun constructions are formed by inserting the noun )ígà ‘thing’
in the possessed-noun position of a possessive construction.
Almost all non-human participant noun constructions in the data involve a verbal noun
derived from a transitive verb. The participant )ígà can be the subject or object of a
verbal noun. Subject status is evident in the following constructions:
)îg bù’ dígnù
thing:LF gather.up:VN liver
nausea
)îg kàm zírmìn
thing:LF weave:VN cloth
loom
)îg kpuFg-nà
thing:LF saw(v.):VN-OBJ
saw (n.)
)îg paFh-nà
thing:LF plan:VN-OBJ
plan
The object status of )ígà is evident in the following constructions (since )ígà is coreferential with the dummy object suffix -na):
)îg doFg-nà
thing:LF drink(v.):VN-OBJ
drink (n.)
)îg fú’rì-ná
thing:LF swell:VN-OBJ
swelling
)îg sàá-nà
thing:LF pay.tribute:VN-OBJ
tribute
)îg sûm-ná
thing:LF know:VN-OBJ
knowledge
The only attested non-human participant noun constructions involving components other
than verbal nouns are as follows:
)ígà + compound noun: )îg káà súgò
earring (cf. káà súgò ‘top of ear’)
thing:LF head:LF ear
221
)ígà + prepositional phr.: )îg sáà wáà
nose ring
thing:LF inside nose
)ígà + nominalized adv.: )îg sùgú
thing:LF below
that which is below / the bottom thing
5.7.4 Pluralization and collective strategies
Participant nouns employ various pluralization and collective strategies, depending on
whether they are male/generic, female or non-human.
The male/generic participant páà may not be pluralized. Instead, Mambay speakers use
collective constructions with the generic human collective participant tìì (= tì + )ì; see
5.6.1) ‘those [who are] of’:
páà fâh
man:LF path
messenger
tìì fâh
messengers
COLL:HEAD path
páà vbìì nàmá butcher
man:LF cut:VN animal/meat
tìì vbìì nàmá
butchers
COLL:HEAD cut:VN animal/meat
The female participant (tí-)vínà ~ tí- has two possibilities available. If the female
identity of the participants is significant, the plural noun (tí-)gérêm (an irregular plural
of (tí-) vínà; see 5.5.2.2) is employed ((tí-)vínà is used in the examples here, but its
short form
tí- is equivalent; see 5.7.2).
(tí-)vín dìgì
female neighbour
(AUG-)woman:LF
neighbourship
(tí-)gérêm dìgì female neighbours
(AUG-)women:LF
neighbourship
(tí-)vín bùù sé%gà potter (female
(AUG-)woman:LF
profession)
build:VN
clay.cooking.pot
(tí-)gérêm bùù sé%gà potter women
(AUG-)women:LF
build:VN
clay.cooking.pot
However, if the female identity of the participants is incidental, the human collective
participant tìì is employed:
female neighbour
(tí-)vín dìgì
(AUG-)woman:LF
neighbourship
tìì dìgì
COLL:HEAD
neighbourship
(tí-)vín bùù sé%gà potter (female
(AUG-)woman:LF
profession)
build:VN clay.cooking.pot
tìì bùù sé%gà
potters
COLL:HEAD build:VN
clay.cooking.pot
222
neighbours (who
happen to be
female)
The non-human participant )ígà ‘thing’ is usually used with verbal nouns (cf. 5.9.1),
which are often not countable (5.5.1.2). In such cases, the noun resists pluralization, and
no collective construction is available (cf. the human collective participant in the
examples earlier in this section).
)îg sàá-nà
tribute
thing:LF pay.tribute:VN-OBJ
—
tribute (pl.)
)îg sûm-ná
knowledge
thing:LF know:VN-OBJ
—
knowledge (pl.)
In cases where participant nouns constructed with )ígà ‘thing’ are countable, )ígà is
pluralized (cf. 5.5.2.4).
)îg kàm zírmìn loom
thing:LF weave:VN cloth
)ígzì kàm zírmìn looms
thing:PL:LF weave:VN cloth
)îg kpuFg-nà
saw
thing:LF saw(v.):VN-OBJ
)ígzì kpuFg-nà saws
thing:PL:LF saw(v.):VN-OBJ
5.8 Diminutives and augmentatives
Diminutive and augmentative strategies are both available in Mambay. While diminutive
derivations (5.8.1) employ compounding (5.4), augmentative derivations (5.8.2) employ
prefixation (5.1.2).
5.8.1 Diminutives
Diminutives are a productive means of expressing small (or diminutive) size and/or
specificity. They are formed by coupling ígà ‘child’ with another noun in the context of
a possessive construction (5.3.3.3.1). Diminutives expressing small size include the
following phrases:
base noun
bî7
fíílò
kpèègá
vúù
diminutive
forest
house
tree
goat
îg
îg
îg
îg
bî7
fíílò
kpèègá
vúù
thicket
small house
bush
goat kid
Diminutives expressing specificity include the following phrases:
ká’
kuF
here (n.)
there (n.)
îg ká’
îg kuF
right here (n.)
right there (n.)
Diminutives which have been lexicalized as compound nouns include the following:
223
héérì ná-syàá
kyaFh
màhbá
tì-nà-múùrá
coal
fish
concubinage, adultery
jinn, totem, vision
îg
îg
îg
îg
héérì ná-syàá
kyaFh
màhbá
tì-nà-múùrá
spark
nile perch
betrothal
butterfly
Plural diminutives are formed with élà ‘children,’ the plural form of ígà (see 5.5.2.2).
îg
îg
îg
îg
héérì ná-syàá
kpèègá
tì-nà-múùrá
vúù
spark
bush
butterfly
goat kid
êl
êl
êl
êl
héérì ná-syàá
kpèègá
tì-nà-múùrá
vúù
sparks
bushes
butterflies
goat kids
Plural diminutives may also be used with nouns referring to small things, even when their
base forms are not otherwise pluralizable (cf. 5.5.1). This type of construction
emphasizes small or diminutive size as well as the plural nature of the things.
baFh
féévbà
)îg gógrà
kúmù
ná-gbú7-gbâ’
sí-síì
zàà fâh yá
rain
pair of twins
flying insect
herder (boy)
tadpole
waxbill (bird sp.)
shrew sp.
êl
êl
êl
êl
êl
êl
êl
baFh
féévbà
)îg gógrà
kúmù
ná-gbú7-gbâ’
sí-síì
zàà fâh yá
drizzle
twins
flying insects
herders
tadpoles
waxbills
shrews (sp.)
5.8.2 Augmentatives
Augmentatives are a productive means of expressing large (or exaggerated) size and/or
respect.
They are formed by attaching the prefix tí-, which likely originates in the
words túù ‘mother’ and/or tíìrá ‘matron’ (cf. 5.1.2.4.11). (This prefix has two other
functions, one of which marks female participant nouns (5.7.2) and one of which is
obligatorily found as a part of specific nouns (5.1.2.4.11)). Augmentatives expressing
large size include the following examples:
base noun
byàá
kyaFh
kpèègá
súgá
augmentative
water
fish
tree
spear
tí-byàá
tí-kyaFh
tí-kpèègá
tí-sùgá
large water-body
large fish
large tree
large spear
Augmentatives expressing respect are found with nouns denoting females, including
canonical female personal names (cf. 5.12.1.1). This accords well with the ‘female’
sense of the prefix which is found in female participant nouns (5.7.2). Augmentatives
expressing respect include the following examples:
224
base noun
)ázì T
%èví
nàgá
nà-vínù
vínà
má-nâ’
augmentative (respect form)
member of )àzgárà (see Glossary)
(female proper name)
(female proper name)
co-wife
woman
man’s mother-in-law
tí-)ázì T
tí-%èví
tí-nàgá
tí-nà-vínù
tí-vínà
tí-má-nâ’
An augmentative semantic value is also evident in many nouns which are obligatorily found
with the suffix tí- (5.1.2.4.11). In such cases, however, the semantic association between the
base noun and the augmented form is often much more general than one of proportion or
respect; in some cases, it approaches the female- or “mother”-type participant noun function of
the prefix (5.7.2, 5.1.2.4.11).
base noun
fígò
gyáàlá
hú%ò
kúù
níínà
sígò
sìgró
sòògá
twaFh
vúù
5.9
lexicalized augmentative
flea
nanny
death
fields, bushland
lower millstone, mill
crocodile
land
hotness, smithy
snake
goat
tí-fígò
tí-gyáàlá
tí-hú%ò
tí-kúù
tí-níínà
tí-sígò
tí-sìgró
tí-sòògá
tí-twaFh
tí-vúù
duck
maternal aunt
Death (personified)
fields, bushland
molar
fetish against thievery
world
anvil
python
antelope sp.
Verbal nouns
Verbal nouns fall into two major categories: true verbal nouns, which participate in
productive noun/verb derivational processes (5.9.1) and those which are fossilized: such
nouns show evidence of historical noun/verb derivation but do not participate in such
derivation synchronically (5.9.2). In both cases, derivation is responsible for endowing
them with the action-centred semantic contribution typical of Mambay verbs (Chapter 7).
5.9.1
True verbal nouns
True verbal nouns (henceforth referred to simply as verbal nouns) exhibit characteristics
of nouns as well as verbs (Chapter 7). They are semantically predictable in that they
minimally refer to a verbal action or state which is brought about by the subject (whether
agent or another role) (cf. fossilized verbal nouns; see 5.9.2).
verbal noun
úù
%áárà
%â%
verb stem
sprouting
alighting
sowing, planting
úú
%àà
%à%
225
sprout
alight
sow, plant
púgvbì
scattering
pùgvbí
scatter
As regards their status as nouns, they exhibit the distributional possibilities of other nouns
with similar semantic values (ex. 5.3.3.3.1, 5.5). For example, they may be possessed
(5.3.2).
verbal noun
hú%ò
possessed form
dying, death
hû% )íí
my dying/death
die:VN 1SG.POSS
hû% nàmá
die:VN animal
animal’s dying/death
Structurally, verbal nouns pattern with nouns in that they are minimally comprised of a
heavy syllable or two light syllables; this contrasts with verbs, since in the data there are
fifteen examples of verb roots comprised of a light syllable. In fact, a compensatory g is
inserted for verbal nouns derived from verb roots comprised of a light syllable (2.4.3,
7.1.1):
verbal noun
dòg
pàg
verb stem
drinking
doing
dó
pá
drink
do
However, verbal nouns also exhibit some characteristics of verbs. By definition, all
verbal nouns correspond to finite verb roots, with which they are found in derivational
relationship. While complexities of derivation are discussed in the sections devoted to
each type of verbal noun (5.9.1.1 and 5.9.1.2), some general observations underline the
verb-like behaviour of verbal nouns. Importantly, verbal nouns are used in the Mambay
verbal system, where with subject pronouns they express the verbal function of the
Imperfective (7.4.1.1.2). A comparable situation is found in the well-known case of
Hausa (Dimmendaal 2000:171, Newman 2000:288–92) and in Kebi-Benue languages
such as Mundang (Elders 2000:327–30).
verbal noun
Imperfective verb form
%áárà
alighting
mì %áárà
1SG alight:VN
I alight / I am alighting
hú%ò
dying, death
mì hú%ò
1SG die:VN
I die / I am dying
The verbal nature of such constructions is further underlined by the possibility of their
accompaniment by adverbs (8.1).
226
we (excl.) are dying buvbuvbu (i.e., left
and right)
rì hú%ò búvbùvbù
1PL die:VN IDEO
Syntactically, there is a further resemblance to verbs, namely: verbal nouns which
correspond to transitive verbs must be accompanied by an object or a dummy object
suffix (7.3.2.1.2).
verbal noun
*kòg Ø
see:VN
verbal noun with object
*seeing
kòg )ígà
see:VN thing
seeing something
koFg-nà
see:VN-OBJ
seeing (something)
In one context, verbal nouns exhibit obviously verbal morphology: when an explicit
plural subject is invoked in the Imperfective, the verbal plural affix -zí (7.3.1.1) is
attached following the first syllable of the verbal noun (7.4.1.1.2).
verbal noun
%áárà
Imperfective verb form
alighting
nà %áá-zí-rà we (incl.) alight / we (incl.)
1&2 alight:VN-PL-VN are alighting
Verbal nouns are subdivided into the structurally regular transitive verbal nouns (5.9.1.1)
and the structurally irregular intransitive verbal nouns (5.9.1.2).
5.9.1.1 Regular verbal nouns
Regular verbal nouns are productively derived from transitive verbs stems; this is an
instance of what Payne (1997:224–5) calls action nominalization. Regular verbal nouns
are typically comprised of the same segmental content as corresponding stems (given
here as basic Perfective verb forms; see 7.4.1.1.1.1).
verbal noun
%â%
gyàh
gbóógì
púgvbì
Qàh
)ùù
verb stem
sowing, planting
sewing, hemming
enlarging, widening
scattering
calling, inviting
whistling
%à%
gyáh
gbòògí
pùgvbí
Qáh
)ùù
sow, plant
sew, hem
enlarge, widen
scatter
call, invite
whistle
(Like their source stems, regular verbal nouns require an object or dummy object suffix
to follow; see the previous section and 7.4.3.1.2. This object is not shown in present
discussion except when it is being directly addressed.)
This regular segmental correspondence includes most (but not all) g-final verbal nouns:
227
àg
gbùg
vòg
)ìg
(etc.)
meeting, supporting
throwing
watching, guiding
killing
ág
gbúg
vóg
)íg
meet, support
throw
watch, guide
kill
There are, however, eight (otherwise) regular g-final verbal nouns in the data which
differ from the segmental content of the corresponding verb stems. Seven of the eight
exceptions are derived from verbs comprised of a C(C)V syllable, which does not meet
the minimal two-mora weight requirement for nouns (5.1.1.1). It appears, therefore, that
g has for the most part been inserted as a compensatory measure. These verbal nouns are
as follows:
verbal noun
nùg
dòg
hìg
kòg
kyàg
pàg
syàg
)ìg
verb stem
sleeping (tr.)
drinking
giving
seeing
hurting
doing
shining
knowing
nú
dó
híí
kó
kyé
pá
syé
)í
sleep (tr.)
drink
give
see
hurt (tr.)
do
shine
know
The tone melody of regular verbal nouns is distinct from that of corresponding verb
stems. Regular verbal nouns exhibit two possible melodies: L and HL. Regular verbal
nouns with L tone may be derived from verbs with either H-toned (Class 1) or L-toned
(Class 4; see 7.3.2.2.1) stems.
verbal noun
verb stem
dù7
fòò
bending down
spying, reviewing
dú7
fóó
bend down
spy, review
màà
pì’
giving an opinion
transplanting
màà
pì’
give an opinion
transplant
In contrast, heavy (two-mora) HL regular verbal nouns are always derived from verbs
with L-toned stems (Class 5), and HL regular verbal nouns with three or more morae are
derived from verbs with LH stems (Class 6).
verbal noun
ûl
sîn
verb stem
dividing
picking up tiny things
228
ùl
sìn
divide
pick up tiny things
persuading
immersing
gíín`
rímrì
persuade
immerse
gììnT
rìmrí
Verbal nouns derived from transitive verbs are always accompanied by an object. This
object may be expressed:
ûl tà-tàhrgù dividing a rock pile
divide:VN PFX-rock.pile
dòg byàá
drinking water
drink:VN water
%â% à’rá
sowing seed
sow:VN seed
Qàh vwáà
call:VN dog
calling a dog
If the object is not expressed, the suffix -na acts as a dummy object. If the verbal noun
to which it is attached is L-toned, the resulting word has a LHL melody.
verbal noun
verbal noun w/ dummy object
dòg
fòò
gòò
pì’
doFg-nà
fòó-nà
gòó-nà
pHF’-nà
drinking (something)
spying (something)
preparing (something)
transplanting (something)
If the verbal noun is HL-toned, the resulting word has a HLH melody.
ûl
%â%
gwáà
hágrì
dividing (something)
sowing (something)
robbing (something)
shattering (something)
ûl-ná
%â%-ná
gwáà-ná
hágrì-ná
As the examples above show, the dummy object suffix’s nasality does not travel leftward
into the verbal noun.
The apparently polar tonal behaviour of -na is addressed in the following subsection
(5.9.1.1.1). This is followed by a discussion of the function of regular verbal nouns as
Imperfective verb forms (5.9.1.1.2).
5.9.1.1.1 Tonal behaviour of -na
A simple explanation for the polar tonal behaviour of -na has not been reached.
However, it is probable that it underlyingly bears a contour (HL or LH) melody.
It is possible that -na is underlying HL. If this is the case, its melody is fused with that
of L-toned verbal nouns as follows:
verbal noun
dummy object
fòò
-nâ
+
verbal noun word
fòó-nà
229
spying (something)
gbùg
+
-nâ
throwing (something)
gbuFg-nà
With HL verbal nouns, the process would take place as follows:
ûl
%â%
+
+
-nâ
-nâ
dividing (something)
sowing (something)
ûl-ná
%â%-ná
This implies the deletion of the final L tone of -nâ, which never surfaces with a HL
verbal noun. Since, in these examples, there are only three tone-bearing units on the
resulting verbal noun word, it is not unreasonable to posit the lexical deletion of an
excess fourth tone (cf. 4.3.1.4). Comparable situations are attested elsewhere in the
language (e.g., a HLH melody on two-mora nouns; see 4.1.2.2). However, in stems with
sufficient tone-bearing units, there is no evidence that this hypothetical final L tone is
ever associated.
expected realization
actual realization
*QáànT-nà
*)óògí-nà
Qáán`-ná
)óógì-ná
cause (something) to finish
set (something) crawling
Alternatively, if -na were considered underlying LH, more assumptions must be
accepted. First of all (similar to what is described in the HL explanation above), the
melody of HL verbal nouns would have to have fused with that of the LH suffix -naF,
resulting in a single HLH word.
ûl
%â%
+
+
-naF
-naF
ûl-ná
%â%-ná
dividing (something)
sowing (something)
The LH identity of -na would be more difficult to account for with the other (“L-toned”)
verbal nouns. It is possible that the underlying tone of what are described above as Ltoned verbal nouns is actually LH, even though the H portion of the melody only surfaces
when
-na replaces the explicit object. The loss of the LH verb’s H tone when
accompanied by an explicit object would be seen as parallel to the attested loss of any LH
possessed noun’s H tone in the context of the possessive construction (see 5.2.2.1). If
this were the case, the verbal noun data throughout would be re-presented as follows:
verbal noun
verbal noun w/ explicit object
fòó
gbuFg
fòò …
gbùg …
spying (something)
throwing (something)
The result of affixation with -naF would be as follows:
fòó
gbuFg
+
+
-naF
-naF
fòó-nà
gbuFg-nà
230
spying (something)
throwing (something)
Still, the final H of -naF never surfaces. But since there are only three morae on the
resulting verbal noun word, and since (in contrast to HLH verbal noun words; see above)
there are no examples in the data of LHL verbal noun words with more tone-bearing units
than this, it is not unreasonable to posit the lexical deletion of an excess fourth tone
(4.3.1.1). Comparable situations are attested elsewhere in the language (e.g., a three-tone
melody on two-mora nouns; see 4.1.2.2).
An underlying H melody for -na is harder to defend, but should also be considered. As
in the previous hypothesis, affixation with HL nouns would be straightforward.
ûl
%â%
+
+
-ná
-ná
ûl-ná
%â%-ná
dividing (something)
sowing (something)
Still, and also as in the previous hypothesis, what are described above as L-toned verbal
nouns would have to be considered LH in order to pursue an account in which -na was
H-toned:
verbal noun
verbal noun w/ explicit object
fòó
gbuFg
fòò …
gbùg …
spying (something)
throwing (something)
With LH verbal nouns, it is possible that Meeussen’s rule (see Meeussen 1965:110 and
Goldsmith 1984) causes a H-toned -ná suffix to be realized as L after H:
fòó
gbuFg
+
+
-ná
-ná
fòó-nà
gbuFg-nà
spying (something)
throwing (something)
The major weakness of this explanation is that such a process has not been observed
elsewhere in the language (merging of H tones is the norm in other phonological words;
for an example, look at inalienable noun-pronoun constructions in 5.3.4.2.4.1).
Because of the complexity of these arguments, the tonal identity of -na is accounted for
throughout as part of lexical HLH and LHL melodies on words composed of a verbal
noun + -na.
5.9.1.1.2 Imperfective function of regular verbal nouns
Apart from their basic nominal status, regular verbal nouns function as Imperfective verb
forms (7.4.1.1.2).
231
verbal noun
dòg
Imperfective form
drinking
mì dòg )ígà
1SG drink:VN thing
I drink something /
I am drinking something
mì doFg-nà
1SG drink:VN-OBJ
I drink (something) /
I am drinking (something)
As stated above (5.9.1), the verbal behaviour of verbal nouns in this context is further
underlined by the possibility of their accompaniment by adverbs (8.1).
mì dòg )ígà hárì
1SG drink:VN thing quickly
I drink something quickly /
I am drinking something quickly
mì doFg-nà hárì
1SG drink:VN-OBJ quickly
I drink (something) quickly /
I am drinking (something) quickly
In one context, regular verbal nouns exhibit obviously verbal morphology: when an
explicit plural subject is invoked in the Imperfective, the verbal plural affix -zí (7.3.1.1)
is attached following the final syllable of the regular verbal noun.
nà dòg-zí )ígà hárì
1&2 drink:VN-PL thing quickly
we (incl.) drink something quickly /
we (incl.) are drinking something quickly
nà dòg-zí-nà hárì
1&2 drink:VN-PL-OBJ quickly
we (incl.) drink (something) quickly /
we (incl.) are drinking (something) quickly
5.9.1.2 Irregular verbal nouns
Irregular verbal nouns correspond to intransitive verbs stems. In addition to their
intransitivity (cf. 7.3.2.1), they differ from regular verbal nouns (5.9.1.1) in their
derivational behaviour.
Importantly, there is no synchronic process by which irregular verbal nouns are derived
from verb stems. Historically, irregular verbal nouns appear to have undergone a
historical wave of unevenly applied derivational suffixation along with the rest of the
nouns in the language (5.1.3.2; this has been further described in Anonby 2008). This
process has resulted in irregular, lexicalized verbal nouns as follows:
verb stem
vestigial suffix
%àà ‘alight’
+ *-rV
tè’ ‘walk’
+ *-lV
sùù ‘lie down’ + *-gV
irregular verbal noun
%áárà ‘alighting’
té’là ‘walking’
sú7gà ‘lying down’
To a large degree, then, irregular verbal nouns represent the most common noun shapes
(cf. 5.1.1.1). The five attested CV shapes of irregular verbal nouns in the data are as
follows:
232
CV shape
irregular
verbal noun
CVV
CV.CV
CVV.CV
CVC.CV
CCVV.CV
gúù
gélà
%áárà
fímrò
gyáárà
corresponding
verb stem
flowing, flow (n.)
getting lost
alighting
weighing
foaming up
gúú
gé
%àà
fìm
gyàà
flow (v.)
get lost
alight
weigh (intr.)
foam up
Tonally, irregular verbal nouns are mostly HL, but occasionally LH.
tone melody
irregular
verbal noun
corresponding
verb stem
HL
gúù
gélà
%áárà
fímrò
flowing, flow (n.)
getting lost
alighting
weighing
gúú
gé
%àà
fìm
flow
get lost
alight
weigh (intr.)
LH
dààrá
kììbá
lààbá
sòglá
fighting, fight
dreaming, dream
eating, food
working, work
dàà
kìì
làà
sóg
fight (intr.)
dream
eat (intr.)
work (intr.)
As is the case with regular verbal nouns, irregular verbal nouns function as Imperfective
verb forms (7.4.1.1.2).
verbal noun
Imperfective verb form
%áárà
alighting
mì %áárà
1SG alight:VN
I alight / I am alighting
hú%ò
dying, death
mì hú%ò
1SG alight:VN
I die / I am dying
As stated above (5.9.1), the verbal nature of verbal nouns in this context is further
underlined by the possibility of their accompaniment by adverbs (8.1).
we (excl.) are dying buvbuvbu (i.e., left
and right)
rì hú%ò búvbùvbù
1PL die:VN IDEO
As is the case with regular verbal nouns, morphological evidence for noun-to-verb
derivation is found when an explicit plural subject is invoked in the Imperfective: the
verbal plural affix -zí (7.3.1.1) is attached following the first syllable of the irregular
verbal noun.
233
verbal noun
%áárà
5.9.2
Imperfective form
alighting
nà %áá-zí-rà we (incl.) alight / we (incl.)
1&2 alight:VN-PL-VN
are alighting
Fossilized verbal nouns
In addition to true verbal nouns (5.9.1), there are many fossilized verbal nouns which
show segmental and semantic correspondences to specific verb stems. However, in other
respects they are like nouns in general. Over one hundred fossilized verbal nouns have
been identified in the data; this is out of a total of 1525 non-borrowed, lexicalized nouns.
Fossilized verbal nouns correspond to transitive as well as intransitive verbs.
fossilized
verbal noun
fìmgó
lóózìrá
rámà
sòògá
intransitive
verb stem
weight
tiredness
blindness, blind person
hotness, smithy
fìm
lóó
ràà
sòò
weigh (intr.)
get tired
go blind
get hot, boil
transitive
verb stem
kúmù
Nmààzìlá
ròólè
sù’gó
herder
respect
trick (n.), comedy
ploughed land
kúm
Nmáá
ròò
sú’
protect, guide, care for
respect
trick, amuse
pull
Fossilized verbal nouns are like irregular true verbal nouns (5.9.1.2) in that there is no
synchronic process by which they are derived from verb stems.
However, they differ from true verbal nouns (regular and irregular) in three important
ways. First, fossilized verbal nouns cannot participate in verbal constructions, notably
those involving Imperfective verb forms (cf. 7.4.1.1.2); second, although they exhibit
more structural complexity than true verbal nouns, transitivity does not influence their
structure; and third, they are semantically unpredictable.
In the subsections that follow, the morphological structure and semantic values of
fossilized verbal nouns are described (5.9.2.1 and 5.9.2.2). Following this, the direction
of historical noun/verb derivation is considered (5.9.2.3).
5.9.2.1 Morphological structure
The structures of fossilized verbal nouns are a significant subset of those found with
nouns in general (5.1). The inventory of CV shapes of fossilized verbal nouns in the data
is as follows:
234
CV shape
verbal noun
CVV
CVC
CCVV
CV.CV
CVV.CV
CVC.CV
CCVV.CV
CCVC.CV
CVV.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CV
wâh
nà-mâm
tì-ryâh
kúmù
sòògá
fìmgó
gwáàlá
nà-rwâ%gá
lóózìrá
nà-vìgzìló
corresponding verb
cup
opinion
ululation
herder
hotness, smithy
weight
thief, robbery
joint
tiredness
longing stare
wàh
màà
ryáh
kúm
%àà
fìm
gwàà
rwà%
lóó
víg
water (v.)
give an opinion
cry
protect, guide, care for
get hot, boil
weigh (intr.)
rob
dislocate
get tired
plug, look longingly
Like irregular true verbal nouns (5.9.1.2), most or all fossilized verbal nouns have
undergone a historical wave of unevenly applied derivational suffixation (Anonby 2008,
5.1.3.2; but see 5.9.2.3). However, the structure of fossilized verbal nouns is more
varied. For example, while irregular true verbal nouns contain a maximum of two
syllables (5.9.1.2), there are many fossilized verbal nouns with three-syllable stems.
Also, in addition to historically fused suffixes (5.1.3.2), there are also two semantically
salient suffixes found principally with fossilized verbal nouns: -(g)VrV and -zi. -(g)VrV
is a fused generic suffix found with nouns historically derived from intransitive verbs,
and is described in 5.1.3.2. Examples of this suffix are:
fìmgórò
fùhgárà
sò7górò
sòògárà
heaviness
spreading of a smell
aging
heat
cf. fìm weigh (intr.), fìmgó weight
cf. fùh smell (v.); fùhgá smell (n.), stink
cf. sò7gí age (v.), sò7gó old age
cf. sòò get hot, boil, sòògá hotness, smithy
The suffix -zi, which is formally reminiscent of the noun plural template (5.5.2.1), verbal
plural person affix -zí (7.3.1.1) and the verbal extension -zi (7.2.4.4), appears to have a
pluractional meaning when it is found in the context of fossilized verbal nouns. With a
single exception (lóózìrá ‘tiredness, difficulty’; see list below), it is found only in
fossilized verbal nouns derived from transitive verbs.
pluractional
verbal noun
lóózìrá
nà-kyàhzìlá
nà-pòòzìlá
nà-sà’zìlá
nà-sììzìlá
nà-sìhzìlá
nà-sììzìlá
corresponding
verb
tiredness, difficulty
love
payment
congratulations
envy
dislike
intense hatred
lóó
kyáh
pòò
sá’
sìì
síh
síí
235
get tired
ask, love, praise
pay
congratulate
covet
hate, burn (tr.)
hate intensely
nà-sògzìlá
nà-vìgzìló
nà-zòòzìlá
Nmààzìlá
command
longing stare
greetings
respect
sòg
víg
zóó
Nmáá
send, order, serve, pass on
plug, look longingly
greet
respect
The above list reveals that in addition to fused suffixes, many fossilized verbal nouns
contain obligatory prefixes (see 5.1.2 for a discussion of noun prefixes). These prefixes
are not attested with irregular true verbal nouns (5.9.1.2). The prefix nà- is quite
common with fossilized verbal nouns, and all fossilized verbal nouns with this prefix are
derived from transitive verbs. The single example of a verbal noun with the prefix tì- is,
in contrast, derived from an intransitive verb.
corresponding
verb
verbal noun
nà-)âwrá
nà-yáà
nà-kyâh
nà-lé7gìrá
nà-lêyrá
nà-mâm
nà-Nmùùrá
nà-ryáà
nà-sáágìrá
nà-sâh
yawn (n.)
chewing
request, praise, begging
movement
grinding, command
opinion
drawing, writing
wink
flattery
request
)àw
éé
kyáh
lè7gí
lèy
màà
Nmùr
ríí
sààgí
sàh
yawn
bite
ask, love, praise
move, swing, shake
groan, crash, order
give an opinion
draw, write
clean out, wink
deceive, flatter
ask, rip, play
tì-ryâh
ululation
ryáh
cry
Tonally, fossilized verbal nouns are also more varied than irregular true verbal nouns
(5.9.1.2). HL, LH, HLH and LHL tone melodies, the first three of which are the most
common melodies for nouns in general (5.1.1.2), are all found with fossilized verbal
nouns.
tone melody
verbal noun
corresponding verb
HL
gíírò
kúmù
wâh
insult
herder
cup
gìì
kúm
wàh
answer, accept, admit
protect, guide, care for
water, grow (tr.), tame
LH
gbaFh
fàmgá
nà-zòòzìlá
tongs
announcement
greetings
gbáh
fám
zóó
catch, thicken, befit
announce, propagate
greet
HLH
sâ’gá
gyáàlá
number
nanny
sá’
gyàà
buy
take out, gather up
236
LHL
nà-lé7gìrá
movement
lè7gí
move, sway
ròólè
gaF%lè
fìmgórò
trick (n.), comedy
deaf person
heaviness
ròò
gà%
fìm
trick, amuse
be deaf
weigh (intr.)
5.9.2.2 Semantic relationship with corresponding verbs
In contrast to true verbal nouns (5.9.1), fossilized verbal nouns are semantically
unpredictable. True verbal nouns minimally refer to a verbal action or state which is
brought about by the subject (whether agent or patient), and this is the case for some
fossilized verbal nouns.
fossilized
verbal noun
%â%rá
fúrù
nà-yáà
nà-zê%
sì’lá
verb stem
sowing, planting
piling dirt
chewing
mocking, mockery
fishing
%à%
fùr
éé
zè%
sí’
sow, plant
pile dirt
chew
mock, decorate
fish (v.)
However, many other fossilized verbal nouns centrally exhibit semantic roles such as the
agent, patient, instrument, or location of the verb from which they have been historically
derived. This is evident for the following examples of fossilized verbal nouns:
fossilized
verbal noun
òògárà
gógrà
gwáàlá
gyáàlá
kángà
kû%gó
kúmù
mâh
nà-tû’
nà-zù’ló
páhnà
pò’lá
súúbà
vbáhrà
Nwáàgá
verb stem
bonus
bee, flock of birds
thief; robbery
medicine, fetish
male circumcision
apprentice
herder
granary
proverb
object which is thrown
mud, clay
money
urine
clod of earth
cracks
237
óó
gòg
gwàà
gyáá
kàn
kù%
kúm
màh
tú’
zú’
pàh
póó
sùù
vbàh
Nwáá
hit
jump, fly, blow away
rob
take out, gather up
pass, exceed, abuse
study, learn
protect, guide, care for
gather together
show, teach
throw, patch, add
wet (v.)
pay
urinate
share, divide
split
5.9.2.3 Direction of historical derivation
It is often difficult to establish the direction of historical derivation between fossilized
verbal nouns and corresponding verb stems. In contrast to what happens with regular
verbal nouns, whose derivation from verb stems is marked by the possibility of
suffixation with the dummy object suffix -na (5.9.1.1), there is no productive synchronic
affixation on fossilized verbal nouns. Rather, as demonstrated by the previous sections
(5.9.2.1, 5.9.2.2), the morphological structure and semantic value of fossilized verbal
nouns is varied, and does not correspond systematically with related verb roots.
Obviously, there are two historical derivational possibilities for each pair: verb-to-noun,
and noun-to-verb. On the one hand, it is technically possible that noun-to-verb derivation
has taken place, and that verbs have been historically derived from corresponding nouns
by means of CVC(CV) morphological templates.
(?)
(?)
(?)
(?)
gyáàlá
kúmù
nà-lé7gìrá
sòògá
medicine, fetish
herder
movement
hotness, smithy
gyáá
kúm
lè7gí
sòò
take out, gather up
protect, guide, care for
move, swing, shake
get hot, boil
Most such verbs are monosyllabic and/or have H or L tone in their basic Perfective form.
Synchronically, however, verbs which are demonstrably derived from nouns or any other
part of speech are disyllabic and always have LH tone in their basic Perfective form
(7.4.1.1.1.1).
gbóògá
kpâtgá
puF’
ràhbá
wideness
distance (n.)
whiteness
poverty
gbòògí
kpàtgí
pù’gí
ràhbí
enlarge, widen
distance (tr.)
become white
impoverish, become poor
This suggests that few or none of the corresponding noun/verb pairs categorized as
fossilized verbal nouns reflect a historical noun-to-verb derivation (or, at least, one that
functioned in the same way as the synchronic noun-to-verb derivation).
On the other hand, there are a couple of modest indicators of historical verb-to-noun
derivation. One indicator is, with one exception, the limitation of fossilized verbal noun
prefixes to nà- (5.9.2.1 above). This is very different from nouns in general, with which
any of ten different prefixes may constitute an obligatory component (5.1.2.1). If many or
most corresponding verbs were derived from nouns, a range of prefixes would likely be
represented.
A second indicator of historical verb-to-noun derivation is the repeated occurrence of
more than one noun corresponding to a single verb.
238
fossilized
verbal noun
corresponding
verb
nà-kyâh
request, praise, begging
nà-kyàhzìlá love
kyáh
ask, love, praise
sâ’gá
sá’rà
number
price
sá’
buy
sòògá
sòògárà
hotness, smithy
heat
sòò
get hot, boil
vbâh
ná-vbâh
forked pole for shelters
distribution
vbáh
share, divide
vbáhrà
ná-vbáhrà
clod of earth
intersection
vbàhrí
split (cf. vbáh ‘share,
divide’ + -ri iterative/
intensive extension)
Given the lack of evidence for most examples, the term “fossilized verbal noun” refers
throughout this study to nouns for which there is a semantically related and segmentally
similar verb form, even when the direction of derivation is difficult to demonstrate.
5.10 Modifier promotion and nominalization
The prefix )ì- promotes modifiers from a number of word classes to the status of
independent noun (cf. 5.14).
In the context of discourse, prefixation with )ì- is the basic strategy used to emphasize
modifiers. It promotes these dependent phrase elements to the place of a basic clause
constituent: with )ì-, a modifier is recast as an independent noun, and may be placed in
apposition with a noun which (except in the case of directional adverbs; see below) it
would have otherwise modified. This derivational process is shown here with possessor
nouns, which modify head nouns (cf. 5.3):
noun phrase with head noun
and modifier
promoted modifier in apposition
with antecedent noun
kpáhlì kpèègá wood stool
stool:LF tree/wood
kpáhlà )ì-kpèègá the wood stool (lit. the
stool HEAD-tree/wood stool, the wood one)
và’zì bá%à
leaf:LF tamarind
tamarind leaf
và’zá )ì-bá%à
leaf HEAD-tamarind
the tamarind leaf (lit. the
leaf, the tamarind one)
Note that phrase-initial nouns followed by )ì- and a modifying noun exhibit a free
(unmarked) rather than linked noun morphology (5.3.3.3.1); this is evidence that the
nouns are in apposition rather than in a head-dependent relationship.
239
When the modifier is something other than a noun or noun phrase, its promotion to the
status of independent noun requires that this modifier be understood as nominalized.
kpèègì árá7
straight tree
tree/wood:LF straight
îg bîn
child:LF other
another child
kpèègá )ì-árá7
the straight tree (lit. the
tree/wood HEAD-straight tree, the straight one)
ígà )ì-bîn
child HEAD-other
the other child (lit. the
child, the other one)
In the case of directional adverbs, the modifier has not been part of a noun phrase; it is
simply nominalized and may be placed in apposition with an antecedent noun.
fàárì
backwards
fâh )ì-fàárì
path HEAD-backwards
the path behind
Importantly, the first noun in apposition may be left implicit when )ì- attaches to and
promotes any modifier.
promoted modifier in apposition
with antecedent noun
promoted modifier with
implicit antecendent concept
kpáhlà )ì-kpèègá the wood stool
stool:LF tree/wood
HEAD-wood
kpèègá )ì-árá7 the straight tree
tree/wood HEAD-straight
)ì-árá7
HEAD-straight
that which is straight
fâh )ì-fàárì
the path behind
path HEAD-backwards
)ì-fàárì
HEAD-backwards
that which is behind
)ì-kpèègá
that which is wood
Sometimes, the antecedent concept is not mentioned at all in a discourse.
mù yáh-rì
)ì-dò’dò’
2SG take:PERF-PERF HEAD-attractive
you have taken that which is attractive
mú
2SG:OPT
do the right [thing] (lit. do the [thing]
with path!)
pá
)ì-má
fâh
do:OPT HEAD-with path
Still, whether or not an antecedent concept is explicitly mentioned, the modifier to which
)ì- is applied presupposes that such a concept is known to the listener; this lends it the
effect of definiteness. As evident in the examples throughout the present section, this
definiteness has been expressed in most glosses with ‘the … (one)’ and, when the
antecedent concept is implicit, ‘that which is…’ (i.e., the thing, the … one).
240
The possibility that )ì- is historically related to the noun )ígà ‘thing’ is entertained earlier
in this chapter, where )ì- is described along with other noun prefixes (5.1.2.4.12).
The modifier promoted by )ì- may be any one of the following:
- nouns (5.10.1);
- adjectives (5.10.2);
- directional adverbs (5.10.5);
- numerals (5.10.3);
- specifiers (5.10.4);
- prepositional phrases (5.10.6); and
- relative clauses (5.10.7).
5.10.1 Nouns
The prototypical application of the prefix )ì- is to a possessor noun in a possessive
construction.
noun phrase with
head noun and
modifier
promoted modifier in
apposition with
antecedent noun
promoted modifier
with antecedent concept
left implicit
îg vbìná
child:LF male(n.)
male child
ígà )ì-vbìná
child HEAD-male(n.)
the male child
HEAD-male(n.)
kpáhlì kpèègá
stool:LF tree/wood
wood stool
kpáhlà )ì-kpèègá
stool HEAD-tree/wood
the wood stool
HEAD-tree/wood
và’zì bá%à
leaf:LF tamarind
tamarind leaf
và’zá )ì-bá%à
leaf HEAD-tamarind
the tamarind leaf
HEAD-tamarind
yèr kwéé
clothing:LF Kwe
male child
yèrí )ì-kwéé
clothing HEAD-Kwe
the clothing of Kwe
)ì-kwéé
HEAD-male(n.)
that which is Kwe’s
)ì-vbìná
that which is male
)ì-kpèègá
that which is wood
)ì-bá%à
that which is tamarind
This strategy is also used to promote possessive pronouns (5.3.3.3, 6.1.4) to the status of
independent nouns:
và’zì )íí
leaf:LF of.me
my leaf
và’zá )ì-)íí
leaf HEAD-of.me
my leaf
241
)ì-)íí
HEAD-of.me
mine
yèr )óró
yèrí )ì-)óró
clothing:LF of.you (pl.) clothing HEAD-of.you (pl.)
your (pl.) clothing
your (pl.) clothing
)ì-)óró
HEAD-of.you (pl.)
yours (pl.)
5.10.2 Adjectives
Adjectives (8.4) promoted to the status of independent noun with )ì- are shown in the
following examples:
fâh árá7
path:LF straight
straight path
fâh )ì-árá7
path HEAD-straight
the straight path
)ì-árá7
HEAD-straight
that which is straight
béè gúrúrú
water:LF deep
deep water
byàá )ì-gúrúrú
water HEAD-deep
the deep water
)ì-gúrúrú
HEAD-deep
that which is deep
5.10.3 Numerals
Numerals (9.1) promoted to the status of independent noun with )ì- are shown in the
following examples:
fâh àtì
path two
two paths
fâh )ì-àtì
path HEAD-two
the two paths
)ì-àtì
HEAD-two
the two / both [of them]
Nmár zó%ôm
friend ten
ten friends
Nmárà )ì-zó%ôm
friend HEAD-ten
the ten friends
)ì-zó%ôm
HEAD-ten
the ten [of them]
5.10.4 Specifiers
Specifiers (9.2) promoted to the status of independent noun with )ì- are shown in the
following examples:
îg bîn
child:LF other
another child
ígà )ì-bîn
path HEAD-other
the other child
HEAD-two
)ì-bîn
Nmár náá
friend:LF this
this friend
Nmárà )ì-náá
friend HEAD-this
this friend
)ì-náá
HEAD-this
this one
the other
5.10.5 Directional adverbs
Directional adverbs (8.1.1), which (unlike other modifiers in this section) are not found in
noun phrases, may also be promoted to the status of independent noun with )ì-; this is
shown in the following examples:
242
fàárì
backwards
fâh )ì-fàárì
path HEAD-backwards
the path behind
)ì-fàárì
HEAD-backwards
that which is behind
kètí
upwards
tálè )ì-kètí
roof HEAD-upwards
the roof above
)ì-kètí
HEAD-upwards
that which is above
5.10.6 Prepositional phrases
Prepositional phrases (9.3) promoted to the status of independent noun with )ì- are
shown in the following examples:
lààbí bèè kpâh7gá
eat:VN:LV without saltiness
bland food
lààbá )ì-bèè kpâh7gá
path HEAD-without saltiness
the bland food
)ì-bèè kpâh7gá
HEAD-without saltiness
that which is bland
sòglí má syâh
eat:VN:LV with hand
work done by hand
sòglá )ì-má syâh
work HEAD-with hand
work done by hand
HEAD-with
)ì-má syâh
hand
that which is by hand
5.10.7 Relative clauses
Relative clauses (10.2.2.3), like the modifiers described above, may also be promoted to
the status of independent noun with )ì-. However, in contrast to the other modifiers, the
antecedent concept to which they refer must be expressed.
Example noun phrases comprised of a head noun and a dependent relative clause are as
follows:
)îg nàá pá-lé
thing:LF REL happen:PFV-3SG.REFL
a thing that happened
îg nàá nú-lé káá-mi
child:LF REL sleep:PERF-3SG.REFL head:2SG.POSS.INAL
a child that has gone to sleep before you do
When these relative clauses are promoted to the status of independent nouns, they are
expressed as follows:
)ígà )ì-nàá pá-lé
thing HEAD-REL happen:PFV-3SG.REFL
the thing that happened
243
ígà )ì-nàá nú-lé káá-mi
child HEAD-REL sleep:PERF-3SG.REFL head:2SG.POSS.INAL
the child that has gone to sleep before you do
5.11 Ideophonic nouns
Unlike the categories of adjective and adverb, in which ideophones are dominant,
ideophones are marginally represented among nouns.
There are no syntactic indicators which separate ideophonic nouns from other nouns, nor
are there any precise morphological criteria whereby they can be distinguished.
However, there is a strong correlation between non-canonical noun structure (5.1.1.1) and
ideophonic function (as described in 8.2). For example, species names and unusual items
whose phonological forms reflect perceptual realities are well-represented (and perhaps
even normative) among non-canonical nouns (examples are given in 5.11.1). In
particular, this is the case for noun stems which exhibit reduplication (5.11.2). In
addition to nouns which are inherently ideophonic, ideophonic nouns derived from
adjectives also exist (5.11.3).
5.11.1 Examples of ideophonic nouns
The sound symbolism characteristic of ideophones is easier to identify for some nouns
than for others. The clearest cases of ideophonic nouns are those which reflect a sound
which speakers of the language associate with a given item. In Mambay, two examples
of ideophonically transparent groups of nouns are musical instruments and birds, both of
whose names are often based on the sounds they make. Ideophonic names for musical
instruments include:
%èlè7-%élé7 bell
gàgàh7
drumstick
kâ7
drum snare
kókól
pìpùùrí
tí-tóró7
small drum
horn (instrument)
small bronze bell
Ideophonic names for birds include:
bàháà
díht
ná-gáhgù
ibis sp.
warbler
crow
kyóò-kòrí
hornbill sp.
tí-kà-ràhgú large heron
tí-tòòn`tíì
lark
5.11.2 Ideophonic nouns exhibiting reduplication
Nouns which exhibit segmental reduplication in their stem shapes are typically
ideophonic. As with other nouns, some reduplicated nouns have prefixes (usually ti-; see
5.1.2.4.11); however, the presence or absence of a prefix is not correlated to whether or
not reduplication has applied, and prefixes are excluded from the process.
Both partial and full segmental reduplication are attested; full reduplication is less
common, but easier to delimit and describe (as talked about in 8.4.2.1.2). For some fully
reduplicated nouns, as may be observed from the examples below, there seems to be a
semantic link to pairing and plurality. Interestingly, an independent source morpheme is
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not identifiable for any of these words. An exhaustive list of nouns in the data exhibiting
full segmental reduplication is given here.
Fully reduplicated nouns without prefixes are:
bègè-bégé
úrí-ùrì
dìgìm-dígím
%èlè7-%élé7
fùgù-fúgú
spleen, pancreas
piece
corn silk
bell
lungs
là-là
lèhrù-lèhrù
sìrìm-sìrìm
wàh-wàh
bud
large-eared person
dark colour
hubbub
tì-kòht-kôht
tì-kpúr-kpùr
tì-kpá%-kpà%
tí-lwáN-lwàN
hornbill sp.
weeding (first cycle)
malaria
grass and burr sp.
Fully reduplicated nouns with prefixes are:
tí-%úú-%ùù
tì-fyáh7-fyàh7
tì-gbúl-gbùl
tí-gbúm-gbùm
tí-kíí-kìì
owl sp.
minnow sp.
large air bubble in water
edible creeper sp.
whooping cough
A single kinship term, nánà T ‘maternal uncle,’ also shows segmental reduplication.
However, rather than reflecting any ideophonic quality, the repetition in this word is
better seen as the result of a universal repetitive tendency found in kinship terms (and,
surprisingly, a tendency which is otherwise unexploited in Mambay).
5.11.2.1 CV structure
CV shapes of the fully reduplicated nouns in the list above are as follows:
CVV+CVV
CVC+CVC
CV.CV+CV.CV
CV.CVC+CV.CVC
CVV.CV+CVV.CV
It should be noted that those forms with prefixes are limited to the reduplication of a
single heavy (two-mora; see 2.4.3) syllable, whereas most of the forms without prefixes
show the reduplication of two syllables. This may be significant, but it is also possible
that this pattern is due to the small sample size provided by the data.
5.11.2.2 Tone melodies
H-toned stems are absent among fully reduplicated nouns, but L-toned nouns are
reduplicated in a straightforward manner, e.g. sìrìm-sìrìm ‘dark colour.’
It is interesting that for other nouns, however, tone is not simply reduplicated along with
the segmental information. A number of reduplicated stems show a HL melody on the
reduplicated stem with the H on the first section and the L on the second, e.g. úrí-ùrì
‘piece’; conversely, several stems show a LH melody on the reduplicated stem with the L
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on the first section and the H on the second, e.g. dìgìm-dígím ‘corn silk.’ This tone
association, which differs from that found on morphologically simple nouns (4.2.1.1),
confirms that reduplicated nouns are not comprised of one long root.
Finally, the LHL melody on the word tì-kòht-kôht ‘hornbill sp.’ does not appear to be
the product of reduplication, but rather a simple tone melody associated with the word as
a whole.
5.11.3 Ideophonic nouns derived from adjectives
Four ideophonic nouns appear to have been derived from adjectives:
ideophone
derived noun
bùg-bùg
covered with a dusting of
something
bíì-búglá
a dusty littering of
something
kéè
brilliant, intense (red)
kíì-kéérú
tí-kéé-kèèrú
brilliance, intense red (n.)
firefly
ryá7-ryá7 long, straight and thin
tì-ryá7-ryà7
gourd sp. with long, thin
neck
While the derivational template is different for each example, the following structures are
evident in the derived forms:
1) an adjective base which has undergone an ideophonic plural
derivation (8.5.1) (bíì-búglá, kíì-kéérú);
2) presence of a noun prefix (5.1.2) (tí-kéé-kèèrú, tì-ryá7-ryà7);
3) presence of a fused noun suffix (5.1.3.2) (bíì-búglá, kíì-kéérú,
tí-kéé-kèèrú).
5.12 Proper names
Three types of proper names which are well-represented in the data are personal names
(5.12.1), clan names (5.12.2) and place names (5.12.3).
5.12.1 Personal names
There are three major categories of personal names in Mambay, each of which serves a
distinct function: canonical (5.12.1.1), situational (5.12.1.2), and religious (5.12.1.3).
Although most Mambay infants are given many names by relatives at a naming ceremony
(Qâh), only one name from each category is typically retained by unofficial consensus
and associated with a person for the remainder of his or her life. Of these three names,
one or two names from any of the three categories are applied to a person publicly. Place
names are additionally used to disambiguate between people whose publicly recognized
names are identical (5.12.1.4).
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Each name has a contrastive underlying tone melody. However, forceful or exasperated
vocatives are pronounced with a replacive H melody.
tâw
táw
(male canonical name)
hey, Taw!
pàná
páná
(female canonical name)
hey, Pana!
5.12.1.1 Canonical names
There are exactly ten Mambay canonical personal names (nà-wâgrá) in common usage.
Four of the names are for males, and six are for females. Birth order, parent’s nà-wâgrá,
and a child’s temperament are factors which play into the choice of the name. This name
also emphasizes a person’s membership in the ethnic group. The four canonical personal
names for males are:
kwéé
kà%á
kàmì
tâw
The six female canonical personal names are:
àrá
%èví
gaFm
)ìzá
pàná
nàgá
All of the canonical names contain two morae: either two light syllables or one heavy
syllable. While male canonical names exhibit four tone melodies (H, L, HL, LH), all of
the female canonical names are LH.
For married women, the augmentative/female prefix tí- (5.8.2) is normally used with the
name as a means of conveying respect:
tí-àrá
tí-%èví
tí-gaFm
tî’zá
tí-pàná
tí-nàgá
In the case of tî’zá in the list above, the source V)V sequence alternates idiosyncratically
with a glottalized vowel.
tí-
+
AUG
cf. tíAUG
+
)ízà
(Iza (female canonical name))
)ígà
thing
tî’zá
(Iza, respect form)
AUG:Iza
tí-)ígà
large thing
AUG-thing
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Like other nouns, canonical names have a linked form determined by a morphological
template (cf. 5.2.2.2).
%èv )íí
kà% )íí
kàm )íí
tî’zí )íí
my %èví
my kà%á
my kàmì
my tî’zá
However, when names are used in apposition (cf. 5.2.1), the free form rather than the
linked form of the name is found.
kàmì tâw
(name) (name)
cf. kàm )íí
(name) 1SG.POSS
5.12.1.2 Situational names
Situational names are given as a way of marking the circumstances surrounding a child’s
birth: for example, they may be used to respond to a lie or an insult, to complain, or to
show thankfulness. Most such names are unique to individuals, and they are formed in
the same way for males and females. One situational name comprised of a noun has been
attested (nà-kàrá ‘cane, guide’), but most names are comprised of a complete clause.
These include:
)à-záárà-nà cf. )à záárà nà
(lit. ‘did it [the disease] infect?’)
3:IMPFV cross/infect:VN QM
mì-víì-ní
cf. mì víì-ní
(lit. ‘I have been afraid’)
1SG be.afraid:PERF-1SG.REFL
ná-súú-zí
cf. ná súú-zí
(lit. ‘let’s [incl.] remember’)
1&2:OPT think/remember:OPT-PL
wàr-zèèlá
cf. Ø wàr zèèlá
(lit. ‘[only] lies remain’)
3:PFV remain:PFV lie:VN
zaFh-háà-lé
cf. zaFh háà-lé
(lit. ‘the ox has returned’)
ox come.back:PERF-1SG.REFL
5.12.1.3 Religious names
Almost all Mambay now claim adherence to either Islam or Christianity (1.1.3.4), and
this is reflected in the normative use of religious names. The Mambay associate Fulfulde
with Islam, and French with Christianity; consequently, it is from these two languages
that religious names are selected and applied along the religious lines within the ethnic
group. Interestingly, religious names tend to conform to the CV and tonal norms of the
Mambay canonical names (cf. 5.12.1.1): those names that are more than two syllables
often have short (two-mora) forms, and short names are pronounced with LH tone.
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Examples of names associated with each of the major religions are given here, and a short
form is provided when it has been attested:
“Islamic” name
short form
bùbá
fà%ìmádù
mùsá
nàfìsátù/nàfí
)ùsùmánù
—
fà%í
—
nàfí
mànú
“Christian” name
short form
)àgábùs
)èlìzàbêt
làzár
mùwíz
nàtànyêl
)àgá
)èlíz
—
—
nàtá
(male name)
(female name)
(male name)
(female name)
(male name)
(male name)
(female name)
(male name)
(male name)
(male name)
5.12.1.4 Personal names referring to place names
When two people in the same referential sphere have publicly recognized names (see
beginning of 5.12.1) that are identical, place names (cf. 5.12.3) are frequently used to
disambiguate between the two people.
kàmì )ìsá fígíl
kàmì )ìsá káà-kààlá
Kami Isa from Figuil
Kami Isa from Kaakaala
kwéé làzár bèè-sûm
kwéé làzár káà-gúúmà
Kwe Lazar from Beesum
Kwe Lazar from Kaaguuma
tí-pàn bèè-páhnà
tí-pàn káà-kyôNw
Tipana from Beepahna
Tipana from Kaakyo’w
5.12.2 Clan names
The names of major Mambay clans are as follows:
búrò
gáà
gyàhrá (cf. gyàhrá ‘termite sp.’)
kà%gà
kà-zû’
kò7gò7
kpí’rà / má7gà
kpùmú / tárà (cf. kpùmú ‘monkey’)
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lâh-zwâ’ (cf. zwâ’ ‘ancestry’)
làmbèy (cf. làmbùù ‘(village name)’)
nà-hî’ / táárè
nà-hîmgó (cf. hîmgó ‘owl’)
sáà-búúrà (cf. sáà inside, búúrà
‘wall, construction’)
sàgró
These clan names show a variety of tone melodies (L, HL, LH, HLH) and CV shapes,
and three of the names contain an obligatory prefix. Two of the clan names appear to be
compound nouns. While most of the names are semantically opaque, the meaning and/or
source of some of them may be determined.
Rather than plurals, the collective prefix tì- (5.6.1) is used with clan names.
the búrò clan
the sáà-búúrà clan
tì-búrò
tì-sáà-búúrà
5.12.3 Place names
Place names are varied in Mambay, but many settlement names are compounds formed
with káálà (linked form: káà) ‘head, reason’ and byàá (linked form: bèè) ‘water.’
Some of these names include:
káà-fí-fyàá
káà-fí-ná-rùù
káà-kààlá
káà-gbú7nì
káà-kû’
káà-kyôNw
káà-ná-gáhgù
káà-nà-wá’và
(cf. fí- ‘place of’; fyáà ‘moon, month, festival’)
(cf. fí- ‘place of’; ná-rùù ‘(personal name)’)
(cf. kààlá ‘axe’)
(cf. gbú7nì ‘shack’)
(cf. kû’ ‘sand’)
(cf. kyôNw ‘warthog, pig’)
(cf. ná-gáhgù ‘crow’)
(cf. nà-wá’và ‘bush sp.’)
bèè-kàhlí
bèè-páhnà
bèè-sòòlì
bèè-sûm
bèè-zwâ’
(cf. kà-kàhlí ‘throw-knife (northern dialects)’)
(cf. páhnà ‘mud, clay’)
(cf. ?)
(cf. súmù ‘night’?)
(cf. zwâ’ ‘ancestry’)
5.13 Locative function of nouns
As is the case for prepositions (9.3), nouns may be used to indicate location (for formal
differences between the two word classes, see 9.3.3). Like objects of transitive verbs
(7.3.2.1.2), nouns functioning locatively are morphologically unmarked complements
which follow a verb.
Ø yàà fíílò
3:PFV stay:PFV house
cf. Ø kó fíílò
3:PFV see:PFV house
he/she/it stayed at the house
he/she/it saw the house
250
Importantly, and similar to what is found in Mundang and some related languages (Elders
2000:253–4, Welmers 1973:216–7; cf. Ruelland 1992:230–1), there is no formal
difference between the two following a transitive verb. This may lead to ambiguity
which is only resolved in the referential realm, as the following example shows:
Ø làà-rì túrà
3:PFV eat:PERF-PERF millet
he/she/it has eaten millet / he/she/it has eaten
at the millet (i.e., among the millet plants)
When an object and locational complement are found in the same clause, the object
comes first.
Ø làà túrà )áà
3:PFV eat:PFV millet beans
he/she/it has eaten millet among the bean plants
Ø làà )áà túrà
3:PFV eat:PFV beans millet
he/she/it has eaten beans among the millet plants
Although a wide range of nouns could be used in a locative function, three categories in
particular are commonly used: locations in the referential realm, inherently locative
nouns, and body parts used in a locative capacity.
Examples of locations in the referential realm (see also 5.12.3) are as follows:
bèè kàhbí
fíílò
káà-kààlá
vbaFglà
zé’gà
(river name)
[a particular] house / home
(village name)
(fields near Kaakaala)
[a particular] mountain; Mambay Mountain
Ø yàà fíílò
3:PFV stay:PFV house
he/she/it stayed at the house
Ø yàà káà-kààlá
3:PFV stay:PFV Kaakaala
he/she/it stayed in Kaakaala
Ø yàà zé’gà
3:PFV stay:PFV mountain
he/she/it stayed on the mountain /
he/she/it stayed on Mambay Mountain /
All of the inherently locative nouns in the data are as follows:
fà-gbàh7
fìn
gâh
kaF’
outside
toward
midst
here
251
kô’
kuF’
làí
sígzò
there
there
left side
middle
Ø yàà sígzì fíílò
3:PFV stay:PFV middle:LF house
he/she/it stayed in the middle of the house
Ø yàà gâh )éré
3:PFV stay:PFV midst:LF 3PL.POSS
he/she/it stayed among them (lit. in their midst)
Ø yàà kà’ náá
3:PFV stay:PFV here this
he/she/it stayed right here
That these words are nouns rather than prepositions is proven by their compatibility with
dependent noun phrase elements such as possessor nouns, possessive pronouns and
specifiers. This is shown in the example sentences above.
Body parts commonly used in a locative capacity are as follows:
noun
body part gloss
locative gloss
dágà
dwaF’
fààlá
fínù
)ínù
káálà
mùhná
Nmàhná
nììnú
nínù
syâh
tèNnú
tìnú
vbyâh
mouth, edge
belly
back, skin, place
forehead, front
body, self
head, reason
vulva
leg, foot
eye, face, life
eye, face, life
hand, finger
side
front, genitals
cheek
by, at, at the tip of
centre
at, at the back of, behind
in front of, facing
at the place of, in the presence of
on, in reference to, in order to, because
at the centre of
at the foot of
under, at the bottom of, for, because
in the presence of
for
beside
at the front of
on the flank of
These body parts are a subset of the nouns which take inalienable pronominal possession
(5.3.4.1). When they are used in a locative capacity, they are necessarily possessed (cf.
5.3.3.3.1). The possessor may be a noun or an inalienable possessive pronoun (cf.
5.3.4.2.2).
Ø yàà káà zé’gà
3:PFV stay:PFV head:LF mountain
he/she/it stayed on top of the mountain
252
Ø yàà káálé
he/she/it stayed on top of it
3:PFV stay:PFV head:3SG.C/I.INAL mountain
5.14 Noun phrases
Noun phrases are constructions involving a head noun and, potentially, additional
elements. Like clauses (10.1.1) and prepositional phrases (9.3), noun phrases are leftheaded in Mambay. The following noun phrase constructions are used commonly:
noun + noun (including possessive pronouns and noun phrases)
noun + adjective
noun + numeral
noun + specifier
noun + prepositional phrase
noun + relative clause
In the subsections below, examples of these constructions are provided.
5.14.1 Noun + noun
Noun + noun phrases, described here as possessive constructions, are the most common
type of noun phrase in Mambay (5.3). They are composed of a possessed head noun
followed by a dependent possessor. While the possessed noun exhibits a linked form
(5.2.1), the possessor’s form is free (i.e., unmarked).
chicken bone
hûg
kágà
bone:LF chicken
In addition to typical nouns, possessive pronouns and possessive constructions may fill
the possessor slot of a possessive construction.
my bone
hûg
)íí
bone:LF 1SG.POSS
hûg
kâg
só’lí
)íí bone of my large chicken
bone:LF chicken:LF greatness:LF 1SG.POSS
5.14.2 Noun + adjective
Noun + adjective phrases are formed in the same way as possessive constructions (5.3,
5.14.1): while the head noun exhibits a linked form (5.2), the dependent adjective is
unmarked.
îg
child:LF
short child
gbéndén
short
253
5.14.3 Noun + numeral
There are two types of noun + numeral phrases; these differ only in the form of the first
noun. In typical count constructions (9.1.1.1), a free (unmarked) noun is followed by a
numeral.
sììrá
year
two years
àtì
two
When the noun + numeral phrase has a definite value (9.1.1.1), the head noun appears
with a linked form (5.2).
the two years
sìì
àtì
year:LF two
5.14.4 Noun + specifier
Noun + specifier phrases are composed of the linked form (5.2) of a noun followed by a
specifier (9.2).
sé%gì
clay.cooking.pot:LF
that clay cooking pot
núú
that
5.14.5 Noun + prepositional phrase
In phrases composed of noun + prepositional phrase, the head noun appears in its linked
form (5.2), and the prepositional phrase (9.3) is unmarked.
)îg
thing:LF
thing inside the nose; nose ring
sáà
wáà
inside nose
5.14.6 Noun + relative clause
Noun + relative clause phrases are composed of the linked form (5.2) of a noun followed
by a relative clause headed by the relativizer nàá (10.2.2.3).
)îg
thing:LF
a thing that happened
nàá pá-lé
REL happen-3SG:REFL
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6
PRONOUNS
6
PRONOUNS
Because pronouns play a major role in verbal inflection (cf. 7.4), the description of
pronouns in Mambay provides a suitable transition between the description of nouns
(Chapter 5) and that of verbs (Chapter 7). Most of the present chapter is devoted to the
cataloguing and description of personal pronouns (6.1), and a final section (6.2) presents
interrogative pronouns.
6.1 Personal pronouns
In Mambay, thirteen pronoun slots are grammaticalized based on person, number and
related values (6.1.1). Pronouns are used to mark subjects (6.1.2), objects (6.1.3) and
possessors (6.1.4). Each category of personal pronoun is found with a corresponding set
of emphatic pronouns (6.1.5).
The table on the following page provides an overview of Mambay personal pronouns:
255
Mambay personal pronouns
mì
mìí
mìí
míì
mí
mí
)íní
)íí
-í
2SG
mù
mù
mù
mùú
mùú
múù
mú
-mi
)íním
)ám
-mi
1&2SG
nà
nà
nà
nàá
nàá
náà
ná
ná
)íná
)áná
-ná
3SG
dú
)áà~
híì
—
)úùrú~
)úùwú
- `rú~
- `wú
má
- `rú~
- `wú
)éé
-lé
lé
)ílé
)à / Ø )àá
3SG.IMPERS )à
alienable
reflexive
basic
Perfective
tenses
Ø
)àá~
hìí
inalienable
mì
Optative
mì
person
Imperfective
1SG
independent
negative nonPerfective
possessive
negative
Perfective
object
Indicative
Irrealis
subject
3SG.COREF
lè
lè
lè
lèé
lèé
léè
1PL
rì
rì
rì
rìí
rìí
ríì
rí
rí
)írí
)írí
-rí
2PL
rò~)ò
rò~)ò
rò~)ò
ròó
ròó
róò
ró~)ó
ró
)író
)óró
-ró
1&2PL
nànzà nà
nà
nàá
nàá
náà
ná
zìnzá~
-zíná
)ínzínzá~
)ínzá
)ánzá
-zínzá~
-zíná
3PL
dùgzí
)àá~
hìí
)áà~
híì
dùgú
—
dùgú
dùgú
)éré
-ré
Ø
3PL.IMPERS )à
3PL.COREF
rè
rè
)à / Ø )àá
rè
rèé
rèé
réè
256
má
ré
)íré
6.1.1 Pronoun slots
Thirteen pronoun slots are grammaticalized based on person, number and related values.
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.IMPERS
3SG.COREF
3GEN
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.IMPERS
3PL.COREF
first person singular
second person singular
first-and-second person “singular”
third person singular
third person impersonal singular
third person co-referential singular
third person generic
first person plural (exclusive)
second person plural
first-and-second person plural
third person plural
third person impersonal plural
third person co-referential plural
This chart shows that in addition to distinctions among first, second and third person and
between singular and plural, the following pronominal categories are grammaticalized in
Mambay: first-and-second (6.1.1.1); impersonal (6.1.1.2); generic (6.1.1.3); and coreference (6.1.1.4).
Instances of formal redundancy between some of the slots are summarized in 6.1.1.5. In
particular, the third person generic (omitted in the main chart on the previous page; see
6.1.1.3) and third person impersonal slots are marginal, since in most cases they share the
form of other third person pronouns. Taking this into account, the basic pronoun system
of Mambay may be schematized as follows:
The basic pronoun system of Mambay
1SG
1PL
2SG
2PL
1&2SG
1&2PL
3SG
3PL
3SG.COREF 3PL.COREF
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6.1.1.1 First-and-second (1&2)
First-and-second (1&2) person pronouns are “inclusive,” that is, they involve (at least) a
speaker and an addressee. Mambay stands apart from most closely related languages and
other languages in the region not in that it has inclusive pronouns, but in that this slot is
distinguished for “singular” and plural (Duru / Yag Dii in north-central Cameroon also
exhibits this system; see Bohnhoff 1986:104). 1&2 singular pronouns refer to the
minimal communication dyad, namely, a speaker and an addressee.
nà
1&2SG.INDEP
kpáhlì
stool:LF
sáà
mâh
we (you (sg.) and I) are in the granary
inside granary
)áná
1&2SG.POSS
our (your (sg.) and my) stool
From a numeric point of view, these pronouns are dual rather than singular. However, in
the pronominal system, they pattern as singular by virtue of a grammaticalized opposition
to the 1&2 plural pronouns (cf. Thomas 1955:207–8, Corbett 2000:166–9, Cysouw
2003:85–90, 260–4 and 2005:5). 1&2 plural pronouns refer to a communication dyad
with a speaker, an addressee, and at least one other participant. The “other(s)” may be
aligned with either the speaker or the addressee.
nànzà
1&2PL.INDEP
kpáhlì
stool:LF
sáà
mâh
we (you and we / you (pl.) and I) are in the granary
inside granary
)ánzá
1&2PL.POSS
our (your and our / your (pl.) and my) stool
In the above examples, it is evident that the form of the 1&2 singular is similar to that of
the plural (this is also the case in Duru; see Bohnhoff 1986:104, 129 footnote 3). In fact,
for verbal subject pronouns, 1&2 singular and plural forms are identical; the singular vs.
plural distinction is instead formalized on verbs through the use of the verbal plurality
affix -zí (7.3.1.1) and singular vs. plural reflexive suffixes (7.3.1.2) on verb stems.
nà
1&2
hèè
climb:PFV
we (you (sg.) and I) climbed
nà
1&2
hèè-zí
climb:PFV-PL
we (you and we / you (pl.) and I) climbed
nàá
1&2:IRR
hèè-ná
we (you (sg.) and I) will climb
climb:FUT-1&2SG.REFL
nàá
1&2:IRR
hèè-zìnzá
we (you and we / you (pl.) and I) will climb
climb:FUT-1&2PL.REFL
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In all cases where there is a formal singular vs. plural distinction, the plural counterpart
contains a morpheme with the consonant z. This underlines the 1&2 plural’s formal
alignment with other explicit plural marking in the language, which is also typically
found with z (5.5, 5.9.2.1, 7.3.1.1).
An alternative presentation of the same system using the more familiar distinctions of
inclusive vs. exclusive and singular vs. dual vs. plural has also been considered. In such
a presentation, the 1&2 singular slot shown above would be labelled “first person
inclusive dual” and the 1&2 plural slot would be labelled “first person inclusive plural”;
also—and importantly—the first person plural slot described in this study would be recast
as “first person exclusive plural.” Such a description is provided for a parallel system in
Margi (a Chadic language of Nigeria) by Hoffman (1963:72ff.). The two presentations
may be compared as follows:
Presentation with 1&2SG/PL slots
Presentation using familiar distinctions
1SG
1PL
1SG
1DU.INCL 1PL.INCL
1PL.EXCL
2SG
2PL
2SG
2PL
1&2SG
1&2PL
3SG
3PL
3SG
3PL
3SG.COREF
3PL.COREF
3SG.COREF
3PL.COREF
The latter presentation, which relies on more familiar distinctions, falls short in that it sets
up a dual vs. plural opposition, even though a “dual” category is not grammaticalized
elsewhere in the Mambay pronoun system (or anywhere in the language, for that matter;
see Thomas 1955:205, Plank 1996 and Cysouw 2003:87–8). In contrast, the presentation
with 1&2SG/PL slots recognizes a communication dyad as a basic person category; as
such, it brings out symmetry in the applicability of plurality to 1&2 person pronouns and
inherently singular pronouns (Greenberg 1988:3–4). The semantic confusion that arises
from the labelling of a “you-and-I” (i.e., 1&2SG) pronoun as singular can be addressed by
considering this pronoun, along with the inherently singular pronouns, as “minimal”;
remaining pronouns could be considered “augmented,” since they all involve the addition
of “other” persons to “minimal” slots (Bohnhoff 1986:104, Beavon 1986:175, Corbett
2000:199–9, Cysouw 2003:85–90, 2005:5).
259
6.1.1.2 Impersonal
For third person singular as well as third person plural pronouns, there is a partial default
vs. impersonal contrast. Whereas default third person pronouns make explicit reference
to a discourse participant, impersonal pronouns are used when a participant is not in view
(i.e., is backgrounded or irrelevant) but the grammatical context still requires a pronoun.
The default vs. impersonal distinction is formalized only for independent pronouns
(6.1.2.1) used as subjects of verbless attributive clauses (cf. 8.4.1) and for possessive
pronouns (6.1.4).
An illustration of this distinction in verbless clauses is as follows:
default third person pronouns:
dú
ká
párà
3SG.INDEP ATTRIB goodness
he/she/it is good
dùgzí
ká
párà
3PL.INDEP ATTRIB goodness
they are good
impersonal third person pronouns:
)à
3IMPERS
ká
ATTRIB
párà
goodness
)à
míz-míz
3SG.IMPERS drizzly
it (impers.) is good (Fr. c’est bon) /
they (impers.) are good (Fr. ce sont bons)
it is drizzly
For third person possessive pronouns, impersonal pronouns pattern with co-reference
pronouns rather than the default third person pronoun set (see 6.1.1.5.2).
default third person pronouns:
bèè
water:LF
)úùrú
3SG.POSS
his/her/its water
bèè
water:LF
dùgú
3PL.POSS
their water
fààrú
back/skin:3SG.POSS.INAL
his/her/its back/skin (inal.)
impersonal and co-referential third person pronouns:
bèè
water:LF
)éé
his/her/its (coref.) water / its (impers.) water
3SG.COREF/IMPERS.POSS
260
bèè
water:LF
)éré
their (coref./impers.) water
3PL.COREF/IMPERS.POSS
fààlé
back/skin:3SG.POSS.INAL
his/her/its back/skin (inal.) (coref./impers.) /
afterward (cf. 5.13)
6.1.1.3 Generic
A marginal generic third person category in Mambay is expressed using the third person
generic pronoun duFg ‘one, they, people.’ This pronoun differs from all other twelve
pronominal person slots in that it is not found with its own distinctive pronoun forms
(i.e., subject, object and possessive); instead, it patterns syntactically like a subject noun
or an emphatic subject pronoun (6.1.5.1), since it is found as the subject in clauses which
are already accompanied by a third person (singular or plural) pronoun. In the following
examples, the generic third person pronoun duFg is compared with the formally similar
emphatic forms of the third person singular and plural:
duFg
3GEN
one will climb
)àá hèè
3:IRR climb:FUT
dúù
)àá hèè
3SG.EMPH 3:IRR climb:FUT
he/she/it will climb
dùgzí
)àá hèè-zí
3PL.EMPH 3:IRR climb:FUT-PL
they will climb
Other examples showing the generic third person pronoun (always patterning
syntactically as an emphatic subject pronoun) are as follows:
duFg sáà
3GEN inside
rò’rá
word
one is caught up with an issue (lit. one is inside a word)
duFg Ø
héérà
3GEN 3:REAL climb:VN
one climbs
duFg má
hèè
3GEN 3:OPT climb:OPT
one must climb
duFg híì
nàh
kpáávìrá
té%é
3GEN 3:NONPFV.NEG take.out:VN plant.bulb.sp. all
one doesn’t take out all the plant bulbs
261
yá
NEG
Because the generic third person pronoun bears a non-specific referential value (‘one,
they, people’), it is never found with Perfective verb forms, which signal events that have
taken place in conjunction with specific subjects (6.1.2.2).
*duFg Ø
hèè
3GEN 3:REAL climb:PFV
*one climbed
Because (as mentioned at the beginning of this section) the third person generic pronoun
does not have its own distinctive pronoun forms, it is not discussed in the sections which
deal with pronoun forms.
6.1.1.4 Co-reference
In addition to the person-related pronominal categories already catalogued in this section,
Mambay makes use of a system of co-reference with third person pronouns. This system,
which helps users of the language to keep track third person referents, has been described
in Anonby (2005:27–44). In the present section, generalities of co-reference in Mambay
are laid out.
Co-reference pronouns are used to show that a real-world referent is the same as one
which has been previously designated. In contrast to anaphoric demonstratives (9.2.2),
which are used to refer back over longer distances of text, co-reference functions within a
clause.
Although they comprise a single formal set in Mambay, co-reference pronouns are used
in two capacities: reflexive and logophoric (cf. Wiesemann 1986:438, Kutsch Lojenga
2007:143–5). Reflexive co-reference pronouns are used within a simple clause to refer
back to the subject of the clause. They are represented by reflexive object pronouns
(6.1.3.2) and possessive pronouns (6.1.4).
third person reflexive object pronoun:
)à
kòg
3:IMPFV see:VN
)ílé
he/she/it sees himself/herself/itself
body:3SG.COREF/IMPERS.POSS
cf. third person non-reflexive object pronoun:
he/she/iti sees him/her/itj
)à
kôg-rú
3:IMPFV see:VN.3SG.OBJ
third person co-referential possessive pronoun:
Ø
hàh7gí Qîh
3:PFV forget:PFV name:LF
)éé
he/she/iti forgot his/her/itsi name
3SG.C/I.POSS
cf. third person non co-referential possessive pronoun:
262
Ø
hàh7gí Qîh
3:PFV forget:PFV name:LF
)úùrú
3SG.POSS
he/she/iti forgot his/her/itsj name
For their part, logophoric co-reference pronouns in Mambay show that a participant in an
Indicative complement clause refers to the same participant as the subject of the main
clause (cf. Watters 2000:225). Specifically, it is main-clause verbs of “speech, thoughts,
feelings, or general state of consciousness” followed by the complementizer bè (10.2.2.1)
which trigger the use of logophoric pronouns in the complement clause (Clements
1975:141, cf. Hagège 1974:290). When default (non co-reference) pronouns are used in
this context, it signals a switch in pronominal reference. A pair of examples contrasting
the use of logophoric co-reference pronouns with default pronouns is as follows:
logophoric co-reference pronoun:
Ø
ró’
bè
lè
vè
3:PFV say:PFV QUOT 3SG.COREF go:PFV
dâg
byàá
mouth:LF water
he/she/iti said that he/she/iti went to the water’s edge
cf. default (here: switch-reference) pronoun:
Ø
ró’
bè
Ø
3:PFV say:PFV QUOT 3:PFV
vè
go:PFV
dâg
byàá
mouth:LF water
he/she/iti said that he/she/itj went to the water’s edge
Unlike third person subject pronouns found in Indicative complement clauses, which
exhibit a logophoric/default contrast, those found in Optative complement clauses are
invariable.
Ø
ró’
bè
má
vè-lé
dâg
byàá
3:PFV say:PFV QUOT 3SG:OPT go:OPT-3SG.REFL mouth:LF water
he/she/iti said that he/she/iti/j must go to the water’s edge
Because the domain of logophoric co-reference is within a single main clause (including
embedded complement clauses), referentially identical subjects in juxtaposed main
clauses are marked with a default pronoun.
Ø
ró’
)ígà,
3:PFV say:PFV thing
Ø
vè
3:PFV go:PFV
dâg
byàá
mouth:LF water
he/she/iti said something [and] he/she/iti went to the water’s edge
6.1.1.5 Formal redundancy between categories
Of the thirteen pronominal person slots, five do not share forms with other slots: 1SG,
2SG, 3GEN, 1PL and 2PL. First-and-second person (6.1.1.5.1) and most third person
263
(6.1.1.5.2) pronouns, in contrast, exhibit partial formal redundancy with other pronouns
in the same group.
6.1.1.5.1 First-and-second (1&2) person pronouns
The distinction between first-and-second person singular vs. plural (6.1.1.1) is absent on
(non-emphatic) verbal subject pronouns (6.1.2). Instead, it is formalized on verbs
through the use of the plurality affix -zí (7.3.1.1) and singular vs. plural reflexive suffixes
(7.3.1.2) with verb stems.
nà
1&2
hèè
climb:PFV
we (you (sg.) and I) climbed
nà
1&2
hèè-zí
climb:PFV-PL
we (you and we / you (pl.) and I) climbed
nàá
1&2:IRR
hèè-ná
we (you (sg.) and I) will climb
climb:FUT-1&2SG.REFL
nàá
1&2:IRR
hèè-zìnzá
we (you and we / you (pl.) and I) will climb
climb:FUT-1&2PL.REFL
This singular vs. plural distinction is, however, marked on all other first-and-second
person pronoun forms (6.1.1.1).
6.1.1.5.2 Third person pronouns
There are two sets of third person pronouns which exhibit partial formal redundancy:
third person singular with third person plural, and third person (sg./pl.) with third person
impersonal (sg./pl.).
Similarly to what happens with first-and-second person pronouns (6.1.1.5.1), a distinction
of plurality is not marked on (non-logophoric) third person verbal subject pronouns;
rather, it is formalized through the use of the inflectional plurality affix -zí (7.3.1.1)
and/or the third person singular and plural reflexive suffixes (7.3.1.2) on verbs.
)àá hèè
3:IRR climb:FUT
he/she/it will climb
cf. )àá hèè-zí
3:IRR climb:FUT-PL
they will climb
= )àá hèè-ré
3:IRR climb:FUT-3PL.REFL
they will climb
264
= )àá hèè-zì-ré
they will climb
3: IRR climb:FUT-PL-3PL.REFL
(For a discussion of the function of these affixes in plural Future forms, see 7.3.1.2 and
7.4.1.2.1).
The distinction between default and impersonal third person pronouns is formalized only
for independent pronouns and possessive pronouns (6.1.2.1, 6.1.1.2).
dú
ká
párà
he/she/it is good
3SG.INDEP ATTRIB goodness
ká
párà
it (impers.) is good
goodness
)à
3IMPERS
ATTRIB
bèè
water:LF
)úùrú ~ )úùwú his/her/its water
3SG.POSS
bèè
water:LF
)éé
his/her/its (coref./impers.) water
3SG.COREF/IMPERS.POSS
6.1.2 Subject pronouns
There are seven sets of subject pronouns:
- independent (6.1.2.1);
- Perfective (6.1.2.2);
- Imperfective (6.1.2.3);
- affirmative Indicative Irrealis (Future) (6.1.2.4);
- negative Perfective (6.1.2.6);
- negative non-Perfective (6.1.2.6); and
- Optative (6.1.2.7).
As this list shows, formal diversity among subject pronouns is largely a reflection of
mood, realis value and aspect marking (cf. Wiesemann 1986:x, Burquest 1986:73–80).
Distinctions are conveyed by means of contrastive vowel length, tone, and the patterning
of third person pronouns.
The structure of first and second person subject pronouns is regular. Pronoun forms
which pattern together for the first and second person are 1) Indicative Realis, 2)
Indicative Irrealis and 3) Optative.
1. Indicative Realis pronouns represent independent pronouns, Perfective
tenses and the Imperfective, and exhibit a common CV structure.
265
2. Indicative Irrealis pronouns, which represent the affirmative Indicative
Irrealis (i.e., Future) as well as negative Perfective and negative nonPerfective clauses, share a CVV structure; while the tone melody for the
affirmative Indicative Irrealis and negative Perfective pronouns is HL,
that of the negative non-Perfective pronouns is LH.
3. Optative pronouns exhibit an invariable CV structure, whether affirmative
or negative.
These patterns are summarized in the following table:
First and second person subject pronouns
subject pronoun type
Indicative
Realis
Indicative
Irrealis
structure
independent
CV
Perfective tenses
CV
Imperfective
CV
affirmative Indicative Irrealis
CV V
negative Perfective
CV V
negative non-Perfective
CV V
Optative
CV
The patterning of third person pronouns is more complex, and distinguishes each of the
seven sets. This topic is discussed in the subsections below for each of the sets, but
patterns are summarized and presented as a reference in the following table:
266
Third person subject pronouns
subject pronoun type
Indicative
Realis
structure and patterning
independent
dú / dùgzí (default), )à (impersonal);
appears when there is no nominal subject
Perfective tenses
zero pronoun (Ø)
Imperfective
)à; appears when there is no nominal subject
affirmative Indicative Irrealis )àá; obligatory pronoun
Indicative
Irrealis
negative Perfective
)àá; obligatory pronoun; optional hìí form
negative non-Perfective
)áà; obligatory pronoun; optional híì form
Optative
má; obligatory pronoun
In fast speech, the second person plural pronouns (independent form: rò) with a CV
shape are alternately realized with a glottal onset.
rò
1SG
làà
)ígà
eat:PFV thing
you (pl.) ate something
= )ò
1SG
làà
)ígà
eat:PFV thing
you (pl.) ate something
This reduction is not attested with the structurally similar first person plural (independent
form: rì) and logophoric third person plural (independent form: rè) pronouns.
Paradigms and illustrative examples of each pronoun set are given in the sections below
(6.1.2.1–6.1.2.7), and references to the verbal forms with which these pronouns are used
are also provided. Emphatic subject pronouns corresponding to each subject pronoun
category are discussed in 6.1.5.
6.1.2.1 Independent
Independent pronouns, which typically exhibit a CV structure, are as follows:
267
Independent pronouns
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.IMPERS
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.IMPERS
3PL.COREF
mì
mù
nà
dú
)à
lè
rì
rò ~ )ò
nànzà
dùgzí
)à
rè
Independent pronouns are most commonly found as subjects of verbless clauses (10.1.3).
mù ká
párà
2SG ATTRIB goodness
you are good
mì sáà
mâh
1SG inside granary
I am in the granary
Third person independent pronouns exhibit a distinction between default subjects, which
use the pronouns dú (sg.) / dùgzí (pl.), and impersonal subjects, which use the pronoun
)à.
dú
ká
párà
3SG.INDEP ATTRIB goodness
he/she/it is good
dùgzí
ká
párà
3PL.INDEP ATTRIB goodness
they are good
)à
3IMPERS
it (impers.) is good / they (impers.) are good
ká
ATTRIB
párà
goodness
The third person independent pronouns appear only when there is no nominal subject.
dú
sáà
mâh
3SG.INDEP inside granary
he/she/it is in the granary
)à
3IMPERS
it (impers.) is good / they (impers.) are good
ká
ATTRIB
párà
goodness
268
cf. verbless clauses with a nominal subject:
ígà
child
sáà
mâh
inside granary
a child is in the granary
òòlá
ká
párà
a wooden club is good
wooden.club ATTRIB goodness
In addition to their central use as subjects of verbless clauses, independent pronouns are
found as complements of the prepositions má ‘with, and’ and bèè ‘without’ (9.3).
má mú
with 2SG
with you (sg.) / and you (sg.)
bèè
mú
without 2SG
without you (sg.)
The preposition yâg ‘to, for,’ in contrast, is accompanied by object pronouns (6.1.3).
6.1.2.2 Perfective tenses
Pronouns used with Perfective tenses (7.4.1.1.1) typically exhibit a CV structure.
Pronous used with Perfective tenses
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF
mì
mù
nà
Ø
lè
rì
rò ~ )ò
nà
Ø
rè
The following examples illustrate the use of these pronouns:
mì hèè
1SG climb:PFV
I climbed
rò làà
)ígà
2PL eat:PFV thing
you (pl.) ate something
269
As is often the case in verbal paradigms (Dimmendaal 2000:175, Cysouw 2003:61), the
third person is marked with a zero pronoun with Perfective tenses in Mambay. This is the
only pronoun category which is always unmarked, and it is significant because third
person Perfective forms are by far the most commonly used pronouns in discourse (in
particular, narrative discourse) in Mambay (Anonby 2005:29–32).
Ø
hèè
3:PFV climb:PFV
he/she/it climbed
Ø
làà-zí
)ígà
3:PFV eat:PFV-PL thing
they ate something
This contrasts with Independent (6.1.2.1) and Imperfective (6.1.2.3) third person subject
pronouns, which are only dropped when a nominal subject is used.
6.1.2.3 Imperfective
Pronouns found with Imperfective verb forms (7.4.1.1.2) typically exhibit a CV structure.
Imperfective pronouns
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF
mì
mù
nà
)à / Ø
lè
rì
rò ~ )ò
nà
)à / Ø
rè
The following examples illustrate the use of these pronouns:
mì héérà
1SG climb:VN
I climb / I am climbing
rò làà
)ígà
2PL eat:VN thing
you (pl.) eat something /
you (pl.) are eating something
As is the case with Independent pronouns used as the subject of verbless clauses
(6.1.2.1), the third person Imperfective pronoun appears only when there is no nominal
subject.
270
he/she/it climbs / he/she/it is climbing
)à
héérà
3:IMPFV climb:VN
cf. Imperfective clauses with a nominal subject:
gaFm
Gam
Ø
héérà
3:REAL climb:VN
Gam climbs / Gam is climbing
6.1.2.4 Indicative Irrealis (Future)
Affirmative Indicative Irrealis pronouns, which are found with Future verb forms
(7.4.1.2), exhibit a CV V structure.
Indicative Irrealis (Future) pronouns
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
The following examples illustrate the use of these pronouns:
mìí
hèè
1SG:IRR climb:FUT
I will climb; I will climb!
)àá hèè-zí
3:IRR climb:FUT-PL
they will climb; they will climb!
élà
)àá hèè-zí
children 3:IRR climb:FUT-PL
the children will climb; the children
will climb!
271
6.1.2.5 Negative Perfective
Pronouns found with negative Perfective verb forms (7.5.1) also exhibit a CV V structure.
Negative Perfective pronouns
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá ~ hìí
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá ~ hìí
rèé
The following examples illustrate the use of these pronouns:
mìí
hèè
yá
1SG:PFV.NEG climb:PFV NEG
I did not climb
ròó
hèè-zí
yá
2PL:PFV.NEG climb:PFV-PL NEG
you (pl.) did not climb
For the third person negative Perfective pronoun, either )àá or hìí may be used; although
the issue has been investigated, no differences in usage patterns or meaning have been
established.
)àá
hèè
yá
3:PFV.NEG climb:PFV NEG
he/she/it did not climb
= hìí
hèè
yá
3:PFV.NEG climb:PFV NEG
he/she/it did not climb
272
6.1.2.6 Negative non-Perfective
Pronouns found with negative non-Perfective constructions (7.5.1) exhibit a CV V
structure.
Negative non-Perfective pronouns
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF
míì
múù
náà
)áà ~ híì
léè
ríì
róò
náà
)áà ~ híì
réè
The following examples illustrate the use of these pronouns:
I do not climb / I am not climbing
míì
héérà
yá
1SG:NONPFV.NEG climb:VN NEG
múù
sáà
2SG:NONPFV.NEG inside
mâh
yá you are not in the granary
granary NEG
For the third person negative non-Perfective pronoun, either )áà or híì may be used;
although the issue has been investigated, no differences in usage patterns or meaning
have been established.
híì
héérà
3:NONPFV.NEG climb:VN
NEG
= )áà
héérà
3:NONPFV.NEG climb:VN
NEG
he/she/it is not climbing
yá
he/she/it is not climbing
yá
273
6.1.2.7 Optative
Pronouns found with Optative verb forms (7.4.2) exhibit a CV structure.
Optative pronouns
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró ~ )ó
ná
má
má
The following examples illustrate the use of these pronouns:
mú
2SG:OPT
hèè
climb:OPT
[you (sg.)] climb!
má
3:OPT
hèè-zí
climb:OPT
they must climb!
Third person Optative pronouns do not exhibit a basic vs. logophoric distinction (6.1.1.4);
their form má is invariable.
ró’
bè
má
Ø
3:PFV say:PFV QUOT 3SG:OPT
vè-lé
dâg
byàá
go:OPT-3SG.REFL mouth:LF water
he/she/iti said that he/she/iti/j must go to the water’s edge
6.1.3 Object pronouns
There are two categories of object pronouns in Mambay: basic (6.1.3.1) and reflexive
(6.1.3.2).
6.1.3.1 Basic object pronouns
Basic object pronouns are as follows:
274
Basic object pronouns
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF
mí
-mi
ná
- `rú
lé
rí
ró
zìnzá ~ -zíná
dùgú
ré
Object pronouns are typically found immediately following transitive verb stems (cf.
7.3.2.1.2). Examples include:
mì kòg
1SG see:VN
I see them / I am seeing them
dùgú
3PL.OBJ
you (sg.) greeted us (excl.)
mù zóó
rí
2SG greet:PFV 1PL.OBJ
While most of the object pronouns are segmentally and tonally independent from the verb
word, three object pronouns suffixes: 2SG, 3SG, and the -zíná form of 1&2PL.
Ø
zóó-mi
3:PFV greet:PFV-2SG.OBJ
he/she/it greeted you (sg.)
Ø
zóò-rú
3:PFV greet:PFV-3SG.OBJ
he/she/iti greeted him/her/itj
Ø
zóó-zíná
3:PFV greet:PFV-1&2PL.OBJ
he/she/it greeted us (incl.)
Phonological evidence for treating these object pronouns as suffixes is presented in the
section on verb word suffixes (7.3.1.5).
As shown in the table above, the third person singular object pronoun - `rú is also attested
as - `wú; the variant - `wú is associated with informal speech.
Ø
zóò-rú
3:PFV greet:PFV-3SG.OBJ
he/she/iti greeted him/her/itj
275
= Ø
zóò-wú
3:PFV greet:PFV-3SG.OBJ
he/she/iti greeted him/her/itj
The first-and-second person plural object pronoun also has two variants, both of which
are common: a phonologically independent morpheme zìnzá and a suffix -zíná. Either
form may be used with no change in meaning. Variation between the forms is likely
sociolinguistic rather than linguistic, reflecting a process of contraction that is taking
place; however, the precise factors influencing usage have not been identified (see also
7.3.1.5 for discussion of the formally similar 1&2PL reflexive suffixes).
Ø
3:PFV
= Ø
3:PFV
zóó
zìnzá
greet:PFV 1&2PL.OBJ
he/she/it greeted us (incl.)
zóó-zíná
greet:PFV-1&2PL.OBJ
he/she/it greeted us (incl.)
Object pronouns show many similarities to reflexive verbal inflection suffixes (7.3.1.5),
but for two of the persons (first person singular and second person singular) there are
segmental contrasts. This is shown in the following examples:
object pronouns:
mù gìì
mí
2SG answer:PFV 1SG.OBJ
you (sg.) answered me
mì dèr-ém
1SG cut.off:PFV-2SG.OBJ
I cut you off
corresponding reflexive verbal inflection suffixes:
mì gìì-ní
1SG consent:PFV-1SG.REFL
I consented
mù )èr-ném
2SG get.up:PFV-2SG.REFL
you got up
In addition to their prototypical position immediately following a verb, object pronouns
are also found as complements of the preposition yâg ‘to, for’ (9.3.1).
yâg-rú
to-3SG.OBJ
to him/her/it
yâg zìnzá
to 1&2PL.OBJ
to us (incl.)
276
6.1.3.2 Reflexive object pronouns
Members of a set of reflexive object pronouns are used whenever the object of a simple
clause is co-referential with its subject. Similar to what is found in many other African
languages (Watters 2000:213), reflexive object pronouns in Mambay are composed of the
noun )ínù ‘body, self’ and an inalienable possessive pronoun (6.1.4.2). Reflexive object
pronouns are as follows:
Reflexive object pronouns
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF
)íní
)íním
)íná
—
)ílé
)írí
)író
)ínzínzá ~ )ínzá
—
)íré
The following examples illustrate the use of these pronouns:
mì kó
1SG see:PFV
)íní
I saw myself
body:1SG.POSS.INAL
rò lá’
2PL hear:PFV
)író
you (pl.) heard yourselves
body:2PL.POSS.INAL
Whenever a paradigm of basic object pronouns (6.1.3.1) is being elicited with a transitive
verb, reflexive object pronouns are always substituted if the subject and object are coreferential.
mù
2SG
zóó
greet:PFV
mí
1SG.OBJ
you (sg.) greeted me
mù
2SG
zóó
greet:PFV
)íním
body:1SG.POSS
you (sg.) greeted yourself
Like reflexive verb suffixes (7.3.1.5), reflexive object pronouns reduce the number of
semantic participants in a transitive verb construction. However, they achieve this using
different strategies: while reflexive suffixes result in the detransitivization of a transitive
verb (7.3.2.1.2), reflexive object pronouns satisfy transitivity requirements by supplying
the transitive verb with an object. The detransitivization strategy is only moderately
277
productive and is often accompanied by semantic shift (7.3.2.1.2), but the use of reflexive
objects is fully productive.
reflexive verb suffix:
mì gìì-ní
1SG consent:PFV-1SG.REFL
I consented
rò gìì-ró
2PL consent:PFV-2PL.REFL
you (pl.) consented
reflexive object pronoun:
mì gìì
)íní
2SG answer:PFV body:1SG.POSS.INAL
I answered myself
When reflexive object pronouns are plural, they may reflect either a reflexive or a
reciprocal function; such a distinction is not grammaticalized.
rò gìì
)író
2PL answer:PFV body:2PL.POSS.INAL
you (pl.) answered yourselves (i.e. each
of you answered yourself or each of
you answered the others of you or
[both of these possibilities])
Because reflexive object pronouns are inherently co-referential (cf. 6.1.1.4), basic (non
co-referential) third person pronouns are absent from the reflexive object pronoun
paradigm.
6.1.4 Possessive pronouns
Mambay has two sets of possessive pronouns: alienable (6.1.4.1) and inalienable
(6.1.4.2). While alienable possessive pronouns are the default set and may be used with
any noun, inalienable possessive pronouns may only be used with a small subgroup of
nouns representing certain body parts as well as terms of kinship and social relation
(5.3.4.1). The two sets are as follows:
278
Alienable possessive pronouns
Inalienable possessive pronouns
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.IMPERS
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.IMPERS
3PL.COREF
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.IMPERS
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.IMPERS
3PL.COREF
)íí
)ám
)áná
)úùrú ~ )úùwú
)éé
)éé
)írí
)óró
)ánzá
dùgú
)éré
)éré
-í
-mi
-ná
- `rú ~ - `wú
-lé
-lé
-rí
-ró
-zínzá ~ -zíná
(dùgú)
-ré
-ré
As the table shows, alienable possessive pronouns are minimally comprised of either one
heavy syllable or two light syllables and thus meet the minimal weight requirement
characteristic of nouns (5.1.1.1). This is not the case for inalienable possessive pronouns,
which in most cases are comprised of a single light syllable.
Possessive pronouns of both sets differ from other sets in that their third person
impersonal pronouns are formally equivalent to their third person co-reference pronouns
(6.1.1.2).
6.1.4.1 Alienable possessive pronouns
Alienable possessive pronouns are phonologically independent words rather than
suffixes. They may be found with the linked form (5.2.2) of any noun. Pronouns in this
set, shown in the context of an alienable possessive construction (5.3.3.3.1) with páà
‘milk’ (linked form: pâ), are as follows:
person
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF/IMPERS
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF/IMPERS
example
pâ )íí
pâ )ám
pâ )áná
pâ )úùrú ~
pâ )úùwú
pâ )éé
pâ )írí
pâ )óró
pâ )ánzá
pâ dùgú
pâ )éré
279
gloss
my milk
your (sg.) milk
our (your (sg.) and my) milk
his/her/its milk
his/her/its (coref./impers.) milk
our (excl.) milk
your (pl.) milk
our (incl.) milk
their milk
their (coref./impers.) milk
For the third person singular pronoun, the form úùrú is more common in careful speech,
and the form úùwú is more common in rapid speech.
As the table shows, alienable possessive pronouns are (like nouns) minimally comprised
of either one heavy syllable or two light syllables (cf. 5.1.1.1).
All but one of the alienable possessive pronouns begin with a )–vowel sequence. Also,
even in the pronouns with two syllables, a single vowel quality is attested for each
pronoun.
Tonally, most of these pronouns are H. However, the third person singular pronoun
)úùrú is HLH, and the third person plural pronoun dùgú is LH. The following examples
show that the tone melody of possessive pronouns is independent from those of the head
nouns which they qualify:
vbúù )íí
vbúù )úùrú
vbúù dùgú
my grass sp. (cf. vbúù grass sp.)
his/her/its grass sp.
their grass sp.
núúrú )íí
núúrú )úùrú
núúrú dùgú
my breast (cf. núúrú breast)
his/her/its breast
their breast
bìlìm )íí
bìlìm )úùrú
bìlìm dùgú
my drum sp. (cf. bìlìm drum sp.)
his/her/its drum sp.
their drum sp.
These examples also show that the nasal value of head nouns is independent from that of
the qualifying possessive pronouns.
6.1.4.2 Inalienable possessive pronouns
Inalienable possessive pronouns formalize an inherent association between nouns and
pronominal referents (5.3.4). They are found with a closed set of words containing some
body parts as well as some terms of kinship and social relation (5.3.4.1).
Inalienable possessive pronouns show a clear resemblance to their alienable counterparts
(6.1.4.1). However, with the exception of the third person plural inalienable possessive
pronoun, whose form is the same as its alienable counterpart (see below in this section),
inalienable possessive pronouns are suffixes.
Pronouns in this set, shown in the context of inalienable possessive constructions (5.3.4)
with the body part káálà ‘head’ (linked form: káà), as well as the kinship term súùní
‘younger in-law,’ are as follows:
280
Possessive construction with káálà ‘head’ and inalienable possessive pronouns
person
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF/IMPERS
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF/IMPERS
inalienable
possessive
pronoun
-í
-mi
-ná
- `rú ~
- `wú
-lé
-rí
-ró
-zínzá ~
-zíná
(dùgú)
-ré
example
usage
káání
káámi
kááná
káàrú ~
káàwú
káálé
káárí
kááró
káázínzá ~
káázíná
(káà dùgú)
kááré
gloss
my head (inal.)
your (sg.) head (inal.)
our (your (sg.) and my) head (inal.)
his/her/its head (inal.)
his/her/its (coref./impers.) head (inal.)
our (excl.) head (inal.)
your (pl.) head (inal.)
our (incl.) head (inal.)
their head
their (coref./impers.) head (inal.)
Possessive construction with súùní ‘younger in-law’ and inalienable possessive pronouns
person
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.C/I
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.C/I
inalienable
possessive
pronoun
-í
-mi
-ná
- `rú ~
- `wú
-lé
-rí
-ró
-zínzá ~
-zíná
(dùgú)
-ré
example
usage
súùní
súùmi
súùná
súùn`dú
súùlé
súùrí
súùró
súùn`zìnzá ~
súùn`zá
(súùnT dùgú)
súùré
gloss
my younger in-law (inal.)
your (sg.) younger in-law (inal.)
our (your (sg.) and my) younger in-law (inal.)
his/her/its younger in-law (inal.)
his/her/its (coref./impers.) younger in-law (inal.)
our (excl.) younger in-law (inal.)
your (pl.) younger in-law (inal.)
our (incl.) younger in-law (inal.)
their younger in-law
their (coref./impers.) younger in-law (inal.)
Whenever the segmental structure of the third person singular pronoun is - `rú (and not
- `dú; see 6.1.4.2.2), it is optionally realized as - `wú in casual speech.
281
careful
speech
optional form in
casual speech
fààrú
sêhrú
sûgrú
fààwú
sêhwú
sûgwú
his/her/its back, skin (inal.)
his/her/its hand (inal.)
his/her/its ear (inal.)
The first person plural pronoun also presents a segmental variation, -zínzá vs. -zíná , but
factors motivating this alternation are more complex. The two forms seem to reflect,
respectively, the following tendencies of usage: archaic vs. contemporary, formal vs.
casual, and dialects south vs. north of the Mayo Kebbi.
archaic (etc.)- contemporary (etc.)type speech type speech
fààzìnzá
séhzínzá
súgzínzá
our (incl.) back, skin (inal.)
our (incl.) hand (inal.)
our (incl.) ear (inal.)
fààzìná
séhzíná
súgzíná
There is no contrast in the form of the inalienable vs. alienable (6.1.4.1) third person
plural possessive pronoun dùgú (cf. 6.1.1.3). In both cases, dùgú resembles alienable
rather than inalienable possessive constructions in that its tonal value is not fused to the
head noun which it follows (cf. 4.1.2.3).
alienable possession
inalienable possession
páà dùgú
man:LF 3PL.POSS
páà dùgú
man:LF 3PL.POSS
their acquaintance / their father
páy
man:1SG.POSS.INAL
my acquaintance / my father
cf. páà )íí
man:LF 1SG.POSS
The tone of inalienable pronouns has been dealt with in the context of inalienable nounpronoun possessive constructions (5.3.4). Nasality, which does not spread between
inalienable pronouns and nouns, is described in 5.3.4.2.5.
In most cases, the segmental structure of an inalienable noun-pronoun possessive
construction is a simple amalgamation of the linked form (5.2.2) of the head noun and the
inalienable possessive pronoun.
fàà
+
back:LF
-ró
2PL.POSS.INAL
fààró
back:2PL.POSS.INAL
your (pl.) back, skin
(inal.)
sûg
ear:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
súgí
ear:1SG.POSS.INAL
my ear (inal.)
+
282
Still, many segmental alternations take place at the boundary between inalienable
possessive pronouns and the head nouns to which they are attached. These alternations
are summarized in the following subsections according to the segmental context offered
by the linked forms of head nouns they accompany.
Complete paradigms of regular inalienable possession are provided for all shapes in
Appendix 1, and all of the numerous idiosyncratic paradigms are also given.
6.1.4.2.1 With linked forms ending in a long vowel
Inalienable possessive constructions involving nouns with linked forms ending in a long
vowel insert n before the first person singular suffix -í as a means of avoiding illegal
VVV structures, which are not found elsewhere in the language.
káà
+
head:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
káání
head:1SG.POSS.INAL
my head (inal.)
fàà
+
back:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
fààní
back:1SG.POSS.INAL
my back, skin (inal.)
6.1.4.2.2 With linked forms ending in a consonant
In constructions involving nouns with linked forms ending in a consonant, the second
person singular suffix -mi is realized as -Vgm (where V is an echo of the vowel in the
previous syllables, but which carries the High tone of the underlying suffix -mi). This is a
means of avoiding an illegal CC coda, since no other such structures are found in the
language (2.4.1).
kpân +
penis:LF
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
kpánám
your (sg.) penis (inal.)
penis:2SG.POSS.INAL
sâb
tail:LF
+
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
sábám
tail:2SG.POSS.INAL
your (sg.) tail (inal.)
sûg
ear:LF
+
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
súgúm
ear:2SG.POSS.INAL
your (sg.) ear (inal.)
tìn
+
front:LF
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
tìním
your (sg.) front,
front:2SG.POSS.INAL
genitals (inal.)
In this context, forms ending preglottalized nasals pattern in an unusual manner: the VNn
sequence is reinterpreted as a V)V sequence, where the glottal stop is discrete (cf.
2.3.3.3.2), and the alveolar nasal articulation disappears.
tèNn
+
side:LF
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
tè)ém
side:2SG.POSS.INAL
283
your (sg.) side (of
body) (inal.)
Final obstruents
Constructions involving nouns with linked forms ending in an obstruent differ from other
constructions in that the third person singular co-reference/impersonal suffix -lé is
realized as -é:
sâb
tail:LF
+
-lé
3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
sábé
his/her/its (coref.) / its
tail:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
tail (inal.)
sûg
ear:LF
+
-lé
3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
súgé
his/her/its (coref.) / its
ear:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
ear (inal.)
Final sonorant consonants
Constructions involving nouns with linked forms ending in a sonorant differ from other
constructions in several ways. First, most CV suffixes that begin with a sonorant displace
the final sonorant of the linked form of the head noun:
fîn
+
forehead:LF
-ná
1&2SG.POSS.INAL
fíná
our (your (sg.) and my)
forehead:1&2SG.POSS.INAL forehead (inal.)
kpân +
penis:LF
-lé
3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
kpálé
his/her/its (coref.) / its
penis:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL eye, face, life (inal.)
tìn
+
front:LF
-ré
3PL.C/I.POSS.INAL
tìré
their (coref./impers.)
front:3PL.C/I.POSS.INAL front, genitals (inal.)
However, for the third person suffix - `rú, the suffix-initial r constricts to d when it
follows a sonorant, and does not replace the sonorant:
hùùn` +
thigh:LF
- `rú
3SG.POSS.INAL
hùùn`dú
his/her/its thigh (inal.)
thigh:3SG.POSS.INAL
nà-pûr +
navel:LF
- `rú
3SG.POSS.INAL
nà-pûrdú
his/her/its navel (inal.)
navel:3SG.POSS.INAL
tìn
+
front:LF
- `rú
3PL.C/I.POSS.INAL
tìndú
his/her/its front (inal.)
front:3SG.POSS.INAL
(Considering that dú is the independent form of the third person pronoun (6.1.2.1), this
d/r alternation more likely reflects a historical dr softening in word-internal positions
other than after r (see 2.1.2.2). However, since - `rú is synchronically represented in a
wider range of environments, it has been selected as the underlying form of the third
person singular pronoun.)
284
Additionally, the -zíná variant of the first-and-second person plural suffix is optionally
reduced to -zá when it attaches to n-final linked forms:
+
-zíná
1&2PL.POSS.INAL
nínzá ~ nínzíná
our (incl.) eye, face,
eye:1&2PL.POSS.INAL life (inal.)
hùùn` +
thigh:LF
-zíná
1&2PL.POSS.INAL
hùùn`zá ~ hùùn`zìná our (incl.) thigh (inal.)
thigh:1&2PL.POSS.INAL
nîn
eye:LF
For CVVn-final linked forms in particular, the final n of the linked form is displaced by
the suffix -mi.
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
hùùmi
your (sg.) thigh (inal.)
thigh:2SG.POSS.INAL
súùn`
+
-mi
younger.inlaw:LF 2SG.POSS.INAL
súùmi
your (sg.) younger.inthigh:2SG.POSS.INAL
law (inal.)
hùùn` +
thigh:LF
6.1.4.2.3 With linked forms ending in zi
Three nouns, all of which express social relations, and all of which could be historically
composed, form inalienable possessive constructions differently than other nouns. These
nouns are as follows:
)ázì T
fààzí
fâhzí
member of )àzgárà (see Glossary)
member of fààzárà ( ” )
member of fàhzárà ( ” )
They pattern differently than other nouns in three ways. First, the nasality on the first
person form (usually marked by the suffixation of the nasalized pronoun -í) does not
appear in the resulting possessive construction.
)ázì T +
member.of.
)àzgárà:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
)ázì
my member of
member.of.)àzgárà: )àzgárà (inal.)
1SG.POSS.INAL
fààzì
+
member.of.
fààzárà:LF
-í
1SG.POSS.INAL
fààzí
my member of
member.of. fààzárà: fààzárà (inal.)
1SG.POSS.INAL
Second, the linked form’s final vowel loses its identity completely when it encounters a
second person singular or (optionally) third person singular (coref./impers.) pronoun.
285
)ázì T +
member.of.
)àzgárà:LF
-mi
2SG.POSS.INAL
)ázàm
your (sg.) member of
member.of.)àzgárà: )àzgárà (inal.)
2SG.POSS.INAL
)ázì T +
member.of.
)àzgárà:LF
-lé
3SG.C/I.
POSS.INAL
)ázè ~ )ázìlé
his/her/its (coref.) / its
member.of.)àzgárà: member of )àzgárà
3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
(inal.)
Third, for constructions with the first-and-second person plural -zínzá, a potential zizi
sequence is simplified to zi.
)ázì T +
member.of.
)àzgárà:LF
-zínzá
1&2PL.
POSS.INAL
)ázìnzá
our (incl.) member of
member.of.)àzgárà: )àzgárà (inal.)
1&2PL.POSS.INAL
fâhzì
+
member.of.
fàhzárà:LF
-zínzá
1&2PL.
POSS.INAL
fâhzìnzá
our (incl.) member of
member.of. fàhzárà: fàhzárà (inal.)
1&2PL.POSS.INAL
6.1.5 Emphatic pronouns
Emphatic pronouns are the product of a largely regular formal strategy of emphasis (i.e.,
focus and prominence) unique to pronouns. This strategy is available to all of the basic
personal pronoun sets (6.1.2–6.1.4); the attested types of emphatic pronouns are therefore
as follows:
- emphatic subject pronouns (6.1.5.1);
- emphatic object pronouns (6.1.5.2); and
- emphatic possessive pronouns (6.1.5.3).
Typically, emphatic pronouns are composed of a basic pronoun coupled with an
independent pronoun. For emphatic subject pronouns, the independent pronoun precedes
the basic pronoun; for other emphatic pronoun sets, the independent pronoun follows it.
This is shown in the following chart:
286
A comparison of basic pronoun sets with typical emphatic pronouns
basic
pronoun set
example
gloss
typical emphatic
pronoun structure
example
gloss
subject
mìí
I (IRREALIS)
independent pn. +
subject pn.
mì mìí
I (IRREALIS)
object
mí
me
object pn. +
independent pn.
mí mì
me
reflexive
object
)íní
myself
reflexive pn. +
independent pn.
)íní mì
myself
inalienable
possessive
-í
my (inal.)
inal. poss. pn. +
independent pn.
-í mì
my (inal.)
alienable
possessive
)íí
my (al.)
inal. poss. pn. +
independent pn.
)íí mì
my (al.)
However, emphatic third person and first-and-second person plural pronouns often
deviate from this regular pattern because of the complex distributional patterns of their
basic counterparts (6.1.2).
On the following page, a table provides an overview of all emphatic personal pronouns in
Mambay. The patterns common to each set as well as the exceptional behaviour
exhibited by emphatic third person and first-and-second person plural pronouns are
described in the subsections which follow.
287
Emphatic pronouns
mì + pn.*
mí mì
mù mù mù mù
mù + pn.
1&2SG
nà nà
nà + pn.
3SG
dúù /
dúù /
dú dúù dú dúù
dúù + pn.
3SG.COREF
lè lè
lè lè
lè + pn.
lé lè
1PL
rì rì
rì rì
rì + pn.
2PL
rò rò
rò rò
rò + pn.
1&2PL
nànzàà nànzà(à) nà nànzà(à) + pn. nànzà
1SG
mì mì
2SG
3SG.IMPERS
3PL
3PL.IMPERS
3PL.COREF
mì mì
nà nà
reflexive
-í mì
)íí mì
mú mù )íním mù
-mi mù
)ám mù
ná nà
)íná nà
-ná nà
)áná nà
—
- `rú dú ~
- `wú dú
)úùrú dú ~
)úùwú dú
-lé lè
)éé lè
)ílé lè
-lé lè
)éé lè
rí rì
)írí rì
-rí rì
)írí rì
ró rò
)író rò
-ró rò
)óró rò
dú dú
)íní mì
alienable
emphatic possessive
inalienable
emphatic object
basic
other verb forms:
(Indic. Irrealis,
neg. Perfective,
neg. non-Pfv.,
Optative)
Perfective tenses
and Imperfective
person
indepenent
emphatic subject
)ínzínzá nànzà ~ -zínzá nànzà ~
)ánzá nànzà
)ínzá nànzà
-zíná nànzà
dùgzíì
dùgzí(ì)
dùgzí(ì) + pn.
dùgzí
—
rè rè
rè rè
rè + pn.
ré rè
)íré rè
dùgzí
dùgzí
-ré rè
)éré rè
-ré rè
)éré rè
* In this table, “pn.” refers to the usual subject pronoun for the verbal forms listed in the column; see table in 6.1 above.
288
6.1.5.1 Emphatic subject pronouns
For most of the personal pronouns, any type of emphatic subject pronoun may be
produced by placing an independent pronoun (6.1.2.1) before a subject pronoun of the
same person.
mì mì sáà
mâh
3SG 3SG inside granary
cf. mì sáà
mâh
3SG inside granary
mù mù hèè
2SG 2SG climb:PFV
cf. mù hèè
2SG climb:PFV
I am in the granary
I am in the granary
you climbed
you climbed
rè
rèé
hèè-zí they (log.) will climb
3PL.COREF 3PL.COREF:IRR climb:FUT-PL
cf. rèé
hèè-zí
3PL.COREF:IRR climb:FUT-PL
they (log.) will climb
However, for the third person singular (6.1.5.1.1), first-and-second person plural
(6.1.5.1.2) and third person plural (6.1.5.1.3), the emphatic pronoun template is more
complex than this. In all of these cases, the attested strategies include lengthening of
independent pronouns and the presence of a word-final L tone (compare emphatic
negative objects in 10.1.2.3). This is possible for these three pronouns only because they
are segmentally distinct from verbal subject pronouns, where length and tone are already
used to mark TAM distinctions (6.1.2.4–6.1.2.6).
6.1.5.1.1 Third person singular
For emphatic forms of third person singular subject pronouns, the pronoun dúù is used.
It resembles the default third person singular independent pronoun dú (6.1.2.1), but its
vowel is long and it carries a HL rather than a H tone melody.
For most verb forms, dúù patterns like other emphatic subject pronouns (6.1.5.1): it is
placed before a regular subject pronoun.
dúù
)àá hèè
3SG.EMPH 3:IRR climb:FUT
he/she/it will climb
289
cf. )àá hèè
3:IRR climb:FUT
dúù
má
hèè
3SG.EMPH 3SG:OPT climb:OPT
hèè
cf. má
3:OPT climb:OPT
he/she/it will climb
he/she/it must climb
he/she/it must climb
When it is used with Perfective forms, the emphatic pronoun dúù appears alone, since
the third person Perfective pronoun is a zero pronoun (6.1.2.2).
dúù
Ø
hèè
3SG.EMPH 3:REAL climb:PFV
cf. Ø
hèè
3:PFV climb:PFV
he/she/it climbed
he/she/it climbed
When dúù is used with Imperfective forms, it replaces the third person Imperfective
pronoun )à (as is the case with other nominal subjects; see 6.1.2.3).
dúù
Ø
héérà
3SG.EMPH 3:REAL climb:VN
cf. )à
héérà
3:IMPFV climb:VN
he/she/it climbs / he/she/it is climbing
he/she/it climbs / he/she/it is climbing
cf. other nominal subjects:
tâw
Taw
Ø
héérà
3:REAL climb:VN
Taw climbs / Taw is climbing
For the third person singular of independent as well as Perfective and Imperfective
subject pronouns, an additional level of emphasis may be achieved by placing an
independent pronoun dú (6.1.2.1) before the emphatic pronoun (dúù).
dú
dúù
sáà
3SG.INDEP 3SG.EMPH inside
mâh
granary
HE/SHE/IT is in the granary
dú
dúù
Ø
hèè
3SG.INDEP 3SG.EMPH 3:REAL climb:PFV
HE/SHE/IT climbed
dú
dúù
Ø
héérà
3SG.INDEP 3SG.EMPH 3:REAL climb:VN
HE/SHE/IT climbs /
HE/SHE/IT is climbing
290
6.1.5.1.2 First-and-second person plural
Emphatic forms of first-and-second person plural subject pronouns are produced in two
ways. First, in the case of verbal subject pronouns, an independent pronoun nànzà
(6.1.2.1) is placed before the verbal subject pronoun.
nànzà
1&2PL.INDEP
cf. nà
1&2
nà
1&2
hèè-zí
climb:PFV-PL
we (incl.) climbed
hèè-zí
climb:PFV-PL
nànzà
1&2PL.INDEP
we (incl.) climbed
ná
hèè-zí
1&2:OPT climb:OPT-PL
cf. ná
hèè-zí
1&2:OPT climb:OPT-PL
let us climb! / we must climb!
let us climb! / we must climb!
Second, for independent as well as verbal subject pronouns, the last syllable of the
pronoun nànzà may be lengthened, becoming nànzàà. In the case of independent
pronouns, this is the only available means of pronominal emphasis.
nànzàà
1&2PL.EMPH
sáà
mâh
inside granary
we (incl.) are in the granary
cf. nànzà
1&2PL.INDEP
sáà
mâh
inside granary
we (incl.) are in the granary
In the case of verbal subject pronouns, it is used to achieve an additional level of
emphasis (cf. forms at the beginning of this section).
nànzàà
1&2PL.EMPH
nà
1&2
hèè-zí
climb:PFV-PL
nànzàà
1&2PL.EMPH
ná
hèè-zí
1&2:OPT climb:OPT-PL
WE (incl.) climbed
let US climb! / WE must climb!
6.1.5.1.3 Third person plural
Like emphatic forms of first-and-second person plural subject pronouns (6.1.5.1.2),
emphatic forms of the third person plural are produced in two ways, one for verbal
subject pronouns and one for subject pronouns in general.
In the case of emphatic verbal subject pronouns, an independent pronoun dùgzí (6.1.2.1)
is placed before the verbal subject pronoun.
291
dùgzí
)àá hèè-zí
3PL.INDEP 3:IRR climb:FUT-PL
cf. )àá hèè-zí
3:IRR climb:FUT-PL
dùgzí
má
hèè-zí
3PL.INDEP 3:OPT climb:OPT-PL
hèè-zí
cf. má
3:OPT climb:OPT-PL
they will climb
they will climb
they must climb!
they must climb!
When it is used with Perfective forms, the emphatic third person plural pronoun dùgzí
appears alone, since the third person Perfective pronoun is a zero pronoun (6.1.2.2). This
is parallel to what happens with third person singular (6.1.5.1.1).
dùgzí
Ø
hèè-zí
they climbed
3PL.INDEP 3:REAL climb:PFV-PL
cf. Ø
hèè-zí
3:PFV climb:PFV-PL
they climbed
When the emphatic third person plural pronoun dùgzí is used with Imperfective forms, it
replaces the third person Imperfective pronoun )à (as is the case with other nominal
subjects; see 6.1.2.3). This is also parallel to what happens with third person singular
(6.1.5.1.1).
dùgzí
Ø
héé-zí-rà
they climb / they are climbing
3PL.INDEP 3:REAL climb:VN-PL-VN
cf. )à
héé-zí-rà
3:IMPFV climb:VN-PL-VN
they climb / they are climbing
cf. other nominal subjects:
tâw má
Taw with
gaFm
Gam
Ø
héé-zí-rà
3:REAL climb:VN-PL-VN
Taw and Gam climb /
Taw and Gam are climbing
In the case of independent as well as verbal subject pronouns, the last syllable of the
pronoun dùgzí may be lengthened and accompanied with L tone, becoming dùgzíì. In
the case of independent pronouns, this is the only available means of pronominal
emphasis.
dùgzíì
sáà
mâh
3PL.EMPH inside granary
they are in the granary
292
cf. dùgzí
sáà
mâh
3PL.INDEP inside granary
they are in the granary
In the case of verbal subject pronouns, it is used to achieve an additional level of
emphasis (cf. forms at the beginning of this section).
dùgzíì
)àá hèè-zí
3PL.EMPH 3:IRR climb:FUT-PL
THEY will climb!
dùgzíì
má
hèè-zí
3PL.EMPH 3:OPT climb:OPT-PL
THEY must climb!
6.1.5.2 Emphatic object pronouns
Emphatic object pronouns are typically produced by the addition of an independent
pronoun (6.1.5.1) following an object pronoun (6.1.3), whether it is basic (non-reflexive)
or reflexive. However, as described in this section below, first-and-second person plural
and third person basic object pronouns deviate from this pattern. This is evident from the
following table:
Emphatic object pronouns
1SG
basic
reflexive
(non-reflexive)
mí mì
)íní mì
2SG
mú mù
)íním mù
1&2SG
ná nà
)íná nà
3SG
dú dú
—
person
3SG.COREF lé lè
)ílé lè
1PL
rí rì
)írí rì
2PL
ró rò
)író rò
1&2PL
nànzà
)ínzínzá nànzà ~
)ínzá nànzà
3PL
dùgzí
—
3PL.COREF ré rè
)íré rè
The following examples illustrate the use of emphatic basic (non-reflexive) object
pronouns:
Ø
éé
mí
mì
3:PFV bite:PFV 1SG.OBJ 1SG
he/she/it bit me
cf. Ø
éé
mí
3:PFV bite:PFV 1SG.OBJ
he/she/it bit me
293
Ø
kó
ró
rò
3:PFV see:PFV 2PL.OBJ 2PL
he/she/it saw you (pl.)
cf. Ø
kó
ró
3:PFV see:PFV 2PL.OBJ
he/she/it saw you (pl.)
The following examples illustrate the use of emphatic reflexive object pronouns:
Ø
éé
)ílé
3:PFV see:PFV body:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
lè
he/she/it saw
3SG.COREF himself/herself/itself
cf. Ø
éé
)ílé
3:PFV see:PFV body:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
he/she/it saw
himself/herself/itself
nà
1&2
kó-zí
)ínzínzá
see:PFV-PL body:1&2PL.POSS.INAL
cf. nà
1&2
kó-zí
)ínzínzá
see:PFV-PL body:1&2PL.POSS.INAL
nànzà
1&2PL.INDEP
we (incl.) saw
ourselves
we (incl.) saw ourselves
For first-and-second person plural and the third person plural basic object pronouns, the
default (non-emphatic) independent pronoun (6.1.2.1) is used alone.
Ø
éé
nànzà
3:PFV bite:PFV 1&2PL.INDEP
he/she/it bit us (incl.)
cf. Ø
éé
zìnzá
3:PFV bite:PFV 1&2PL.OBJ
he/she/it bit us (incl.)
Ø
éé
dùgzí
3:PFV bite:PFV 3PL.INDEP
he/she/it bit them
cf. Ø
éé
dùgú
3:PFV bite:PFV 3PL.OBJ
he/she/it bit them
In the case of the first person singular basic object pronoun, the default (non-emphatic)
independent pronoun (6.1.2.1) is repeated.
Ø
éé
dú
dú
3:PFV bite:PFV 3SG.INDEP 3SG.INDEP
cf. Ø
éè-rú
3:PFV bite:PFV-3SG.OBJ
he/she/iti bit him/her/itj
he/she/iti bit him/her/itj
294
6.1.5.3 Emphatic possessive pronouns
Emphatic possessive pronouns are created by placing an independent pronoun after a
possessive pronoun. This strategy is used for constructions containing alienable as well
as inalienable pronouns (6.1.4.1, 6.1.4.2).
Emphatic possessive pronouns
person
1SG
alienable
)íí mì
inalienable
-í mì
2SG
)ám mù
-mi mù
1&2SG
)áná nà
-ná nà
3SG
)úùrú dú ~
)úùwú dú
- `rú dú ~
- `wú dú
3SG.IMPERS )éé lè
-lé lè
3SG.COREF
)éé lè
-lé lè
1PL
)írí rì
-rí rì
2PL
)óró rò
-ró rò
1&2PL
)ánzá nànzà
-zínzá nànzà ~
-zíná nànzà
3PL
dùgzí
dùgzí
3PL.IMPERS
)éré rè
-ré rè
3PL.COREF
)éré rè
-ré rè
The following examples illustrate the use of these pronouns:
kpáhlì
stool:LF
cf. kpáhlì
stool:LF
)íí
mì
1SG.POSS 1SG
my stool
)íí
1SG.POSS
my stool
káání
head:1SG.POSS.INAL
my head (inal.)
mì
1SG
cf. káání
head:1SG.POSS.INAL
my head (inal.)
In the case of the third person plural emphatic possessive pronoun, the addition of the
independent pronoun is accompanied by the dropping of the possessive pronoun.
295
their stool
kpáhlì dùgzí
stool:LF 3PL
cf. kpáhlì dùgú
stool:LF 3PL.POSS
their stool
A second degree of emphasis may be achieved by using an emphatic independent
pronoun (6.1.2.1, 6.1.5.1) in the possessive construction.
kpáhlì
stool:LF
MY stool
)íí
mì mì
1SG.POSS 1SG 1SG
6.2 Interrogative pronouns
A set of seven interrogative pronouns is found in Mambay:
bì-)án
káà wíí
kín
víí
wíí
)án
)ì-kín
how much / how many?
why?
where?
who?
what?
how?
which?
While four of the pronouns are morphologically simple, three are complex:
bì-)án
NUM-how?
how much / how many?
káà wíí
head/reason:LF-what?
why?
)ì-kín
HEAD-where?
which?
Most commonly, interrogative pronouns co-occur with the question particle nà
(10.1.2.1). If the interrogative pronoun is the subject of the clause, it comes in the usual
subject position (before the verbal complex; see 10.1.1) and the question particle comes
at the end of the clause.
víí
Ø
húmgò nà
who? 3:REAL come:VN QM
who comes? / who is coming?
wíí
Ø
pá-lè
nà
what? 3:REAL happen:PERF-3SG.REFL QM
296
what has happened?
If the interrogative pronoun and question particle are found alone in a clause, or if the
interrogative pronoun is found in clause-final position (e.g. as an object, adverbial
complement, or predicate nominal), the pronoun and question particle form a single
phonological word.
where?
kínà
where?:QM
mù vú-m
kínà
where are you going? /
2SG go:FUT-2SG.REFL where?:QM
where are you about to go?
wíí-nà
what?-QM
what?
mù pàg wíínà
2SG do:VN what?:QM
what are you doing? /
what do you do?
)ánà
how?:QM
how?
mù toFg )ánà
2SG be how?:QM
how are you?
)ì-kínà
NOM-where?:QM
which one?
dú
)ì-kínà
3SG.INDEP NOM-where?:QM
which one is he/she/it?
When used with the conjunction kóó ‘-ever, even if’ and the question particle nà
(10.1.2.1), interrogative pronouns become non-interrogative but still exhibit an ‘-ever’
type of indefiniteness (cf. Welmers 1973:435).
kóó
kóó
kóó
kóó
kóó
kóó
kóó
bì-)ánà
káà wíínà
kínà
víínà
wíínà
)ánà
)ì-kínà
however much / however many
for whatever reason
wherever
whoever
whatever
however
whichever
297
kóó víínà vâg má )ígà sêh
-ever who? go: VN with thing hand:LF
lâ’ gííbò,
like alcoholic.drink
má
kòhm
3:OPT gather.together:OPT
whoever goes / is going with something in hand like an alcoholic drink
must gather together [with others]
298
7
VERBS
7
VERBS
The Mambay verb system exhibits richness in the types of available verb structures as
well as the functional distinctions represented by combinations of these structures. These
possibilities are outlined in the following paragraphs.
The first major section of this chapter (7.1) introduces verb stems. While some are
canonical and morphologically simple, others are non-canonical and, in some cases,
morphologically complex. Non-canonical verbs result from the application of verbal
extensions, derivation of verbs from other parts of speech, the ideophonic nature of some
verbs, and borrowing of verbs from other languages.
The set of verbal extensions is the most significant way in which verb stems are
composed, and is investigated in detail in 7.2. This set is reminiscent of systems found
elsewhere in Niger-Congo. While some extensions found in Mambay are synchronically
productive, others are not; also, the semantic transparency of verbal extensions varies.
The subsequent section (7.3) examines verb word morphology. Segmental affixes are
dealt with in detail, and the behaviour of tone in verb words is examined. In addition,
verbs are classified with respect to transitivity and tone melody. Irregular verbs are also
considered.
Verbal inflection is explored in 7.4. Specifically, this section treats basic inflectional
categories, which are marked length on subject pronouns and tone on subject pronouns
and verb words. It is shown that a division between Indicative and Optative mood is
fundamental to the verb system, and Indicative verb forms are also distinguished for
realis value and aspect. Negative verb forms, which pattern differently than their
affirmative counterparts, are treated separately in 7.5.
The expansion of verbal inflection by means of TAM indicators, possessive constructions
and complex inflectional constructions (specifically, serial and auxiliary verbs) forms the
substance of the discussion in 7.6. A final section (7.7) discusses composite verbal
expressions and their contribution to the verb lexicon.
Unless it has been otherwise specified, example verbs are given in their basic Perfective
forms (cf. 7.4.1.1.1.1).
299
7.1 Verb stem structure
Verb stems may be divided into two groups: canonical (7.1.1) and non-canonical (7.1.2).
While a general discussion of canonicity is found in 1.3.1, the two groups of verb stems
are formally distinguished in the following discussion.
7.1.1 Canonical verb stems
There are 307 canonical verb stems in the data, all of which are morphologically simple
and consist of a monosyllabic root. In the vast majority of cases, it is a heavy syllable.
Attested CV shapes of canonical verb stems, along with the number of occurrences in the
data and illustrative examples, are as follows:
root shape
# of occurrences
example
CV
CCV
CVV
CVC
CCVV
CCVC
(13)
(2)
(225)
(48)
(17)
(2)
gé
syè
Qáá
kám
gyáá
yá7
get lost
shine
move away
weave
take out, gather up
growl
Although onsets of canonical verb stems are found with a wide variety of consonants,
codas are characterized by a restricted consonantal inventory: only g, m and 7 are
attested.
vóg
fám
%í7
watch, guide
announce, propagate
bow (tr.) in greeting
Transitive as well as intransitive verbs are represented by canonical verb stems. Tone
melodies attested with canonical verb stems are discussed in 7.3.2.2.
7.1.2 Non-canonical verb stems
Non-canonical verb stems, which exhibit formal differences from those which are
canonical, are of several types. While some non-canonical verb stems are derived from
verb roots in the language by means of verbal extensions (7.2), others are derived from
various parts of speech (7.1.2.1). In many cases, verbal derivation is historically
significant rather than synchronically productive. Along with derived stems, ideophonic
verbs (7.1.2.2) and verbs borrowed from other languages (7.1.2.3) pattern as noncanonical verb stems.
Non-canonical stems are uniformly transitive. In contrast to canonical stems (7.1.1), they
allow a wide range of consonants in the coda of the stem-initial syllable. Non-canonical
stems are also distinguished in that they are limited to tonal Classes 5 and 6, which they
represent exclusively. Like morphologically simple stems, non-canonical stems in tonal
300
Class 5 are monosyllabic; however, non-canonical stems in tonal Class 6 range from one
(superheavy; see 2.4.3) to four syllables. Vowels in the non-initial syllables of the stem
are either echo vowels (in CV.CVC stems) or the default vowel i (in all other cases).
In total, there are 294 non-canonical verb stems of Mambay origin in the data. Attested
CV shapes of these stems, along with the number of occurrences and illustrative
examples, are as follows:
stem shape
# of occurrences
example
CVV
CVC
CCVV
CCVC
CVVC
CV.CVC
CVV.CV
CVC.CV
CCVV.CV
CCVC.CV
CVV.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CV
CCVV.CV.CV
CVV.CV.CV.CV
(5)
(131)
(5)
(14)
(19)
(11)
(30)
(66)
(1)
(3)
(1)
(4)
(2)
(1)
Qàà
sèl
gwàà
kwàg
òònT
tìgín
lòòrí
làmgí
rwàhbí
zyàgrí
)òògìní
gòrgìrí
rwàhbìrí
)òògìnìrí
finish (tr.)
dispute
rob
drag
increase (tr.)
drop
whip
stir
mix, tangle
mistake
cause to set crawling
loosen repeatedly
mix or tangle repeatedly
cause to set crawling repeatedly /
cause repeatedly to set crawling
kpàtgìnìrí cause to become distant repeatedly /
cause repeatedly to become distant
CVC.CV.CV.CV (1)
7.1.2.1 Verb stems derived from other parts of speech
In addition to arising from derivation by means of verbal extensions (7.2), it appears that
a few verb stems are derived from nouns and adjectives; while there is no verb root
corresponding to certain verb stems, these other parts of speech from which they are
presumably derived are attested. For monosyllabic roots, the derivational template adds
gi to the end of it, and assigns the word to tonal Class 6 (cf. 7.3.2.2).
puF’
sâ’
whiteness
elderly
pù’gí
sà’gí
become white
become old, wear out
When the source word is more than one syllable, the template functions in two ways. If
the source word exhibits reduplication, the first CVX unit is taken and treated like a
monosyllabic source (cf. directly above).
gòrògòrò
nùmnùm
loose
soft
gòrgí
nùmgí
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loosen
soften
If (as is attested for other cases) the source word begins with a non-reduplicated CVX.CV
shape, the template retains the CVXC part of the sequence and adds only i to the end of
it.
kpìgzìm
ràhbá
thick
poverty
kpìgzí
ràhbí
thicken
impoverish, become poor
Examples of verbs which appear to be derived from nouns are as follows:
gbóògá
kpâtgá
puF’
ràhbá
rág.bà
wideness
distance (n.) whiteness
poverty
triviality, trifle gbòògí
kpàtgí
pù’gí
ràhbí
ràg.bí
enlarge, widen
distance (tr.)
become white
impoverish, become poor
set wandering, make trivial
Examples of verbs which appear to be derived from adjectives (most of which are
ideophonic; see 7.1.2.2) are as follows:
gòrògòrò
nùmnùm
kpìgzìm
sâ’
sìhsìh
loose
soft
thick
elderly
fresh
gòrgí
nùmgí
kpìgzí
sà’gí
sìhgí
loosen
soften
thicken
become old, wear out
refresh
7.1.2.2 Ideophonic verb stems
A small group of ideophonic verb stems is found in Mambay. The ideophonic nature of
these verbs is, like that of ideophones in other word classes, pervasive but difficult to
demonstrate for all examples; and as for Mambay ideophones in general, it is put forward
in light of the recurrent convergence of non-canonical structures and sound symbolism
(1.3.1, 8.2).
Ideophonic verb stems exhibit basic structures limited to non-canonical verbs: a CVX.CV
stem shape, and Class 5 or 6 tone melody (7.1.2, 7.3.2.2.1). And like other non-canonical
verbs, they are uniformly transitive (7.1.2, 7.3.2.1.2).
Ideophonic verb stems exhibit, in addition, consonant distribution patterns that are not
found with other types of verb stems. In the following examples, four geminate
obstruents are attested. In addition, the consonants t, b and vb, which are never found in
the second syllable of any other type of verb stem, are attested among ideophonic verbs
in the data. Finally, the nasalized vowel o, which is found in only two morphologically
simple items in the data (3.1.2), appears in this list of ideophonic verbs:
bìttí
gbòvví
mìzzí
pull away
wash clothes
sprinkle
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nògtí
pùgvbí
ràg.bí
rwàhbí
tùttí
vògí
vbìttí
knead
scatter
wander
mix, tangle
pluck
daub
unroll shutters
A few ideophonic verbs appear to be derived from ideophonic adjectives (7.1.2.1, 8.4).
gòrògòrò
nùmnùm
kíríkìrì
kpìgzìm
loose
soft
spherical
thick
gòrgí
nùmgí
kìrgí
kpìgzí
loosen
soften
ball up
thicken
7.1.2.3 Borrowed verb stems
A handful of verb stems borrowed from Fulfulde are used in Mambay. Usage is much
more frequent among Mambay speakers in ethnically mixed communities (cf. 1.2.3.1).
The tone melody associated with these verbs is the same as that of other derived verbs,
namely Class 6 (7.3.2.2). While four of the five examples below conform to CV patterns
found with other non-canonical verb stems of Mambay origin (cf. beginning of 7.1.2), the
CV pattern of màrí ‘possess’ is unique (Fulfulde source vocabulary for these examples is
from Noye 1974).
èddí
hàbdí
jà7gí
màrí
vìndí
increase
fight
learn
possess
write
(cf. Fulf. esd-)
(cf. Fulf. ha-)
(cf. Fulf. ja-ng-)
(cf. Fulf. mar-)
(cf. Fulf. winnd-)
7.2 Verbal extensions
Verbal extensions are the primary way by which verb stems in Mambay become derived
(cf. 7.1.2). Several verbal extensions may be easily recognized by virtue of their
productivity and because their semantic and morphological contribution is readily
identifiable; however, others are less productive and are better considered vestiges of a
historical system of verbal extension within Niger-Congo. These historical origins will
not be addressed here, but the methodology and findings of Elders (2000:172–94)
concerning Mundang are relevant to a discussion of this topic in Mambay.
In addition to their role in the Mambay verb system, verbal extensions appear to be
related to vestigial suffixes found on nouns (5.1.3.2). This topic has been addressed in
Anonby 2007b:REF.
In the sections that follow, an inventory of verbal extensions is provided (7.2.1). After a
discussion of the distribution of verbal extensions (7.2.2), both synchronically productive
303
and unproductive extensions (7.2.3 and 7.2.4) are described. Attested combinations of
verbal extensions are catalogued (7.2.5), and a problem concerning the semantic and
phonological relationship among several of the suffixes is examined (7.2.6).
7.2.1 Inventory of verbal extensions
Sixteen verbal extensions have been identified in Mambay. These extensions vary
greatly in their productivity and, to some extent, in their structure.
Three of the verbal extensions are highly productive (7.2.3); they may be applied to
almost any verb root, and they contribute a definable semantic component to the resulting
stem.
-n (#1) causative
-ri
iterative/intensive
-gi
iterative/intensive
Each of these extensions results in tonal Class 6 verb stems with an expanded segmental
structure.
The remaining thirteen verbal extensions (7.2.4) are attested to varying degrees as part of
derived verb stems, but are not synchronically productive. In most cases, their specific
contribution to the meaning of a verb stem is difficult to identify. These extensions,
which have been arranged from high to low frequency, are as follows:
-r
intensive
-g
extensive
-l
separative
-zi
pluractional
-n (#2)
-%
-b
-Nw
-Nm
-m
-7
- ’ (glottalization)
(tonal extension)
With the exception of -zi, which behaves like the three productive extensions above, the
application of these extensions results in tonal Class 5 verb stems (7.3.2.2). There is
(also excepting -zi) no expansion of the segmental structure for stems containing these
extensions; rather, the extension consonants appear to have replaced a timing unit of the
historical source root’s long vowel.
304
Nasality does not spread from a verbal extension onto a root, or vice versa; nor does it
spread from one extension to another when two are found in combination.
hà-n
làà-nT
render
feed
cf. háá
cf. làà
nàm-rí
rìm-rí
grind repeatedly cf. nám
immerse
cf. rím
come back, go back
eat
grind
dip
dè-Nm-rí harmonize
cf. dè-Nm comment
sù-m-rí know definitively cf. sù-m know
7.2.2 Distribution
Almost all verbs may take extensions; the only exceptions which have been identified are
the irregular verbs vè ‘go,’ húm ‘come’ and tògó ‘be’ (7.3.3).
The existence of verbal extensions in the first place is suggested by recurrent sets of
verbs with similarities in both meaning and segmental structure. In most cases, a source
verb root may be identified for verbs stems containing extensions.
gìì
answer, accept, admit
accept definitively
accept definitively and repeatedly
persuade (i.e. cause to accept)
give one’s opinions
give one’s opinions repeatedly or in a
disorderly fashion
gìr
insult
gìrgí insult vehemently or repeatedly
gì%
gì%gí
gììnT
gìl
gìlgí
háá come back, go back
hààrí
hàlgí
hàn
hàr
coil
come/go back repeatedly
render
hurry
súú think, crush
sù%
sùg
sùlgí
sùm
sùmrí
sùr
sùùnT
sùùrí
trickle
sink
think repeatedly, crush repeatedly
know
know definitively
put in order
cause to think, cause to crush
mix
305
zóó rise, greet
zòl
zòlgí
zòNm
zòònT
leave
greet profusely
fix
cause to emerge
In other cases, it appears that although there is no identifiable source verb, the extensions
associated with the stems may be substituted.
For example, while there is no
synchronically attested verb káá, three stems appear to be related to this hypothetical
root:
kàn
kànní
kàr
pass, exceed, abuse
overtake, overdo, cause to pass
put, set
Occasionally, neither a source verb nor a pattern of substitution is evident. In such cases,
the contribution of a verbal extension is suggested based on the verb stem’s conformity to
the tonal patterns (Classes 5 and 6) associated with more typical extended verbs, which
are obviously derived. Also, when possible, a stem’s intimation of the semantic
contribution of a particular verbal extension is considered (7.2.3, 7.2.4).
gù)ún
lìgín
rìgrí
zèhmgí
accompany
tickle
roll (tr.)
pound
(cf. -n (2))
(cf. -n (1) causative)
(cf. -ri iterative/intensive)
(cf. -gi iterative/intensive)
More than one verbal extension may be found with a single stem, as shown in the
following example:
-l (separative) + -gi (iterative/intensive):
dwàh
dwàhl
dwàhlgí
shoot, sting
shoot several times
shoot repeatedly
A list of attested combinations is provided in 7.2.5.
7.2.3 Synchronically productive verbal extensions
7.2.3.1 Causative -n
The extension -n is the most productive verbal extension in Mambay, and contributes a
causative meaning to the stems in which it is found. (An alternative causative
construction formed by means of the auxiliary verb pá ‘make, do’ is presented in 7.6.3).
When it is applied to a verb stem ending in a long vowel other than a glottalized vowel, it
is added to the existing heavy root syllable, thereby making it superheavy (2.4.3):
hèènT lift
làànT feed
cf. hèè climb, go up
cf. làà eat
306
sàhnT cause to rest
cf. sàh rest
vììnT frighten, threaten
cf. víí fear
QàànT cause to move away cf. Qáá move away
When -n is applied to a stem that ends with a glottalized vowel (V’), this vowel is
reinterpreted as a V)V sequence: the glottal stop is discrete, and the second vowel, which
is syllabic, echoes the first.
sà)án sell
tù)ún teach
cf. sá’ buy
cf. tú’ show, teach
Whenever -n is applied to a stem ending in a short vowel, the consonant g and a syllabic
echo vowel are inserted between the stem and the extension.
dògón cause to drink
gègén lose (tr.)
cf. dó
cf. gé
drink
get lost
Whenever -n is applied to a stem that already ends with g, the syllabic echo vowel is
inserted between the verb root and the extension.
hègén dry (tr.)
lùgún cause to leave
cf. hég dry up
cf. lúg go out
Whenever it is applied to a stem that ends with any other consonant, it is realized as -ni.
àrní heal (tr.)
)ìnní load
cf. àr get better
cf. )ìn lift, carry
Occasionally the function of -n diverges from its prototypical use as a causative
morpheme. In each case, however, some sort of semantic association between the root
and the stem which has been extended with -n is still evident.
dùùnT
kàhnT
nàhnT
tù)ún
reveal
tip over
drag
teach
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
dùù
káh
náh
tú’
shout, squeak, humiliate
like, ask, tip over
take out
show, teach
A second verbal extension -n, which behaves differently and whose semantic value is
indistinct, is discussed in 7.2.4.5.
7.2.3.2 Iterative/intensive -ri
-ri is another highly productive verbal extension. It typically contributes an iterative or
intensive semantic value to the stems in which it is found; still, additional specific
meanings brought about by the lexicalization of these stems are common. Its relation to
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the intensive extension -r and to the iterative/intensive extension -gi is described in detail
in (7.2.6).
The distribution of -ri is phonologically restricted; it is never attached to verb stems
which end in an alveolar consonant or -7. Verbs containing -ri include the following:
bà’rí
gbàhrí
hààrí
hàgrí
ràbrí
rìmrí
fill up with air
help
coil
shatter
hug repeatedly
immerse
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
bá’
gbáh
háá
hág
ràb
rím
fill up (tr.)
catch, thicken, befit
come back, go back
break
hug
dip
7.2.3.3 Iterative/intensive -gi
-gi is a third highly productive verbal extension. Like -ri, it typically contributes an
iterative or intensive semantic value to the stems in which it is found, and additional
specific meanings brought about by the lexicalization of these stems are common. Its
relation to the extensive extension -g and to the iterative/intensive extension -ri is
described in detail in 7.2.6.
The distribution of -gi is phonologically restricted in that it never attaches to verb stems
ending with g. Verbs containing -gi include the following:
hà%gí
là7gí
làrgí
)òògí
sààgí
làmgí
break into pieces
stagger
rinse repeatedly
crawl
deceive, flatter
stir
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
hà%
lá7
làr
)óó
sáá
làm
cough, break something soft
move
rinse
braid (rope), compress
tell, trick, finish
prepare hot peanut drink
7.2.4 Other verbal extensions
In addition to synchronically productive verbal extensions (7.2.3), there appear to be a
number of other extensions which have applied historically. A few of these extensions
are moderately well-attested and, in some cases, the identification of a common meaning
can be attempted (7.2.4.1–7.2.4.4). Others are poorly attested; their historical
involvement in verbal derivation has been discriminated in reference to their tonal and (in
most cases) segmental structure (7.2.4.5; see also 7.3.2.2) (cf. Dimmendaal 2000:182).
7.2.4.1 -r
The extension -r prototypically intensifies the meaning of the stems in which it is found.
For a discussion of the relationship between -r and -ri, see 7.2.6. Examples of stems
containing -r include:
308
dèr
gìr
hàr
hàr
nàr
zàr
chop
insult
hurry
tear
drive
tread
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
déé
gìì
hàà
háá
náá
zàà
cut
answer, accept, admit
come back, go back
squeeze
touch
cross
7.2.4.2 -g
Verb stems which contain the extension -g prototypically signal actions in which things
spread out; this is reminiscent of the “extensive” extension whose meaning is described
Schadeberg (1994) and whose contribution to verb stems in Mundang is presented in
Elders (2000:176–9). For a discussion of the relationship between -g and -gi, see 7.2.6.
Examples of stems containing -g include:
nìg
tàg
vbìg
ràg
Nwàg
zàg
have diarrhea
sweep clean, plunder
elude, avoid
straddle, sling
suck
refuse, divorce
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
níí
táá
vbíí
ráá
Nwáá
zàà
defecate
stir
cut
spread out
split
cross
7.2.4.3 -l
The extension -l is moderately productive. Formally, it resembles the “separative”
extension -l in Mundang which Elders (2000:174), based on the definition provided in
Schadeberg (1982b:61), sees as describing movement away from an original position or
state. Synchronically, however, this semantic value is not fully transparent in Mambay,
nor is it completely consistent. Verb stems containing -l include the following:
ùl
divide
dwàhl shoot several times
kìl
wander
vbìl boil furiously, hack
zàl
explain
zòl
leave
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
úú
dwáh
kíí
vbìì
zàà
zóó
create, sprout
shoot, sting
set in motion
cut, cut up
cross, pull
rise, greet
7.2.4.4 -zi
The extension -zi is modestly productive. It is formally similar to other plural
morphemes, which contain z or zi (cf. 5.5, 5.9.2.1, 7.3.1.1); semantically, the data allow
that it could have originated as a pluractional extension. Normally, pluractional
extensions signal a plurality of verbal action; this may be performed by several agents or
experienced by several patients or instruments, or it may be an action performed in
several places (Newman 1990:53ff., Elders 2000:183). Verb stems containing -zi include
the following:
309
lùgzí
nìhzí
zì’zí
)ìhzí
resemble
approach with intention
nibble in several places
wipe off excrement
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
lúg
níh
zìr
)ìh
go out, sprout
(happen) to approach
gnaw
grunt
The fact that the verbal extension -zi is distinct from the verbal plural morpheme -zí
(7.3.1.1) is demonstrated by their distribution in the following set of words:
lúg
he/she/it went out
lùgzí he/she/it resembled
lúgzí
he/she/it went out
lùgzìzí they resembled
7.2.4.5 Unproductive verbal extensions
The unproductive verbal extensions listed here are more difficult to establish than those
found above. There are numerous cases of formally and semantically similar correlate
verbs from which they may have been derived historically, but not as many as for
productive extensions. Still, the inventory of unproductive extensions given here serves
(at least) as a catalogue of forms which are like the more obvious verbal extensions of the
same shape in their non-canonical tone melody (Class 5) and, usually, segmental
composition (especially that of the coda). Unproductive extensions which are marked
segmentally include: -n (#2), -%, -b, -Nm, -m, -7 and -Nw. There also appears to be one
unproductive extension marked with glottalization, and one marked only by a tonal
alternation.
The extension -n (#2) shares its segmental shape with the causative extension -n
(7.2.3.1). However, it does not contribute a uniformly causative semantic value, nor does
it increase the segmental content of the verb (7.2.1). Verb stems containing -n (#2)
include the following:
hàn
tàn
sìn
yàn
render
weave, braid
pick up tiny things
spread out (tr.)
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
háá
táá
sìì
yàà
come back, go back
stir
covet
sit, stay, be
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
kùù
Nwáá
Qáá
zàà
gather (firewood)
split
move away
cross
The following verbs contain -%:
kù%
Nwà%
Qà%
zà%
study, learn
have a headache
feel, rub, massage
tremble
The following verbs contain -b:
)àb
lìb
grill, fry
straighten
cf. )àà
cf. lìì
310
open, lose taste
measure, weigh, try
ràb
sìb
hug
hatch
(no similar root)
cf. sìì
covet
The following verbs contain -Nm:
dèNm comment
zòNm fix
cf. dém
cf. zòò
merit consideration
rise
The following verbs contain -m:
sùm know
vbòm divide, spread, ruin
cf. sùù
think, crush
(no similar root)
The following verb contains -7:
tì7
start
cf. tìì
become, clip, serve (food)
cf. náá
touch
The following verb contains –Nw:
nàNw spank
The following verb may contain a glottalization extension - ’:
kù’
put, store, set up
cf. kùù
gather (firewood)
Verbal derivation may be marked only by tone (change to Class 5) in the case of a few
verbs (cf. 7.3.2.2; see also Elders 2000:183 for a similar situation):
gwà’
gwàà
gyàà
syàà
Qàà
disappear
rob
care for a child
diminish
finish
cf. gwá’ laugh
(no similar root)
cf. gyáá take out, gather up
(no similar root)
cf. Qáá move away
Only the five verbs listed above appear to contain a tonal verbal extension. A point
worth noting is that the onset in the first four verb stems is complex (cf. 2.3.3.1), and that
the fifth stem starts with a complex (preglottalized) palatal consonant (cf. 2.1.5).
However, no further conclusion has been reached concerning a relation between these
structures and the tonal verbal extension.
7.2.5 Combinations of verbal extensions
Up to three verbal extensions may be applied to a single verb root in Mambay. An
example of each attested sequence of verbal extensions is given in this section.
Sequences of two extensions are as follows:
311
-b + -ri (iterative/intensive):
ràbrí
cf. ràb
hug repeatedly
hug
-% + -gi (iterative/intensive):
kù%gí
cf. kúú
cf. kù%
learn continually
gather (firewood)
study, learn
-g + -ri (iterative/intensive):
nìgrí
cf. nìg
defecate diarrhea repeatedly
defecate diarrhea
-l + -gi (iterative/intensive):
dwàhlgí
cf. dwáh
cf. dwàhl
shoot repeatedly
shoot, sting
shoot several times
-Nm + -gi (iterative/intensive):
dèNmgí
cf. dèNm
harmonize
comment
-Nm + -ri (iterative/intensive):
dèNmrí
cf. dèNm
comment repeatedly
comment
-n (#2) + -gi (iterative/intensive):
nìngí
cf. níí
defecate repeatedly
defecate
-n (#2) + -n (#1) (causative):
)ìnní
cf. )íí
cf. )ìn
load
marry
lift, carry
-r (intensive) + -gi (iterative/intensive): dèrgí
cf. déé
cf. dèr
cut up in pieces repeatedly
chop
cut off
-r (intensive) + -n (#1) (causative):
àrní
cf. àr
heal
get better
-Nw + -gi (iterative/intensive) or
-ri (iterative/intensive)
nàNwgí = nàNwrí spank repeatedly
cf. náá
touch
cf. nàNw
spank
Three verb stems which appear to contain three verbal extensions have been attested. In
one case (-ri), an extension is repeated for hyperbolic effect.
-g + -ri (iterative/intensive) +
-ri (iterative/intensive):
hàgrìrí
cf. háá
cf. hàg
312
shatter (hyperbolic)
come back, go back
break
-l + -gi (iterative/intensive) +
-ri (iterative/intensive):
cf. hàgrí
shatter
dwàhlgìrí
cf. dwáh
cf. dwàhl
cf. dwàhlgí
shoot definitively and repeatedly
shoot, sting
shoot several times
shoot repeatedly
-gi (iterative/intensive) + -ri (iterative/ )òògìrìní
intensive) + -n (#1) (causative):
cf. )óó
cf. )òògí
cf. )òògìrí
cf. )òògìní
cause to set crawling repeatedly /
repeatedly cause to set crawling
braid (rope), compress
set crawling
set crawling repeatedly
cause to set crawling
7.2.6 Relations among the extensions -ri, -gi, -r, and -g
From a semantic as well as phonological point of view, the four verbal extensions -ri, -gi,
-r, and -g (7.2.1) appear to be intimately connected. Consequently, any decision to
distinguish or conflate these extensions needs to be defended.
An initial comparison of verbs with -ri, -gi, -r and -g reveals an apparent contrast among
the four extensions. In the following set of words, the four verbal extensions are attached
to roots which appear to be phonologically equivalent. While -ri and -gi constitute a new
syllable in an extended verb stem (7.2.1), -r and -g replace the second timing unit of a
long vowel in the verb root to which they are attached (7.2.1) as follows:
hààrí
sààgí
hàr
tàg
coil
deceive, flatter
hurry
sweep, clean, plunder
cf.
cf.
cf.
cf.
háá
sáá
háá
táá
come back, go back
tell, trick, finish
come back, go back
stir
However, the relationships among the four extensions are more complex than this
apparent contrast suggests. In the following sections, the semantic and distributional
relationships between pairs of similar forms are discussed. There, it is suggested that -ri
and -gi are partially complementary, and that while -ri and -r are also partially
complementary, -gi and -g should be regarded as contrastive. Finally, -r and -g
demonstrate clear evidence of contrast.
Partial complementarity of -ri and -gi
Although contrast is presented immediately above for the verbal extensions -ri and -gi,
an examination of their lexical distribution, semantic value and phonological distribution
reveals a surprising degree of complementarity.
Unlike the corresponding extensions -r and -g (cf. below), -ri and -gi are virtually
lexically complementary in the data; a given verb root may be associated either with -ri
313
or with -gi, but usually not with both. The only exceptions are the following pairs of
stems:
dèNmgí
dèNmrí
cf. dèNm
harmonize
comment repeatedly
comment
nàNwgí
nàNwrí
cf. nàNw
spank repeatedly =
spank repeatedly
spank
While one substitution makes a difference in meaning, the other does not.
The comparable semantic value of the extensions -ri and -gi supports a similar pattern of
complementarity. Both forms signal actions which are repeated or intensified (7.2.3).
Since the two extensions are typically found with complementary sets of verb roots (see
previous paragraph), a direct and representative comparison of their meaning is not
possible. These extensions are variously found on verbs with iterative or intensive
values: on the one hand, verbs with -ri are about evenly divided between those which
contain iterative and intensive meanings; on the other hand, verbs in which -gi carries an
iterative meaning are arguably more common than those which are intensive, but not
significantly so.
Finally, there is partial complementarity in the phonological distribution of the two
extensions (7.2.3). It is true that either may be associated with a verb stem ending in a
vowel or a labial consonant. However, in other environments, complementarity is clear:
while on the one hand only -ri is found with verb roots ending in g, on the other hand
only -gi is found with roots ending in an alveolar consonant or 7.
Relationships within the extension pairs -ri / -r and -gi / -g
Although apparent contrast between -ri and -r and between -gi and -g is shown above
(7.2.6), the relationship between members of these extension pairs is more complex than
this.
There is an obvious structural similarity between -ri and -r and between -gi and -g. The
possibility of complementarity is especially plausible in light of i-insertion phenomena
found at morpheme boundaries elsewhere in the language: for example, the causative
extension -n is realized as -ni in certain morphological contexts (7.2.3.1; for other similar
examples, see 5.2.2, 7.1.2.1, 7.1.2.2 and 7.4.2.1). A further indicator of complementarity
is that whenever these extensions are one of two associated with the same root, -r or -g is
always placed first, while -ri or -gi is invariably placed second (7.2.5).
This evident complementarity is disrupted by the semantic values associated with each
form (7.2.3–7.2.4). On the one hand, -gi and -g are semantically distinct: whereas -gi
bears an iterative or intensive value, -g is bears an extensive value and is clearly neither
314
iterative nor intensive. On the other hand, a semantic distinction is more difficult to draw
between -ri and -r. Like -gi, -ri carries an iterative or intensive value. However, -r
shares only the intensive value of -ri and is never iterative.
Based on these semantic considerations, and despite the partial phonological and
morphological complementarity that is evident, it is necessary to posit contrast between ri and -r and between -gi and -g.
Contrast between -r and -g
The preceding discussion shows that a partial complementarity exists between the
extensions -ri and -gi as well as between members of the extension pairs -ri / -r and -gi /
-g. It is therefore reasonable to consider whether the extensions -r and -g may also be
partially complementary. However, this is not the case; the distribution of -r and -g is
contrastive in some word pairs. Examples which show this are as follows:
sùg
sùr
cf. súú
sink
put in order
think, crush
zàg
zàr
cf. zàà
refuse, divorce
tread
cross
7.3 Verb word morphology
Verb words, along with subject pronouns (6.1.2, 7.4) and expansions of verb forms (7.6),
are fundamental in furnishing morphological structures which communicate the functions
of verbal inflection in Mambay (7.4). In the present section, affixational possibilities are
catalogued (7.3.1) and the tonal behaviour of the verb word is discussed (7.3.2.2.3).
Elements of verb classification (7.3.2) and are then followed by a description of the
morphology of irregular verbs (7.3.3).
7.3.1 Affixation
Several types of affixes are found with verb words in Mambay. The most basic affixes,
which are tonal inflection morphemes, are treated in the section on verb classification
(7.3.2), since they fall into a number of lexically determined classes.
All of the other morphemes which are part of verb words are suffixes. Basic inflectional
distinctions are expressed by the verbal plural morpheme -zí (7.3.1.1), reflexive suffixes
(7.3.1.2) and the Perfect suffix -rì (7.3.1.3). Other verb suffixes are the dummy object
suffix -na (7.3.1.4), several object suffixes (7.3.1.5) and the directional suffix -ìn / -n` ‘to
here’ (7.3.1.6). Combinatory possibilities of verbal suffixes are listed in 7.3.1.7.
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7.3.1.1 The verbal plural affix -zí
The verbal affix -zí is used to specify plurality for three of the five plural persons (6.1.1):
first-and-second (1&2) person, third person, and third person co-referential. For the 1&2
person and the third person, its importance is obvious, since plurality is not specified for
the subject pronoun; singular and plural verbal subject pronouns are identical (6.1.1.5).
For plurals of these three persons, the affix -zí is obligatory when there is no reflexive
suffix on the verb, as the following singular/plural pairs show:
we (you (sg.) and I) will climb
nàá
1&2:IRR
hèè
climb:FUT
nàá
1&2:IRR
hèè-zí
we (three or more people, inclusive) will climb
climb:FUT-PL
)àá
3:IRR
hèè
climb:FUT
)àá
3:IRR
hèè-zí
they will climb
climb:FUT-PL
lèé
hèè
3SG.COREF:IRR climb:FUT
he/she/it will climb
he/she/it (coref.) will climb
rèé
hèè-zí
they (coref.) will climb
3PL.COREF:IRR climb:FUT-PL
When third person plural or third person plural co-referential reflexive suffixes (7.3.1.2)
are found on the verb word, the presence of -zí is optional and serves only to make the
plurality of the subject explicit. This is shown in the following plural examples:
)àá
3:IRR
hèè-ré
they will climb
climb:FUT-3PL.REFL
= )àá
3:IRR
hèè-zì-ré
they will climb
climb:FUT-PL-3PL.REFL
rèé
hèè-ré
they (coref.) will climb
3PL.COREF:IRR climb:FUT-3PL.REFL
= rèé
hèè-zì-ré
they (coref.) will climb
3PL.COREF:IRR climb:FUT-PL-3PL.REFL
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However, there is no optional use of -zí to mark plurality on verbs with a 1&2 person
plural reflexive suffix; plurality is already explicit in the suffix (which in turn appears to
have historically subsumed the form and role of -zí).
nàá
1&2:IRR
hèè-zìnzá
we (three or more people, inclusive) will climb
climb:FUT-1&2PL.REFL
cf. the singular counterpart:
nàá
1&2:IRR
hèè-ná
we (you (sg.) and I) will climb
climb:FUT-1&2SG.REFL
7.3.1.2 Reflexive suffixes
A set of reflexive suffixes is used to mark subject agreement on most intransitive
(7.3.2.1) and detransitivized (7.3.2.1.2) verb forms. The suffix set, which resembles
many of the other pronominal sets (6.1), is as follows:
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF
-ní
-mi ~ -nVgm
-ná
-lé
-lé
-rí
-ró
-zínzá ~ -zíná
-ré
-ré
Third person and third person co-referential reflexive suffixes are identical. They
resemble co-referential object pronouns (6.1.3), and may have originated from these
historically.
Long and short forms of the 1&2 person plural reflexive suffix, -zínzá and -zíná, are
also found in other pronominal paradigms (see 6.1.3, 6.1.4).
A number of morphophonological alternations accompany the application of reflexive
suffixes to verb stems. This is evident with the second person singular reflexive suffix mi ~ -nVgm (7.3.1.2.1) as well as r-initial and nasal-initial reflexive suffixes (7.3.1.2.2
and 7.3.1.2.3). In addition, the irregular verb vè ‘go’ exhibits extensive suffix-to-stem
vowel assimilation (7.3.3.1).
7.3.1.2.1 The second person singular reflexive suffix -mi ~ -nVgm
When attached to a stem ending with a long vowel other than a glottalized vowel, the
second person singular reflexive suffix is realized as -mi.
317
mù gìì-mi
you consented
2SG accept:PFV-2SG.REFL
mù syàh-mi
you got cold
2SG get.cold:PFV-2SG.REFL
When attached to a stem ending with a glottalized vowel (V’), this vowel is reinterpreted
as a V)V sequence: the glottal stop is discrete, and the second vowel, which is syllabic,
echoes the first.
mù
2SG
mù
2SG
fì)-ím
blow:PFV-2SG.REFL
tè)-ém
walk:PFV-2SG.REFL
you revived
you walked
When the second person singular reflexive suffix is attached to a stem ending in a
consonant or a short vowel, it is typically realized as -nVgm (where V is a vowel which
echoes the final vowel of the stem).
mù àr-nám
you got better
2SG get.better:PFV-2SG.REFL
mù nú-núm
you had slept
2SG sleep:PLUPERF-2SG.REFL
This includes mid vowels, which are restricted from bearing nasality in most contexts (cf.
3.1.1). This suggests that the mid quality of the vowel and/or its nasality may be an
effect of its phonetic context rather than an underlying trait.
mù )èr-ném
you got up
2SG get.up:PFV-2SG.REFL
mù ròv-nóm
2SG scald:PFV-2SG.REFL
you scalded yourself
When the second person singular reflexive suffix is attached to a stem ending in a stop, it
is optionally realized as -Vgm (where V is a vowel which echoes the final vowel of the
stem).
mù àg-nám ~ àg-ám you got stuck
2SG get.stuck:PFV-2SG.REFL
mù lìb-ním ~ lìb-ím
you straightened up
2SG straighten:PFV-2SG.REFL
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Finally, whenever the suffix is attached to an 7-final verb stem, it is realized as -gVgm.
This realization prevents from 7 appearing in onset position (cf. 2.1.2.1).
mù ó7-góm
you were revolted
2SG revolt:PFV-2SG.REFL
mù dú7-gúm
you bent down
2SG bend.down:PFV-2SG.REFL
7.3.1.2.2 r-initial reflexive suffixes
When an r-initial reflexive suffix is suffixed to a verb stem ending in r, the resulting
r+r sequence is shortened to a single r.
rì
1PL
)èr
+
get.up:PLUPERF
-rí
-1PL.REFL
rì )èrí
we (excl.) had gotten up
rò
2PL
)èr
+
get.up:PLUPERF
-ró
-2PL.REFL
rò )èró
you (pl.) had gotten up
Ø
)èr
+
3:PFV get.up:PLUPERF
-ré
-3PL.REFL
)èré
they had gotten up
7.3.1.2.3 Nasal-initial reflexive suffixes
When nasal-initial reflexive suffixes follow a stem-final oral sonorant % or l, the
nasality of the pronoun assimilates to the left and the stem-final oral sonorant is realized
as the respective nasal counterpart Nm Nn or n (cf. 3.4.3.2).
mì
1SG
sà
vomit:PFV
+
-ní
-1SG.REFL
mì sàNmní
I vomited
mù
2SG
zà%
+
tremble:PFV
-nVgm -2SG.REFL
mù zàNnnám
you trembled
nà
1&2
zòl
leave:PFV
-ná
nà zònná
-1&2SG.REFL
+
we (you (sg.) and I) left
7.3.1.3 The Perfect suffix -rì
The suffix -rì is only found on transitive verbs (7.3.2.1.2), where it marks the Perfect
tense (7.4.1.1.1.2). Often, Perfect forms with -rì are found without an explicit object;
this suggests that -rì satisfies (or at least relieves) transitivity requirements.
mì làà-rì
1SG eat:PERF-PERF
I have eaten (something)
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I have payed (something)
mì póó-rì
1SG pay:PERF-PERF
The suffix -rì cannot be treated as a dummy object, however, since it allows an
accompanying explicit object or object pronoun (in contrast to -na; see 7.3.1.4).
mì làà-rì
1SG eat:PERF-PERF
)ígà
thing
I have eaten something
mù kó-rì
2SG see:PERF-PERF
mí
1SG.OBJ
you have seen me
Several morphophonological alternations accompany the suffixation of -rì to verb stems.
When -rì is suffixed to a verb stem ending in r, the stem vowel is lengthened and the r of
the stem disappears.
mì
1SG
deFr
+
cut.off:PERF
-rì -PERF
mì dèérì
I have cut (something) off
mì
1SG
waFr
+
leave:PERF
-rì -PERF
mì wàárì
I have left (something)
When -rì is suffixed to a verb stem ending in either n or l, the r of the suffix assimilates
to the stem-final consonant.
mì
1SG
kaFn
+
pass:PERF
-rì -PERF
mì kaFnnì
I have passed (something)
mì
1SG
loFl
+
crunch:PERF
-rì -PERF
mì loFllì
I have crunched (something)
When -rì is suffixed to verb stems ending in a nasal consonant or a nasalized vowel,
nasality spreads from the stem to the suffix.
mì
1SG
dú7
+
-rì bend.down:PERF -PERF
mì dú7rì
I have bent (something) down
mì
1SG
deFNm +
-rì comment:PERF -PERF
mì deFNmrì
I have commented (on
something)
mì
1SG
kúú
+
grab:PERF
-rì -PERF
mì kúúrì
I have grabbed (something)
mì
1SG
sáá
+
swallow:PERF
-rì -PERF
mì sáárì
I have swallowed (something)
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7.3.1.4 The dummy object suffix -na
The suffix -na is a dummy object marker which is found with verbal nouns derived from
transitive verbs, whether they are used as nouns (5.9) or used verbally (as in the
Imperfective; see 7.4.1.1.2).
làá-nà
eat:VN-OBJ
eating (something)
mì làá-nà
1SG eat:VN-OBJ
I eat (something) / I am eating (something)
The structure and role of -na is described in greater detail in reference to verbal nouns in
5.9.1.1.
7.3.1.5 Pronominal object suffixes
Three object pronouns are verb word suffixes: second person singular (7.3.1.5.1), third
person singular (7.3.1.5.2), and the -zíná variant of the 1&2 person plural (7.3.1.5.3). In
all three cases, there is morphophonological evidence of these suffixes’ interdependence
with the verb word; such evidence is lacking for other object pronouns (6.1.3.1).
7.3.1.5.1 The second person singular object suffix -mi
The second person singular object is a verb word suffix -mi.
mì zòò-mi
1SG greet:VN-2SG.OBJ
I greet you / I am greeting you
)à kyàh-mi
3SG love:VN-2SG.OBJ
he/she/it loves you / he/she/it is loving you
When -m is attached to a stem ending with a glottalized vowel (V’), this vowel is
reinterpreted as a V)V sequence: the glottal stop is discrete, and the second vowel, which
is syllabic, echoes the first, although it carries the High tone of the underlying suffix -mi.
)à là)-ám
3SG hear:VN-2SG.OBJ
he/she/it hears you / he/she/it is hearing you
When -m is attached to a consonant-final verb stem, an echo vowel is also inserted.
)à lîb-ím
he/she/it straightens you / he/she/it is straightening you
3SG straighten:VN-2SG.OBJ
)à àg-ám
3SG meet:VN-2SG.OBJ
he/she/it meets you / he/she/it is meeting you
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)à sòg-óm
3SG send:VN-2SG.OBJ
he/she/it touches you / he/she/it is touching you
Nasality does not travel leftward from the suffix to the host stem:
mì kòò-mi
I give birth to you / I am giving birth you
1SG give.birth:VN-2SG.OBJ
However, echo vowels that follow a stem ending in a nasal consonant are nasalized.
)à àm-ám
3SG trample:VN-2SG.OBJ
he/she/it tramples you / he/she/it is trampling you
In this context, mid echo vowels are also nasalized. Like the second person singular
reflexive suffix (7.3.1.2.1), the identity of the suffix vowel and/or its nasality may be an
effect of phonetic context rather than an underlying trait.
)à sèm-ém
3SG avoid:VN-2SG.OBJ
he/she/it avoids you / he/she/it is avoiding you
)à rôhm-óm
3SG wait:VN-2SG.OBJ
he/she/it waits for you / he/she/it is waiting for you
7.3.1.5.2 The third person singular object suffix - `rú
Tonally, the third person singular object suffix - `rú (which in informal speech may be
reduced to - `wú; see the discussion at the beginning of 6.1.3.1) forms part of the same
word as the verb stem.
Ø
éé +
3:PFV bite:PFV
- `rú ~ - `wú
-3SG.OBJ
éèrú ~ éèwú he/she/iti bit him/her/itj
Ø
gìì
+
- `rú ~ - `wú
3:PFV answer:PFV -3SG.OBJ
gììrú ~ gììwú
he/she/iti answered
him/her/itj
It is realized as - `dú when it follows a verb stem that ends in an alveolar consonant.
Ø
dèr +
- `rú ~ - `wú
3:PFV cut.off:PFV -3SG.OBJ
dèrdú
he/she/iti cut him/her/itj off
Ø
kàn +
3:PFV pass:PFV
kàndú
he/she/iti passed him/her/itj
- `rú ~ - `wú
-3SG.OBJ
7.3.1.5.3 The first-and-second (1&2) person plural object suffix variant -zíná
The -zíná variant of the 1&2 plural object zìnzá ~ -zíná (see 6.1.3.1) is also a suffix,
since tonally it forms part of the same word as the verb stem.
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Ø
3:PFV
zóó +
-zíná
zóózíná
greet:PFV -1&2PL.OBJ
he/she/it greeted us (incl.)
Ø
3:PFV
kàn +
pass:PFV
he/she/it passed us (incl.)
-zíná
kànzìná
-1&2PL.OBJ
7.3.1.6 The directional suffix -ìn ~ -n`
The directional suffix -ìn / -n`, which is a shortened form of the directional adverb hîn ‘to
here’ (8.1.1.1), attaches to the stem of intransitive verbs. Like its uncontracted
counterpart, it signals an action approaching the speaker. In cases where the suffix is
attached to a verb stem ending in a consonant, its underlying form -ìn is realized in full.
mù háá +
-mi
+ -ìn mù háámîn you had come back to here
2SG come.back:PLUPERF -2SG.REFL -to.here
When it is attached to a verb stem ending in a vowel, it is realized as -n`.
)àà
háá-n`
he/she/it will come back here
3SG:IRR come.back:FUT-to.here
)àà
té’-n`
he/she/it will walk here
3SG:IRR walk:FUT-to.here
Along with a regular suffixed form, there is a complete irregular conjugation of the verb
húm ‘come’ with -ìn ~ -n` (7.3.3.2).
7.3.1.7 Combinatory possibilities
A limited number of combinatory possibilities are available to verbal suffixes. For
example, the Perfect suffix -rì, with which explicit objects are permitted, may be
followed by the second person singular object suffix.
mì zóó-rì-mi
1SG greet:PERF-PERF-2SG.OBJ
mì zóòrím I have greeted you /
I greet you
Also, reflexive suffixes may be followed by the directional suffix -ìn ~ -n`.
mù háá-mi-ìn
2SG come.back:PFV-2SG.REFL -to.here
mù háámîn you have come back to here
Finally, the verbal plural affix -zí is always closest to the stem, and may be found in
conjunction with all other verbal suffixes, including attested combinations of these
suffixes.
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Plural affix + reflexive suffix:
Ø
háá-zí-ré
3:PFV come.back:PLUPERF-PL-3PL.REFL
háázíré
they had come back /
they had gone back
Plural affix + Perfect suffix:
nà
1&2
zóó-zí-rì
greet:PERF-PL-PERF
nà zóózírì we (incl.) have greeted
(something)
nà zòòzínà we (incl.) are greeting
(something) / we (incl.)
greet (something)
nà zóózím we (incl.) greeted you
Plural affix + dummy object suffix:
nà
1&2
zòò-zí-nà
greet:VN-PL-OBJ:VN
Plural affix + pronominal object suffix:
nà
1&2
zóó-zí-mi
greet:PFV-PL-2SG.OBJ
Plural affix + Perfect suffix + pronominal object suffix:
nà
1&2
zóó-zí-rì-mi
greet:PERF-PL-PERF-2SG.OBJ
nà zóózírìm we (incl.) have greeted you
Plural affix + directional suffix:
Ø
háá-zí-n`
3:PFV come.back:PLUPERF-PL-to.here
háázín`
they had come back to here
Plural affix + reflexive suffix + directional suffix:
Ø
háá-zí-ré-n`
háázírên
3:PFV come.back:PLUPERF-PL-3PL.REFL-to.here
they had come back to here
No other verbal suffix combinations are attested.
7.3.2 Verb classes
Verbs are divided into lexical classes based on two parameters. First, a distinction
between intransitive and transitive verbs is signalled syntactically as well as
morphologically (7.3.2.1). Second, verbs fall into six distinct classes of tonal inflection
(7.3.2.2).
7.3.2.1 Transitivity
There is a basic subdivision of the verb lexicon between two formally distinct classes of
verbs: intransitive (7.3.2.1.1) and transitive (7.3.2.1.2). While the labels “intransitive”
324
and “transitive” are helpful in describing the two classes, there are areas of ambiguity
regarding the patterning of transitivity. Because of this, the verb classes are defined by
further formal requirements specific to each. Defining characteristics of intransitive vs.
transitive verbs are summarized in the following table:
Characteristics of intransitive vs. transitive verbs
intransitive verbs
transitive verbs
cannot take an object
must take an object in most
contexts
Perfect form does not take
the suffix -rì
Perfect verb form must take
the suffix -rì
found with a corresponding
irregular verbal noun
found with a corresponding
regular verbal noun
corresponding verbal noun
may not take dummy object
suffix -na
corresponding verbal noun
must take dummy object
suffix -na when no there is no
explicit object
underived
derived in some cases
transitivity achieved by
application of the causitive
verbal extension -n
detransitivized by reflexive
verb suffixes
Each of these characteristics is addressed in the subsections below.
7.3.2.1.1 Intransitive verbs
Intransitive verbs differ syntactically from transitive verbs in that they cannot take
objects.
mì )à’
1SG run:PFV
I ran
mì hèè
1SG climb:PFV
I climbed
mì húm
1SG come:PFV
I came
Irregular verbal nouns (5.9.1.2) correspond to intransitive verbs.
325
irregular verbal noun
gúù
gélà
%áárà
fímrò
gyáárà
corresponding intransitive verb stem
flowing, flow (n.)
getting lost
alighting
weighing
foaming up
gúú
gé
%àà
fìm
gyàà
flow (v.)
get lost
alight
weigh (intr.)
foam up
Intransitive verbs are never found with the transitive Perfect suffix -rì (7.3.1.3) or the
dummy object suffix -na (7.3.1.4) and they are never derived from other verbs or nouns
(cf. 7.1.2.1). Intransitive verbs are frequently found with reflexive suffixes (7.3.1.2); for
some tenses, inflection with reflexive suffixes is obligatory (7.4.1.1.1).
mì )â’-ní
I have run
1SG run:PERF-1SG.REFL
mì )á’-ní
I had run
1SG run:PLUPERF-1SG.REFL
Intransitive verbs may be followed by complements expressing location and manner.
Importantly, when such complements are nouns, there is no marking on the complement
to show that it is an oblique rather than an object (objects are also unmarked; see the
extended discussion in 5.13). Example locative complements are as follows:
mì gè fâh
1SG get.lost:PFV path
I got lost on the path
mì rì’ gèmná
I entered at the entrance hut
1SG enter:PFV entrance.hut
mì yáá fíílò
1SG sit:PFV house
I sat in/at the house
Ø %àà kpèègá
3:PFV alight:PFV tree
he/she/it alighted on the tree
Example manner complements are as follows:
mì bàà sáà
I hardened like stone
1SG harden(intr.):PFV stone
mì hèg kómnà
I withered with hunger
1SG dry.up:PFV hunger
mì húm vérgà
I came like a stranger
1SG come:PFV traveller
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Ø sòò gyâh
3:PFV get.hot:PFV sun
it was [as] hot [as] the sun
In the end, the oblique status of the complement is confirmed only by the patterning of
the verb elsewhere, since in other contexts it shows the formal characteristics of the
intransitive verbs mentioned in this section.
Intransitive verbs are effectively transitivized by the application of the causative verbal
extension -n (7.2.3.1).
corresponding
intransitive
causitive (= transitivized)
verb stem
verb stem with -n
bàà
lóó
sòò
grow (intr.), harden (intr.)
get tired
get hot, boil (intr.)
bàànT
lòònT
sòònT
grow (tr.), harden (tr.)
tire, irritate
heat, boil (tr.)
7.3.2.1.2 Transitive verbs
Transitive verbs are almost always found with a nominal (or pronominal) object, a
dummy object suffix, or a reflexive suffix. Transitive verbs found with objects are shown
in the following examples:
bòNmsí hàh7gí káálé Bo’msi lost his head
Bo’msi forget:PFV head:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
mì dó byàá
1SG drink:PFV water
I drank water
twaFh èè káà nà
Does a snake bite the stick?
snake bite:VN stick QM
zèèlá lòònT mí
lie tire:PFV 1SG.OBJ
a lie bothered me
The Perfect suffix -rì (7.3.1.3) is only found with transitive verbs.
mì kó-rì
1SG see:PERF-PERF
I have seen (something)
Ø gìì-rì
he/she/it has answered (something)
3:PFV answer:PERF-PERF
In contrast to intransitive verbs, which are only found with corresponding irregular verbal
nouns (5.9.1.2), regular verbal nouns (5.9.1.1) always correspond to transitive verbs.
327
verbal noun
%â%
gyàh
gbóógì
púgvbì
Qàh
corresponding transitive verb stem
sowing, planting
sewing, hemming
enlarging, widening
scattering
calling, inviting
%à%
gyáh
gbòògí
pùgvbí
Qáh
sow, plant
sew, hem
enlarge, widen
scatter
call, invite
These regular verbal nouns take a dummy object suffix -na if no explicit object is
specified (5.9.1.1; the tonal behaviour of -na is also addressed in this section).
verbal noun
verbal noun
w/ dummy object
%â%
gyàh
gbóógì
púgvbì
Qàh
%â%-ná
gyaFh-nà
gbóógì-ná
púgvbì-ná
QaFh-ná
sowing, planting (something)
sewing, hemming (something)
enlarging, widening (something)
scattering (something)
calling, inviting (something)
A minority of transitive verb stems undergo derivation with reflexive suffixes (7.3.1.2).
This contrasts with intransitive stems, with which reflexive suffixes function
inflectionally (7.3.2.1.1). With transitive stems, the reflexive suffixes appease obligatory
object requirements, resulting in valence reduction; in other words, transitive verbs are
detransitivized. Such verbs are inflected like intransitive verbs belonging to the same
tonal class.
transitive verb construction
detransitivized verb construction
mì dú7-rì
1SG bend:PERF-PERF
I have bent (something) down
mì dú7-ní
1SG bend:PERF-1SG.REFL
I have bent down
mì lHFb-rì
1SG straighten:PERF-PERF
I have straightened (something)
mì lHFb-nì
1SG straighten:PERF-1SG.REFL
I have straightened up
Detransitivized verbs differ from transitive verbs in that they are not found with basic
In cases where the
Perfective (7.4.1.1.1.1) or Imperfective (7.4.1.1.2) forms.
detransitivized basic Perfective or Imperfective meaning is intended, the transitive
counterpart is used with a predictable or dummy object.
328
transitive verb construction
transitive verb construction used in place
of a detransitivized verb construction
mì dú7
1SG bend:PFV
I bent (something) down
mì dú7
)ínù
1SG bend:PFV body
I bent down
mì lîb-ná
1SG straighten:VN-OBJ:VN
I straightened (something)
= mì lîb-ná
1SG straighten:VN-OBJ:VN
I have straightened up
Detransitivized verbs are also distinct from intransitive verbs: reflexive verbal suffixes
are optional for Future (7.4.1.2.1) and Optative (7.4.2) forms of intransitive verbs, but
they are obligatory for detransitivized verbs.
intransitive verb
detransitivized verb construction
)àá
hèè(-lé)
3:IRR
climb:FUT-(3SG.REFL)
I will climb
)àá
Qàà-lé
3:IRR
finish:FUT-3SG.REFL
I will finish
mú
hèè(-mi)
2SG:OPT climb:OPT-(2SG.REFL)
[you (sg.)] climb!
mú
Qàà-mi
2SG:OPT finish:FUT-2SG.REFL
[you (sg.)] finish!
Semantic shift frequently accompanies detransitivization. And often, because the
meanings of detransitivized stems are specific or part of fixed expressions, the tenses
with which they may be used are limited. Stems with which this type of semantic shift
has been attested are as follows:
transitive
verb stem
meaning
(transitive)
meaning
(detransitivized)
ág
éé
dìì
fì’
gà’
gìì
gòò
kpàtgí
pá
páá
sí’
Qàà
)òògí
meet, support
bite
join
blow
nail
answer
prepare
distance (tr.)
make, do
dirty (tr.)
fish
finish (tr.)
set crawling
get stuck
stick together, become thin
be related through marriage
revive (intr.)
stay fixed in one place
consent
be afraid
become distant
happen, do with oneself
get dirty
bloat (intr.)
finish (intr.)
drag one’s feet
329
Detransitivized verbs pattern lexically as transitive verbs in that the regular verbal nouns
to which they correspond (like that of their transitive counterparts) must take the dummy
object suffix -na when no other object is expressed.
verbal
noun
verbal noun w/
dummy object
èè
dìì
fì’
gà’
èé-nà
dìí-nà
fHF’-nà
gaF’nà
biting (something), sticking together, becoming thin
joining (something), being related through marriage
blowing (something), reviving (intr.)
nailing (something), staying fixed in one place
One context in which syntactic transitivity requirements are relaxed is with Optative verb
forms in cases where an object has been previously mentioned.
mú
2SG:OPT
… mú
2SG:OPT
làà
nàmá
eat:OPT meat
[you (sg.)] eat meat!
làà
eat:OPT
[you (sg.)] eat (meat)!
Transitive verbs, in contrast to intransitive verbs, may be derived from other nouns or
verbs (7.1.2.1).
7.3.2.2 Tone
Tone on the verb stem is determined by the tense and the tonal class to which a stem
belongs. Tone classes are accounted for in 7.3.2.2.1. Minimal tone pairs, which are
uncommon among verbs, are listed in 7.3.2.2.2, and the behaviour of tone in verb words
is described in 7.3.2.2.3.
7.3.2.2.1 Inventory of tone classes
There are six basic inflectional categories which are signalled by tonal distinctions on the
stem: basic Perfective, Perfect, Pluperfect, Future, Optative and Imperfective, which is
expressed with a verbal noun (5.9). The tonal possibilities for these categories fall into
six sets, or classes (see table below).
The melodies found with the Perfect tense are unusual in two regards: first, Perfect verb
words with intransitive stems from Class 1 (all shapes) and Class 2 (CVX only) contain a
floating H tone on the left; and second, the melody for Perfect verb words with
intransitive stems from Class 1 (CV only), transitive stems from Class 4, and all Class 5
and Class 6 stems, overrides the tone of any accompanying verb suffixes (7.3.2.2.3,
7.4.1.1.1.2).
Each of the tonal classes is fully illustrated in Appendix 2 along with transitive and
intransitive verbs and all CV shapes of the stems with which it is attested. These classes
are also summarized in the following table:
330
PERFECT
PLUPERFECT
FUTURE
OPTATIVE
IMPERFECTIVE
1 (intr., CVX)
Qáá
H
°H[L
H
H
H
(lex.)
1 (intr., CV)
gé
H
HL*
H
H
H
(lex.)
1 (tr.)
éé
H
H
H
H
H
L
2 (intr.)
sùù
L
°H[L
H
H
H
(lex.)
3 (intr.)
vè
L
L
L
H
L
(lex.)
4 (intr.)
hèè
L
L
L
L
L
(lex.)
4 (tr.)
gìì
L
L*
L*
L
L
L
5 (intr., tr.)
Qàà
L
LHL* LHL*
LH
LH
HL
6 (intr., tr.)
)òògí
LH
LHL* LHL*
LH
LH
HL
tonal verb
class
(verbal noun)
example
verb
PERFECTIVE
Tone on the verb stem
°H[L = floating H tone on the left boundary of a L stem
* = replacive melody, i.e., dominates the entire verb word (see 7.3.2.2.3)
7.3.2.2.2 Minimal tone pairs
Even though there are six tonal classes, there are few minimal tone pairs among verbs,
i.e., segmentally identical verbs in different tonal classes (this does not include the
productively detransitivized forms described in 7.3.2.1.2). For some of the pairs (e.g.,
gyáá/gyàà and háá/hàà), a historical transitivity-related derivation (cf. 7.2.4.5) appears
to be responsible for membership in separate classes; however, the direction of this
derivation is inconsistent, and it is otherwise unproductive. Such verbs are as follows:
Class 1:
Class 5:
gwá’ laugh
gwà’ disappear
Class 1:
Class 5:
gyáá take out, gather up
gyàà care for a child
Class 1:
Class 4:
háá
hàà
come back, go back
surround (tr.)
Class 1:
Class 4:
hí’
hì’
breathe (intr.); spurt (tr.)
stake out (tr.)
331
Class 1:
Class 4:
sáá
sàà
shut up (intr.)
tell, trick, cease (tr.)
Class 1:
Class 5:
súm
sùm
punt
know
Class 1:
Class 5:
Qáá
Qàà
move away
finish (tr.)
Class 1:
Class 4:
zóó
zòò
greet (tr.)
rise, emerge (intr.)
The fact that all of the minimal tone pairs in the above examples involve Class 1 and
Class 4 or 5 is conspicuous. However, these are the most commonly attested tonal
classes; and since the formation of Class 5 verb stems is almost always accompanied by
segmental derivation (7.1.2), it hardly adds to the inventory of minimal tone pairs among
verb stems.
7.3.2.2.3 Tonal behaviour
The verb word bears a single tone melody, which is almost always a fusion of the tonal
TAM inflection of the verb stem (7.3.2.2.1) and the tone of the suffixes (7.3.1); it initially
maps from left to right, but it later shifts to the right (cf. 4.1.2.2).
Ø
hèè
3:PFV climb:PFV
hèè
he/she/it climbed
Ø
hèè-zí
3:PFV climb:PFV-PL
hèèzí
they climbed
Ø
hèè-zí-n`
3:PFV climb:PFV-PL-to.here
hèèzîn
they climbed to here
Ø
hèè-ré
3:PFV climb:PERF-3PL.REFL
hèèré
they have climbed
Ø
hèè-zí-ré
3:PFV climb:PERF-PL-3PL.REFL
hèèzìré
they have climbed
hèèzìrên
they have climbed to here
Ø
hèè-zí-ré-n`
3:PFV climb:PERF-PL-3PL.REFL-to.here
However, the association of tone on Perfect forms (7.4.1.1.1.2) is problematic for verbs
in three tonal classes. For intransitive verbs in Class 1 and Class 2 comprised of a heavy
syllable, the tone of the Perfect verb word does not associate evenly. This situation,
332
which shows up clearly in verb words with more than three morae, can be explained by
the presence of a floating H tone on the left edge of the Perfect verb word.
mì
1SG
T[Qàà-ní
move.away:PERF-1SG.REFL
nà
1&2
T[Qàà-zínzá
move.away:PERF-1&2PL.REFL
Ø
T[Qàà-zí-ré
3:PFV move.away:PERF-3PL.REFL
mì Qáàní
I have moved away
nà Qáàzìnzá we (incl.) have gotten lost
Qáàzìré
they have gotten lost
For Perfect forms of intransitive Class 1 verbs with a CV stem, a HL melody dominates
the entire Perfect verb word. This can be explained as the result of a floating L tone
marking the right edge of the Perfect verb word.
I have gotten lost
mì
1SG
gé-ní] `
mì génì
get.lost:PERF-1SG.REFL-CL1CV:PERF
nà
1&2
gé-zínzá] `
nà gézínzà we (incl.) have gotten lost
get.lost:PERF-1&2PL.REFL-CL1CV:PERF
Ø
gé-zí-ré] `
gézírè
3:PFV get.lost:PERF-3PL.REFL-CL1CV:PERF
they have gotten lost
For Perfect forms of transitive Class 4 verbs (all of which consist of a heavy syllable), a L
melody dominates the entire verb word and does not allow the underlying H tone of the
verbal plural morpheme -zí (7.3.1.1) to surface.
Ø
laa-rì
3:PFV eat:PERF-PERF
lààrì
he/she/it has eaten
Ø
laa-zí-rì
3:PFV eat:PERF-PL-PERF
lààzìrì
they have eaten
For Perfect verb words from Class 5 and Class 6, the LHL melody characteristic of a
transitive source verb dominates the derived detransitivized form (cf. 7.3.2.1.2) of that
verb. This is shown by the following three pairs of examples showing transitive source
verbs contrasted with their detransitivized counterparts:
mì
1SG
Qaa-rì
finish:PERF-PERF
mì Qàárì
I have finished (tr.)
mì
1SG
Qaa-ní
finish:PERF-1SG.REFL
mì Qàánì
I have finished (intr.)
333
nà
1&2
Qaa-zí-rì
finish:PERF-PL-PERF
nà
1&2
Qaa-zínzá
finish:PERF-1&2PL.REFL
Ø
Qaa-zí-rì
3:PFV finish:PERF-PL-PERF
nà Qààzírì
we (incl.) have finished (tr.)
nà Qààzínzà we (incl.) have finished (intr.)
Qààzírì
they have finished (tr.)
Qaa-zí-ré
Ø
3:PFV finish:PERF-3PL.REFL
Qààzírè
they have finished (intr.)
In addition to these Perfect forms, the tone on Imperfective forms (verbal nouns; see
7.4.1.1.2) with the dummy object suffix -na is not accounted for by simple fusion of verb
stem and suffix melodies.
verbal noun
verbal noun w/ dummy object
dòg
fòò
doFg-nà
fòó-nà
drinking (something)
spying (something)
ûl
%â%
ûl-ná
%â%-ná
dividing (something)
sowing (something)
Although this alternation may be attributed to two possible lexical tone melodies
associated with verb + dummy object suffix words, alternate explanations are pursued in
the section on verbal nouns (5.9).
7.3.3 Irregular verbs
There are three verbs with irregular conjugations in Mambay: vè ‘go’ (7.3.3.1), húm
‘come’ (7.3.3.2) and tògó ‘be’ (7.3.3.3).
7.3.3.1 vè ‘go’
The verb vè ‘go’ is morphologically irregular (7.3.3.1.1) and exhibits a Realis Future
category not found with other verbs (7.3.3.1.2).
7.3.3.1.1 Morphological irregularities
In its basic Perfective form, vè is conjugated like other verbs: the stem is segmentally
invariable (see Appendix 2). However, elsewhere vè has an irregular conjugation in
which, among other things, the stem vowel typically assimilates to the quality of the
vowel in the accompanying reflexive suffixes. This is illustrated by the following Future
forms:
334
person
pn.
form w/
refl. suffixes
1SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF
mìí
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
)àá
rèé
ví-ní
vá-ná
vé-lé
vé-lé
ví-rí
vó-ró
vé-ré
vé-ré
IRR
FUT
I will go
we (you (sg.) and I) will go
he/she/it will go
he/she/it (coref.) will go
we (excl.) will go
you (pl.) will go
they will go (short form; see 7.3.1.1)
they (coref.) will go (short form)
The matching of the verb’s vowel quality with that of the reflexive suffix persists even
when there is a synchronically intervening plural morpheme -zí (cf. 7.3.1.1):
3PL
3PL.COREF
)àá
rèé
vé-zí-ré
vé-zí-ré
they will go (long form; see 7.3.1.1)
they (coref.) will go (long form)
When it accompanies the verb vè, the 2SG reflexive suffix is -núm rather than (as is the
case with all other verbs; see 7.3.1.2.1) -(n)Vm.
2SG
mùú vúnúm
you (sg.) will go (long form)
Presumably, the underlying u vowel in the 2SG reflexive form of vè has its origin in the
second person subject pronoun mù; however, it is no longer found contrastively with any
other verbs. This historical vowel quality u persists on the verb stem in an alternative
short 2SG conjugation, even though there is no vowel in the reflexive suffix.
2SG
mùú vúm
you (sg.) will go (short form)
The 1&2 plural forms of vè are idiosyncratic. Rather than exhibiting a zí + ná (
zínzá/zíná) suffix sequence (cf. 7.3.1.1, 7.3.1.2, 7.3.1.7), they exhibit a fused -nzyá or
-nzá suffix.
1&2PL
nàá
nàá
vánzyá ~
vánzá
we (incl.) will go
A full paradigm of all forms of vè ‘go’ is given in Appendix 2.
7.3.3.1.2 Realis Future
The verb vè ‘go’ is unique in that it exhibits an additional Realis Future conjugation.
Like Realis verb forms, it is found with a CV pronoun; this pronoun patterns in the same
way as the Imperfective pronoun (7.4.1.1). However, the tone on the verb stem is that of
the Future (which is normally Irrealis; cf. 7.4.1.2.1). Semantically, the Realis Future of
vè is more certain and more immediate than the Irrealis Future.
335
ex. mì
1SG
)à
3SG:IMPFV
ví-ní
go:FUT-1SG.REFL
I am going to go / I am going presently /
I will go now
vé-lé
go:FUT-3SG.REFL
he/she/it is going to go / he/she/it is going
presently / he/she/it will go now
cf. Imperfective forms:
mì
1SG
vágà
go:VN
I go / I am going
)à
3SG:IMPFV
vágà
go:VN
he/she/it goes / he/she/it is going
cf. Irrealis Future forms:
mìí
1SG:IRR
ví-ní
go:FUT-1SG.REFL
I will go
)àá
3SG:IRR
vé-lé
go:FUT-3SG.REFL
he/she/it will go
A full paradigm of Realis Future forms of vè ‘go’ is given in Appendix 2. Two
expansions of verbal inflection with similar meanings use the verb vè ‘go’; in one case, it
is in the context of a serial verb construction (7.6.3.1), and in the other case it is as an
auxiliary (7.6.3.2.1).
7.3.3.2 húm ‘come’
The verb húm ‘come’ is irregular in that it allows a contracted root form when it is
accompanied by the directional adverb suffix -ìn ~ -n` (from hîn) ‘to here’ (7.3.1.6,
8.1.1.1) in certain conjugations.
Segmentally, the root form of ‘come’ is normally húm. However, when -ìn ~ -n` ‘to
here’ accompanies the verb and there is no reflexive suffix (7.3.1.2), the hú of the first
syllable may be dropped. In addition, the quality of the stem vowel ú, which in the
normal conjugation is echoed before -ìn ~ -n` (ex. húmûn), is retained in the contracted
forms. This is evident in future forms of húm with -ìn ~ -n`:
person
pn.
normal
contracted
conjugation conjugation
with -n`
with -n`
1SG
mìì
húmûn
IRR
~ mûn
336
I will come here
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.COREF
1PL
2PL
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
húmûn
húmûn
húmûn
húmûn
húmûn
húmûn
you (sg.) will come here
we (du.) will come here
he/she/it will come here
he/she/it (coref.) will come here
we (excl.) will come here
you (pl.) will come here
~ mûn
~ mûn
~ mûn
~ mûn
~ mûn
~ mûn
With contracted forms that contain the plural affix -zí (7.3.1.1), it appears that -ìn ~ -n`
attaches twice: to the verb root as well as to -zí.
person
pn.
normal
contracted
conjugation conjugation
with -n`
with -n`
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.COREF
nàá
)àá
rèé
húmzîn
húmzîn
húmzîn
IRR
~ múnzîn
~ múnzîn
~ múnzîn
we (incl.) will come here
they will come here
they (coref.) will come here
However, the tone melody of the contracted conjugation is simplified; rather than
retaining the L tonal value of -ìn ~ -n` each time it appears (*mûnzîn), the tone melody
follows that of the normal conjugation (múnzîn).
The normal paradigm for húm is accounted for by the tonal Class 1 paradigm in
Appendix 2. Contracted forms of húm with -ìn ~ -n` in other conjugations are tonally
regular and segmentally identical to the future forms given above.
7.3.3.3 tògó ‘be’
The morpheme tògó ‘be’ is an existential copula. It is like a verbal noun in that exhibits
an Imperfective meaning (cf. 7.4.1.1.2).
mì
1SG
I am / I am there
tògó
be
However, it differs from verbal nouns in that it is not possessible (cf. 5.9).
With existential phrases that have a complement, it provides an alternative to basic
verbless clauses (10.1.3).
mì
1SG
toFg
be
sáà
in
= mì
1SG
sáà
in
fíílò
house
I am in the house
fíílò
house
I am in the house
337
The existential function that it fulfills in the Imperfective is taken over by the verb yàà
‘sit, stay, be’ for past and future expanded verb forms (7.6.3).
mìí
1SG:IRR
yáá
sit:FUT
sáà
in
I will be in the house
fíílò
house
Like verbs, it is found with the verbal plurality suffix -zí. However, it differs from verbs
in that it takes an independent subject pronoun (6.1.2.1) rather than a verbal one
(6.1.2.2ff.).
we (incl.) are / we (incl.) are there
nànzà
tòg-zí
1&2PL:INDEP be-PL
It also resembles verbs in that it may be accompanied by directional adverbs (8.1.1),
which in all other cases are found with verbs.
dú
3SG:INDEP
tògó-n`
be-to.here
he/she/it is on the way here
dú
3SG:INDEP
toFg vòró
be to.there
he/she/it is on the way there
A full conjugation of tògó is as follows:
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.IMPERS
3SG.COREF
mì
mù
nà
dú
)à
lè
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.IMPERS
3PL.COREF
tògó
tògó
tògó
tògó
tògó
tògó
rì
rò
nànzà
dùgzí
)à
rè
tògó
tògó
tògzí
tògzí
tògzí
tògzí
A commonly used irregular form of dú tògó ‘he/she/it is / he/she/it is there’ is tí tògó.
The forms above show that the morpheme-final o of tògó usually disappears phraseinternally.
we (incl.) are / we (incl.) are there
nànzà
tòg-zí
1&2PL:INDEP be-PL
mì
1SG
toFg
be
sáà
in
I am in the house
fíílò
house
However, it is maintained before the directional suffix -ìn ~ -n` ‘to here’ (7.3.1.6).
338
dú
3SG:INDEP
he/she/it is on the way here
tògó-n`
be-to.here
7.4 Basic verbal inflection
The basic inflectional categories in Mambay are marked by length and tone on subject
pronouns (6.1.2) and tone on verb words (see 7.3.2.2 as well this section below).
Mambay verb forms may be divided into Indicative (7.4.1) and Optative (7.4.2) moods.
The clear majority of verb forms are Indicative, and are further subdivided according to
realis value, aspect, and tense.8 Optative forms, in contrast, do not reflect these
distinctions. This basic verb system may be schematized as follows:
Functions of basic verbal inflection in Mambay
mood
Indicative
realis value
Realis
aspect
Perfective
tense
Perfective (basic)
Perfect
Pluperfect
Imperfective
Irrealis
Future
Optative
Indicative verb forms are used to express events (7.4.1). Optative verb forms, in contrast,
are used to express a speaker’s wishes, to express purpose in dependent clauses, and to
express the effect of causation (7.4.2). Formally, the classification of Indicative vs.
Optative mood corresponds to the use of the negation particles yá and gá (7.5.2)
respectively. In addition, Indicative verb forms are inflected for realis value, aspect, and
tense.
Indicative verb forms are specified for Realis and Irrealis values. In contrast to Optative
forms, which are inherently irrealis and not marked for realis distinction, Indicative
Realis (7.4.1.1) and Irrealis (7.4.1.2) forms are distinguished. Formally, this distinction is
marked on the subject pronoun: Realis pronouns are short (CV), and Irrealis pronouns are
long (CVV) (6.1.2). While Realis forms signal events which have happened or are
happening, Irrealis forms signal events that have not already happened and which are not
8
In the present study, as has been common in the study of Niger-Congo generally, the term “tense” is
understood in a traditional sense: “any one of the different forms or modifications (or word-groups) in the
conjugation of a verb which indicate the different times (past, present, or future) at which the action or
state denoted by it is viewed as happening or existing, and also (by extension) the different nature of such
action or state, as continuing (imperfect) or completed (perfect)” (Oxford English Dictionary online 2007;
cf. Doke 1935:209, Dimmendaal 2000:162 and Crystal 2003:459–60). This differs from the use of the term
in Comrie (1976) and, subsequently, much of the literature (e.g. Lyons 1995:312 ff.), where event sequence
(“tense”) and the internal structure of events (“aspect”) are treated as distinct categories of verb
modification. In Mambay, there is no formal justification for such a distinction.
339
happening. The Future tense (typically; see 7.4.1.2.1) as well as negated forms of
Indicative verbs (7.5) are expressed using Irrealis pronouns (this grouping is defended in
7.4.1.2). All other Indicative verb forms fall under the domain of Realis.
Among Realis verb forms, a distinction is made between Perfective (7.4.1.1.1) and
Imperfective (7.4.1.1.2) aspects. Perfective forms communicate events which have been
completed in reference to a given point in time, and Imperfective forms refer to events
which happen but which have not been completed in reference to a given point in time.
Perfective forms are represented by three distinct tenses (basic Perfective, Perfect and
Pluperfect), but there is only one basic Imperfective tense. The two aspects differ
formally in several respects. First of all, the segmental shape of the Perfective is the verb
stem, but that of the Imperfective is the verbal noun (5.9). Secondly, while the third
person is invariably marked in the Perfective with a zero pronoun, it is marked in the
Imperfective with a segmental pronoun )à whenever there is no nominal subject
(7.4.1.1.2). Thirdly, the negated form of the Perfective is found with a LH pronoun, but
negated Imperfective forms are found with a HL pronoun (7.5.3).
The Optative and the five Indicative tenses (basic Perfective, Perfect, Pluperfect,
Imperfective and Future) are distinguished from one another by contrastive tone melodies
and by the inventory of verbal suffixes which may found with each (7.3.1). The tone
melodies associated with the possible forms of a given verb fall into six tonal sets or
classes (7.3.2.2). If the tone melody is known for the basic Perfective, Perfect and
Future, melodies for the remaining forms can be predicted. Concerning the inventory of
verbal suffixes, reflexive suffixes (7.3.1.2) are obligatorily found with Perfect and
Pluperfect forms of intransitive verbs, and optionally found with Future and Optative
forms of intransitive verbs. Further, the Perfect forms of transitive verbs always take the
suffix -rì, and Imperfective forms of transitive verbs must take the dummy object suffix na if there is no explicit object.
An additional minor verb form, a Realis Future, is found uniquely with the verb vè ‘go’
(7.3.3.1.2). It is composed of an Imperfective pronoun and a Future verb stem.
Each of the basic infectional categories is presented in the sections below (7.4.1–7.4.2).
Negative verb forms are considered separately (7.5). Criteria used for distinguishing verb
forms, all of which have been presented in this section, are summarized in the following
table:
340
Overview of structural criteria for recognizing verb forms
Irrealis
Optative
Future
intr.
tr.
intr.
tr.
intr.
tr.
negative particle
Imperfective
transitive verb
suffix
Pluperfect
reflexive
suffixes
Indicative
verb tone
Realis
intr.
tr.
verb shape
Perfect
3 pers. subject
pronoun
Perfective
negative subject
pronoun
Perfective (basic)
subject pronoun
transitivity
structural criteria
tense
aspect
realis value
mood
verb forms
CV
CV V
Ø
stem
PFV
—
—
yá
CV
—
Ø
stem
PERF
+
—
—
-rì
yá
CV
CV V
Ø
stem
PLUPERF
+
—
yá
CV
CV V )à~Ø
v.n.
VN
—
—
-na
yá
CV V
CV V
)àá
stem
FUT
—
yá
CV
CV
má
stem
OPT
—
gá
341
±
—
±
—
7.4.1 Indicative
Indicative verb forms, which are used to express events (but see 7.4.1.2.1), are specified
for Realis (7.4.1.1) and Irrealis (7.4.1.2) values. While Realis forms signal events which
have happened or are happening, Irrealis forms signal events that have not already
happened and which are not happening.
7.4.1.1 Realis
Realis verb forms are divided into two aspects: Perfective (three tenses; 7.4.1.1.1) and
Imperfective (one tense; 7.4.1.1.2). Perfective forms signal events which, in reference to
a given point in time, have already happened. Imperfective forms are used for events
which, in reference to a given point in time, happen but are not completed.
One formal characteristic common to Realis verb forms is a subject pronoun paradigm
with a CV structure (6.1.2). Other formal features vary among the four constituent tenses.
A minor Realis Future verb form, which is found uniquely with the verb vè ‘go,’ is
discussed in 7.3.3.1.
7.4.1.1.1 Perfective
There are three perfective tenses: basic Perfective (7.4.1.1.1.1), Perfect (7.4.1.1.1.2), and
Pluperfect (7.4.1.1.1.3). Perfective verb forms have in common that they are based on
the verb stem, that third person forms are invariably marked with a zero pronoun, and
that negated forms are found with LH pronouns (7.5.3).
7.4.1.1.1.1 Basic Perfective
The basic Perfective tense is used for completed events. In contrast to the Perfect and
Pluperfect (7.4.1.1.1.2, 7.4.1.1.1.3), it is unspecified regarding the consequences of an
event for a later point in time. The basic Perfective tense is the default means of marking
sequential events in narrative discourse (Anonby 2005:29–32). It is typically structured
as follows:
subject pronoun +
verb
Realis pronoun (CV) stem (Perfective tone)
ex. mì hèè
1SG climb:PFV
rò làà
)ígà
2PL eat:PFV thing
I climbed
you (pl.) ate something
(Transitive verbs such as làà ‘eat,’ shown in the above example, have object
requirements (7.3.2.1.2) and are thus shown with objects in this section and following
sections).
342
As is the case with the Perfect (7.4.1.1.1.2) and Pluperfect (7.4.1.1.1.3), third person
singular and plural forms (excluding co-referential forms) of the basic Perfective are
marked with a zero pronoun.
Ø
hèè
3:PFV climb:PFV
he/she/it climbed
Ø
hèè-zí
3:PFV climb:PFV-PL
they climbed
Morphologically, the basic Perfective tense is never found with reflexive suffixes.
Examples of basic Perfective forms from each of the six tonal classes are as follows:
tonal class, tone
transitivity melody
1 (intr.)
(tr.)
2 (intr.)
3 (intr.)
4 (intr.)
(tr.)
5 (intr.)
(tr.)
6 (intr.)
(tr.)
example
Qáá
H
H
éé
L
sùù
L
vè
L
hèè
L
gìì
(uses tr. counterpart Qàà)
L
Qàà
(uses tr. counterpart )òògí)
LH
)òògí
he/she/it moved away
he/she/it bit
he/she/it lay down
he/she/it went
he/she/it climbed
he/she/it answered
he/she/it finished (intr.)
he/she/it finished (tr.)
he/she/it dragged his/her/its feet
he/she/it set crawling
Full paradigms are given for each class in Appendix 2. Negative forms of the basic
Perfective are discussed in 7.5.
7.4.1.1.1.2 Perfect
The Perfect tense is used for previously completed events with consequences for a point
in time contemporaneous with the sequence of events in a discourse (typically the
present). It is structured differently for intransitive and transitive verbs. For intransitive
verbs and detransitivized transitive verbs (7.3.2.1), reflexive suffixes are used:
subject pronoun +
verb
Realis pronoun (CV) stem (Perfect tone (see 7.3.2.2.3)) + reflexive suffix
ex. mì hèè-ní
I have climbed
1SG climb:PERF-1SG.REFL
rò hèè-ró
you (pl.) have climbed
2PL climb:PERF-REFL-2PL.REFL
343
For typical transitive verbs, a Perfect suffix -rì (7.3.1.3) is used:
subject pronoun +
verb
Realis pronoun (CV) stem (Perfect tone) + -rì
ex. mì làà-rì
1SG eat:PERF-PERF
)ígà
thing
I have eaten something
rò làà-rì
2PL eat:PERF-PERF
)ígà
thing
you (pl.) have eaten something
As is the case with the basic Perfective (7.4.1.1.1.1) and Pluperfect (7.4.1.1.1.3), third
person singular and plural forms (excluding co-referential forms) of the Perfect are
marked with a zero pronoun.
Ø
hèè-lé
3:PFV climb:PERF-3SG.REFL
he/she/it has climbed
Ø
hèè-zì-ré
3:PFV climb:PERF-PL-3PL.REFL
they have climbed
làà-rì
Ø
3:PFV eat:PERF-PERF
)ígà
thing
he/she/it has eaten something
Ø
làà-zí-rì
3:PFV eat:PERF-PL-PERF
)ígà
thing
they have eaten something
Examples of Perfect forms from each of the six tonal classes (separated here for
transitivity as well as CV shape when it makes a difference for the mapping of tone) are
as follows:
tonal class,
transitivity
v. word tone
melody
example
1 (intr., CVX)
(intr., CV)
2 (intr.)
3 (intr.)
4 (intr.)
5 (intr.)
6 (intr.)
°H[L-H]
HL*
°H[L-H]
L-H
L-H
LHL*
LHL*
Qáà-lé
gé-lè
súù-lé
vè-lé
hèè-lé
Qàá-lè
)òògí-lè
he/she/it has moved away
he/she/it has gotten lost
he/she/it has lain down
he/she/it has gone
he/she/it has climbed
he/she/it has finished (intr.)
he/she/it has dragged his/her/its feet
1 (tr.)
4 (tr.)
H-L
L*
éé-rì
gìì-rì
he/she/it has bitten
he/she/it has answered
344
5 (tr.)
6 (tr.)
LHL*
LHL*
Qàá-rì
)òògí-rì
he/she/it has finished (tr.)
he/she/it has set crawling
(°H[L-H] = floating H tone on the left boundary of a verb word composed of a L verb
stem and a H suffix; * = replacive melody, i.e., dominates the entire verb word; see
7.3.2.2.3.)
Full paradigms are given for each class in Appendix 2. As is evident, the tonal nature of
Perfect forms in some tonal classes is complex: while Class 1 (CVX intransitive only)
and Class 2 exhibit a floating H tone on the left boundary of the verb word, some other
Classes (4, transitive only; 5; and 6) exhibit a replacive melody that applies to the Perfect
verb word as a whole. The tonal behaviour of these forms is reviewed in 7.3.2.2.3.
There is no negative form of the Perfect; negated Perfect constructions use negative
perfective forms (7.5.1).
7.4.1.1.1.3 Pluperfect
The Pluperfect tense is used for previously completed events with consequences for a
point in time subsequent to the event but prior to the point of reference in a discourse.
The Pluperfect is found with intransitive verbs as well as transitive verbs that take
reflexive suffixes (7.3.1.2). It is typically structured as follows:
subject pronoun +
verb
Indicative pronoun (CV) stem (Pluperfect tone) + reflexive suffix
ex. mì Qáá-ní
I had moved away
1SG move.away:PLUPERF-1SG.REFL
rò Qáá-ró
you (pl.) had moved away
2PL move.away:PLUPERF-2PL.REFL
cf. corresponding Perfect forms:
mì Qáà-ní
I have moved away
1SG move.away:PERF-1SG.REFL
rò Qáà-ró
you (pl.) have moved away
2PL move.away:PERF-2PL.REFL
As is the case with the basic Perfective (7.4.1.1.1.1) and Perfect (7.4.1.1.1.2), third person
singular and plural forms (excluding co-referential forms) of the Perfect are marked with
a zero pronoun.
Ø
Qáá-lé
he/she/it had moved away
3:PFV move.away:PLUPERF-3SG.REFL
345
Ø
Qáá-ré
they had moved away
3:PFV move.away:PLUPERF-3PL.REFL
A distinction between Perfect and Pluperfect exists only for intransitive verbs from tonal
Classes 1 and 2.
Examples of Pluperfect forms from each of the six tonal classes (separated here for
transitivity) are as follows (forms in classes marked with † are identical to those used for
the Perfect):
tonal class, v. word tone
transitivity melody example
1 (intr.)
2 (intr.)
†3 (intr.)
†4 (intr.)
†5 (intr.)
†6 (intr.)
H-H
H-H
L-H
L-H
LHL*
LHL*
Qáá-lé
súú-lé
vè-lé
hèè-lé
Qàá-lè
)òògí-lè
he/she/it had moved away
he/she/it had lain down
he/she/it had gone
he/she/it had climbed
he/she/it had finished (intr.)
he/she/it had dragged his/her/its feet
†1 (tr.)
†4 (tr.)
†5 (tr.)
†6 (tr.)
H-L
L*
LHL*
LHL*
éé-rì
gìì-rì
Qàá-rì
)òògí-rì
he/she/it had bitten
he/she/it had answered
he/she/it had finished (tr.)
he/she/it had set crawling
(* = replacive melody, i.e., dominates the entire verb word; this is only found with
Pluperfect forms identical to those of the Perfect. See 7.3.2.2.3 and 7.4.1.1.1.2 for
discussion.)
Full paradigms are given for each class in Appendix 2. Negated forms of the Pluperfect
are discussed in 7.5.
7.4.1.1.2 Imperfective
The Imperfective is used for events which, in reference to a given point in time, happen
but are not completed. In addition to carrying a generic imperfective meaning, it often
communicates a habitual meaning. Usually the events are anchored in the present, but as
the example at the end of this section shows, they may be expressed as events in the past.
Represented by a single tense, the Imperfective is typically expressed simply by using a
Realis subject pronoun (6.1.2) with a verbal noun (5.9). As is explained in the section on
verbal nouns, a comparable situation is found in the well-known case of Hausa
(Dimmendaal 2000:171, Newman 2000:288–92) and in Kebi-Benue languages such as
Mundang (Elders 2000:327–30).
346
subject pronoun +
verb
Realis pronoun (CV) verbal noun (lexical tone)
ex. mì héérà
1SG climb:VN
I climb / I am climbing
you (pl.) climb / you (pl.) are climbing
rò héérà
2PL climb:VN
When the verbal noun corresponds to a transitive verb, an object or dummy object suffix
must accompany the noun (7.3.2.1).
mì làá-nà
1SG eat:VN-OBJ
I eat (something) / I am eating (something)
mì làà
1SG eat:VN
I eat something / I am eating something
)ígà
thing
The verbal plural affix -zí (7.3.1.1) is used with verbal nouns in Imperfective
conjugations. With intransitive verbs, it attaches following the first syllable of the verbal
noun. For monosyllabic verbal nouns, this is straightforward.
mì Qáà
1SG move.away:VN
I move away / I am moving away
nà Qáà-zí
we (incl.) move away / we (incl.) are moving away
1&2 move.away:VN-PL
With disyllabic verbal nouns, morphophonological alternations are complex. If the
verbal noun has two light syllables and the vowel of the first syllable is an exact echo of
the second syllable’s vowel (i.e., V1=V2), the second vowel is deleted when -zí is added.
mì vágà
1SG go:VN
I go / I am going
nà vâg-zí
1&2 go:VN-PL
we (incl.) go / we (incl.) are going
Otherwise, the second syllable is maintained, and -zí precedes it.
mì héérà
1SG climb:VN
I climb / I am climbing
nà héé-zí-rà
1&2 climb:VN-PL-VN
we (incl.) climb / we (incl.) are climbing (cf. héérà ‘climbing’)
347
The affixation of -zí to some disyllabic nouns is accompanied by irregular morphological
alternations—even suppletion. For example, the final syllable of a two-syllable irregular
verbal noun changes to -rV if the original suffix is -gV. (This alternation corresponds
the domain of vestigial noun suffixes, which are otherwise opaque. Note also that
historically, the value of the final vowel has often assimilated partially to the stem; see
5.1.3.2 and Anonby 2007b:REF).
ex. mì húmgò
1SG come:VN
nà húm-zí-rò
1&2 come:VN-PL-VN
I come / I am coming
we (incl.) come / we (incl.) are coming
cf. lV-final verbal nouns, in which l does not alternate:
mì té’là
1SG walk:VN
I walk / I am walking
nà té’-zí-là
1&2 walk:VN-PL-VN
we (incl.) walk / we (incl.) are walking
In the case of a verbal noun ending in -%V, a similar process happens, but the % of the
first syllable is deleted and the short vowel in the first syllable undergoes compensatory
lengthening.
mì hú%ò
1SG die:VN-PL-VN
I die / I am dying
nà húúzírò
1&2 die:VN-PL-VN
we (incl.) die / we (incl.) are dying
If an irregular verbal noun ends with -bV or -vV, the final syllable’s consonant is
retained and the vowel i is epenthesized before the plural affix -zí. Additionally, a
renewing suffix -rV is added to the final syllable.
mì )éébà
1SG swim:VN-VN
I swim / I am swimming
nà )ééb-í-zí-rà
1&2 swim:VN-V-PL-VN
we (incl.) swim / we (incl.) are swimming
mì núvà
1SG sleep:VN-PL-VN
I sleep / I am sleeping
348
nà núv-í-zí-rà
1&2 sleep:VN-V-PL-VN
we (incl.) sleep / we (incl.) are sleeping
mì )á’rvà
1SG run:VN-PL-VN
I run / I am running
nà )á’rv-í-zí-rà
1&2 run:VN-V-PL-VN
we (incl.) run / we (incl.) are running
When the verbal noun is transitive, -zí precedes the object or dummy object suffix.
nà làà-zí-nà
1&2 eat:VN-PL-OBJ
we eat (something) / we are eating (something)
nà làà-zí
)ígà
1&2 eat:VN-PL thing
we eat something / we are eating something
When there is no nominal subject, the third person pronoun )à is used.
)à
héérà
3:IMPFV climb:VN
he/she/it climbs / he/she/it is climbing
)à
héé-zí-rà
they climb / they are climbing
3:IMPFV climb:VN-PL-VN
However, when there is a nominal subject, this pronoun is reduced to zero.
gaFm Ø héérà
Gam 3:REAL climb:VN
Gam climbs / Gam is climbing
kwéé má kà%á Ø héé-zí-rà
Kwé and Kada climb / Kwé and Kada are climbing
Kwé with Kada 3:REAL climb:VN-PL-VN
The tone of Imperfective forms of intransitive verbs is lexically determined and
unpredictable, because it is the same as that of the irregular verbal noun used in an
Imperfective function (5.9.1.2). Most commonly, it is HL (for Imperfective forms
corresponding to intransitive stems in any tone class; see 5.9.1.2). For transitive verbs,
the tone melody of the verbal noun is uniform within a given tonal class (5.9.1.1).
Examples of Imperfective forms from each of the six tonal classes (separated here for
transitivity) are as follows:
349
tonal class, v. word tone
transitivity melody
example
1 (intr.)
2 (intr.)
3 (intr.)
4 (intr.)
5 (intr.)
6 (intr.)
(lex.)
)à Qáà
(lex.)
)à sú7gà
(lex.)
)à vágà
(lex.)
)à héérà
(uses tr. counterpart )à Qáà)
(uses tr. counterpart )à )óógì)
he/she/it is moving away
he/she/it is lying down
he/she/it is going
he/she/it is climbing
he/she/it is finishing (intr.)
he/she/it is dragging his/her/its feet
1 (tr.)
4 (tr.)
5 (tr.)
6 (tr.)
L
L
HL
HL
he/she/it is biting
he/she/it is answering
he/she/it is finishing (tr.)
he/she/it is setting crawling
)à
)à
)à
)à
èè
gìì
Qáà
)óógì
(lex. = lexically determined, i.e., exhibits the verbal noun’s lexical tone; see above)
Full paradigms are given for each class in Appendix 2. Negative forms of the
Imperfective, which are marked with a HL pronoun, are discussed in 7.5.
An example from the data which shows that an Imperfective may be anchored to past
events in a story line is as follows:
tâw kúú
sêh
káálé,
gbáh
fâh
Taw grab:PFV hand:LF head/on:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL catch:PFV path
)à
lêg-ná
3:IMPFV suck:VN-OBJ:VN
bóm
one
fíí,
home
bóm.
one
Taw took hold of them (lit. put his hand onto it), headed (lit. grabbed the path)
home, [and] sucked (lit. sucks / is sucking) them one by one.
7.4.1.2 Irrealis
Irrealis forms signal events that have not already happened and which are not happening.
They have in common a CVV subject pronoun shape. Irrealis verb forms are represented
by the Future tense and negated Indicative verb forms. Although this higher-level
grouping could seem like an ad hoc device to account for a coincidental formal match,
Payne (1997:244–5) and Palmer (2001:168–75) state that both future and negative forms
frequently pattern as irrealis in languages that mark this distinction; Roberts (1990) gives
examples of this (see especially p. 378).
While the Future tense is presented in this section, negated Indicative verb forms are
addressed in 7.5.
350
7.4.1.2.1 Future
The Future tense is used for events which will take place subsequent to a reference point
in time and, secondarily, as a means of expressing one’s wishes insistently (such modal
functions of the Future tense are common in the world’s languages; see Comrie 1976:2
and Palmer 2001:5). The Future tense is typically structured as follows:
subject pronoun +
verb
Irrealis pronoun (CV V )
stem (Future tone) (+ optional reflexive suffix)
ex. mìí
hèè
1SG:IRR climb:FUT
ròó
hèè
2PL:IRR climb:FUT
I will climb / I will climb! / let me climb!
you (pl.) will climb / you (pl.) will climb! /
[you (pl.)] climb!
mìí
làà
)ígà I will eat something / I will eat something! /
1SG:IRR eat:FUT thing
let me eat something!
ròó
làà
)ígà you (pl.) will eat something / you (pl.) will eat something!
2PL:IRR eat:FUT thing
[you (pl.)] eat something!
Optionally, Future forms of intransitive verbs may be found with reflexive suffixes.
ex. mìí
hèè-ní
I will climb / I will climb! / let me climb!
1SG:IRR climb:FUT-1SG.REFL
ròó
hèè-ró
you (pl.) will climb / you (pl.) will climb! /
2PL:IRR climb:FUT-2PL.REFL
[you (pl.)] climb!
Although the issue has been investigated, no difference in meaning has been established
between Future forms of intransitive verbs without vs. with suffixes. Both may be found
without (as directly above) or with complements (cf. 7.3.2.1.1):
ex. mìí
hèè-ní
zé’gà
I will climb the mountain / I will climb the
1SG:IRR climb:FUT-1SG.REFL mountain mountain! / let me climb the mountain!
ròó
hèè-ró
zé’gà
you (pl.) will climb the mountain; you (pl.)
2PL:IRR climb:FUT-2PL.REFL mountain will climb the mountain! / [you (pl.)]
climb the mountain!
The verb vè ‘go’ (7.3.3.1) and detransitivized verb stems (7.3.2.1.2) are exceptional in
that their Future forms are always found with reflexive suffixes (see also Appendix 2).
Additionally, it allows a Realis form of the Future (7.3.3.1).
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Examples of Future forms from each of the six tonal classes (separated here for
transitivity) are as follows:
tonal class, v. word tone
transitivity melody
example
1 (intr.)
2 (intr.)
3 (intr.)
4 (intr.)
5 (intr.)
6 (intr.)
H-H
H-H
L-H
L-H
L-H
L-H
)àá
)àá
)àá
)àá
)àá
)àá
Qáá(-lé)
súú(-lé)
vè-lé
hèè(-lé)
Qàà-lé
)òògì-lé
he/she/it will move away
he/she/it will lie down
he/she/it will go (see previous paragraph)
he/she/it will climb
he/she/it will finish (intr.)
he/she/it will drag his/her/its feet
1 (tr.)
4 (tr.)
5 (tr.)
6 (tr.)
H
L
LH
LH
)àá
)àá
)àá
)àá
éé
gìì
Qàá
)òògí
he/she/it will bite
he/she/it will answer
he/she/it will finish (tr.)
he/she/it will set crawling
Full paradigms are given for each class in Appendix 2.
Negative forms of the Future, which are found with a pronoun of the same structure as
that of the negated Imperfective, are discussed in 7.5.
7.4.2 Optative
The Optative mood is attested in three contexts. In main clauses, a general Optative
function prevails; prototypically, it communicates an imperative intention (7.4.2.1). It is
also found in subjunctive constructions following the subordinating conjunction kà
(7.4.2.2), and in subjunctive constructions formed with the causative auxiliary pá ‘make,
do’ (7.4.2.3). Negative forms of the Optative are discussed in 7.5.
7.4.2.1 In main clauses
Optative verb forms are most commonly found in main clauses. In this context, a general
Optative function applies, expressing a wish on the part of the speaker.
Typologically, Mambay stands out in that it has no verb form marked specifically for an
imperative function. Instead, Optative verb forms in main clauses prototypically
communicate an imperative intention—the idea that a member or members of an
audience must do something (cf. Bybee 1985:171, Payne 1997:303, Crystal 2003:227,
Palmer 2001:80). Most frequently, this audience is the second person (singular or plural),
and the illocutionary force is that of a command (“you…!, you must….”).
However, in Mambay the audience of a command may also be the first or the third person
(sample descriptions for which an imperative function has been described for all
pronominal persons are Robertson 1934:320–30, Lakoff 1968:172–6; Roberts 1990:369
and Mounce 1994:143–8; cf. also Palmer 2001:81, who discusses the theoretical
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implications of such a system). For forms in which the first person is a speaker, orders
are given to oneself (the first person singular) or a group of which one is a part (first
person plural and 1&2 person forms); for the singular, this has the force of resolve (“let
me…,” “I must…”), and for the plural, exhortation (“let us…,” “we must…”),
respectively. For the third person (singular or plural), the Optative expresses the idea that
an audience which is not being directly addressed must do something; this carries an
obligative (“he/she/it must…”) force. For all three persons, the formal expression of
imperative constructions is equivalent; there is no formally discrete second person
conjugation (cf. Dimmendaal 2000:175, Watters 2000:203, who note that in most
languages the subject pronoun is omitted for second person imperatives).
More broadly, Mambay speakers use the Optative to communicate intentions other than
those which are strictly imperative. For example, third person Optative verb forms may
express a jussive (“may he/she/it”) force. Other more specific functions (for example,
suggestion or imploring) are expressed by using TAM indicators in conjunction with the
Optative forms (7.6.1).
Optative verb forms are found with all of the pronominal persons (cf. 6.1.1), and in all
cases a subject pronoun is obligatory. The Optative is structured as follows:
subject pronoun +
verb
Optative pronoun (CV )
stem (Optative tone) (+ optional reflexive suffix)
ex. mí
hèè
1SG:OPT climb:OPT
let me climb! / I must climb
má
hèè
3SG:OPT climb:OPT
let them climb! / they must climb
ró
hèè
2PL:OPT climb:OPT
[you (pl.)] climb! / you (pl.) must climb
mí
làà
1SG:OPT eat:OPT
)ígà
thing
let me eat something! / I must eat something!
ró
làà
2PL:OPT eat:OPT
)ígà
thing
[you (pl.)] eat! / you (pl.) must eat something!
má
làà-zí
3PL:OPT eat:OPT-PL
)ígà
thing
let them eat something! / they must eat
something!
Optionally, Optative forms of intransitive verbs may be accompanied by reflexive
suffixes.
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ex. mí
hèè-ní
1SG:OPT climb:OPT-1SG.REFL
let me climb!
[you (pl.)] climb!
ró
hèè-ró
2PL:OPT climb:OPT-2PL.REFL
As is the case with Future verb forms (7.4.1.2.1), no difference in meaning has been
established between Optative forms of intransitive verbs without vs. with suffixes. Both
may be found without (as directly above) or with complements:
ex. mí
hèè-ní
zé’gà
1SG:OPT climb:OPT-1SG.REFL mountain
ró
hèè-ró
2PL:OPT climb:OPT-2PL.REFL
zé’gà
mountain
let me climb the mountain!
[you (pl.)] climb the mountain!
The verb vè ‘go’ (7.3.3.1) and detransitivized verb stems (7.3.2.1.2) are exceptional in
that their Optative forms are always found with reflexive suffixes (see also Appendix 2).
Examples of Future forms from each of the six tonal classes (separated here for
transitivity) are as follows:
tonal class, v. word tone
transitivity melody example
1 (intr.)
2 (intr.)
3 (intr.)
4 (intr.)
5 (tr.)
6 (tr.)
H(-H)
H(-H)
L-H
L(-H)
L-H
L-H
má
má
má
má
má
má
Qáá(-lé)
súú(-lé)
vè-lé
hèè(-lé)
Qàà-lé
)òògì-lé
let him/her/it / he/she/it must move away
let him/her/it / he/she/it must lie down
let him/her/it / he/she/it must go
let him/her/it / he/she/it must climb
let him/her/it / he/she/it must finish (intr.)
let him/her/it / he/she/it must drag his/her/its feet
1 (tr.)
4 (tr.)
5 (tr.)
6 (tr.)
H
L
LH
LH
má
má
má
má
éé
gìì
Qàá
)òògí
let him/her/it / he/she/it must bite
let him/her/it / he/she/it must answer
let him/her/it / he/she/it must finish (tr.)
let him/her/it / he/she/it must set crawling
Full paradigms are given for each class in Appendix 2.
In contrast to Indicative verb forms, transitivity requirements appear to be relaxed with
Optatives in cases where an object has been previously mentioned.
mú
2SG:OPT
làà
nàmá
eat:OPT meat
[you (sg.)] eat meat!;
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… mú
2SG:OPT
làà
eat:OPT
[you (sg.)] eat (meat)!
When there is no explicit object with an Optative and the verb is phrase-final, an
additional vowel is appended after some consonants (there is no accompanying change in
the tone melody).
mú
2SG:OPT
tàg-á
sweep:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] sweep (something)!
cf. phrase-internal distribution:
mú
2SG:OPT
taFg
kyaF’
sweep:OPT place
[you (sg.)] sweep the place!
This could be a historical remnant of an object suffix (cf., for example, -rì; see 7.3.1.3).
However, since it is only found after some consonants and disappears in phrase-internal
position, it is hard to define whether its contribution is phonological, morphosyntactic, or
both. After transitive verb stems ending in a stop, an identical echo vowel is appended:
mú
2SG:OPT
dèg-é
burn:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] burn (something)!
mú
2SG:OPT
ràb-á
hug:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] hug (something)!
mú
2SG:OPT
lìb-í
straighten:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] straighten (something)!
After transitive verb stems ending in other oral consonants and n, the vowel i is
appended.
mú
2SG:OPT
ròv-í
scald:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] scald (something)!
mú
2SG:OPT
wàr-í
leave:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] leave (something)!
mú
2SG:OPT
kàn-í
pass:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] pass (something)!
mú
2SG:OPT
lòl-í
crunch:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] crunch (something)!
355
mú
2SG:OPT
sà-í
vomit:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] vomit (something)!
mú
2SG:OPT
zòNm-í
fix:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] fix (something)!
mú
2SG:OPT
wàhw-í
bark:OPT-V
[you (sg.)] bark (something)!
As the examples above (in particular kàn-í and zòNm-í) show, nasality spreads from a
final consonant to the appended vowel.
After transitive verb stems ending in a vowel or the nasal consonants m and 7, no vowel
is appended.
mú
2SG:OPT
Qàá
finish:OPT
[you (sg.)] finish (something)!
mú
2SG:OPT
kúm
protect:OPT
[you (sg.)] protect (something)!
mú
2SG:OPT
kyá7
wait:OPT
[you (sg.)] wait (for something)!
7.4.2.2 Subjunctive constructions with kà
Optative verb forms are also found in subjunctive constructions with the adverbializer kà
‘when, and then’ (10.2.2.2). Semantically, a purpose clause (‘so that, in order to’) results
from the combination of kà and the Optative verb form. The structure of the Optative in
this context is the same as that found in main clauses (7.4.2.1).
Examples of Optative verb forms used with kà are as follows:
Ø
kuF’-zì-rú
wáà kà
má yáá
húù
)éré
3:PFV put:PFV-PL-3SG.OBJ chief and.then 3:OPT be:OPT chief:LF 3PL.C/I.POSS
they made him chief so that he would be their chief
mùú
2SG:IRR
tíì
nàbàbbá kà
mú
làà
kwáà nà
become:FUT locust.sp and.then 2SG:OPT eat: OPT grass QM
will you become a locust so that you can eat grass?
7.4.2.3 Subjunctive constructions with pá ‘make, do’
Finally, Optative verb forms are found in subjunctive constructions which pattern as the
object of pá ‘make, do’ (7.6.3). In this case, a periphrastic causitive construction results:
356
mì pàg-rú
má
1SG make:VN-3SG.OBJ 3:OPT
tè’
walk:OPT
I make him/her/it walk /
I am making him/her/it walk
mì pá-rù
má
1SG make:PFV-3SG.OBJ 3:OPT
làà
)ígà
eat:OPT thing
I made him/her/it eat something
7.5 Verbal negation
Five of the six basic inflectional categories (7.4) have corresponding negative forms
(7.5.1). The segmental and tonal form of a verb word remains constant when it is
negated. Verbal negation is instead marked by negative particles (7.5.2), and with
Indicative verb forms, by negative subject pronouns (7.5.3). A summary of negative
verbal forms is provided in 7.5.4.
7.5.1 Inventory of negative forms
The following basic inflectional categories have corresponding negative forms:
- basic Perfective
- Pluperfect
- Imperfective
- Future
- Optative
An example of each of the negative forms is found in 7.5.3 below.
There are no negative forms corresponding to the Perfect tense. In the context of
discourse, when a Perfect verb is negated, a negative Perfective form is used (this is
similar to the neutralization of negative “past” and “anterior” forms by many speakers of
Swahili; see Dimmendaal 2000:172–3).
mì
1SG
làà-rì
eat:PERF-PERF
)ígà
thing
I have eaten something
mìí
1SG:PFV.NEG
làà
eat:PFV
)ígà yá
thing NEG
I did not eat something /
I have not eaten something
7.5.2 Negation particles
There are two negation particles used with verbs: yá and gá.
The particle yá is used with Indicative (7.4.1) verb forms. It is also found in other
negative constructions. Its use with verbs is illustrated by the following examples:
mìí
1SG:PFV.NEG
làà
eat:PFV
)ígà
thing
yá
NEG
357
I did not eat something
míì
làà
1SG:NONPFV.NEG eat:VN
)ígà
thing
yá
I am not eating something
NEG
In terms of nasality, yá is a clitic, since it takes the nasal value of the last syllable of the
preceding morpheme (3.4.3.6).
I did not lie down
mìí
sùù
yá
1SG:PFV.NEG lie.down:PFV NEG
míì
làà
1SG:NONPFV.NEG eat:VN
nàmá
meat
yá
I am not eating meat
NEG
The particle gá is used exclusively to negate Optative (7.4.2) verb forms. This is shown
in the following examples.
mú
2SG:OPT
hèè
climb:OPT
má
3:OPT
hèè-zí
climb:OPT-PL
gá
NEG:OPT
gá
NEG:OPT
don’t [you (sg.)] climb! /
you (sg.) mustn’t climb!
don’t let them climb! /
they mustn’t climb!
7.5.3 Negative subject pronouns
In addition to being marked by negative particles (7.5.2), verbal negation is marked on
Indicative subject pronouns (6.1.2). Negative Indicative pronouns exhibit the CVV shape
which distinguishes Irrealis verb forms, but their tonal value varies: negative Perfective
verb forms are LH, and negative non-Perfective (negated Imperfective and Future) forms
are HL.
Examples of negative Perfective forms are as follows:
mìí
hèè
1SG:PFV.NEG climb:PFV
I did not climb
yá
NEG
mìí
Qáá-ní
yá
1SG:PFV.NEG move.away:PLUPERF-1SG.REFL NEG
I had not moved away
cf. affirmative counterparts of the examples:
mì
1SG
hèè
climb:PFV
I climbed
mì
1SG
Qáá-ní
move.away:PLUPERF-1SG.REFL
I had moved away
358
A third person negative Perfective pronoun hìí may be used, apparently without a change
in meaning, in place of the equivalent third person negative Perfective pronoun )àá
(6.1.2.5).
hìí
3:PFV.NEG
hèè
climb:PFV
= )àá
3:PFV.NEG
hèè
climb:PFV
he/she/it did not climb
yá
NEG
he/she/it did not climb
yá
NEG
hìí
3:PFV.NEG
hèè-zí
yá
climb:PFV-PL NEG
they did not climb
= )àá
3:PFV.NEG
hèè-zí
yá
climb:PFV-PL NEG
they did not climb
Examples of negative non-Perfective (Imperfective and Future) forms are as follows:
míì
héérà
1SG:NONPFV.NEG climb:VN
yá
NEG
míì
hèè
1SG:NONPFV.NEG climb:FUT
NEG
yá
I do not climb /
I am not climbing
I will not climb /
I will not climb!
cf. affirmative counterparts of the examples:
mì
1SG
héérà
climb:VN
I climb / I am climbing
mìí
1SG:IRR
hèè
climb:FUT
I will climb / I will climb!
A third person negative non-Perfective pronoun híì may be used, apparently without a
change in meaning, in place of the equivalent third person negative non-Perfective
pronoun )áà (6.1.2.6).
híì
héérà
3:NONPFV.NEG climb:VN
= )áà
héérà
3:NONPFV.NEG climb:VN
híì
3NONPFV.NEG
he/she/it is not climbing
yá
NEG
he/she/it is not climbing
yá
NEG
héé-zí-rà
climb:VN-PL-VN
yá
NEG
359
they are not climbing
= )áà
héé-zí-rà
3:NONPFV.NEG climb:VN-PL-VN
they are not climbing
yá
NEG
Negation is not marked on pronouns in Subjunctive verb forms.
mú
2SG:OPT
hèè
climb:OPT
don’t [you (sg.)] climb! /
you (sg.) mustn’t climb!
gá
NEG:OPT
cf. its affirmative counterpart:
mú
2SG:OPT
[you (sg.)] climb! /
you (sg.) must climb!
hèè
climb:OPT
7.5.4 Summary of negative verbal forms
Negative verb forms are marked with negation particles (7.5.2) and negative subject
pronouns (7.5.3). These forms are summarized in the following table:
Negative verbal forms in Mambay
negative verb form
subject pronoun
verb shape and
tone melody
negative
particle
Perfective (basic)
PFV.NEG pronoun
(CV V )
stem + PFV
yá
Pluperfect
PFV.NEG pronoun
(CV V )
stem + PLUPERF
yá
Imperfective (basic)
NONPFV.NEG pronoun
(CV V )
verbal noun
yá
Future
NONPFV.NEG pronoun
(CV V )
stem + FUT
yá
Optative
OPT
stem + OPT
gá
pronoun (CV )
7.6 Expansions of verbal inflection
Expanded verb forms allow for functional enrichment of the categories in the basic
inflectional system. While some are formed by means of TAM indicators (7.6.1), others
are formed using possessive constructions (7.6.2) and complex inflectional constructions,
including serial and auxiliary verb constructions (7.6.3).
7.6.1 TAM indicators
In addition to TAM (Tense/Aspect/Mode) marking in the basic verbal system (7.4), TAM
is marked by means of TAM particles (7.6.1.1) and adverbs (7.6.1.2). Particles form a
closed set and, since they bear a single mora, do not meet the minimal weight
requirements for adverbs (8.1, 8.3). TAM adverbs, on the other hand, are part of the open
class of adverbs (8.1).
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TAM indicators are prototypically found with verbs. The syntactic distribution of each
group is distinctive (and as concerns adverbs, complex), and is discussed in the individual
subsections. The examples in the following subsections show that while TAM indicators
expressing aspect are found with a wide range of verb forms, those which express
distinctions of mood are often limited to Optative forms.
TAM indicators found with Indicative verbal forms are also attested with verbless clauses
(10.1.3). Representative examples of this are as follows:
- example particle with a verbless clause:
yó ‘indeed, (affirmative particle)’ (10.1.2.2)
Kwéé
yó
(personal name) (affirmative particle)
it is Kwé
cf. an example of its verbal use:
I am indeed climbing
mì té’là
yó
1SG walk:VN indeed
- example adverb with a verbless clause
)àhná ‘maybe’
)àhná
maybe
maybe I am pregnant /
I may be pregnant
mì má sámà
1SG with pregnancy
cf. an example of its verbal use:
)àhná
maybe
maybe I am walking /
I may be walking
mì té’là
1SG walk:VN
Some TAM indicators may be found in combination with other ones; this enriches the
matrix of TAM possibilities greatly. Such combinations are illustrated by the following
examples:
)àhná ‘maybe’ + nà ‘(question particle)’
)àhná
maybe
perhaps I am walking…?
mì té’là
nà
1SG walk:VN QM
361
%âh ‘go ahead…’ + Qàh ‘for now, go ahead’
mú
%âh
2SG:OPT go.ahead
té’
Qàh
walk:OPT for.now
go ahead and walk for now!
gíí ‘so…(plaintive), but then’ + rè ‘come on, (topicalizer)’
gíí
so
mú
2SG:OPT
té’
rè
walk:OPT come.on
so come on and walk!
tà’ ‘so…(plaintive), but then’ + yá (Indicative negative particle)
I will not walk again /
I will never walk
mìí
té’
tà’
yá
2SG:IRR walk:FUT again NEG
7.6.1.1 TAM particles
TAM particles are divided into two groups, one of which functions with Indicative
clauses (cf. 7.4.1), and the other of which functions with Optative (7.4.2) verb forms. All
of these particles are consistently found in post-verbal position; the patterning of these
particles in clauses is described in 10.1.2.
7.6.1.1.1 Indicative particles
TAM particles found with clauses containing Indicative verb forms have been described
in greater detail in 10.1.2. These are as follows:
nà ‘(question particle)’
are you walking?
mù té’là
nà
2SG walk:VN QM
rè ‘(topicalization/floor-holding particle)’ (also found with Optative clauses; see 7.6.1.1.2)
I am walking, you know…
mì té’là
rè
1SG walk:VN TOPIC
yá ‘(Indicative negative particle)’ (cf. 7.5.2)
I am not walking
míì
té’là
yá
1SG:NONPFV.NEG walk:VN NEG
yó ‘indeed, (presentational particle)’
I am indeed walking
mì té’là
yó
1SG walk:VN indeed
362
The question particle nà may be combined with either yá ‘(Indicative negative particle)’
or yó ‘indeed, (presentational particle)’:
múù
té’là
2SG:NONPFV.NEG walk:VN
yá
nà
NEG
QM
mù
2SG
yó
indeed
nà
té’là
walk:VN
aren’t you walking?
are you indeed walking?
QM
7.6.1.1.2 Optative particles
TAM particles found exclusively with clauses containing Optative verb forms are as
follows:
bè ‘first’
mú
2SG:OPT
lá’
listen:OPT
listen first! / just listen!
bè
first
gá ‘(Optative negative particle)’ (7.5.2)
mú
1SG:OPT
té’
walk:OPT
don’t walk! / you mustn’t walk!
gá
NEG:OPT
kò ‘come on, first’ (kò is also used as a clause-initial conjunction ‘if, when’; see
10.2.2.2)
mú
2SG:OPT
lá’
listen:OPT
kò
come.on
come on, listen first! /
come on, listen up!
lè
please
please eat!
lè ‘please’ (Fulf. borr.)
mú
2SG:OPT
té’
walk:OPT
One TAM particle found with clauses containing Indicative verb forms (7.6.1.1.1) may
also be used with clauses containing Optative verb forms.
rè ‘come on’ (10.1.2.4)
mú
2SG:OPT
té’
walk:OPT
come on, eat!
rè
come.on
Optative TAM particles are never found in combination with one another.
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7.6.1.2 TAM adverbs
TAM adverbs constitute an open set, and there is no clear boundary between TAM
adverbs and other adverbs (8.1). In addition to a majority of morphologically simple
adverbs, composed and reduplicated adverbs are attested (e.g. bóm gbúù ‘once more’
and dáhbì dáhbì ‘repeatedly’).
The syntactic distribution of TAM adverbs is heterogeneous: they are found before
subject pronouns, after verb words, in both of these positions and, in one case (%âh ‘go
ahead…’), between the subject pronoun and verb word. However, consistent TAM
functions are associated with each position.
Before subject pronoun
TAM adverbs found before the subject pronoun express modal information; attested
items are as follows:
)àhná ‘maybe’
)àhná
maybe
mì té’là
1SG walk:VN
maybe I am walking /
I may be walking
mì té’là
1SG walk:VN
it is better that I walk
bàhrá ‘better’
bàhrá
better
gíí ‘so…(plaintive), but then’ (cf. gìì ‘answer, accept, admit’)
gíí
so
mú
2SG:OPT
so (plaintive) walk! /
so (plaintive) you must walk!
té’
walk:OPT
kyáh ‘need, it is necessary’
kyáh mú
need 2SG:OPT
you need to walk!... /
it is necessary that you walk…
té’...
walk:OPT
lâ’ ‘it seems; may’ (cf. là’ ‘hear, feel, understand’)
lâ’
mì
it.seems 1SG
té’là
walk:VN
it seems that I am walking /
I seem to be walking
lâ’
may
té’
walk:OPT
may you walk!
mú
1SG:OPT
364
làrà / làà ‘if only, almost, about to’
làrà
if.only
mì tè’
1SG walk:PFV
if only I had walked / I almost walked /
I was about to walk
= làà
if.only
mì tè’
1SG walk:PFV
if only I had walked / I almost walked /
I was about to walk
sé’ ‘must; except, only, until’
sé’
must
mú
2SG:OPT
you must walk!
té’
walk:OPT
Between subject pronoun and verb word
A single TAM adverb has been attested between the subject pronoun and the verb word:
%âh ‘go ahead…’
mú
2SG:OPT
go ahead and walk!
%âh
té’
go.ahead walk:OPT
After verb word
TAM adverbs may be found after verb words.
first, I will walk
mìí
té’
béNn
1SG:IRR walk:FUT first
If the verb takes an object, the object precedes the TAM adverb (10.1.1).
mìí
làà
1SG:IRR eat:FUT
)ígà
thing
first, I will eat something
béNn
first
TAM adverbs found after verb words are of two types: aspectual adverbs found with a
range of semantically compatible verb forms and, in two cases, mood adverbs found with
Optative verb forms.9 Attested items are as follows:
bà’ ‘right after’
I will walk right after
mìí
té’
bà’
1SG:IRR walk:FUT right.after
9
If you’ve been reading closely enough to find this note, I would like to take you out for a drink.
365
béNn ‘first’
first, I will walk
mìí
té’
béNn
1SG:IRR walk:FUT first
bóm gbúù ‘once more’ (cf. bóm ‘one’; see gbúù ‘again’ below)
mìí
1SG:IRR
I will walk once more
té’
bóm gbúù
walk:FUT once.more
à’ ‘(past marker)’
I walked (PAST)
mì tè’
à’
1SG walk:PFV PAST
dáhbì dáhbì ‘repeatedly’
I walked repeatedly
mì tè’
dáhbì dáhbì
1SG walk:PFV repeatedly
fàà )éré fàà )éré ‘repeatedly’ (cf. fàà ‘back, skin, behind (linked form),’ )éré
‘their (coref./impers.)’)
I walked repeatedly
mì tè’
fàà )éré fàà )éré
1SG walk:PFV repeatedly
gbá7 ‘please / I beg’
mú
2SG:OPT
walk, please! / walk, I beg you!
té’
gbá7
walk:OPT please
gbúù / dòó-gbúù ‘again’
I am walking again
mì té’là
gbúù
1SG walk:VN again
= mì té’là
dòó-gbúù
1SG walk:VN again
I am walking again
hù7gù yá ‘no longer’ (cf. yà ‘(Indicative negative particle)’)
míì
té’
hù7gù yá
1SG:NONPFV.NEG walk:FUT no.longer
366
I will not walk any longer
hù7gù yô’ ‘never again’
míì
té’
hù7gù yô’
1SG: NONPFV.NEG walk:FUT never.again
I will never walk again
kpà7 yá ‘never’(cf. kpà7 ‘different’ yá ‘(Indicative negative particle)’)
míì
té’là
1SG: NONPFV.NEG walk:VN
kpà7 yá
never
I never walk
laF7 ‘while waiting, also’
mú
2SG:OPT
té’
laF7
walk:OPT while.waiting
while you’re waiting, walk! /
you also walk!
lì’ ‘definitively, directly, forever’
I will walk directly /
I will walk forever
mìí
té’
lì’
1SG:FUT walk:FUT definitively
sò’ yá ‘not yet’ (cf. yà ‘(Indicative negative particle)’)
I am not walking yet
míì
té’là
sò’ yá
1SG:NONPFV.NEG walk:VN not.yet
tà’ ‘also’
mìí
1SG:IRR
I will also walk
té’
tá’
walk:FUT also
tém yá ‘never’(cf. tém ‘differently,’ yá ‘(Indicative negative particle)’)
míì
té’là
1SG: NONPFV.NEG walk:VN
tém yá
never
I never walk
tígì ‘please, forgive me but’
mú
2SG:OPT
walk, please! / forgive me, but walk!
té’
tígì
walk:OPT please
tí’ tí’ ‘always’
I always walk / I am always walking
mì té’là
tí’ tí’
1SG walk:VN always
367
tìtím tìtím ‘repeatedly’
I walked repeatedly
mì tè’
tìtím tìtím
1SG walk:PFV repeatedly
vòró ‘keep on; to there’ (cf. 8.1.1.1)
mú
2SG:OPT
keep on walking! / walk there!
té’
vòró
walk:OPT keep.on
Two attested positions
A handful of TAM adverbs may be found in either pre-pronoun or post verb-word
position. There are semantic differences corresponding to the position of these adverbs;
the differences reflect the typical function of TAM adverbs in each of the positions (prepronoun or post verb-word). Attested items are as follows:
bî’ ‘a little, almost’
mì
1SG
té’là
walk:VN
bî’
mí
almost 1SG:OPT
bî’
a.little
I am walking a little
té’
walk:OPT
I am almost walking
wîr-gíí ‘already, still; so…(plaintive)’ (cf. above: gíí ‘so…(plaintive), but then’)
mì té’là
wîr-gíí
1SG walk:VN still
I am already walking /
I am still walking
wîr-gíí mú
so
2SG:OPT
so (plaintive) walk! /
so (plaintive) you must walk!
té’
walk:OPT
Qàh ‘for now, go ahead’ (cf. Qáh ‘call, invite)
mú
2SG:OPT
walk for now! / go ahead and walk!
té’
Qâh
walk:OPT for.now
for now, I am walking
Qàh
mì té’là
for.now 1SG walk:VN
7.6.2 Possessive constructions
An expansion of the Imperfective (7.4.1.1.2), the Imperfective Progressive 1, is formed
by placing a verbal noun in the possessor position of a possessive construction (cf. 5.3).
368
Imperfective Progressive 1
Structure: Realis pronoun + possessive construction with káà (linked form of káálà ‘head/
on’; see 5.2.2) plus possessor verbal noun
mì káà
té’là
1SG head/on:LF walk:VN
I am in the process of walking
Note that, formally speaking, this is a verbless clause (cf. 10.1.3).
7.6.3 Complex inflectional constructions
There are two kinds of complex inflectional constructions: serial verb constructions
(7.6.3.1) and verbal constructions formed by means of auxiliaries (7.6.3.2).
7.6.3.1 Serial verb constructions
Two types of serial verb constructions are commonly attested in Mambay: these have
been labelled Realis Future 2 and Imperfective Progressive 2.
Realis Future 2
In Realis Future 2 constructions, two finite verbs are found together, and there is no
independent person marking on the second finite verb (as per the typical serial verb
constructions described in Payne 1997:308).
Structure: various forms of vè ‘go’ + Perfective verb word
mì
1SG
vè
go:PFV
tè’
walk:PFV
I was going to walk
nà
1&2
vè-zí
go:PFV-PL
tè’
walk:PFV
we (incl.) were going to walk
Imperfective Progressive 2
Structure: optional Realis pronoun + tògó ‘be’ (7.3.3.3) + Imperfective
ex. (mì) toFg mì té’là
1SG be 1SG walk:VN
I am walking / I am in the
process of walking
The optional nature of the subject pronoun with tògó ‘be’ shows that two discrete types
of constructions are used to express the Imperfective Progressive 2. When tògó is found
with its own subject pronoun, the Imperfective Progressive 2 is a serial verb construction.
Evidence for its identity as a serial verb construction rather than an instance of juxtaposed
clauses comes from two directions: first, the subject of both tògó ‘be’ (when it is used)
and the subject of the following Imperfective verb form must be identical; and second,
369
tògó appears in the Imperfective Progressive 2 as toFg, which is its phrase-internal
realization (cf. its phrase-final realization; see 7.3.3.3; also cf. Payne 1997:308–9).
The optional nature of the subject pronoun with tògó ‘be’ suggests that tògó is in the
process of being grammaticalized as a TAM adverb (7.6.1.2) with progressive meaning.
7.6.3.2 Constructions with auxiliaries
A variety of complex inflectional constructions employ auxiliaries, that is, verbs which
are head of the verb phrase but which do not embody the main activity expressed by the
clause (Payne 1997:84). In addition, the examples below show that auxiliaries express a
meaning that is not fully compositional, that is, one which differs from the meaning
found when the same verb does embody a clause’s main activity.
When an auxiliary is used in Mambay, the main activity or state is expressed as an object
or adverbial complement of the auxiliary. Formally, there are two major types of
constructions with auxiliaries: those followed by verbal nouns (7.6.3.2.1), and those
followed by subordinate clauses (7.6.3.2.2).
7.6.3.2.1 Auxiliaries followed by verbal nouns
Most auxiliaries are followed by verbal nouns, which express the central event or state of
a clause. This given, there are three positions in which the verbal noun accompanying an
auxiliary may be found:
1. on its own;
mì
1SG
%áá
find:PFV
I was able to walk
té’là
walk:VN
2. prefixed with kì- ‘place, time, situation’ (5.1.2.4.5);
mì
1SG
)èr
get.up:PFV
kì-té’là
place:PFX-walk:VN
I was just walking
3. as a complement of a preposition (cf. 9.3)
mì
1SG
tìì
become:PFV
má
with
té’là
walk:VN
I walk (habitually) /
I walked (habitually)
As is evident from the first and second examples here, the distribution of a verbal noun
vs. a verbal noun prefixed with kì- does not appear to be semantically significant.
However, in most cases a given auxiliary is syntactically limited to one of the two
strategies; the reasons for the choice of one form over another are not clear. Both are
found with intransitive as well as intransitive verbs, so based on transitivity requirements
established elsewhere in the language (7.3.2.1), verbal nouns (with or without kì-) must
be viewed variously as adverbial complements (with intransitive auxiliaries) or objects
(with transitive auxiliaries).
370
The inflectional categories expressed by constructions have been organized according to
form and labelled according to their function as follows:
- Habitual
- Potential
- Realis Future 3
- Recent Past
- Past-Imperfective 1
- Future-Imperfective 1
- Past-Imperfective 2
- Future-Imperfective 2
The structure and function of these forms is described below, and a chart summarizing
the structure of all the forms is found at the end of this section.
Habitual
Structure: various forms of tìì ‘become’ + prepositional phrase composed of má ‘with’
and a verbal noun
ex. mì
1SG
tìì
má
become:PFV with
té’là
walk:VN
I walk (habitually) /
I walked (habitually)
mìí
tìì
má
1SG:IRR become:FUT with
té’là
walk:VN
I will walk (habitually)
Potential
Structure: various forms of %áá ‘find, succeed, have’ + verbal noun
ex. mì
1SG
%áá
find:PFV
té’là
walk:VN
I was able to walk
mìí
%áá
1SG:IRR find:FUT
té’là
walk:VN
I will be able to walk
Realis Future 3
Structure: various forms of vè ‘go’ + verbal noun (without or with kì-)
ex. mì
1SG
vè
go:PFV
té’là
walk:VN
I was going to walk
= mì
1SG
vè
go:PFV
kì-té’là
place:PFX-walk:VN
I was going to walk
371
mìí
ví-ní
té’là
1SG:IRR go:FUT-1SG.REFL walk:VN
= mìí
ví-ní
kì-té’là
1SG:IRR go:FUT-1SG.REFL place:PFX-walk:VN
I will be going to walk
I will be going to walk
Recent Past
Structure: various forms of )èr ‘get up’ or hàà ‘come back, go back’ + verbal noun with kìex. mì
1SG
)èr
get.up:PFV
kì-té’là
place:PFX-walk:VN
I was just walking
mìí
)eFr
1SG:IRR get.up:FUT
kì-té’là
place:PFX-walk:VN
I will have just been walking
mì
1SG
háá
kì-té’là
come.back:PFV place:PFX-walk:VN
mìí
háá
kì-té’là
1SG:IRR come.back:FUT place:PFX-walk:VN
I was just walking
I will have just been walking
Past-Imperfective 1
Structure: Perfective of yàà ‘sit, stay, be’ + verbal noun with kì- (cf. 5.1.4.2.5)
ex. mì
1SG
yàà
be:PFV
kì-té’là
place:PFX-walk:VN
I was walking / I have been
walking / I just walked
Future-Imperfective 1
Structure: Future of yàà ‘sit, stay, be’ + verbal noun with kìex. mìí
yáá
1SG:IRR be:FUT
kì-té’là
place:PFX-walk:VN
I will be walking
Past-Imperfective 2
This construction and the parallel Future-Imperfective 2 (immediately below) are
interesting in that the agent of the clause’s semantically central verb is demoted from
subject position to that of the object of the auxiliary %áá ‘find, succeed, have.’
Structure: Perfective of %áá + object pronoun + verbal noun with kì‘find, succeed, have’
ex. Ø
3:PFV
%áá
mí
find:PFV 1SG.OBJ
kì-té’là
place:PFX-walk:VN
372
I was walking
(lit. it found me walking)
Future-Imperfective 2
Structure: Future of %áá ‘find, + object pronoun + verbal noun with kìsucceed, have’
ex. )àá
3:IRR
%áá
be:FUT
mí
1SG.OBJ
kì-té’là
place:PFX-walk:VN
I will be walking
(lit. it will find me walking)
The following table organizes the structural characteristics of expanded verb forms
constructed by means of auxiliary verbs with verbal nouns:
preposition
form of
semantically
principal verb
Habitual
tìì ‘become’
—
má
VN
Potential
%áá ‘find’
—
—
VN
Imminent 2
vè ‘go’
—
—
Recent Past
)èr ‘get up’ /
hàà ‘come back, go back’
—
—
kì-VN
Past-Imperfective 1
yàà ‘sit, stay, be’ (PFV)
—
—
kì-VN
Future-Imperfective 1 yàà ‘sit, stay, be’ (FUT)
—
—
kì-VN
%áá ‘find’ (PFV)
—
kì-VN
Future-Imperfective 2 %áá ‘find’ (FUT)
—
kì-VN
auxiliary verb
clause agent as
object of aux. v.
Structure of verb forms with auxiliary verbs followed by verbal nouns
complex verb form
Past-Imperfective 2
VN
/ kì-VN
7.6.3.2.2 Auxiliaries followed by subordinate clauses
In addition to being followed by verbal nouns (7.6.3.2.1), auxiliaries may be followed by
subordinate clauses. Past and Future 2 constructions are made possible by periphrastic
373
constructions in which the auxiliary verb %áá ‘find, succeed, have’ is followed by a
subordinate clause (cf. 10.2.2.2).
Past
Structure: Perfective of %áá ‘find, succeed, have’ + subordinate clause
ex. Ø
%áá
kà
3:PFV find:PFV and.then
Ø
%áá
kà
3:PFV find:PFV and.then
mì tè’
1SG walk:PFV
I walked (lit. it found that
I walked)
mì té’là
1SG PFX-walk:VN
I was walking (lit. it found
that I walk)
Future 2
Structure: Future of %áá ‘find, succeed, have’ + subordinate clause
ex. )àá %áá
kà
3:IRR find:FUT and.then
)àá %áá
kà
3:IRR find:FUT and.then
mì tè’
1SG walk:PFV
I will have walked (lit. it will
find that I walked)
mì té’là
I will be walking (lit. it will
1SG place:PFX-walk:VN find that I am walking)
7.7 Composite verbal expressions
Composite verbal expressions constitute an important part of the verb lexicon; well over
a third of the verbs in the data (347 out of 948) are composite expressions. In contrast to
verb expansions, which have to do with enrichment of the inflectional system (7.6),
composite verbal expressions may be found as lexical items (Dimmendaal 2000:179). As
with compound nouns (cf. 5.4), composite verbal expressions are primarily distinguished
from spontaneously constructed verb phrases by recurrent usage rather than structure. As
fixed collocations, they tend to express a single verbal concept; and this semantic value is
often idiomatic.
The following structures have been attested for composite verbal expressions:
- verb stem + noun (7.7.1)
- verb stem + prepositional phrase (7.7.2)
- verb stem + directional adverb (7.7.3)
- verb stem + adjective (7.7.4)
- verb stem + ideophonic adverb (7.7.5)
For composite verbal expressions containing transitive verbs and whose additional
element is not a noun, an object or dummy object (7.3.2.1.2) (neither of which are
necessarily lexicalized as part of the composite verbal expression) must also be present.
gbàh )ígà gbìrìz
catch thing IDEO
surprise something
374
7.7.1 Verb stem + noun
Composite verbal expressions most commonly exhibit a verb stem + noun structure, and
the noun is usually an object.
sing
%áá
find
syòó
song
làà
eat
ríívà
inherit
inheritance
hèè kángà
be initiated (males)
climb male.circumcision
vúm fyáhgà
blow bellows
work the bellows
Some verb stems in the lexicon are limited to specific objects.
mwì’ gwá’rà smile
smile laugh(n.)
súm
punt
)àhrá
canoe
vìì
híhnà be afraid
fear(v.) fear(n.)
punt
Qél
káálà
disturb head
trouble, amuse
The basic verb pá ‘make, do’ appears recurrently as part of composite verbal
expressions. In such cases, objects are underived nouns which refer to activities.
pá
kì-swá’ thank
make PFX:place-thanks(n.)
pá
kúúrà
make hunting
pá
vérgà
travel
make travel(n.)
hunt
pá
síínà
make play(n.)
play
A number of objects also appear recurrently as part of composite verbal expressions.
These nouns, which are common objects of (primarily human) animate behaviour and
physicality, are as follows: dágà ‘mouth, edge’ káálà ‘head, reason’ nììnú ‘bottom,
meaning,’ rò’rá ‘word, issue,’ )ínù ‘body, self.’ Example usage of each of these objects
is as follows:
sú’
pull
dágà
mouth
be corrupt
náh káálà
take.out
leave
head
gbáh
catch
dágà
mouth
plan
déé
chop
káálà
head
prevent
kù%
study
dágà
mouth
stutter, babble
wàh
dip
káálà
head
get someone into
difficulty
lòònT
tire
dágà
mouth
annoy, bother
Qèl
káálà
disturb head
375
trouble, amuse
à’
cut
nììnú
bottom
slander
dèrgí
cut.off
àl
split
nììnú
bottom
explain
gìì
rò’rá
answer word
answer
rí’
enter
rò’rá
word
imply
lùgún
nììnú reveal, betray
cause.to.leave bottom
rò’rá
word
mumble
nàNw
spank
nììnú
bottom
spank
sáá
tell
rò’rá
word
tell
gbáh
catch
)ínù
body
abstain
ryáh
mourn
)ínù
body
complain
làà
eat
)ínù
body
gossip
sàrgí
)ínù
lean(tr.) body
lean
Nouns which are part of composite verbal expressions may also act as locative, manner or
purpose complements.
locative:
agree
súú
káà
tâNwgí bóm
lie.down head/on:LF rope:LF one
manner:
wàr )ígà syâg
leave thing oneself:LF
)éé
3SG.C/I.POSS
abandon
purpose:
yáh
take
káà
head/on:LF
sòg
work:VN
sòglá
work(n.)
hire
7.7.2 Verb stem + prepositional phrase
Composite verbal expressions are sometimes constituted of a verb stem and a prepositional
phrase beginning with má ‘with, and.’ These constructions are structured in the same way
as verbs with typical prepositional phrase complements (9.3).
)áh
paddle
)ígà má
thing with
%èh
má
bow.low with
fûrgá
paddle(n.)
káà-nà-sí’nù
knee
paddle
kneel
376
%úú
hit
)ígà má
thing with
Nmàhná
foot
kick
híí
give
)ígà má
thing with
dágà
mouth
promise
7.7.3 Verb stem + directional adverb
Composite verbal expressions may also be constituted of a verb stem and a directional
adverb.
háá
kètí
come.back upward
be high
háá
sùgú
be low
come.back downward
kàn
pass
)ígà tùm overtake something
thing forward
kyàh )ígà hîn
borrow something
want thing to.here
7.7.4 Verb stem + adjective
Additionally, composite verbal expressions may be constituted of a verb stem followed
by an adjective.
hàn )ígà Nwàgàgà roughen something
render thing rough
pá
)ígà zèyzèy
make thing proud
cause something to be proud
7.7.5 Verb stem + ideophonic adverb
Finally, composite verbal expressions may be constituted of a verb stem followed by an
ideophonic adverb.
háá
vbìgtìg
come.back IDEO
return without having accomplished anything
sòò
vbòlvbòl
become.hot IDEO
boil furiously
tè’
walk
hobble about with one’s head and neck jutting out in front
tégùtégù
IDEO
377
)ùrní
stand
árá7
right, set straight
IDEO
In some cases, ideophonic adverbs are bound to a specific verb stem in the lexicon.
dím )ígà kpírá
cover thing IDEO
cover something by leaning over with arms or wings
gbàh )ígà gbìrìz
catch thing IDEO
surprise something
tìg
fall
váhb
faint
tìg
fall
Nwáb
IDEO
fall freely and crash (something breakable like a gourd)
IDEO
378
8
ADVERBS, ADJECTIVES AND IDEOPHONES
8
ADVERBS, ADJECTIVES AND IDEOPHONES
This chapter deals with adverbs and adjectives. Since ideophones comprise a majority of
adverbs as well as adjectives, they are also treated here as a parallel topic with major
implications for both of these word classes. The first major section (8.1) discusses
adverbs, with a focus on two categories: directional adverbs and TAM
(tense/aspect/mode) adverbs. The subsequent section addresses topics pertaining to
ideophones in general (8.2). The description then focusses on ideophonic adverbs (8.3)
as well as adjectives (8.4), the great majority of which are ideophonic. The final section
treats derivational phenomena associated with ideophones from various word classes
(8.5).
8.1 Adverbs
Three types of adverbs are found in Mambay: directional adverbs, TAM (tense/aspect/
mode) adverbs, and ideophonic adverbs. The first two types, which constitute
semantically unified sets, are discussed in the present section (8.1.1, 8.1.2). Remaining
adverbs, which are consistently ideophonic in nature (8.3) and function as qualifiers as
well as quantifiers (8.2), are presented after the topic of ideophones in general is
introduced in 8.2.
Functions which are expressed by adverbs in some languages (such as locational and
temporal functions) are commonly expressed in Mambay by nouns (5.13) and
prepositional phrases (9.3) used adverbially. The following data show unambiguous
noun morphology and/or syntax (alienable and inalienable possession or accompaniment
by a specifier; see 5.3.3.3 and 9.2):
sììrá
year, last year
mágá
today
sìì
mágá
year:LF today
this year
fààlá
back, skin
fààlé
behind/after him/her/it (coref.) / behind/after it
back/after:3SG.COREF/IMPERS.POSS.INAL
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two days ago
sí-nùú
sí-nùù
PFX-two.days.ago:LF
three days ago
núú
that
However, their locational and/or temporal function is evident not only from the glosses,
but also from their adverbial usage in examples such as the following:
sììrá
year
zòl-lé
leave:PFV-3SG.REFL
he/she/it left (i.e., went away) last year
fààlé,
back/after:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
%áá
find:PFV
sòglá fígíl
work Figuil
after this, he/she/it found work in Figuil
sí-nùú
PFX-two.days.ago:LF
mì lá’
fâmgí
)éé
1SG hear:PFV announcement 3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
a couple of days ago I heard news of him/her/it
)àá
háá
sìì
mágá
3SG:IRR come.back:FUT year:LF today
he/she/it will come back this year
The following examples show prepositional phrases used adverbially:
háá-lê-n
má
come.back:PFV-3SG.REFL-to.here with
hâr-ná
hurry:VN-OBJ
he/she/it came back here hurriedly
tìg-lé
bèè
sûm-ní
)úùrú
fall:PFV-3SG:REFL without know:VN-OBJ:LF 3SG.POSS
it fell unknowingly (lit. it fell without his/her knowledge)
má-)ì-náá
toFg à%gí-zí
lààbá
with-HEAD-this be peck.around:VN-PL eat:VN
meanwhile, they were pecking food in the evening
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má
with
líbà
evening
má-kì-dô’
yàà-zí
fíílò
with-place:PFX-that.ANAPH sit:PFV-PL house
at that time, they lived in the house
8.1.1 Directional adverbs
There is a closed set of six directional adverbs in Mambay. These are distinct from
locative nouns (5.13) as well as prepositions (9.3) in that they obligatorily co-occur with
verbs. Other differences among these forms are catalogued in 9.3.3.
8.1.1.1 Inventory
Directional adverbs, which are found in three semantically opposed pairs, are as follows:
hîn ~ -ìn ~ -n`
vòró ~ vè
to here
to there
kètí
sùgú
upward
downward
fàárì
tùm
backward
forward
The directional adverb hîn ‘to here,’ may attach directly to the verb word as -ìn (with
consonant-final stems) or -n` (with vowel-final stems) when there is no intervening object
(7.3.1.6).
mù háá-mi-în
2SG come.back:PLUPERF-2SG.REFL-to.here
= mù háá-mi
hîn
2SG come.back:PLUPERF-2SG.REFL to.here
you had come back to here
you had come back to here
he/she/it will come back here
)àà
háá-n`
3SG:IRR come.back:FUT-to.here
= )àà
háá
hîn
3SG:IRR come.back:FUT to.here
he/she/it will come back here
There is no difference in meaning between vòró and vè ‘to there.’ vòró appears to have
its origins in the perfect verb word vòró ‘you (pl.) have gone,’ and vè appears to be
derived from the simple perfective form vè ‘went’ (see Appendix 2 for all conjugated
forms of vè ‘go’). While both forms are used throughout the language area, the shorter
form vè appears to be more common in rapid speech and in dialects north of the river.
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The adverb kètí ‘upward’ is structurally identical to the noun kètí ‘sky, life,’ and the
adverb fàárì ‘backward’ is structurally identical to the ordinal noun fàárì ‘last’ (9.1.3).
Cognates in other word classes are lacking for the other directional adverbs..
8.1.1.2 Distribution
Directional adverbs are primarily found with intransitive verbs which mark a change in
position, such as vè ‘go,’ húm ‘come,’ háà ‘come back, go back,’ tè’ ‘walk,’ hèè
‘climb, go up’ and Nmí’ ‘go down.’
Host verbs must be semantically compatible with accompanying directional adverbs;
combinations such vè ‘go’ + hîn ‘to here’ and hèè ‘climb, go up’ + sùgú ‘downward’ are
not permitted.
A directional adverb directly follows the verb it modifies. In the case of the short forms
of the directional adverb hîn ~ -ìn ~ -n` ‘to here’ (see 8.1.1.1 immediately above) it is
suffixed to the verb; also, when there is an object, it follows that object (see the end of
this subsection). Attested usages of each of the directional adverbs with intransitive verbs
are as follows:
mú
2SG.OPT
tè’-n`
walk:OPT-to.here
[you (sg.)] come here!
mú
2SG.OPT
tè’
walk:OPT
vòró
to.there
[you (sg.)] go there!
mú
2SG.OPT
hèè
climb:OPT
kètí
upward
[you (sg.)] climb up!
mú
2SG.OPT
Nmì’
go.down:OPT
mú
2SG.OPT
vù-mi
tùm
go:OPT-2SG.REFL forward
[you (sg.)] go forward!
mú
2SG.OPT
háá
come.back/go.back:OPT
[you (sg.)] go back the same
[you (sg.)] go backward!
sùgú
downward
fàárì
backward
[you (sg.)] go down!
Directional adverbs are also commonly used with the defective verbal copula tògó ‘be’
(7.3.3.3).
dú
3SG:INDEP
tògó-n`
be-to.here
he/she/it is on the way here
dú
3SG:INDEP
toFg vòró
be to.there
he/she/it is on the way there
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Occasionally, directional adverbs are used with transitive verbs. When the verb has an
object, the adverb follows that object; otherwise, as shown in the second example below,
it follows the verb directly (as is the case with intransitive verbs). Examples in the data
which illustrate directional adverbs with transitive verbs are as follows:
yáh-rì
sà’lá hîn
take:PERF-PERF rope to.here
he/she/it has brought the rope here
mú
2SG:OPT
dó
vòró
fàà
drink:OPT to.there back/after:LF
nà-swàá
PFX-peanut
drink the peanuts down (lit. drink there after the peanuts)
má
yáh-zí
gííbò
vòró
3:OPT take:OPT-PL alcoholic.drink to.there
nììlé
má êl
rù’gó
bottom/under:3SG.COREF/IMPERS.POSS.INAL with child:PL:LF clay.water.jar
they must take alcoholic drinks down there with small clay water jars
In addition to a strict directional usage, the adverb vòró ‘to there’ may also be used
aspectually to signal the continuation of an activity (7.6.1.2).
mú
2SG:OPT
keep on walking! / walk to there!
té’
vòró
walk:OPT to.there
Certain combinations of the directional adverbs are permitted: specifically, members of
the first pair above (hîn and vòró) may be followed by a single member of the second or
third pair.
hîn
hîn
hîn
hîn
kètí
sùgú
fààrî
tùm
up to here
down to here
back to here
forward to there
vòró
vòró
vòró
vòró
kètí
sùgú
fààrî
tùm
up to there
down to there
back to there
forward to there
Examples of combined directional adverbs are as follows:
mú
2SG.OPT
hèè-n`
climb:OPT-to.here
kètí
upward
mú
2SG.OPT
Nmì’
vòró
sùgú
go.down:OPT to.there downward
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[you (sg.)] climb up to here!
[you (sg.)] go down there!
mú
2SG.OPT
háá-n`
fàárì [you (sg.)] come back here!
come.back/go.back:OPT-to.here backward
mú
2SG.OPT
tè’
vòró
tùm
walk:OPT to.there forward
[you (sg.)] go on ahead!
8.1.2 TAM adverbs
A number of TAM (tense/aspect/mode) adverbs are found in Mambay. These constitute
a small (less than forty items in the data) but apparently open morphological subclass.
Most are monosyllabic, but a few disyllabic and morphologically complex items are also
attested. Usually, those which express modal information are found before the subjectverb complex (7.6.1.2, 10.1.1).
làrà
if.only
sé’
must
if only I had walked / I almost walked /
I was about to walk
mì tè’
1SG walk:PFV
mú
2SG:OPT
you must walk!
té’
walk:OPT
In contrast, TAM adverbs which express temporal or aspectual information are usually
found after verbs (7.6.1.2, 10.1.1).
mìí
té’
béNn
1SG:IRR walk:FUT first
first, I will walk
mì tè’
á’
1SG walk:PFV PAST
I walked (PAST)
TAM adverbs are discussed in greater detail in 7.6.1.2.
8.2 Ideophones
In Mambay, it is appropriate to distinguish ideophones as a morphological reality.
However, this grouping is “not on a par” with other word classes in the language, which
are for the most part self-contained and which exhibit an essentially uniform syntactic
distribution (cf. Newman 2000:249, contra Cole 1955:370). Instead, it is an open “superclass” (cf. Welmers 1973:462, Ameka 2001:26, Elders 2001:97) whose members are
spread among four word classes: adverbs, adjectives, nouns, and verbs. While
ideophones dominate the classes of adverbs and adjectives, they are only moderately
attested among nouns and verbs.
The present study grapples with the morphological classification of ideophones in
Mambay and provides a description of their structure. This focus, coupled with the
richness of the topic in general, has precluded a satisfactory treatment of related topics
such as the semantics of ideophones, the relationship of structural features to perceived
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realities, and the role of ideophones in discourse.
comments are in order.
However, a couple of general
Ideophones, sometimes referred to as phonaesthemes (Dimmendaal 2000:183),
distinguish themselves from other morphemes and words primarily in the way that they
refer and mean. They transcend the arbitrary sound-symbol relationship characteristic of
most lexical items and enrich discourse by dramatizing salient real-world phenomena as
they are perceived by users of the language (Voeltz and Kilian-Hatz 2001:3): they are
“descriptive of sound, colour, smell, manner, appearance, state, action or intensity…vivid
vocal images or representations of visual, auditory and other sensory or mental
experiences” (Cole 1955:370).
In Mambay, the distinctive structure of ideophones, which often deviates from canonical
structural characteristics of the classes in which they are found (cf. Welmers 1973:462,
Elders 2001:98–100), is generated by these perceptions. As the later sections of the
chapter demonstrate, structural repetition is perhaps the most salient feature to result, and
is an important component of morphological structure as well as derivational processes.
Also, ideophones make significant use of intonation, more so than other words (4.4.1; cf.
Newman 2000:242).
At the level of discourse, ideophones are a basic means of establishing the importance of
an entity or an action. Anonby (2005:15) points out that in Mambay, the simple presence
of an ideophone highlights an element within a discourse; conversely, only important
elements are accompanied by ideophones (this is evident in all of the longer texts found
at the end of this study). This tendency is especially evident in the climax of stories,
where each verb is characteristically accompanied by an ideophone (p. 16). In addition to
its presence, the way in which an ideophone is presented is an important means of
marking emphasis. In particular, this presentation allows the speaker to regulate the
degree of emphasis. For example, the pitch intervals signalling tonal register raising and
lowering (4.4.1) are more drastic with ideophones than with other words. Further,
repetition (e.g. 8.4.2.1.2, 8.5) and lengthening of segments (e.g. 7.1.2.2, 8.5.3), which are
used as a means of echoing real-world phenomena (cf. Doke 1935:118–9, Watters
2000:196), starkly underscore the discourse elements to which the ideophones affected by
these processes relate.
In the present section, methodological issues relating to the description of ideophones are
addressed in further detail. The remainder of the chapter is then devoted to the structural
description of ideophonic adverbs (8.3), adjectives (which appear to be inherently
ideophonic; see 8.4) and a description of derivational issues pertinent to ideophones (8.5).
Ideophonic nouns and verbs are treated elsewhere (5.11 and 7.1.2.2), but the principles
presented in this section are applicable for these morphological subclasses.
Methodological issues
Rather than attempting an exhaustive analysis of ideophones in Mambay, the present
chapter provides a basic descriptive framework for an intricate but indistinctly structured
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area of the language. The study of ideophones in Mambay is problematic, and several
methodological comments are in order.
First of all, ideophones are difficult to elicit (cf. Welmers 1973:461). Initially, the
researcher encounters the perception among speakers of a language that since ideophones
are poorly represented in the written languages with which they are familiar, they are
irrelevant as linguistic data. Once this idea has been countered, a deeper issue remains:
the relationship of ideophones to larger texts. A basic function of ideophones is to enrich
texts, and ideophones are inseparable from these texts (Voeltz and Kilian-Hatz 2001:3).
Whereas an inevitably small inventory of ideophones based on an French or English
wordlist might suggest that they are peripheral to the language, an examination of natural
speech, including texts such as those found at the end of this study, shows that they are
integral to both the structure and the flavour of discourse (as mentioned in 8.2 above).
Secondly, unlike other morphological classes, usage of ideophones varies considerably
from one person to another, and outside the context of discourse, speakers of the
language are often unable to determine the meaning of ideophones used by people from
other clans or villages (cf. Childs 2001:67–70). In the ideophonic lexicon, both the
words used as well as the meanings of these words are variable among speakers. And
even where people concur on the form and meaning of a given ideophone, they may
differ regarding its admissibility in the various host word classes (adverb, adjective, noun
and verb; see especially 8.5.6). Numerous speakers of Mambay have been involved in
this study of ideophones; however, in order to cope with the complexity of the
information, this chapter relies on data gathered from the researcher’s primary language
assistant.
Thirdly, it is difficult to draw a line between those words in a given class which are
ideophonic and those which are not (Welmers 1973:460). Transparent sound symbolism
and, secondarily, non-canonical structures provide a basis for deciding what is
ideophonic. In the present analysis, such words are used as structural templates for the
comparison of words whose ideophonic qualities are more difficult to establish.
The following example serves as a case in point. As stated above, ideophones dominate
the word classes of adverb and adjective (cf. 8.2, introductory discussion). However,
except in the case of directional adverbs (and to some degree, TAM adverbs), it is
difficult to identify any adverbs or adjectives which are not ideophonic. Quantifiers
(adverbial or adjectival) such as the following might be expected to distinguish
themselves formally from ideophonic qualifiers:
bî’
yâN7
gáb
lôNw
té%é
a bit, slowly, almost
halfway (measured horizontally)
halfway (measured vertically)
very, much
completely, all, whole, together
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However, in the language these quantifiers exhibit the non-canonical characteristics of
ideophones outlined in the discussion above (e.g., non-canonical structure, repetition and
repeatability, and highly variable intonation).
It is clear that ideophones present some fundamental challenges to morphological
classification. In the following sections, ideophones whose identity is unambiguous
(based on syntactic limitations) provide a structural framework for the consideration of a
given class. However, morphological ambivalence is an important feature of ideophones
in Mambay, and flexibility in class membership is revisited in (8.5.6) below.
8.3 Ideophonic adverbs
The first word class in which ideophones are well-represented is that of adverbs. In
contrast to adjectives, which are almost completely represented by ideophones,
ideophonic adverbs are one of several major categories of adverbs (8.1). Ideophonic
adverbs distinguish themselves from other types of adverbs and other types of ideophones
both in distribution (8.3.1) and morphological structure (8.3.2) (see also 8.4.1 for
differences).
8.3.1 Distribution of ideophonic adverbs
Ideophonic adverbs are found in post-verbal position (cf. TAM adverbs; see 7.6.1.2).
Clause constituents such as objects, directional adverbs and locational complements may
be interposed between a verb and the ideophonic adverb which modifies it (10.1.1).
The syntactic distribution of ideophonic adverbs is illustrated by the following text
(found in its entirety at the end of this study), where these adverbs are found in their
typical post-verbal position at the end of three of the five clauses which have been
chained together in a story’s climax.
BòNmsí hàh7gí
káálé
Bo’msi forget:PFV head:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
gbàrgàtàg
IDEO
Bo’msi lost his head completely,
yáh
nà-gbáh7gú
ríí
fíít
take:PFV PFX-cultivated.hibiscus.sp clean.out:PFV IDEO
fíít
IDEO
took the rich hibiscus-leaf sauce, cleaned it all out with his fingers,
yáh
take:PFV
nâ’
sauce:LF
gôm síg
vine.sp place:PFV
sùgú kpíh.
down IDEO
then took the bitter vine-leaf sauce and put it down with a clunk.
Syntactic differences between ideophonic adverbs and adjectives, which are structurally
similar, are discussed in 8.4.1.
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Probably all ideophonic adverbs are subject to semantic restrictions on the inventory of
verbs with which they may be used. In fact, some may be only used with a single verb
from the lexicon (7.7.5). This is the case for the following examples:
gbaFh-nà
catch:VN-OBJ
tígrò
fall:VN
startling something
gbìrìz
IDEO
falling unconscious
váhb
IDEO
vbíttì-ná
unroll(shutters):VN-OBJ
unrolling shutters with a snap
vbìt
IDEO
8.3.2 Ideophonic adverb structure
In the following sections, the structure of ideophonic adverbs is described in terms of
allowable CV shapes (8.3.2.1) and tone melodies (8.3.2.2); morphologically simple stems
and morphologically complex stems are each discussed in turn.
8.3.2.1 Allowable CV shapes
As with adjectives, many CV shapes are attested among ideophonic adverbs. These
shapes may be divided into those which are morphologically simple (8.3.2.1.1) and those
which are complex (8.3.2.1.2).
8.3.2.1.1 Morphologically simple stems
A wide range of shapes are found among morphologically simple ideophonic adverbs.
Like nouns, ideophonic adverbs are minimally comprised of a single heavy syllable (cf.
2.4.3). In the list below, attested shapes are given along with examples.
stem shape
example
CVV
CVC
CCVC
CVVC
CV.CV
CV.CVC
CVV.CV
CVV.CVC
CVC.CV
CVC.CVC
CVC.CV.CVC
sèè
kpúz
yâN7
fíít
hárì
gbìrìz
dáárú
kàhràz
kpá7gú
gbà7tà7
gbàrgàtàg
quietly, slowly
late, far away
halfway (horizontally)
(sound of wiping with fingers)
quickly
frighteningly
craning one’s neck and looking around
with heavy eyes
early
spread out
completely
8.3.2.1.2 Morphologically complex stems
A few ideophonic adverbs are complex in that they do not occur without being
reduplicated. Although they exhibit a typical adjectival structure, a handful of such cases
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have been found among adverbs which cannot be used adjectivally. All five attested
examples are given here along with their CV patterns:
stem shape
example
CVV+CVV
sà’-sà’
in many clumps
CVC+CVC
pá%-pá%
sàNw-sàNw
zàhw-zàhw
rapidly
a bit, slowly
hastily
CV.CV+CV.CV
tégú-tègù
with head and chin sticking out
The final word here, tégú-tègù, is also treated as morphologically complex because only
the first half of the word is copied when it undergoes a plural derivation (8.5.1).
Other morphologically complex ideophonic adverbs formed by productive derivations are
discussed in detail in (8.5).
8.3.2.2 Allowable tone melodies
Ideophonic adverbs have been attested with five different tone melodies: H, L, HL, LH
and HLH. In the lists below, each tone melody is given along with the CV shapes with
which it is found in the data. First, morphologically simple stems are described
(8.3.2.2.1); this is followed by a comment on tone associated with morphologically
complex stems (8.3.2.2.2).
8.3.2.2.1 Morphologically simple stems
H-toned morphologically simple stems include the following:
CVV
CVC
CV.CV
CVV.CV
CVC.CV
with a clunk
irreversibly
covering with arms or wings
craning one’s neck and looking around
early
kpíh
Nwáb
kpírá
dáárú
kpá7gú
L-toned morphologically simple stems include the following:
CVV
CVC
CV.CVC
CVV.CVC
CVC.CVC
CVC.CV.CVC
sèè
vbìt
gbìrìz
kàhràz
kàgzàg
gbàrgàtàg
quietly, slowly
with a snap
frighteningly
with heavy eyes
with a flop
completely
HL is found on the following morphologically simple stems:
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CVV
CCVC
CV.CV
quickly
halfway (horizontally)
quickly
Qáà
yâN7
hárì
LH is found on a single morphologically simple stem:
CVV
fast-leaking
hoFh
HLH is also found on a single apparently morphologically simple stem: Qáàgú ‘quickly.’
Since this word has a shape similar to and means the same as Qáà ‘quickly,’ it is
conceivable that it has been composite at some point in the language’s history, or reflects
some historical derivation similar to those represented by vestigial noun suffixes
(5.1.3.2). However, the word’s composition is now opaque.
The phonetic realization of these tone melodies conforms to the general patterns
described for stems of the same shape (see 4.1.2.5).
8.3.2.2.2 Morphologically complex stems
Three of the five tonal melodies found on simple ideophonic adverb stems are also
attested with morphologically complex stems:
H tone:
CVC+CVC
pá%-pá%
rapidly
L tone:
CVV+CVV
CVC+CVC
sà’-sà’
zàhw-zàhw
in many clumps
hastily
tégú-tègù
with head and chin sticking out
HL tone: CV.CV+CV.CV
Tonal association and phonetic realizations of tone on these stems are the same as those
of the better-attested morphologically complex adjective stems of the same shape
(8.4.2.3.2).
8.4 Adjectives
Adjectives play an important role as noun modifiers in noun phrases and attributive
predicates (5.14.2, 10.1.3.3). Adjectives are syntactically distinct from nouns (8.4.1,
10.1.3.2, 10.1.3.3) and ideophonic adverbs (8.3), and although there is overlap in attested
morphological structures, the frequency of these structures is very different among the
classes.
Of the four word classes in which ideophones are found in Mambay, that of adjectives is
the most inherently ideophonic (cf. 8.2). In fact, it is difficult to establish the existence of
adjectives which are not ideophonic. In many Niger-Congo languages, the category of
adjective is restricted to a small, closed set of basic vocabulary items (Creissels
2000:249). In Mambay, however, the category labelled as adjective contains an open set
of items, and non-ideophonic core vocabulary is the exception rather than the norm. The
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following items could be considered “real” adjectives, since they express core concepts
and since it is hard to establish an ideophonic contribution to their phonological structure:
fyàh
gáà
syáà
free, cheap
simple, only
female
Importantly, however, there is no discernable syntactic or morphological distinction
between such adjectives and those whose ideophonic nature is transparent. It is true that
all the adjectives in the above list are monosyllabic; however, this selection is as likely as
not a result of the fact that the ideophonic nature of monosyllabic adjectives in Mambay
is harder to identify because there is little or no place for repetition, a phenomenon which
is otherwise common among ideophones.
Considering the overwhelmingly ideophonic nature of the class of adjectives as a whole,
and considering the structural similarity among core and peripheral members of the
adjective lexicon, all adjectives are addressed together in this section.
8.4.1 Distribution of adjectives
Adjectives are used in two positions: first, in the dependent position of a noun phrase
(5.14.2); and secondly, as an attributive predicate (10.1.3.3). In this section, both
possibilities are compared with nouns found in an equivalent position. They are also
compared with adverbs which, although they are structurally similar to adjectives, have a
distinct syntactic distribution.
Adjectives are syntactically distinct from nouns, which are also used to express noun
attributes. It is true that in noun phrases, it is not possible to distinguish nouns and
adjectives syntactically (5.14.1, 5.14.2):
noun + adjective:
bàh
míz-míz
rain:LF drizzly
drizzly rain
noun + noun:
bàh
pâh
rain:LF wetness
wet rain
However, the difference between adjectives and nouns may be deduced from attributive
predicate constructions: an adjective is juxtaposed with the noun it modifies (10.1.3.3),
but an attributive noun is always connected to the noun it modifies with the copula ká
(10.1.3.2):
adjective:
)à
3IMPERS
míz-míz
drizzly
noun:
)à
3IMPERS
ká
ATTRIB
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it is drizzly
pâh it is wet
wetness
The situation is comparable for adjectives and ideophonic adverbs (8.3). Although there
are many structural similarities between these two classes, there are differences in
syntactic distribution. As shown above and repeated in the following examples,
adjectives are found in the dependent position of a noun phrase or in an attributive
predicate.
dependent position:
bàh
míz-míz
rain:LF drizzly
attributive predicate: )à
3IMPERS
míz-míz
drizzly
drizzly rain
it is drizzly
Adverbs, on the other hand, modify a verb or an entire clause. They come after the verb
and can only be followed by a particle (10.1.1).
Qàá-rì
hárì
nà ?
finish:PERF-PERF quickly QM
has he/she/it finished quickly?
Following a nominal object, adjectives as well as adverbs may be found. If the postobject item in question is an adjective which describes the object, the object displays
linked noun morphology (5.2.2).
tìgín
nâ’
drop:PFV sauce:LF
lùrùg
sticky
he/she/it dropped the sticky sauce
However, if the item is an adverb, the object lacks this morphology since the adverb
modifies the verb or clause rather than the object.
tìgín
ná’rà
drop:PFV sauce
kpíh
IDEO
he/she/it dropped the sauce with a clunk
This morphology usually serves to identify the word class of the post-object word, even
when the word in question is an ideophone showing flexibility between adjectival and
adverbial class membership (8.5.6).
sèm
nà-pùgzí
té%é
avoid:PFV PFX-person:PL:LF all
he/she/it avoided all of the people
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sèm
nà-pùgzá
avoid:PFV PFX-person:PL
té%é
completely
he/she/it avoided the people completely
However, in cases where the object noun is of a structure whose linked form is identical
to its free (unmarked) form (5.2.2), the distinctiveness of the flexible ideophone as
adjective vs. adverb is neutralized.
sèm
sáà
avoid:PFV stone:LF
té%é
all
he/she/it avoided all of the stones / the whole stone
sèm
sáà
avoid:PFV stone
té%é
completely
he/she/it avoided the stone(s) completely
8.4.2 Adjective structure
In the following subsections, the structure of adjectives is outlined. First, the distinction
between adjective stem and morphologically complex adjective stem is examined in
reference to the structural repetition which is common among adjectives (8.4.2.1).
Adjectival structure is then presented in terms of allowable CV shapes (8.4.2.2) and tonal
melodies (8.4.2.3).
8.4.2.1 Structural repetition
Structural repetition is a pervasive feature of adjectives in Mambay, where it has been
observed only in adjectives with more than one syllable. It is evident in repetition of
segments (8.4.2.1.1) as well as partial and full reduplication (8.4.2.1.2). A review of
these phenomena shows that while co-occurrence patterns and partial reduplication must
be considered inherent to the adjectival root, full reduplication is the result of a
morphological template associated with the root (8.4.2.1.2), even when no derivation may
be identified. Consequently, in the discussion on adjective structure, monomorphemic
adjective stems will be considered separately from morphologically complex adjective
stems.
8.4.2.1.1 Repetition of segments
Repeated segments are found in almost every adjective with more than one syllable. In
the data, for example, vowels within an adjective are overwhelmingly identical.
óró
kpírfí
làràg
yérkété7
deep, far away
low
flat-nosed
round
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Formally, the limitation of adjectives to a single vowel place quality is slightly less strict
(since vowels in the adjective may still be unevenly subject to modifications such as
length and pharyngealization). However, it is found with extreme regularity.
fàhlàm
gáhlà7
gbòòrò
póh7gó7gó7
flat
faceted
bald, bare
narrow
There are only a handful of exceptions to this tendency, as shown by the following items:
gàmzù
gbùhrì
kwì’gà
kpé’fú
long-legged
snotty
bent-up
shallow
In addition to a consistent vowel place quality, coda consonants within an adjective are
usually identical. The overlapping of these two tendencies means that entire syllable
rhymes are, more often than not, repeated. This could alternatively be viewed as
variation of the onset with a constant rhyme.
dòldòl
gírgír
là7tà7
vbìgtìg
very hot
rigid
flexible and bouncy
unsuccessful
8.4.2.1.2 Reduplication of syllables
Additionally, the composition of three-syllable adjectives in particular reveals repetition
of entire syllables; this brings to mind reduplication of a greater scope than simple
repetition. In most examples of three-syllable adjectives, the final two syllables are
identical.
rùgùgù
vbàhtátá
wágágá
slow
strong and healthy
healthy, cool
(but cf. kpìmsìrì ‘thick, fat’)
And for typical two-syllable adjectives—including those for which a derivation (8.5) is
not identifiable—it appears that full reduplication has applied, resulting in adjective
stems composed of a single repeated syllable.
kpó’-kpó’
lòr-lòr
pyúú-pyúú
dry
shiny with baldness
pointed, sharp
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Several derivational processes (8.5) are available to provide evidence as to whether or not
such words are morphologically complex stems derived from a monosyllabic root. One
derivation in particular, that of ideophonic emphasis (8.5.2), is used here to explore this
question. The intensified forms of the two-syllable CVC.CVC and CVV.CVV adjectives
are as follows:
kpí-kpó’
lì-lòr
pí-pyúú
very dry
very shiny with baldness
very pointed, very sharp
In these forms, only one of the two syllables is used as a source for the derivation.
However, when three-syllable adjectives undergo the same derivation, all segmental
information is preserved:
slow
strong, healthy
healthy, cool
base form
emphatic form (‘very …’)
rùgùgù
vbàhtátá
wágágá
ríì-rúgúgú
vbíì-vbáhtátá
wíì-wágágá
Further specifications are needed to accurately delineate these patterns. First, the twosyllable adjective àà ‘shy,’ which is of an uncommon CV.CV shape, is exceptional in
that its emphatic form íì-áá does not pattern with the typical two-syllable adjectives
above, but with other adjectives, whose segmental information is copied in its entirety.
Second, the single attested four-syllable adjective kírí-kìrì ‘spherical’ does not have a
derived emphatic form; this makes the determination of its morphological composition
problematic. However, since adjectives and ideophonic adverbs undergo some of the
same derivational processes, it is possible to argue that the derivation of an ideophonic
adverb of the same shape (see 8.5.4.2 in particular) provides evidence for a
morphological complexity similar to that of typical two-syllable adjectives.
tégú-tègù
tégú tègù tégú
with head and chin sticking out
back and forth, with head and chin sticking out
In sum, the data presented here suggest that typical two-syllable adjective stems with
identical reduplicated syllables (CVC.CVC and CVV.CVV) are morphologically
complex. In contrast, other stems in which the last two syllables are identical appear to
be morphologically simple stems whose repetition is a function of their ideophonic
identity rather than a morphological process.
8.4.2.2 Allowable CV shapes
Based on the principles outlined in section (8.4.2.1.2) above, allowable shapes for
adjectives are divided into those that consist of morphologically simple stems (8.4.2.2.1),
and those that occur as morphologically complex stems (8.4.2.2.2).
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8.4.2.2.1 Morphologically simple stems
The following shapes have been attested among adjectives found as morphologically
simple stems:
stem shape
example
CVV
CVC
CCVV
CCVC
CVVC
CV.CV
CV.CVC
CCV.CVC
CVV.CV
CVC.CV
CVV.CVC
CVC.CVC
CV.CV.CV
CCV.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CVC
CVC.CVC.CVC
gáà
yôm
syáà
vyaFh7
fááwh
véé
gùlùg
swárá7
gbòòrò
kpùgrù
kpòhròm
lùrùg
dòròrò
gyòròrò
lèmtéré
yérkété7
póh7gó7gó7
simple, only
enough
female
distant, isolated
light (weight)
short
hollow
straight
bald, bare
medium-sized and thick (tuber)
blunt
shiny with baldness
pitiable, appalling
teary
flat
round
narrow
8.4.2.2.2 Morphologically complex stems
Adjectives consisting of morphologically complex stems are frequent, but only the
following shapes have been attested: C(C)VV+C(C)VV, C(C)VC+C(C)VC and
CV.CV+CV.CV.
stem shape
example
C(C)VV+C(C)VV
kpó’-kpó’
pyúú-pyúú
dry
pointed, sharp
C(C)VC+C(C)VC
íl-íl
ryá7-ryá7
filthy
long, straight and thin
CV.CV+CV.CV
gòrò-gòrò
kírí-kìrì
loose
spherical
Morphologically complex adjectives which share the same shapes, but which are derived
from monosyllabic ideophonic adverbs, are discussed in (8.5.4.2.2, 8.5.5).
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8.4.2.3 Allowable tone melodies
Adjectives are found with four different tone melodies: H, L, HL and LH. In the lists
below, adjectives associated with each tone melody are given along with each attested
stem shape. First, morphologically simple stems are described (8.4.2.3.1); this is
followed by a discussion of tone associated with morphologically complex adjective
stems (8.4.2.3.2).
8.4.2.3.1 Morphologically simple stems
H-toned morphologically simple stems include the following:
CVV
CVC
CV.CV
CV.CVC
CCV.CVC
CVC.CV
CVV.CVC
CVC.CVC
CV.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CVC
CVC.CVC.CVC
gbí’
pít
óró
%élé7
swárá7
vbérgé
béhlég
úndún
gúrúrú
yérkété7
póh7gó7gó7
unconscious
adulterous, promiscuous
deep, very far away
intelligent
straight
runt-like
small
dwarf, withered
deep
round
narrow
L-toned morphologically simple stems include the following:
CVV
CVC
CCVV
CV.CVC
CVV.CV
CVC.CV
CVV.CVC
CVC.CVC
CV.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CV
CVC.CV.CVC
bàà
kpà7
rwà’
gùlùg
gbòòrò
kpùgrù
)ìhrìz
lùrùg
dòròrò
lèmtèrè
kù7kùrù7
hard
different
abundant, cheap
hollow
bald, bare
medium-sized and thick (tuber)
right beside
sticky
pitiable, appalling
flat
hunched
HL is found on the following morphologically simple stems:
CVV
CVC
CVVC
CVV.CVC
simple, only
short
light (weight)
facet-eyed
gáà
gbîm
fááwh
gáhlà7
397
LH is found on the following morphologically simple stems:
CVV
CVC
CCVC
CV.CV
CVV.CV.CV
ugly
salty
distant, isolated
fast
strong and healthy
boF’
kpaF7
vyaFh7
NmàQá
vbàhtátá
Tonal associations on these morphologically simple adjective stems are for the most part
the same as those found with words from other classes having the same stem shape (see
4.1.2.5). However, on the single three-syllable LH stem in the data (vbàhtátá ‘strong
and healthy’), the tone does not map as L.L.H (as would other words of the same shape;
see 4.1.2.2) but rather as L.H.H. This could be viewed as a violation of standard (i.e.
noun-like) tonal mapping patterns, nonetheless available to ideophones; alternatively (and
in contradiction to the evidence presented in 8.4.2.1.2 above) this tonal mapping could be
regarded as the product of a tonal reduplication that accompanies a partial segmental
reduplication found in this word.
8.4.2.3.2 Morphologically complex stems
All four tonal melodies found on simple adjective stems (H, L, HL and LH) are also
attested with morphologically complex stems:
H tone:
CVV+CVV
CVC+CVC
CCVV+CCVV
CCVC+CCVC
kpó’-kpó’
gír-gír
pyúú-pyúú
ryá7-ryá7
dry
rigid
pointed, sharp
long, straight and thin
L tone:
CVV+CVV
CVC+CVC
CV.CV+CV.CV
gàà-gàà
%àg-%àg
gòrò-gòrò
equal
flat
loose
HL tone: CVV+CVV
CV.CV+CV.CV
póó-pòò
kírí-kìrì
wailing
spherical
LH tone: CVC+CVC
kaFy-kaFy
restless
H and L melodies associate straightforwardly. For complex adjectives with HL tone,
there is a single contour; each of the two reduplicated parts bears its own tonal unit (H on
the first and L on the second). In contrast, for complex adjectives with LH tone, each of
the two reduplicated parts bears a LH melody.
8.5 Ideophonic derivation
Although productive ideophonic derivation is uncommon (cf. Welmers 1973:461–2), a
number of derivational possibilities are available to ideophones in Mambay. Classpreserving derivations include a plural derivation (8.5.1) as well as two emphatic
398
derivations (8.5.2, 8.5.3). In addition, two types of repetitive derivation exist which may
be either class-changing or class-preserving, since they transform both ideophonic
adverbs and adjectives into repetitive adverbs (8.5.4). Of those derivational strategies
which are strictly class-changing, that of adverb-to-adjective derivation (8.5.5) is the
most important. Zero derivation of ideophones, which is appropriately viewed as flexible
class membership, is discussed in 8.5.6. Unproductive derivation of nouns and verbs
from ideophones is described elsewhere (5.11.3, 7.1.2.1, 7.1.2.2).
While the structural application of most of the derivational processes is straightforward,
there are many irregularities in the inventory of morphemes to which these processes
apply. It is likely that semantic and phonological restrictions can be invoked as a partial
cause of this patchy application. However, numerous instances are found in which the
reasons for restrictions appear arbitrary. To cite a single example, the ideophonic adverb
hárì ‘quickly’ can be intensified as hí-hárì using an emphatic derivation (8.5.2), but the
nearly identical morpheme wárì ‘quickly’ has no such emphatic form. In short, the
sections which follow describe recurrent structures associated with ideophonic derivation,
but it is acknowledged that these derivational processes are applied erratically to the
lexicon of ideophones.
8.5.1 Plural template
Although plurality is sometimes marked by inflection—cross-linguistically (Corbett
2000:138ff., Newman 1990:15–6, 53) as well as in Mambay (7.3.1.1)—ideophonic
modifiers in Mambay are subject to plural derivation. The plural derivation template may
be applied to ideophonic adverbs and adjectives, and words of the same class result.
This derivation is plural in a general sense. For ideophonic adverbs, it signals an explicit
plurality of actors, actions and/or parts of an action (this could be termed “pluractional”;
see Newman 1990:53ff.). For adjectives, it indicates explicit plurality of items and/or of
features pertaining to a single item. The following examples, given with precise glosses,
illustrate these possibilities:
source ideophone
plural ideophone with potential meanings
sèè ‘quietly, slowly’ síì-séé ‘quietly (many actors)’
or ‘quietly (many actions)’
or ‘quietly (many parts of an action)’
vò7 ‘open’
víì-vó7 ‘open (many items)’
or ‘perforated with many holes’
The morphological template for plural derivation copies the initial consonant of the
source morpheme, appends the vowel ii, and prefixes this information to the source
morpheme. Regardless of the tone melody of the source morpheme, a HL tone melody is
applied to the prefix, and the source morpheme to which the prefix is appended receives a
H tone. This derivational process may be formulated as follows:
399
source morpheme
derived ideophone
C1VX…
C1íì`+C1VX…
The process is illustrated below with both adjectives and adverbs, and simple stems are
treated separately from complex stems.
8.5.1.1 Ideophonic adverbs
Ideophonic adverbs, including simple stems and complex stems, are derived with this
template.
Simple stems:
quietly, slowly
quietly, slowly
with heavy eyes
rife with
source ideophone
plural ideophone
sèè
sàNm
kàNwrì
tùglùg
síì-séé
síì-sáNm
kíì-káNwrí
tíì-túglúg
Complex stems:
in many clumps
sà’-sà’
rapidly
pá%-pá%
with head and chin
sticking out
tégú-tègù
síì-sá’
píì-pá%
tíì-tégú
8.5.1.2 Adjectives
Adjectives are derived in exactly the same way.
Simple stems:
intense (red)
open
light, agile
runt-like
small
thick
slow
source ideophone
plural ideophone
kéè
vò7
fáyá7
vbérgé
béhlég
kpìgzìm
rùgùgù
kíì-kéé
víì-vó7
fíì-fáyá7
vbíì-vbérgé
bíì-béhlég
kpíì-kpígzím
ríì-rúgúgú
gàà-gàà
ìl-ìl
gíì-gáá
íì-íl
Complex stems:
equal
filthy
400
8.5.2 Emphatic template
As with plural derivation, emphatic derivation may be applied to ideophonic adverbs
adjectives, and words of the same class likewise result. Mambay speakers are unclear
concerning the exact purpose of this process, but have suggested that it gives additional
emphasis to an ideophone (cf. 8.2).
The morphological template for emphatic derivation copies the initial consonant and the
first tonal value of the source morpheme, appends the vowel i as a host for this tone, and
prefixes this information to the source morpheme:
Source morpheme
Derived ideophone
C1V(α tone)X… C1i(α tone)+C1V(α tone)X…
This process is illustrated below with both ideophonic adverbs (8.5.2.1) and adjectives
(8.5.2.2), and simple stems are treated separately from complex stems.
8.5.2.1 Ideophonic adverbs
Ideophonic adverbs, including simple stems and complex stems, are derived with this
template.
Simple stems:
quietly, slowly
all
quickly
all
rife with
source ideophone
emphatic ideophone
sèè
fét
hárì
pá%ág
tùglùg
sì-sèè
fí-fét
hí-hárì
pí-pá%ág
tì-tùglùg
sà’-sà’
pá%-pá%
sì-sà’
pí-pá%
Complex stems:
in many clumps
rapidly
8.5.2.2 Adjectives
Adjectives are derived in exactly the same way.
Simple stems:
open
light (weight)
light, agile
like a runt
small
source ideophone
emphatic ideophone
vò7
fááwh
fáyá7
vbérgé
béhlég
vì-vò7
fí-fááwh
fí-fáyá7
vbí-vbérgé
bí-béhlég
401
thick
slow
kpìgzìm
rùgùgù
kpì-kpìgzìm
rì-rùgùgù
Complex stems:
in constant motion kpà’-kpà’
very tight
íl-íl
kpì-kpà’
í-íl
8.5.3 Emphasis by means of segmental lengthening
An additional class-preserving derivation is commonly used to provide emphasis, but it is
gradient rather than exact and its template is applied to segments rather than morphemes.
In this second emphatic derivation strategy, specific segments in ideophones are
lengthened as a means of emphasizing discourse items (cf. 8.2) as well as a way of more
precisely communicating perceived features of a real-world phenomenon; the amount of
lengthening applied to a given ideophone is relative and reflects qualitative features of
the corresponding phenomena. The following are examples of ideophones which
Mambay speakers have spontaneously lengthened:
ideophone
lengthened form
hoFh
sèè
vbîr
hòòòòòóóh
sèèèèèèèè
vbírprqrqrqrqrqrqrqrq
leaking (very) profusely
(very) quietly, slowy
with a (great) whirr
8.5.4 Repetitive templates
While plural and emphatic ideophone derivations (8.5.1–8.5.3) are class-preserving, the
repetitive derivation of ideophones turns both ideophonic adverbs and adjectives into
ideophonic adverbs which signal an intensified and/or repeated action.
Two major patterns of repetitive derivation are treated below: invariable repetition
(8.5.4.1) and repetition with tonal alternation (8.5.4.2). The choice between these two
patterns tends to be influenced by the morphological shape of source ideophones:
ideophone roots comprised of a single syllable (which may or may not be reduplicated in
their stems) tend to be repeated three times, whereas those which are composed of two or
more syllables are usually repeated only twice.
The data also contain a few examples of numerals which are derived into ideophonic
adverbs by means of invariable repetition (8.5.4.1.2).
8.5.4.1 Invariable repetition
The morphological template for invariable repetition is a simple copy of an ideophone
stem, whether it is morphologically simple or complex. It is almost always doubled, but
two examples exist in which a morpheme is repeated three or more times. Invariable
repetition operates as follows:
402
source morpheme
derived ideophone
C1V1X1…
C1V1X1…+C1V1X1… (+C1V1X1…)
An example derivation is:
sèè ‘quietly, slowly’ sèè sèè
‘very quietly, slowly and repeatedly’
or: sèè sèè sèè ‘very quietly, slowly and repeatedly, on and on’
or: (etc.)
Although the morphological template for invariable repetition is structurally comparable
to the template that derives two-syllable adjectives from monosyllabic ideophonic
adverbs (8.5.5), including the way in which tones are mapped, it differs in that its input
may be adjectival or adverbial (not uniquely adverbial), and its output is always adverbial
(rather than adjectival).
The derivational process of invariable repetition is illustrated here with ideophonic
adverbs (8.5.4.1.1), adjectives (8.5.4.1.2) and numerals (8.5.4.1.2).
8.5.4.1.1 Ideophonic adverbs
Examples of invariable repetition applied to ideophonic adverbs are as follows:
bî’
bî’ bî’
a bit
a little bit
sà’
sà’ sà’
a bit
a little bit
gbàh7
gbàh7 gbàh7
always, forever, a lot
always, for ever and ever, a whole lot
fíít
fíít fíít
wiping with fingers
wiping repeatedly with fingers
hárì
hárì hárì
quickly
very quickly
Qáàgú
Qáàgú Qáàgú
quickly
early, very quickly
pá%ág
pá%ág pá%ág
completely
absolutely completely
kàNwrì
kàNwrì kàNwrì
with heavy eyes
with very heavy eyes
403
gbà7tà7
gbà7tà7 gbà7tà7
spreading out
spreading out everywhere
8.5.4.1.2 Adjectives
Examples of invariable repetition applied to adjectives are as follows:
àà
àà àà
timid
very timidly
tùN7gà
tùN7gà tùN7gà
jelly-like, fully of liquid
moving around like jelly
béhlég
béhlég béhlég
small
very little
ìl-ìl
ìl-ìl ìl-ìl
filthy
very filthily
là7tà7
là7tà7 là7tà7
flexible and bouncy
very flexibly and bouncily
rùgùgù
rùgùgù rùgùgù
slow
very slowly
vbàhtátá
vbàhtátá vbàhtátá
strong and healthy
very strongly and solidly
8.5.4.1.3 Numerals
The data contain a few examples of numerals which are derived by invariable repetition
into an ideophonic adverb with distributive meaning (cf. 9.1.1.2):
bóm
bóm bóm
one
one by one, here and there
zó%ôm
zó%ôm zó%ôm
ten (numeral or adverb)
ten by ten
8.5.4.1.4 Multiple application of invariable repetition
For the following ideophones, invariable repetition may applied more than once:
sèè
sèè sèè sèè
quietly, slowly
very quietly, slowly and repeatedly, on and on
404
tùglùg
in large quantity
tùglùg tùglùg tùglùg in enormous quantity
8.5.4.2 Repetition with tonal alternation
An additional template exhibits repetition with tonal alternation. This template first
doubles the segmental information of the root morpheme. Regardless of the tone of the
source morpheme, the first morpheme of the derived ideophone is H, and the second is L.
This resulting stem may itself be copied—seemingly without limit—when textual
emphasis warrants it. Automatic downstep, which applies almost everywhere else in the
language (4.3.2), is suspended within this environment (cf. 4.3.2.4). The template then
adds a single root morpheme to the end bearing a H tone (which is, like almost all other
H tones in the language following a L tone, automatically downstepped). The entire
derivational process may be symbolized as follows:
source morpheme
derived ideophone
C1V1X1…
(C1V1X1+ C1V1X1) ⁿ1 + C1V1X1
Example derivation:
kaFy ‘restlessly’ káy kày [] káy
or: káy kày [no ] káy kày [] káy
‘restlessly and repeatedly’
‘restlessly and repeatedly,
on and on’
or: (etc.)
This process is illustrated below with both ideophonic adverbs (8.5.4.2.1) and adjectives
(8.5.4.2.2).
8.5.4.2.1 Ideophonic adverbs
Examples of repetition with tonal alternation applied to ideophonic adverbs are as
follows:
zàhw-zàhw
záhw zàhw záhw
hastily
hastily and repeatedly
pá%-pá%
pá% pà% pá%
rapidly
rapidly and repeatedly
tégú-tègù
tégú tègù tégú
with head and chin sticking out
back and forth, with head and chin sticking out
The ideophonic adverb vbúm vbùm vbúm, which describes the inherently repetitive
sound made by a waterfall, is realized with repetition with tonal alternation even though
it has no independent base stem.
405
8.5.4.2.2 Adjectives
Examples of repetition with tonal alternation applied to adjectives are as follows:
gàà-gàà
gáá gàà gáá
equal
equally and repeatedly
gír-gír
gír gìr gír
rigid
rigidly and repeatedly
kpà’-kpà’
kpá’ kpà’ kpá’
in constant motion
in constant motion and repeatedly
ryá7-ryá7
ryá7 ryà7 ryá7
long, straight and thin
in a craning-out manner and repeatedly
vbérgé
vbérgé vbèrgè vbérgé
runt-like
lolling about like a runt or rag doll
vbàN7gà
like a reptile
vbáN7gá vbàN7gà vbáN7gá moving like a reptile
8.5.5 Adjectival template
A moderately productive class-changing derivation changes monosyllabic ideophonic
adverbs into adjectives.
The morphological template for adjective derivation reduplicates a monosyllabic
ideophonic adverb. The inventory and realization of tonal melodies on derived adjectives
is a subset of those associated with adjectives of the same shape (8.4.2.3.2). Examples of
adjectival derivation are as follows:
gHFr
rigidly
rigid
gír-gír
(note irregular adverb/adjective tonal correspondence)
kaFy
kaFy-kaFy
restlessly
restless
kpà7
kpà7-kpà7
differently
different
tém
tém-tém
differently
different
406
A set of examples which illustrates this contrastive usage is as follows:
)à
3SG:IMPFV
té’là
tém
walk: VN differently
he/she/it walks differently /
he/she/it is walking differently
)à
3IMPERS
tém-tém
different
it is different
different things
)ígzì
tém-tém
thing:PL:LF different
8.5.6 Flexible class membership
The description of ideophones in previous sections has focussed on examples whose
syntactic behaviour and morphological classification is unambiguous; however, as many
ideophones are used in more than one syntactic context, a description of class
membership possibilities is essential.
Specifically, a minority of ideophones may be used variously as adjectives, ideophonic
adverbs and—to a lesser degree—ideophonic nouns, and are structurally identical
regardless of usage. This could be viewed as pervasive zero-derivation; however,
because of overlap in possible base structures, the direction of such a derivational
phenomenon is in many cases indeterminate. More appropriate is a recognition of
flexible class membership possibilities available to ideophones.
The following are representative examples of ideophones found in more than one word
class:
ideophone
adverbial usage
adjectival usage
nominal usage
dòhlòm
Nnám
fyág
kéhy-kéhy
kpó’-kpó’
lôNw
ràh
té%é
Nwíh-Nwíh
—
well
abundantly
restlessly
—
a lot, very
—
completely
achily and restlessly
round and thick
good
abundant
restless
dry
much, many
sad
all
achy and restless
round, thick object
—
—
restlessness
dryness
—
sadness
—
—
(In addition the structural and derivational tendencies outlined in previous sections,
ideophonic adverbs have been distinguished from adjectives based on their dependence
on the presence of a verb (rather than a neighbouring noun) and their relegation to postverbal position. Adjectives have been distinguished from nouns based on the syntactic
criteria outlined in 8.4.1.)
407
Patterns of flexible class membership deserve further investigation. A cursory
observation on flexibly used ideophones in the data (which is, incidentally, borne out in
the examples immediately above) reveals that while some ideophones used as adjectives
share distribution with adverbs or nouns, nouns and adverbs never share distribution
unless an adjective is also implicated. This supports the idea that in Mambay, adjectives
are situated on a morphological continuum between ideophonic adverbs and ideophonic
nouns.
In some cases, derived ideophones also show flexible word class membership. The most
complete example of derivational potential is that of word kàhm ‘rapidly, with agility.’
In each of three separate derivations, this morpheme exhibits distributional potential as
adjective, ideophonic adverb, and noun. All of the following forms and usages are
possible:
derivational
strategy
derived
ideophone
adjectival
usage
adverbial usage
plural
(8.5.1)
kíì-káhm
rapid,
agile (pl.)
rapidly, with
agility (pl.)
emphatic
(8.5.2)
kì-kàhm
very rapid, very rapidly, with
very agile great agility
adjectival
(8.5.5)
kàhm-kàhm rapid,
agile
rapidly, with
agility
408
nominal usage
rapidity, agility (inherent
plurality of action)
much rapidity, much
agility
rapidity, agility
9
MINOR WORD CLASSES
9
MINOR WORD CLASSES
In the present chapter, three minor word classes are introduced: numerals (9.1), specifiers
(9.2), and prepositions (9.3).
Structurally, these three word classes resemble the major word classes of nouns (Chapter
5) and verbs (Chapter 7) as well as adverbs and adjectives (Chapter 8) in that their
members are typically comprised of at least one heavy syllable or two light syllables (cf.
2.4.3); this sets them apart from particles, which are uniformly comprised of a single light
syllable (2.4.3, 10.1.2). However, they diverge in that whereas nouns, verbs, adverbs and
adjectives are lexically open classes, numerals, specifiers and prepositions are
represented by closed lexical sets.
9.1 Numerals
In Mambay, as in other languages, numerals are words used for counting. Numerals
often modify nouns, whether as a dependent element in a noun phrase or as a predicate of
a verbless clause (9.1.1.1). Occasionally, they appear to function adverbially (9.1.1.2); in
addition, they can fulfill mathematical operations even when there is no syntactic head in
view (9.1.1.3). Basic numerals (9.1.2.1), which are used for values from one to ten, are
as follows:
one
two
three
four
five
six
seven
eight (short form)
(long form)
nine (short form)
(long form)
ten (short form)
(long form)
bóm
àtì
bì-sáh
bì-nàh
bì-zápé’
bì-gírò
tàrnágà
fwàrnágà (Chadian dialect: fwàrnâh)
wàr séhná fà-gbàh7 àtì
sêh-bóm (dialects north of the Mayo Kebbi: sê’-bóm)
wàr séhná fà-gbàh7 bóm
zó%ôm
séhná kíríb
Differences in the usage and structure of long vs. short forms are discussed in 9.1.1.3 and
9.1.2.1.2.
409
In the following sections, various aspects of numerals are described. First, the syntactic
distribution of numerals is defined (9.1.1). Following this, numeral categories ranging
from basic numerals to those with higher values are examined (9.1.2.1–9.1.2.4). Three
additional elements in a description of numerals in Mambay include proportions
(9.1.2.5), ordinal nouns (9.1.3), and other nouns with numerical value (9.1.4).
9.1.1 Syntactic distribution of numerals
Numerals often modify nouns, whether as a dependent element in a noun phrase or as a
predicate of a verbless clause (9.1.1.1). There are also cases in the data where they
appear to function adverbially (9.1.1.2). Finally, they are used for mathematical
operations even when there is no syntactic head in view (9.1.1.3).
9.1.1.1 As noun modifiers
Numerals are most commonly found as a dependent element in a noun phrase. Here, they
distinguish themselves syntactically from other noun modifiers in that they prototypically
follow the unmarked free form of a noun rather than its linked form (5.2.2). In this way,
a noun + numeral phrase resembles nouns in apposition (5.2.1) rather than a simple noun
phrase (5.14).
kágà
àtì
chicken two
two chickens
nààrá
cloud
seven clouds
tàrnágà
seven
cf. nouns in apposition:
the chicken [called] Asyangmiya
kágà
)à-syá7-mí-yá
chicken Asyangmiya
cf. noun phrases composed of noun + noun / adjective / specifier:
kâg
ígà
chicken:LF child
child’s chicken
kâg
ìltì7
chicken:LF dirty
dirty chicken
kâg
náá
chicken:LF this
this chicken
In addition to their distribution in typical count constructions, numerals may be used in
definite count constructions. These are composed of the linked (5.2.2) form of a head
noun followed by a numeral.
410
the three years
sìì
bì-sáh
year:LF NUM-three
sìì
bì-sáh
year:LF NUM-three
)ì-náá
HEAD-here
pá
do:PFV
kô’
there
%ùg-rú
ruin:PFV-3SG.OBJ
the three years that happened there ruined him/her/it
cf. parallel typical count constructions
three years
sììrá
year
NUM-three
bì-sáh
pá
do:PFV
kô’
there
sììrá
year
bì-sáh
NUM-three
three years happened there
Usually, as in the above examples, plurality is not marked explicitly on a noun which is
modified by a numeral. However, it may be marked. This occurs more commonly with
human nouns (5.5.1.3).
nà-pùgzá
PFX-person:PL
two people
àtì
two
For non-human nouns in particular, the pluralization of a counted noun puts its plural
nature into focus (5.5.1.3).
two wooden clubs
òlzá
àtì
wooden.club:PL two
In addition to their use as noun modifiers in a noun phrase, numerals may appear as the
predicate of a verbless clause (9.1.1.1). Thus, when the noun + numeral constructions
given above stand alone, they constitute a clause:
kágà
àtì
chicken two
there are two chickens (lit. ‘the chickens are
two’)
nààrá
cloud
there are seven clouds (lit. ‘the clouds are
seven’)
tàrnágà
seven
9.1.1.2 Adverbial function
Although numerals are most commonly used to modify nouns (9.1.1.1), there are a few
cases in the data where they appear to be used adverbially:
411
hûm-ré
bì-sáh
come:PERF-3SG.REFL NUM-three
the three of them have come (Fr. ils sont venus à trois)
sígò
hìí
%ùù byàá nîn
crocodile 3:NONPERF.NEG hit:VN water in.presence:LF
bàháà àt yá
ibis.sp. two NEG
a crocodile doesn’t strike the water twice in the presence of an ibis
Regarding the second example, note that the usual way of saying “twice” (or any other
multiplicative) is expressed as follows (cf. 7.6.1.2):
fàà
)éré
back:LF 3PL.C/I.POSS
twice
àtì
two
9.1.1.3 Absolute (mathematical) function
In addition to their other functions, numbers may also be used in an absolute way. In
contexts which use mathematical operations—for example, school, counting games and
the calculation of money—numbers relate to one another rather than to a syntactic head.
In cases where both short and long forms are found (cf. 9.1), short forms rather than long
forms are used for mathematical operations.
eight (short form)
(long form)
nine (short form)
(long form)
ten (short form)
(long form)
fwàrnágà (Chadian dialect: fwàrnâh)
wàr séhná fà-gbàh7 àtì
sêh-bóm (dialects north of the Mayo Kebbi: sê’-bóm)
wàr séhná fà-gbàh7 bóm
zó%ôm
séhná kíríb
Note that there appears to be a shift away from the use of the long forms by younger
speakers of the language, even for modifying nouns. For the numerals ‘eight’ and ‘nine,’
this shift is partial. However, for the numeral ‘ten,’ the shift is complete: the long form is
known only to older speakers of the language.
9.1.2 Numeral categories
The Mambay numeral system is decimal, i.e., numeric place holding is based on the
number 10. While most basic numerals are underived (9.1.2.1.1), words used for higher
numerals are derived from other parts of speech or borrowed from other languages
(9.1.2.1.2–9.1.2.4).
9.1.2.1 Basic numerals: 1 to 10
Most of the basic numerals are underived (9.1.2.1.1). The remaining items have been
historically derived from other constructions (9.1.2.1.2).
412
9.1.2.1.1 Underived basic numerals
The numerals from one to seven and the short forms of the numerals ‘eight’ and ‘ten’ are
underived.
one
two
three
four
five
six
seven
eight (short form)
ten (short form)
bóm
àtì
bì-sáh
bì-nàh
bì-zápé’
bì-gírò
tàrnágà
fwàrnágà (Chadian dialect: fwàrnâh)
zó%ôm
These items differ from other numerals in that they are not identifiably derived (cf.
9.1.2.1.2 and 9.1.2.2) or borrowed (9.1.2.4). They are structurally comparable to nouns,
exhibiting a subset of the CV shapes (5.1.1.1) and tone melodies (5.1.1.2) found with
them.
Although they are not derived from other word classes, some of these numerals exhibit
morphological complexity as a result of obligatory co-occurrence with the prefix bì-.
three
four
five
six
bì-sáh
bì-nàh
bì-zápé’
bì-gírò
A comparison with cognates in other Kebi-Benue languages and neighbouring Chadic
languages (Boyd 1989b:172) shows that this prefix is unique to Mambay. The possibility
that bì- has originated as a numeral classifier is supported by its use elsewhere in the
language as part of the interrogative count pronoun bì-)án ‘how much? / how many?’
(6.2).
bì-)án
NUM-how?
Three of the underived numerals (àtì ‘two,’ tàrnágà ‘seven’ and fwàrnágà ‘eight’)
exhibit contracted forms reminiscent of nouns subjected to a linked noun template
(5.2.2). However, in contrast to the linked noun template, contraction of these numerals
has no grammatical significance. Rather, it is a predictable phenomenon which applies in
non phrase-final position. In each case, the final vowel is dropped and the tone melody
remains stable. Example alternations are as follows:
these two chickens
kágà
àt náá
chicken two this
413
cf. kágà
àtì
chicken two
bì-gírò,
six
tàrnâg,
seven
cf. bì-gírò,
six
tàrnágà
seven
káálà
head/ten
cf. káálà
head/ten
two chickens
six, seven, eight (counting; cf. 9.1.1.3)
fwàrnágà
eight
fwàrnâg sóm
eight
plus
six, seven (counting)
eighty-one
bóm
one
eighty
fwàrnágà
eight
9.1.2.1.2 Derived basic numerals
Of the numerals from one to ten, the short form of ‘nine’ and the long forms of ‘eight,’
‘nine’ and ‘ten’ have been derived. Of these, three of the numbers are derived from
clauses, and one from a noun phrase (in another dialect, it is derived from a prepositional
phrase).
The meanings of component morphemes are semantically transparent, referring to hand
motions used in counting. Dialect differences in the short forms of ‘nine’ stem from use
of contrasting senses of the word syâh (linked form: sêh; see 5.2.2.2.2): ‘hand’ / ‘finger.’
These derived numerals are as follows:
eight (long form), derived from a clause:
wàr
séhná
fà-gbàh7
leave:PFV hand/finger:1&2SG.POSS.INAL PFX-outside
àtì
two
lit. he/she/it left our fingers outside [the hand] twice / there remain our fingers
outside [the hand] twice
nine (short form, dialects south of the Mayo Kebbi), derived from a noun phrase:
sêh-bóm
hand/finger:LF-one
lit. the one finger [outside the hand]
nine (short form, dialects north of the Mayo Kebbi), derived from a prepositional
phrase:
414
sê’-bóm
except-one
lit. [all the fingers inside our hand] except one
nine (long form), derived from a clause:
wàr
séhná
fà-gbàh7
leave:PFV hand/finger:1&2SG.POSS.INAL PFX-outside
bóm
one
lit. he/she/it left our fingers outside [the hand] once / there remain our fingers
outside [the hand] once
ten (long form), derived from a verbless clause (10.1.3):
séhná
kíríb
hand/finger:1&2SG.POSS.INAL pressed.together.at.the.tips
lit. our fingers/hands are pressed together at the tips
9.1.2.2 Composite numerals from 11 to 19
Numerals from eleven to nineteen are all composite and are formed regularly by joining
zó%ôm ‘ten (short form)’ and a numeral from one to nine with the numeral connector
sóm ‘plus.’
zó%ôm sóm bóm
ten
plus one
eleven
zó%ôm sóm àtì
ten
plus two
twelve
zó%ôm sóm bì-sáh
ten
plus NUM-three
thirteen
zó%ôm sóm wàr
séhná
fà-gbàh7 bóm
ten
plus leave:PFV hand/finger:1&2SG.POSS.INAL PFX-outside one
nineteen
The numeral connector sóm ‘plus’ may also be used with the preposition má ‘with, and’
(9.3) after a numeral to communicate the idea of ‘a few more.’
zó%ôm má sóm
ten
with plus
ten and a few more
gàmbù
má sóm
bag/thousand with plus
a thousand and a few more
415
9.1.2.3 Multiples of ten
Multiples of ten from twenty to ninety are formed regularly by the addition of a multiple
from two to nine to the noun káálà ‘head,’ which as a numeral carries the extended
meaning ‘ten.’
káálà
head/ten
àtì
two
twenty
káálà
head/ten
bì-sáh
NUM-three
thirty
káálà
head/ten
bì-nàh
NUM-four
forty
káálà
head/ten
wàr
séhná
fà-gbàh7 bóm
leave:PFV hand/finger:1&2SG.POSS.INAL PFX-outside one
ninety
When a basic numeral is added to a multiple of ten from twenty to ninety, it is joined to
the numeral with the preposition má ‘with, and.’
káálà
head/ten
fifty-six
bì-zápé’ má bìgírò
NUM-five with six
That káálà ‘head, ten’ is acting as a numeral rather than a noun in count constructions is
demonstrated by the non-application of linked noun morphology (cf. 5.2.2.2) which
would be present with the head noun if káálà were functioning as a noun (see discussion
at beginning of 9.1).
kágà
chicken
káálà
head/ten
cf. kâg
káálà
chicken:LF head/ten
twenty chickens
àtì
two
two-headed chicken /
hundred-franc chicken (see 9.1.4)
àtì
two
káálà ‘head, ten’ may be used with the preposition má ‘with, and’ (9.3) after a numeral
to communicate the idea of ‘a few more tens.’
gàmbù
má
bag/thousand with
a thousand, and a few more tens
káálà
head/ten
Along with káálà bàtì, two other terms for the numeral twenty have been attested among
older Mambay speakers. Unlike káálà, they are not used as a base for numerals higher
than twenty. The terms are:
416
zó%ôm sóm zó%ôm
ten
plus ten
séhná
kíríb Nmàhná
kíríb
hand/finger:1&2SG.POSS.INAL IDEO foot: 1&2SG.POSS.INAL IDEO
(cf. kíríb ‘pressed together at the tips’)
9.1.2.4 Higher numeral values
Words indicating the higher numeral values ‘hundred,’ ‘thousand,’ and ‘million’ have
been borrowed from other languages. These numerals are as follows:
tèèméérè
)ùzìnéérè
gàmbù
mìlyô7
hundred (cf. Fulf. teemerre ~ te’merre )
thousand (cf. Fulf. ujineere)
thousand (calque from Fulf.; see below)
million (cf. Fr. million)
)ùzìnéérè is the more common term for the numeral ‘thousand.’ gàmbù, which is used
primarily but not exclusively for counting money, means both ‘bag’ and ‘thousand.’
While gàmbù does not constitute a lexical borrowing, it is likely a calque from Fulfulde,
which has extended the term booro ‘bag’ to denote ‘one thousand francs’ (Eguchi
1971:164–5, cf. Elders 2000:151).
As is the case with káálà ‘head, ten,’ these higher values act as numerals rather than
nouns in count constructions (Welmers 1973:289). This is demonstrated by the nonapplication of linked noun morphology (cf. 5.2.2) which would be present on the head
noun if the numerals were nouns.
a hundred chickens
kágà
tèèméérè
chicken hundred
When a multiple of ten, one hundred, or one thousand is added to a higher numeral, it is
joined to that numeral with the preposition má ‘with, and.’
gàmbù má tèèméérè wàr
séhná
thousand with hundred leave:PFV hand/finger:1&2SG.POSS.INAL
fà-gbàh7 bóm
PFX-outside one
má káálà wàr
séhná
with head/ten leave:PFV hand/finger:1&2SG.POSS.INAL
fà-gbàh7 àt sóm
PFX-outside two with
bì-nàh
NUM-four
nineteen eighty-four
417
If George Orwell’s novel 1984 were translated into Mambay, it would be advantageous to
write the title using digits rather than orthographic words.
Exactness in counting with a higher numeral is achieved when a lower numeral modifies
it.
gàmbù bóm
thousand one
one thousand
gàmbù má bóm
thousand with one
one thousand and one
cf. gàmbù
thousand
a thousand
9.1.2.5 Proportions
In Mambay, fractions are used to express approximate numeric proportions, and
comparison of whole numerals expresses exact proportions.
The following fractions expressing approximate proportions of nouns have been attested:
dágà
bóm
mouth/edge one
a bit, a part
fìn
bóm
toward one
a side, a half
vbá’là bóm
chunk one
a part, a section
These fractions accompany whole numerals, to which they are joined using the
preposition má ‘with, and.’
tàrnágà
seven
seven and a half
má fìn
bóm
with toward one
The borrowed fraction réétà (cf. Fulfulde reeta) is sometimes used to express the idea of
‘half’ more exactly. Eguchi (1971:165) also gives the term réétì réétà (lit’ ‘half of
half’) for the concept of ‘one quarter’; however, this term has not been accepted by
Mambay speakers in the context of the present research.
Two adverbs are also used to express fractional proportion:
gáb
yâN7
halfway (measured vertically)
halfway (measured horizontally)
418
ex. mì tè’
yâN7
1SG walk-PFV halfway.horizontally
I walked halfway
Exact proportions are expressed using whole numerals; comparison is made using the
terms sáà ‘inside’ or sígzò ‘middle’ (linked form: sígzì; cf. 5.2.2)
káálà
head/ten
bì-sáh
NUM-three
bì-gírò
NUM-six
sáà
tèèméérè
inside hundred
sígzí
middle:LF
ex. nà-kààrá bì-sáh
PFX-disciple NUM-three
sixty in one hundred / sixty per cent
three of five
bì-zápé’
five
sáà
zó%ôm sóm àtì
inside ten
plus two
three of the twelve disciples
9.1.3 Ordinal nouns
Ordinal nouns are, prototypically, nominalized numerals (9.1.2) which express the place
of a noun within a series. In Mambay, most ordinal nouns are formed by adding the
ordinal suffix -rì to a numeral. Ordinal nouns range from ‘first’ to ‘tenth’ and also
include the word ‘last.’ They are given here, alongside the numerals to which they
correspond (when relevant):
digit
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
—
numeral
ordinal noun
gloss of ordinal noun
(bóm)
àtì
bì-sáh
bì-nàh
bì-zápé’
bì-gírò
tàrnágà
fwàrnágà / fwàrnâh
wàr séhná fà-gbàh7 àtì
sêh-bóm / sê’-bóm
wàr séhná fà-gbàh7 bóm
zó%ôm
—
dâg tômná
áárì
bì-sáhrì
bì-nàhrì
bì-zápé’rì
bì-gíírì
tàrnággì
fwàrnággì / fwàrnáhrì
wàr séhná fà-gbàh7 áárì
sêh-bómrì /sê’-bómrì
wàr séhná fà-gbàh7 bómrì
zó%ómrì
fàárì
first
second
third
fourth
fifth
sixth
seventh
eighth (short form)
eighth (long form)
ninth (short form)
ninth (long form)
tenth
last
Some Mambay speakers do not use the form zó%ómrì ‘tenth.’ Where two forms are
given on the same line in the list above (e.g., fwàrnágà / fwàrnâh), this reflects a
dialect difference (1.2.3.3).
Except for dâg tômná ‘first’ (9.1.3.1), ordinal nouns are found in head (initial) position
in the noun phrases in which they are found (cf. 5.2, 5.14).
419
the second chicken
áárì
kágà
two:ORD:LF chicken
bì-sáhrì
kágà
the third chicken
NUM-three:ORD:LF chicken
cf. kâg
dâg tômná
chicken:LF first
the first chicken
Even though they are nouns, ordinal nouns are never pluralized (cf. 5.5.1.2).
When an ordinal noun is derived using the ordinal suffix -rì, the tone melody of the
numeral and the suffix are fused:
bì-sáh
+
NUM-three
bì-gírò
NUM-six
+
-rì
bì-sáhrì
third
bì-gíírì
sixth
ORD
-rì
ORD
The tonally idiosyncratic ordinal noun ‘second’ constitutes an exception to this pattern.
àtì
two
+
-rì
áárì
second
ORD
Irregularities associated with the ordinal nouns ‘first’ and ‘last’ are discussed in 9.1.3.1,
and segmental alternations are examined in 9.1.3.2. Ordinal values for numerals beyond
ten are presented in 9.1.3.3.
9.1.3.1 ‘First’ and ‘last’
The ordinal nouns for ‘first’ and ‘last’ differ from other members of the series.
The ordinal noun dâg tômná ‘first’ is a compound noun made up of the nouns dágà
‘mouth, edge’ and the word tômná, which is used only in this context. It differs from
other ordinal nouns in that it is not derived from its corresponding numeral (in this case,
bóm ‘one’). Additionally, it differs in that it is typically found in a dependent rather than
head position (cf. 5.2).
kâg
dâg tômná
chicken:LF first
cf. áárì
kágà
two:ORD:LF chicken
the first chicken
the second chicken
420
The ordinal noun fàárì ‘last’ differs from the other ordinal nouns in that there is no
specific numeral to which it corresponds. In contrast, it is probably derived from the
noun fààlá ‘back, skin, place’ (linked form: fàà; see 5.2.2). However, its membership in
the ordinal noun series is underlined by the fact that it contains the ordinal suffix -rì.
9.1.3.2 Segmental alternations
In four cases, the derivation of numerals with the ordinal prefix suffix -rì results in
morphophonological alternation. For two of the numerals (àtì ‘two’ and bì-gírò ‘six’),
this derivation is multi-faceted and may be represented as follows:
àtì ‘two’
bì-gírò
1) the vowel of the final syllable of the numeral is
dropped;
àt+rì
bì-gír+rì
2) the alveolar–r sequence is disallowed;
à+rì
bì-gí+rì
3) the final vowel of the numeral root is lengthened to
compensate for this loss.
áá+rì
bì-gíí+rì
‘six’
The resulting tone melody on áárì ‘second’ is idiosyncratic; see 9.1.3.
In the other two cases (tàrnágà ‘seven’ and fwàrnágà ‘eight’), the final vowel of the
numeral is dropped and the r in the suffix -rì assimilates to the numeral’s final g.
tàrnágà
seven
+
fwàrnágà +
eight
-rì
tàrnággì
seventh
fwàrnággì
eighth
ORD
-rì
ORD
9.1.3.3 Ordinal values for numerals beyond ten
It is not possible to express numerals beyond ten using an explicitly ordinal strategy.
Items may be ordered, however, by a simple count. Resulting ‘ordinal’ constructions are
identical to typical count constructions (9.1.1.1).
kágà
zó%ôm sóm
chicken ten
plus
kágà
káálà
chicken head/ten
the eleventh chicken / eleven chickens
bóm
one
the twentieth chicken / twenty chickens
àtì
two
421
9.1.4 Other nouns with numeric values
In addition to nouns used as numerals (9.1.2) and nouns derived from numerals (9.1.3),
there are a few nouns which, even when used as nouns, refer to a certain quantity of an
item.
word
basic meaning
numeric value
dàlà (Fulf. borr.)
dù’ló
gàmbù (Fulf. borr.)
hâh
súúlò
a sum of money
enclosure
bag
stick
herd
five francs
a hundred domestic animals in an enclosure
a thousand francs (see 9.1.2.4)
a hundred cows
a hundred (any animal)
If these nouns are modified by a numeral, their numeric value is interpreted as exact.
hâh
stick
bóm
one
cf. hâh
stick
gàmbù
tàrnágà
bag/thousand seven
cf. gàmbù
bag/thousand
one hundred cows
a hundred cows
seven thousand
a thousand
9.2 Specifiers
In Mambay, there is a small class of specifiers. Three demonstratives and an indefinite
article make up this class. Members of this class are used to situate participants within a
discourse, and have in common a restricted distribution: they are only found at the very
end of a noun phrase (5.14) headed by a linked (5.2.2) noun.
kâg
náá
chicken:LF this
this chicken
kâg
ìltì7 àt náá
chicken:LF dirty two this
these two dirty chickens
More precisely, specifiers are represented by two proximity demonstratives (9.2.1), one
long-distance anaphoric demonstrative (9.2.2), and an indefinite article (9.2.3). The longdistance anaphoric demonstrative may be used with either of the proximity
demonstratives (9.2.2), but other combinations are not permitted.
422
9.2.1 Proximity demonstratives
Two demonstratives are, in addition to their specifying function, used to signal the degree
of an item’s proximity to a reference point (prototypically, the reference point is the
location of the speaker). Examples of the use of the proximal demonstrative náá ‘this’
and the distal demonstrative núú ‘that’ are as follows:
proximal demonstrative:
distal demonstrative:
kâg
náá
chicken:LF this
this chicken [here]
kágzì
chicken:PL:LF
these chickens [here]
náá
this
kâg
núú
chicken:LF that
that chicken [there]
kágzì
chicken:PL:LF
those chickens [there]
núú
that
With the third person singular independent pronoun dú (6.1.2.1), the morphemes
indicating these demonstrative values exhibit irregular forms.
dá7gáá
3SG.INDEP:this
he/she (this person [here])
dú7gúú
3SG.INDEP:that
he/she (that person [there])
cf. the third person plural independent pronoun:
dùgzí
3PL.INDEP
náá
this
they (these people [here])
dùgzí
3PL.INDEP
núú
that
they (those people [there])
9.2.2 The anaphoric demonstrative dô’
A third type of demonstrative, represented by dô’ ‘that/those (anaphoric),’ is used to
make long-distance (i.e., in separate sentences) anaphoric references to a previouslymentioned participant in a discourse (Anonby 2005:37).
kâg
chicken:LF
dô’
that.ANAPH
that chicken (that was mentioned previously)
kágzì
chicken:PL:LF
dô’
that.ANAPH
those chickens (that were mentioned previously)
423
Like other specifiers, the anaphoric demonstrative dô’ cannot be used without an explicit
head noun; the participant to which it refers must be repeated along with it. The
following text demonstrates its usage in two instances:
%áá
páà
vérgì
found:PFV man:LF travel:LF
bîn,
certain
tògó, lóò-lé,
be
get.tired:PERF-3SG.REFL
yáà-lé
sùgú.
sit:PERF-3SG.REFL down
There was found a certain traveller, he is there, he has gotten tired, he has sat down.
á7
)ílé
wrap:PFV body:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
má
with
tí-sùú
PFX-fabric:LF
wágà.
neck
He wrapped himself in a robe.
mûn tí-vínà
then AUG-woman
)în
body/at:LF
bè
QUOT
lèé
3SG.LOG:IRR
boFr
yèr
dô’
undo:FUT clothing:LF that.ANAPH
páà
dô’
rè.
man:LF that.ANAPH TOPIC
A woman then [came] saying she would take those clothes from that man…
The proximity demonstratives náá ‘this/these’ and núú ‘that/those’ may be used in
conjunction with dô’.
kâg
chicken:LF
dô’
náá
that.ANAPH this
that (anaph.) chicken here
kágzì
chicken:PL:LF
dô’
núú
that.ANAPH that
those (anaph.) chickens there
9.2.3 The indefinite article bîn
In addition to its specifying function, the demonstrative bîn ‘(an)other, (a) certain’
contributes an indefinite meaning to the noun it modifies.
kâg
chicken:LF
bîn
other/certain
another chicken / a certain chicken
kágzì
chicken:PL:LF
bîn
other/certain
other chickens / certain chickens
424
In discourse, bîn is used to introduce minor participants.
%áá
páà
vérgì
found:PFV man:LF travel:LF
bîn.
certain
There was found a certain traveller.
When bîn is used with indefinite but semantically plural referents, it is preceded by the
inherently plural noun gyàárì ‘ones.’
gyàárì bîn
ones
certain
vè-zì-ré
vòró
kúù.
go:PERF-PL-3PL.REFL to.there bushland
Certain ones had gone out to the bushland.
9.3 Prepositions
Although members of several word classes in Mambay are used for locational functions,
prepositions are the only class devoted to these functions. True prepositions, which are
found as heads of prepositional phrases, constitute a closed word class of only seven
items. Of these, two appear to be borrowed. Mambay prepositions are, in alphabetical
order:
bèè
háá ~ háá
lâ’
má
sáà
sé’ ~ séQ
yâg
without
until, up to, all the way to (cf. Fulfulde haa, Mundang há$á)
like, as
with, and, by, during
inside, in
except, only, not until (cf. Fulfulde sey)
to, for
All seven prepositions are monosyllabic. While the commonly used preposition má
‘with, and, by, during’ is comprised of a light syllable, the other prepositions are
comprised of a heavy syllable (cf. 2.4.3).
The structure and syntactic distribution of prepositional phrases are presented in 9.3.1 and
9.3.2. The use of other word classes for locational functions is discussed in 9.3.3; there,
the distribution of these classes is contrasted with that of prepositions.
9.3.1 Prepositional phrase structure
Prepositions head prepositional phrases, where they are located at the phrases’ left edge
(in this regard, prepositional phrases resemble noun phrases, which are also left-headed;
see 5.14). A preposition is always followed by a noun or a noun-phrase complement.
bèè
túrà
without millet
without millet
425
háá ~ háá kpèègá
until
tree
all the way to the tree
lâ’ kwéé
like Kwe
like Kwe
má îg
)úùrú
with child:LF 3SG.POSS
with his/her child
sáà
fíílò
inside house
inside the house
sé’
rógò
except tomorrow
not until tomorrow
yâg sí-kètí
to/for PFX-God
to God / for God
When the complement of most of the prepositions is a pronoun, it is an independent
pronoun (6.1.2.1).
bèè
dú
without 3SG.INDEP
without him/her
háá ~ háá dú
until
3SG.INDEP
up to him/her
lâ’ dú
like 3SG.INDEP
like him/her
má dú
with 3SG.INDEP
with him/her
sáà
dú
inside 3SG.INDEP
inside him/her
sé’ ~ séQ
except
except him/her
dú
3SG.INDEP
Uniquely, in the case of the preposition yâg ‘to, for,’ which hosts a verb’s second object,
an object pronoun (6.1.3.1) is used.
yâg mí
to/for 1SG.OBJ
to me / for me
426
yâg-rú
to/for-3SG.OBJ
to him/her / for him/her
This distribution sets prepositions apart from nouns, which are accompanied by
possessive pronouns (5.3, 6.1.4).
káání
head/on:1SG.POSS.INAL
my head / on me
káàrú
head/on:3SG.POSS.INAL
his/her head / on him/her
9.3.2 Prepositional phrase distribution
Prepositional phrases are typically found as verbal modifiers in post-verbal position. As
the following clauses show, they contribute information on manner and/or location:
tìglé
bèè
sûm-ní
)úùrú
fall:PERF without know:VN-OBJ:VN:LF 3SG.POSS
it has fallen without his/her knowledge
)à
té’là
háá
3:IMPFV walk:VN until
káàkààlá
Kaakaala
he/she/it walks / is walking all the way to Kaakaala
gbáh
kágà
lâ’ mààrá
take:PFV chicken like gift
he/she/it took a chicken as a gift
mìí
háá-n`
má súmù
1:IRR come.back:FUT-to.here with night
I will come back at night
mìí
kóg-óm
sé’
1:IRR see:FUT-2SG.OBJ except/not.until
rógò
tomorrow
I will not see you until tomorrow
rò’zí
sáà
kôhm-ní
)éré
say:PFV-PL inside gather.together:VN-OBJ:VN:LF 3PL.C/I.POSS
they said in their meeting that…
427
bè ...
QM
mú
2SG:OPT
híí
give:OPT
byàá yâg-rú
water to-3SG.OBJ
give water to him/her/it
If they occur in a verbal clause with directional adverbs and/or objects, they are found
after these constituents (10.1.1).
má
yáh-zí
gííbò
vòró
má
3:OPT take:OPT-PL alcoholic.drink to.there with
êl
rù’gó
child:PL:LF clay.water.jar
they must take alcoholic drinks down there with small clay water jars
Prepositional phrases may also be found clause-initially; information in this position
locates a clause within the temporal or logical framework of a discourse (10.1.1).
má
with
rúgà
morning
vérgà
traveller
mún-zî-n
bì-sáh
come:PFV-PL-to.here NUM-three
in the morning, three travellers came here
Prepositional phrases may further be used as predicates of verbless clauses (10.1.3.5).
mì má dú
1SG with 3SG.INDEP
I am with him/her/it
mì bèè
túrà
1SG without millet
I have no millet (lit. I am without millet)
dú
sáà
rò’rá
3SG.INDEP inside word/issue
he/she is caught up in an issue
Finally, prepositional phrases may be found as modifiers of the head noun in noun
phrases (5.14.5):
tí-vín
PFX:AUG-woman:LF
má káálà
with head
intelligent woman
páà
bèè
sùùzó
man:LF without hair
hairless person / person with a shaven head
kèt
sky/life:LF
the underwater world
sáà
byàá
inside water
9.3.3 Use of other word classes for locational functions
Adverbial functions, including those which are locational, are not restricted to
prepositions. In fact, nouns and directional adverbs are more commonly used to express
428
location (together with direction) than are prepositions. In addition, a number of high
frequency verbs express such information.
In Mambay, there are several types of locational nouns (this is described in greater detail
in 5.13). Most locational nouns pattern like prepositions in that they require a dependent
element to follow when they are used locatively (otherwise, they may stand alone). For
locational nouns, however, the dependent element is a possessor noun or possessive
pronoun rather than a complement (9.3.1).
in the sun (cf. nínù ‘eye, face, life’)
nîn
gyâh
eye/in.presence:LF sun
nílé
in his/her/its (coref.) presence / in its presence
eye/in.presence:3COREF/IMPERS.POSS.INAL
The locational sense is an extension of the central meaning of a noun (usually a body
part), and there is no structural contrast between the two senses (5.13). There are, in
contrast, no non-locational nouns corresponding to true prepositions. As Hagège
(1975:155–6) points out in the context of the Kebi-Benue languages, these differences are
sufficient to treat locational nouns and prepositions as belonging to separate grammatical
classes.
Remaining locational nouns (5.13) are not derived from corresponding non-locative
nouns but fail to conform to the distributional criteria for prepositions in at least one of
two ways. First, like the locational nouns above, some have discrete linked forms (5.2.2)
and/or may be found with possessor nouns (5.3.2) and possessive pronouns (6.1.4) rather
than complements (as shown in 9.3.1 above).
sígzì
middle:LF
káàfíílò
village
middle of the village (cf. sígzò ‘middle’)
fìn
toward:LF
)ánzá
1&2PL.POSS
the place where we (incl.) come from
gâh
midst:LF
your (pl.) midst
)óró
2PL.POSS
Second, a few locational nouns without a corresponding non-locative sense may be found
without any following dependent element. Examples of such nouns are:
fà-gbàh7
kaF’
kuFF’
làí
outside
here (i.e., this place)
there (i.e., that place)
left side
429
Locational nouns also show minor structural differences from prepositions. For one
thing, a noun’s minimal shape is a heavy syllable (5.1.1.1) rather than a light syllable (cf.
9.3), and may exceed one syllable (5.1.1.1). Also, attested tone melodies of prepositions
are more often than not H or L, unlike the usual HL or LH melody of canonical nouns
(5.1.1.2).
Like prepositions, directional adverbs (8.1.1) are also used to express locative concepts.
However, they differ from prepositions in that they may not themselves take a
complement (cf. 9.3.1), and in that they are always found with a verb.
mú
2SG.OPT
tè’
walk:OPT
vòró
to.there
[you (sg.)] go there!
mú
2SG.OPT
hèè
climb:OPT
kètí
upward
[you (sg.)] climb up!
Finally, a number of high frequency verbs express locational information.
hèè
lúg
Nmì’
rì’
)èr
climb (i.e., go up)
go out
go down
enter (i.e, go in)
get up, go from
In particular, the verb )èr ‘get up, go from’ expresses a concept which in many other
languages is expressed by a preposition meaning ‘from.’
)èr
get.up:PFV
káàkààlá
Kaakaala
vè
dâg
byàá
go:PFV mouth/edge:LF water
he/she/it went from Kaakaala to the river’s edge
430
10
CLAUSES AND CLAUSE COMBINATIONS
10
CLAUSES AND CLAUSE COMBINATIONS
The present chapter deals with clauses (10.1) and clause combinations (10.2) in Mambay.
While these topics are treated in greater detail within the context of an analysis of
Mambay discourse (Anonby 2005), an overview of major patterns is given here.
10.1 Clauses
The following aspects of clause structure are covered in this section: constituent order
(10.1.1), clause and clause constituent particles (10.1.2), verbless clauses (10.1.3) and
single-word utterances (10.1.4).
10.1.1 Constituent order
In Anonby (2005:8–13), constituent order in Mambay is detailed, and the effects of
changes in order are also examined. In the present study, a basic summary is provided.
In Mambay, the basic (unmarked) order of major constituents in verbal clauses is rigidly
SVO (subject–verb–object).
tí-gérêm
%á%-zí
túrà
AUG-woman:PL sow:PFV-PL millet
S
V
O
the women sowed millet
mìí
1SG:IRR
S
I will take the horse
yáh
take:FUT
V
pìzá
horse
O
Constituent order in verbless clauses is uniformly S–Pred (subject–predicate; see 10.1.3).
mù kwéé
2SG Kwe
S
Pred
you are Kwe
ígà
child
S
the child is in the granary
sáà mâh
inside granary
[Pred
]
431
In a verbal clause with two objects, one object is typically a patient and the other a
recipient. Two strategies are available in such situations, and in both cases, the more
salient object in the discourse follows the other object. If the more salient object is a
patient, it simply follows the recipient:
Ø
híí
3:PFV give:PFV
he/she/it gave me an axe
mí
sòlá
1SG.OBJ axe
If the more salient object is a recipient, it is introduced after the patient with the
preposition yâg ‘to, for.’
Ø
híí
3:PFV give:PFV
sòlá yâg mí
he/she/it gave me an axe
axe
to 1SG.OBJ
In both cases, object pronouns (6.1.3.1) are used for a pronominal recipient.
Subsequent to the SVO complex, the following order is exhibited: directional adverb –
locative (spatial or temporal) adverbial complement – aspectual or descriptive adverbial
complement – particle. Examples which illustrate this ordering are as follows:
má
yáh-zí
3:OPT take:OPT-PL
gííbò
vòró
alcoholic.drink to.there
nììlé
bottom/under:3SG.COREF/IMPERS.POSS.INAL
má êl
with child:PL:LF
rù’gó
clay.water.jar
they must take alcoholic drinks down there with small clay water jars
mì té’là
tí’ tí’ nà
1SG walk:VN always QM
do I always walk? / am I always walking?
Discourse-orienting elements such as topic nouns, modal adverbs (7.6.1.2) and
connective locational (spatial and temporal) constructions are placed before the SVO
complex.
kwéé rè,
Ø
yáá
Kwe TOPIC 3:PFV stay:PFV
kâ’
here
as for Kwe, he stayed here
bàhrá
better
mì té’là
1SG walk:VN
it is better that I walk
432
rógò
má rúgà
mìí
gòg-ní
tomorrow with morning 1SG.IRR fly:FUT-1SG.REFL
tomorrow morning I will fly
10.1.2 Clause and clause constituent particles
A small number of particles are used in reference to clauses and clause constituents.
(Particles which are used to define relations between clauses are discussed separately in
10.2.2).
Unlike adverbs, which are minimally comprised of a heavy syllable, clause- and clause
constituent-modifying particles uniformly exhibit a light (CV) syllable.
These particles fall into three groups: Indicative particles, Optative particles, and an
attributive copula ká. While Indicative particles are treated in the present section,
Optative particles are described in the chapter on verbs (7.6.1.1.2), and the attributive
copula is described in the context of verbless clauses (10.1.3.2).
Four Indicative particles are found in Mambay:
nà
yó
yá
rè
(question particle; see also 4.4.2.3)
(affirmative particle)
(negative particle)
(topicalization particle)
Indicative particles are used in reference to clauses as well as clause constituents. Since
the core of a clause is prototypically a verb, applying a particle to a verbal clause is
formally and functionally equivalent to applying it to the verb (see 7.6.1.1 for examples).
In the following section, each of the Indicative particles is shown (whenever attested) in a
verbless clause, with an Indicative verb, and with at least one other clause constituent.
10.1.2.1 The question particle nà
When the question particle nà is juxtaposed with a noun, an interrogative clause results.
is it Kwe?
kwéé nà
Kwe QM
The particle nà may also be applied to complete verbless clauses (10.1.3.1).
are you Kwe?
mù kwéé nà
2SG Kwe QM
cf. mù kwéé
2SG Kwe
you are Kwe
Further, nà is frequently used with verbal clauses (7.6.1.1.1).
433
mù
2SG
cf. mù
2SG
vúm
nà
go:FUT:2SG QM
are you about to go?
vúm
go:FUT:2SG
you are about to go
The use of nà with interrogative pronouns is discussed in 6.2. The following serves as an
example:
what has happened?
wíí
pá-lè
nà
what? happen:PERF-3SG.REFL QM
10.1.2.2 The affirmative particle yó
The affirmative particle yó ‘indeed’ has the effect of affirming a clause or putting focus
on an Indicative clause constituent. When it is simply juxtaposed with a noun, a
presentational clause or an answer results.
here is Kwe / it is Kwe
kwéé yó
Kwe indeed
With the exception of interrogative pronouns (6.2), sentences consisting of a single word
are not permitted; thus, in cases where a noun is used to answer a question—as shown by
the preceding example—it is always accompanied by yó.
The particle yó may also be applied to complete verbless clauses (10.1.3).
you are indeed Kwe
mù kwéé yó
2SG Kwe indeed
cf. mù kwéé
2SG Kwe
you are Kwe
An example of yó applied to a verbal clause is as follows (cf. 7.6.1.1.1):
I am indeed walking
mì té’là
yó
1SG walk:VN indeed
Finally, yó may be used to put focus on a subject.
mì yó
1SG indeed
wíí
yó
what? indeed
I am the boss / I am the Lord
páà
só’lé
man:LF greatness
pá-lè
nà
happen:PERF-3SG.REFL QM
434
what has happened?
10.1.2.3 The negative particle yá
Negation is always signalled by the clause-final negative particle yá along with some
additional indicator. For negation of an equivalence clause, yá is found in conjunction
with a third person negative non-Perfective pronoun híì (6.1.2.6) in initial subject
position.
híì
wáà
3:NONPFV.NEG chief
he/she/it is not the chief
yá
NEG
he/she/it is the chief
wáà
cf. dú
3SG.INDEP chief
For absence/non-existence clauses, a third person negative Perfective negative pronoun
hìí (6.1.2.5) is used directly before yá.
wáà
chief
cf. wáà
chief
hìí
3:PFV.NEG
the chief is not there / there is no chief
yá
NEG
the chief is there / there is a chief
tògó
be
The negative particle yá is most commonly found with verbs (7.6.1.1.1) and, like the
other Indicative particles, is found clause-finally; the marking of negation in this position
is an areal feature (Watters 2000:207). Here, yá is accompanied by a modification of the
structure of subject pronouns, which mark realis value (see 6.1.2).
I am not walking / I do not walk
míì
té’là
yá
1SG:NONPFV.NEG walk:VN NEG
cf. mì té’là
1SG walk:VN
I am walking / I walk
Objects may also be negated: modifications in tonal and segmental structure similar to
those applied to subject pronouns signal that negation concerns an object rather than the
verb or clause. This negation has the effect of focus on the object, and indicates that the
object is different item than the one which the listener expects. In the following cases,
the object’s final syllable is lengthened and a low tone is associated with it.
mìí
kó
ígàà
yá
1SG:PFV.NEG see:PFV child:EMPH NEG
cf. mìí
kó
ígà
1SG:PFV.NEG see:PFV child
yá
NEG
435
I didn’t see the child
I didn’t see the child
I didn’t see the horse
mìí
kó
pìzáà
yá
1SG:PFV.NEG see:PFV horse:EMPH NEG
cf. mìí
kó
pìzá
1SG:PFV.NEG see:PFV horse
I didn’t see the horse
yá
NEG
The structural effect of object negation has yet to be investigated with nouns of other CV
shapes and tone melodies.
10.1.2.4 The topicalization particle rè
The prototypical use of the particle rè is to strongly topicalize constituents, that is, to
centralize relevant known information in the context of a discourse (cf. 7.6.1.1.1).
mì rè,
mì yáá
kâ’
1SG TOPIC 1SG stay:PFV here
as for me, I stayed here
kyaFh rè,
)à
ká
gêh7gá
fish
TOPIC 3IMPERS ATTRIB sweetness
as for fish, it is delicious
kà
mù héh-rì
if/when 2SG stop:PERF-PERF
mú
keFhl
2SG:OPT look.for:OPT
kuFl-nà
rè,
plow:VN-OBJ TOPIC
páà
bîn
man:LF other
when you have finished plowing, look for another person
Another important use of rè is as a floor-holding device (cf. Payne 1997:358): it shows
that a speaker intends to continue an utterance (cf. the expectancy marker in 4.2.2).
rè !
TOPIC
let me finish!
pàrà
rò’ )éé
goodness! issue 3SG.POSS.C/I
kyàg
)în
hurt:VN body/at:LF
kágà
rè
chicken TOPIC
goodness! how this issue troubles the chicken …
The particle rè is also found with Optative verb forms, where it is used to express mild
supplication (7.6.1.1.2).
10.1.3 Verbless clauses
Verbless clauses (chains) are common in Mambay. Except in the case of interrogative
pronouns, they must contain another element in addition to a noun or noun phrase (6.2,
436
10.1.2.2). Verbless clauses are constructed by combining a subject noun phrase
(minimally consisting of a noun or pronoun) with one of the following elements:
- particle (10.1.3.1);
- noun (phrase) (0);
- adjective (10.1.3.3);
- numeral (10.1.3.4); or
- prepositional phrase (10.1.3.5).
The structure and, in some cases, function of each type of construction are considered in
the following subsections.
10.1.3.1 Noun + particle
The simplest verbless clauses are those comprised of a (pro)noun and an Indicative
particle (10.1.2).
mù nà
2SG QM
is it you?
líbà
yó
guineafowl indeed
it is a guineafowl
rò’
word:LF
párà
yó
it is well said (lit. ‘it is a good word’)
goodness indeed
10.1.3.2 Noun + noun (phrase)
Equivalence-type (A is B / A is a kind of B / A is identified by B) clauses are constructed
by juxtaposing a (pro)noun with another noun or noun phrase.
mì kwéé
1SG Kwe
I am Kwe
líbà
zòògí kúù the guineafowl is [a kind of] wild bird
guineafowl bird:LF bushland
fíílò páhnà
house mud
the house is [made of] mud
Locative clauses may be constructed in the same way, except that the second noun
necessarily refers to a place. This leads to structural ambiguity which may be resolved by
appealing to discourse-internal references as well as the text-external referential realm.
mì fíílò
1SG house
I am at the house (/I am the house)
437
Kada is in Kaakaala (/Kada is Kaakaala)
Ká%à káàkààlá
Kada Kaakaala
When the predicate of a verbless clause is a noun which describes the quality of the
subject, the subject and the predicate noun are linked by the attributive copula ká.
Although this particle may have originated historically from a preposition (cf. Elders
2000:243), in Mambay it is not used synchronically in any other context.
)à
3IMPERS
ná’rà
sauce
ká
bààgá
hardness
ATTRIB
ká
ATTRIB
kpâh7gá
saltiness
it is hard
the sauce is salty/tasty
In verbless clauses with human subjects, an attributive predicate noun may be pluralized
(cf. 5.5).
dùgzí
ká
zó%zà
3PL.INDEP ATTRIB greatness:PL
they are great/large/important
10.1.3.3 Noun + adjective
Clauses in which an adjectival predicate modifies the subject are constructed by
juxtaposing a subject (pro)noun and an adjective.
)à
3IMPERS
ná’rà
sauce
árá7
straight
lùrùg
sticky
it is straight
the sauce is sticky
10.1.3.4 Noun + numeral
Count clauses may be constructed using a (pro)noun and a numeral.
dùgzí
bì-gírò
3PL.INDEP NUM-six
there are six of them
élà
child:PL
there are three children
bì-sáh
NUM-three
10.1.3.5 Noun + prepositional phrase
In addition to being found with a noun + noun structure (10.1.3.2), locational clauses may
be constructed by juxtaposing a subject with a prepositional phrase headed by the
prepositions sáà ‘inside, in,’ má ‘with/and’ or bèè ‘without’ (9.3).
438
mì sáà
fíílò
1SG inside house
I am in the house
hùùrí sáà
mâh
hyena inside granary
the hyena is in the granary
When the prepositional phrase is headed with má ‘with/and,’ the idea of ‘have’ is
understood; when it is headed with bèè ‘without,’ the idea of ‘have not’ is
communicated.
tí-vínà
AUG-woman
má
with
túrà
millet
tí-vínà
AUG-woman
bèè
túrà
without millet
the woman has millet
the woman does not have millet
10.1.4 Independent utterances other than clauses
In some cases, a word or phrase may in itself constitute a complete utterance even though
it does not meet the minimal formal requirements for a clause (i.e., subject plus
predicate). While its significance is bound to the discourse of which is it a part, it is
syntactically independent. Items which typically pattern in this way in Mambay include
interjections, swear words, commands, vocatives and formulae as well as affirmative and
negative markers. The following serve as examples:
háá/)ààháà
haFy
kây
)áhyyáà
ha! aha! you see? (gloating)
oh my! (astonishment)
of course not!; of course! (being taken aback) (cf. Fulf. kay)
woe is me! (horror, grief)
Nmánà
pàrà
sú’nì
really! (sincerity, astonishment; lit. ‘truth’)
goodness! (astonishment; cf. párà ‘goodness’)
damn! (frustration, regret)
náà
swá’
come! get over here! (cf. náá ‘touch’)
go! rah rah rah! (cf. swà’ ‘encourage’)
ká%á
pàná
Kada! (cf. 5.12.1)
Pana!
kàvbâw
kì-swá’
“the end”
thankyou! hello! (cf. kì- ‘place,’ and swá’ immediately above)
)áà
)áá, )á)à, )áá)à
yes
no
439
)ààyéé, )àyyéé
)ìhíì
mhmhmi
òòwó, òwwó, òòó
(nasal click)
yes, indeed! (cf. Chadian Arabic ayye ‘yes’)
yes, that’s right
yes
yes (cf. Fulf. ooho)
yes (acquiescence) (see 2.1.7.3)
10.2 Clause combinations
In Mambay, clauses are related within a sentence by means of coordination (10.2.1) and
subordination (10.2.2). In the present discussion, a description of clause combinations is
carried out with an emphasis on the morphemes as well as the syntactic structures that
make relations between clauses possible.
10.2.1 Coordination
Clauses of equal grammatical status may be coordinated by juxtaposition or with a
conjunction. Juxtaposition is the more common way that this is achieved.
nà-pùgzá
lùg-zí,
kó-zì-rú
the people went out, and they saw him
PFX-person:PL go.out:PFV-PL see:PFV-PL-3SG.OBJ
baFh húm,
nà-táálUlá gyáá
the rain came, and the ants swarmed
rain come:PFV PFX-ant.sp. foam.up:PFV
is it you, or is it me?
mù nà, mì nà
2SG QM 1SG QM
Within a sentence, conjunctions may also be used to coordinate clauses. mûn is used to
coordinate sequential clauses.
fààlé,
back/after:3SG.COREF/IMPERS.POSS
vè
go:PFV
bú’
mîr
hùùrí
gather.up:PFV excrement:LF hyena
mûn tààgí
sáà
mâh
vúù vúù
then whip:PFV inside:LF granary IDEO IDEO
after, he/she/it went and gathered up the hyena excrement and then splashed the
inside of the granary with it vuu vuu
Two forms of a conjunction màà ~ má ‘or’ are used to present alternative possibilities
within a sentence. In the first example, which uses màà, the coordinated clauses stand
on their own:
làà-rì
eat:PERF-PERF
kyaFh nà màà
fish
QM or
zaFg-lè
refuse:PERF-3SG.REFL
has he/she/it eaten the fish or has he/she/it refused?
440
In a second example, the form má ‘or’ (which represents a special function of the
preposition má ‘with, and’) coordinates two clauses which are themselves subordinated
(10.2.2) to a following clause:
sí-kètí
PFX-God
gìì-lé
má
gìì
yá,
consent:PERF-3SG.REFL with/and/or consent:PFV NEG
mìí
1SG.IRR
gòg-ní
fly:FUT-1SG.REFL
rógò
tomorrow
[whether] God has consented or not, I will fly tomorrow
Precise factors influencing the contrastive usage of má vs. màà have not been
determined, but are likely motivated by considerations of emphasis (cf. 6.1.5, 10.1.2.3),
realis value (cf. 6.1.2, 7.4), and/or subordination (10.2.2) (either inherent to each of the
forms or reflecting those of the discourse context).
10.2.2 Subordination
Clauses may be combined so that one clause is the main clause and another clause is
subordinate. Subordinate clauses are of three types: complement (10.2.2.1), adverbial
(10.2.2.2), and relative (10.2.2.3).
10.2.2.1 Complement clauses
In Mambay, object complement clauses are found following the verb (as is any other
object; see 10.1.1), and are introduced by the complementizers bè and bàh. While these
complementizers are typically used as quotation markers with speech verbs, they may
also be found with verbs of cognition and performance (see below).
The first quotation marker, bè, is the more common of the two; it typically signals a
quotation (indirect as well as direct speech).
Indirect speech:
ró’
bè
lè
vé-lé
dâg
byàá
say:PFV QUOT 3SG.COREF go:FUT-3SG.REFL mouth/edge water
he/she/it said that he/she/iti was about to go to the water’s edge
Direct speech:
ró’
bè
mì ví-ní
dâg
say:PFV QUOT 1SG go:FUT-3SG.REFL mouth/edge
he/she/it said, “I am about to go to the water’s edge”
Often, the speech verb is dropped, but bè implies its existence.
441
byàá
water
baFh bè
léè
húm
yá
rain QUOT 3SG.COREF:NONPFV.NEG come:FUT NEG
the rain [said] that it would not come
The second quotation marker, bàh, is usually reserved for reported speech in embedded
quotations:
myû’ ró’
yâg bìsáhmà bè
)ààháà,
cat
say:PFV for sheep
QUOT ha!
míì
ró)-óm
yá nà bàh
mú
leFy
1SG:PFV.NEG say:PFV-2SG.OBJ NEG QM QUOT.REP 2SG.OPT give.orders:OPT
kór
káà
donkey head/reason:LF
síínì
)éé
play:LF 3SG.C/I.POSS
rè
TOPIC
the cat said to the sheep, “Ha! Didn’t I tell you, ‘You must reprimand the donkey
for his fooling around’… ?”
There is, however, one example in the data where bàh is used for a quotation that is not
embedded. The usage of bàh rather than bè here has been investigated, but its
significance (if any) has not been determined.
nà
1&2
Qàh-zí
dùgú bàh
nàmzì
fíí
call:VN-PL 3PL.OBJ QUOT.REP animal:PL home
we call them “domestic animals”
While bè and bàh are typically used as quotation markers with speech verbs, they may
also be found as complementizers with verbs of cognition and performance (cf. Clements
1975:141, Hagège 1974:290).
lá’
bè
kóò
hear/understand:PFV QUOT money
)ì-)éé
yó
HEAD-3SG.C/I.POSS indeed
he/she/iti understood that the money was actually his/hers/itsi own
ró’
bè
lèé
tù’n-úm
bàh
lè
say:PFV QUOT 3SG.COREF:IRR teach:FUT-2SG.OBJ QUOT.REP 3SG.COREF
yó
indeed
ká
ATTRIB
só’lé
rè
greatness TOPIC
he/she/iti said that he/she/iti would teach him/her/itj that he/she/it was greater…
442
Note the use of the second person object pronoun (cf. 6.1.1) for the quotation addressee
in the final example (see also Anonby 2005:42).
10.2.2.2 Adverbial clauses
Adverbial clauses are used to express a range of adverbial information pertaining to a
main clause. Attested functions include time, purpose, concession and condition. The
following adverbializers are used introduce these adverbial clauses:
kà
kò
kóò
má-kì-nàá
when, if; and then, before, so that, in order to
when, if
even if, whether
while, when, even though (cf. má ‘with, and,’ kì- ‘place, situation,’
nàá (relativizer))
As the subsequent discussion shows, all of the adverbializers are found clause-initially.
The adverbializer kà functions differently depending on where the subordinate clause in
which it occurs is placed. When the subordinate clause comes before the main clause, kà
means ‘when’ (simultaneous time) or ‘if’ (condition). In this position, it is only attested
in the data with Indicative verb forms.
kà
vérgà hûm-lé,
duFg gbàh
kágà
when/if traveller come:PERF-3SG.REFL 3GEN catch:VN chicken
when a traveller has come, they catch a chicken
kà
sí-kètí
when/if PFX-God
mìí
1SG.IRR
gìì-lé,
consent:PERF-3SG.REFL
rógò
má
tomorrow with/and
rúgà
morning
gòg-ní
fly:FUT-1SG.REFL
if God has consented, tomorrow morning I will fly
However, when the subordinate clause follows the main clause, kà means ‘and then,
before’ (sequential time; with an Indicative verb form) or ‘so that’ (purpose; with an
Optative verb form).
kà in a subordinate clause with an Indicative verb form:
mìí
làà
béNn
1SG.IRR eat:FUT first
kà
and.then
mìí
mûn
1SG.IRR come:FUT:to.here
I will eat first before I come / I will eat first and then I will come
443
kà in a subordinate clause with an Optative verb form:
mìí
làà
béNn
1SG.IRR eat:FUT first
kà
and.then
mí
mûn
1SG.OPT come:OPT:to.here
I will eat first so that I might come
The adverbializer kò differs from kà in that it is only found in subordinate clauses that
precede the main clause. There, it performs the same function as kà, meaning ‘when’ or
‘if.’
kò
vérgà hûm-lé,
duFg gbàh
kágà
when/if traveller come:PERF-3SG.REFL 3GEN catch:VN chicken
when a traveller has come, they catch a chicken
kò
sí-kètí
when/if PFX-God
gìì-lé,
consent:PERF-3SG.REFL
rógò
má
tomorrow with/and
rúgà
morning
mìí
gòg-ní
1SG.IRR fly:FUT-1SG.REFL
if God has consented, tomorrow morning I will fly
The adverbializer kò is also distinctive in that, unlike kà, it has an emphatic counterpart
kóò ‘even if’ (concession and condition). If kóò is used with more than one coordinated
construction, it carries the sense ‘whether.’
kóò
even.if
ígà
child
hûm-lé,
duFg gbàh
kágà
come:PERF-3SG.REFL 3GEN catch:VN chicken
even if a child has come, they catch a chicken
kóò
even.if
ró
2PL:OPT
rò tìì
káàlàw,
2PL COLL:HEAD Kaalaw
lá’
listen:OPT
kóò
even.if
rò tìì
káàkààlá,
2PL COLL:HEAD Kaakaala
kwìí
Nnám
neck/voice:1SG.POSS.INAL well
whether you are people from Kaalaw, or whether you are people from Kaakaala,
listen well to my voice
One final adverbializer, which is found before a sentence-initial subordinate clause, is
má-kì-nàá (lit. ‘with-[the]place-that’). It typically means ‘while, when’ (simultaneous
time).
444
má-kì-nàá mù làá-nà,
mìí
while
2SG eat:VN-OBJ 1SG:IRR
kyá7-gám
wait:FUT-2SG.OBJ
while you are eating, I will wait for you
à’
à’
PAST
PAST
má-kì-nàá sí-kètí
while
PFX-God
nàmzá
gâh
animal:PL midst:LF
)éré
3PL.C/I.POSS
ó’
kètí
má
create:PFV heaven with
má
with
tí-sìgró,
AUG-earth
nà-pùgpùgá
PFX-humankind
long ago, when God created heaven and earth, the animals dwelt with humankind
If the main clause is inherently counter-expectational with respect to the subordinate
clause, má-kì-nàá admits the sense ‘even though’ (concession).
má-kì-nàá mìí
while
1SG:PERF.NEG
lá’
Nnám yá,
listen/understand:PFV well NEG
mì hûm-ní
1SG come:PERF-1SG.REFL
even though I did not understand, I have come
Major adverbial functions which could be expressed in other languages with adverbial
clauses are in some cases relegated to adverbial noun and prepositional phrases in
Mambay. This is true of manner, reason and some time constructions:
manner:
mì hûm-ní
má á’rvà
1SG come:PERF-1SG.REFL with run:VN
I have come running (lit. I have come with running)
reason:
mì hûm-ní
káà
sú7gì
)ám
1SG come:PERF-1SG.REFL head/reason:LF lie.down:VN:LF 2SG.POSS
I have come because you were lying down (lit. I have come [for the] reason of
your lying down)
445
time (the two clauses are also expressed in separate sentences):
mì lá’-rì.
fààlé,
mì mûn
1SG hear:PERF-PERF back:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL 1SG come:PFV:to.here
I heard. After this (lit. Its back), I came.
10.2.2.3 Relative clauses
Relative clauses, which function as noun modifiers, are uniformly postnominal: they
follow the linked form (5.2.2) of the noun they modify and the invariable relativizer nàá
(cf. 5.14.6).
páà
nàá Ø
nú-lé
káámi
dâg tômná
man:LF REL 3:PFV sleep:PFV-3SG.REFL head/on:2SG.POSS.INAL first
the person that has gone to sleep first ahead of you
)îg
nàá )àá
pá-lé
thing:LF REL 3SG:IRR happen:FUT-3SG.REFL
what (lit. the thing that) will happen
Relative clauses in Mambay are versatile: there appear to be few restrictions on the
distribution of TAM in relative clauses, and the antecedent nouns they accompany may
function as their subjects, objects or locative/temporal complements.
First of all, subject relative clauses—those for which the antecedent noun is the subject of
the relative clause—are common (relative clauses are shown in square brackets).
páà
[nàá
man:LF REL
Ø
nú-lé
káámi
dâg tômná]
3:PFV sleep:PFV-3SG.REFL head/on:2SG.POSS.INAL first
)à
kpûg
káámi
tùm
3:IMPFV wake.up:VN head/on:2SG.POSS.INAL forward
the person that has gone to sleep first ahead of you wakes up before you
mì kó
)îg
1SG see:PFV thing:LF
[nàá
REL
Ø
pá-lé]
3:PFV happen:PFV-3SG.REFL
I saw what (lit. the thing that) happened
Object relative clauses, that is, those for which the antecedent noun is the object of the
relative clause, are also well-attested. Inanimate objects are typically represented by a
gap within the relative clause.
446
mì sá’
)îg
1SG buy:PFV thing:LF
[nàá
REL
mì kyáh]
1SG want:PFV
I bought what (lit. the thing that) I wanted
gbíí-zí
)îg
[nàá
abandon:PFV-PL thing:LF REL
Ø
yáh-zí
3:PFV take:PFV
vòró
kô’]
to.there there
they abandoned what (lit. the thing that) they took there
Traces of animate objects, however, often surface as object pronouns in the relative
clause.
vè
go:PFV
mà
with
páà
[nàá
person:LF REL
rò sûm-rú]
2PL know:VN-3SG.OBJ
he/she/it went with a person that you know
Finally, an antecedent noun may also function as locative (spatial or temporal) adverbial
complement (cf. 10.1.1) of a relative clause.
kèhl
look.for:PFV
kè’
place:LF
[nàá
REL
hùùrí
hyena
nìì
mírà]
defecate:PFV excrement
he/she/it looked for the place that the hyena defecated
gêh [nàá
day:LF REL
Ø
záh-zí-rì
îg
wáà],
3:PFV tread:PERF-PL-PERF child:LF chief
)àá mûn
má lóózìrá káà
dùgú
3:IRR come:FUT:to.here with difficulty head/on:LF 3PL.POSS.INAL
the day that they have trampled the chief’s child, he will come with hardship
447
TEXTS
TEXTS
This section contains a selection of five Mambay texts representing various genres. The
texts, which are transcriptions of recordings of the main collaborator Oussoumanou
Bouba, are as follows:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Song: hùrtìgóhm ‘The locust’
Song: wàhwàh ‘Hubbub’
Legend: táwsóò yáh gwàárè ‘Tawsoo took the sickle’
Fable: kágà má líbà ‘The chicken and the guineafowl’
Hortatory text: nà-tû’ ‘Proverbs’
The texts are presented with an interlinear translation. In the first line, the Mambay text
is found; morpheme boundaries are marked with hyphens. The second line gives a literal
translation of each morpheme or, when relevant, its grammatical function. In the third
line, an idiomatic translation is provided in italics.
448
1. Song: hùrtìgóhm ‘The locust’
hùrtìgóhm mù húm
locust.sp.1 2SG come:PFV
Locust, did you come…
m
EXPECT
zà’rá
kaF’ nà.
dance:VN here QM
to dance here?
mù húm
nà-kógrà i m
2SG come:PFV PFX-look(n.) EXPECT
You came to watch, didn’t you?
mù )ùr
káà
sáà Qá7
2SG stand:PFV head/on:LF stone IDEO
You stood on the stone unperturbed,
m,
EXPECT
mù Nnáá
kuFm
dáárú.
2SG stretch:PFV neck:2SG.POSS.INAL IDEO
you stretched your neck, craning it and looking all around.
mùú
tìì
nà-bàbbá
2SG.IRR become:FUT PFX-locust.sp.2
Will you become a grasshopper
kà
mú
làà
kwáà nà.
and.then 2SG.OPT eat:OPT grass QM
so that you can eat grass too?
449
2. Song: wàhwàh ‘Hubbub’
wàhwàh! zèèlá lòònT
mí.
hubbub
lie:VN bother:PFV 1SG.OBJ
Hubbub! A lie bothered me.
zèèlì
wíì
lóón`
páà
dô’
nà, páà
dô’
nà.
lie:VN:LF what? bother:VN man:LF ANAPH QM man:LF ANAPH QM
What rumour is bothering that man, that man?
tí-gérêm
wáà %à%-zí
túrà kúù.
AUG-woman.PL:LF chief sow:PFV-PL millet bushland
The wives of the chief sowed millet in the fields.
baFh [)àá]10
%áá
yá, baFh [)àá]1
%áá
yá.
rain 3:PFV.NEG succeed:PFV NEG rain 3:PFV.NEG succeed:PFV NEG
The rain did not come, the rain did not come.
gúú-zí
nììré
vòró fàà
sá’bà
pull.back:PFV-PL bottom:3PL.C/I.POSS.INAL to.there back/place:LF traditional.salt
They [the women] bent over at the place where the salt is
kì-gòò
nà-rígrílè,
nà-rígrílè.
place:PFX-prepare:VN PFX-gourd.seed PFX-gourd.seed
to roast gourd seeds, gourd seeds.
kyéé
ró’
lé
bè
lé
gbáh
Nmárà
mother-3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL talk:PFV 3SG.C/I.OBJ QUOT 3SG.C/I.OPT catch:OPT friend
10
This pronoun is absent in the song, but Oussomanou maintains that it is obligatory in normal speech; cf.
7.5.
450
má boFNm-bòNmsí,
with Bo’m-Bo’msi
[Shei said ] heri motherj / the motherj told heri that shei/j must become friends with
Bo’m-Bo’msi,
bòNmsí hàh7gí
káálé
gbàrgàtàg
Bo’msi forget:PFV head:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL IDEO
but Bo’msi lost his head completely,
yáh
nà-gbáh7gú
ríí
fíí[t]11 fíí#[t]
take:PFV PFX-cultivated.hibiscus.sp. clean.out:PFV IDEO IDEO
took the rich hibiscus-leaf sauce and cleaned it all out with his fingers,
yáh
nâ’
gôm
síg
sùgú
kpíh.
take:PFV sauce:LF vine.sp. place:PFV downward IDEO
took the bitter vine-leaf sauce and put it down with a clunk.
lòòrí
yá, lòòrí
yá.
lick:PFV NEG lick:PFV NEG
He didn’t lick it, he didn’t lick it.
kwéé m,
mú
tìì
páà
hûr
tùúrì.
Kwe EXPECT 2SG.OPT become:OPT man:LF eat.powder:VN boule
Kwe, be the one who eats the dry boule.
kwéé m,
múù
nîn
bèè
délà
yá,
Kwe EXPECT 2SG.NONPFV.NEG eye:LF without mature:VN NEG
Kwe, you are like eyes without maturity,
kwéé m,
mú
yáh
tùúrì mú
lòòrí.
Kwe EXPECT 2SG.OPT take.OPT boule 2SG.OPT lick:OPT
Kwe, take the boule and lick it.
11
The final t of this ideophone is absent in the song, but Oussomanou maintains that it is used in normal
speech.
451
3. Legend: táwsóò yáh gwàárè ‘Tawsoo took the sickle’
laFh má yáá
káà
tí-sìgró gbà7tà7.
story 3:OPT sit/be:OPT head/on:LF AUG-land IDEO
May this story live on throughout the wide world.
%á7
pá%pá%.
spread.out:OPT/PFV IDEO
[Audience:] [May it] spread out rapidly / It spread out rapidly.
táwsóò yáh
gwàárè.
Tawsoo take:PFV sickle
Tawsoo took the sickle.
táwsóò yáh
gwàárè m,
bè
lè
vé-lé
wàà
tùgló.
Tawsoo take:PFV sickle EXPECT QUOT 3SG.C/I go:FUT-3SG.REFL diminish:VN hedge
Tawsoo took the sickle, intending to go and trim the hedge.
tùgló vbíí
sêhrú.
hedge cut:PFV hand:3SG.POSS.INAL
The hedge cut his hand.
kàr
dágé
káà
ryaFh.
set:PFV mouth:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL head/reason/on:LF cry(n.)
He opened his mouth with a cry.
ná-gbóglà hùr
m,
háá hé’
kètí.
PFX-toad
jump:PFV EXPECT until bang:PFV sky
The toad jumped, so high that he banged into the sky.
baFh húm
m,
nà-táálUlá gyàà.
rain come:PFV EXPECT PFX-ant.sp. foam.up:PFV
The rain came, and the ants swarmed.
452
nà-vbérgà
bè
lè
sâr-ná.
PFX-agama.lizard QUOT 3SG.C/I devour:VN-OBJ
The agama lizard intended to devour them.
nà-táálUlá bè
gíì
mù sâr
ré
)án lâ’ náá
PFX-ant.sp. QUOT but.then 2SG devour:VN 3PL.C/I.OBJ how? like this
The ants said, But how could he devour them like this?
nà-vbérgà
bè
léè
sâr
ró
yá
PFX-agama.lizard QUOT 3SG.C/I:NONPFV.NEG devour:VN 2PL.OBJ NEG
m.
EXPECT
m,
EXPECT
rò gyàà
gyáárì
àgá nà.
2PL foam.up:PFV foam.up:VN:LF a.little QM
The lizard said, [How could it be that] he not devour them? Did they only swarm a little
swarming?
bè
QUOT
réè
gyàà
yá, baFh húm
húmgì
3PL.C/I:NONPFV.NEG foam.up:FUT NEG rain come:PFV come:VN:LF
àgá nà
m.
a.little QM EXPECT
They said, [How could it be that] they will not swarm? Did the rain only come a little
coming?
baFh bè
léè
húm
yá, ná-gbóglà hè’
kètí
rain QUOT 3SG.C/I:NONPFV.NEG come:FUT NEG PFX-toad bang:VN sky
hè’-nì
àgá nà.
bang:VN-OBJ:LF a.little QM
The rain said, [How could it be that] it will not come? Was the toad only banging the sky
a little banging?
ná-gbóglà bè
léè
hé’
yá, táwsóò sàh
rèh
PFX-toad
QUOT 3SG.C/I:NONPFV.NEG bang:FUT NEG Tawsoo rip:VN cry(n.):LF
àgá nà m.
a.little QM EXPECT
The toad said, [How could it be that] he will not bang [into the sky]? Was Tawsoo only
letting loose a little cry?
453
táwsóò bè
léè
sàh
yá, tùgló vbíí
lé
Tawsoo QUOT 3SG.C/I:NONPFV.NEG rip:FUT NEG hedge cut:PFV 3SG.C/I.OBJ
vbìì-nì
àgá nà.
cut:VN-OBJ:LF a.little QM
Tawso said, [How could it be that] he will not let loose [a cry]? Did the hedge only cut
him a little cutting?
tùgló bè
léè
vbíí-mi
yá, mù wàà
lé
hedge QUOT 3SG.C/I:NONPFV.NEG cut:FUT-2SG.OBJ NEG 2SG diminish:VN 3SG.C/I.OBJ
wàà-nì
àgá nà m.
diminish:VN-OBJ:LF a.little QM EXPECT
The hedge said, [How could it be that] it will not cut him? Was Tawsoo only trimming
him a little trimming?
táwsóò bè
léè
wáá-mi
yá, lé
waFr
Tawsoo QUOT 3SG.C/I:NONPFV.NEG diminish:FUT-2SG.OBJ NEG 3SG.C/I.OPT leave:OPT
dâg
tí-)ázè
vò7 nà m.
mouth/door:LF AUG-member.of.)àzgárà:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL open QM EXPECT
Tawso said, [How could it be that] he will not trim it? Must he leave his mother-in-law’s
door open?
bè
tí-)ázàm
pàg
wíí
yâg-ám
nà.
QUOT AUG-member.of.)àzgárà:2SG.POSS.INAL make:VN what? to-2SG.POSS.INAL QM
[The hedge] said, what does his mother-in-law do for him?
bè
tí-)ázè
kòò
vínà
yâg lé.
bear:PFV woman to 3SG.C/I.OBJ
He said, His mother-in-law gave birth to a wife [woman] for him.
QUOT AUG-member.of.)àzgárà:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
vínà
pàg
wíí
yâg-ám
nà.
woman make:VN what? to-2SG.POSS.INAL QM
…And what does the wife do for him?
454
vínà
kòò
vínà
yâg lé.
woman bear:PFV woman to 3SG.C/I.OBJ
…The wife [woman] gave birth to a girl [woman] for him.
ígà pàg
wíí
yâg-ám
nà?
child make:VN what? to-2SG.POSS.INAL QM
…And what does the child do for him?
ígà nìì
mírà,
nà-kùró lêg-ná.
child defecate:VN excrement PFX-vulture suck:VN-OBJ
…The child keeps the vultures happy (lit. the child craps, and the vultures suck it up).
îg
vínà
yáh
rù’gó
child:LF woman take:PFV clay.water.jar
m,
bè
EXPECT QUOT
lè
vé-lé
3SG.C/I go:FUT-3SG.REFL
dâg
byàá, kpùr
Nmàhlé
tí-kpéhpèhw.
mouth/edge:LF water bump:PFV foot:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL AUG-IDEO
The girl took the clay water jar, intending to go the the water’s edge, and bumped her
foot throwing her right off balance.
rù’gó
hùg-lé,
hàn
dágé
bè
clay.water.jar break:PFV-3SG.REFL put.back:PFV mouth:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL QUOT
The clay water jar shattered, and she let out a groan, saying:
sú’nì, mì yàà
kà’
wáà
damn! 1SG stay/be:PFV area.outside.gate:LF chief
zàhmbà, mì háá
IDEO
1SG come.back:PFV
má sàlá
kpàhwwà.
with cowrie.shell IDEO
“Damn! I was outside the chief’s gate all beautifully ornamented, and I came back with
the tinkling of cowrie shells.”
îg
támbúúrà
child:LF pigeon
m,
EXPECT
)óó
îg
lóólà
braid:PFV child:LF rope
455
m,
EXPECT
)óó
îg
lóólà kàrwàhz n.
braid:PFV child:LF rope IDEO
RES
The little pigeon, it braided a little rope, it braided a little rope abruptly and
desperately…
kàvbâw
the.end
m,
EXPECT
laFh mú
túú
káání
gá,
story 2SG:OPT partake:OPT head:1SG.POSS.INAL NEG.OPT
mú
túú
káà
tâw
gbòòrò m.
2SG:OPT partake:OPT head:LF Taw(:LF) bald
EXPECT
The end!…Tale, don’t take [any hair] from my head; take it from Taw’s bald head / take
it from Bald Taw’s head…
456
4. Fable: kágà má líbà ‘The chicken and the guineafowl’
)îg
nàá pá-lé
thing:LF REL happen:PFV-3SG.REFL
m,
EXPECT
kágà
chicken
m,
EXPECT
dúú
3SG.EMPH
tìì
zòògì fíí,
líbà
m,
dú
zòògì kúù.
become:PFV bird:LF home guineafowl EXPECT 3SG.INDEP bird:LF bushland
This is how it happened that the chicken, he became a domestic bird, and the guineafowl,
[became] a wild bird.
à’ à’ mákìnàá sí-kètí ó’
kètí
má tí-sìgró
PAST PAST while
PFX-God throw/create:PFV heaven with PFX-earth
m,
EXPECT
nàmzá
m,
gâh
)éré
má nà-pùgpùgá.
animal:PL EXPECT dwelling:LF 3PL.C/I.POSS with humankind
Long ago when God created heaven and earth, the animals, their dwelling was with
humankind.
gyààrì bîn
ones:LF certain
m,
EXPECT
náh-zí
kááré
vòró
take.out:PFV-PL head:3PL.C/I.POSS.INAL to.there
kúù
m,
mûn tìì-zí
nàmzì
kúù.
bushland EXPECT then become:PFV-PL animal:PL:LF bushland
Certain ones departed for the bush, and then became wild animals.
tìì
nàá pèè-zì-ré
fíí
be.limited:PFV-PL-3PL.REFL home
COLL:HEAD REL
m,
EXPECT
nà Qàh-zí
dùgú bàh
nàmzì
fíí.
1&2 call:VN-PL 3PL.OBJ QUOT.REP animal:PL:LF home
Those confined to habitations, we call “domestic animals.”
tìì
COLL:HEAD
má gìhgá
laF7
with pinion.feather also
m,
EXPECT
pá-lé
lâ’ dòógbúù.
happen:PFV-3SG.REFL like again
And for those with feathers, this happened similarly.
457
)ì-náá
HEAD-this
m,
EXPECT
ná
lá’-zí
)îg
nàá
1&2:OPT hear:OPT-PL thing:LF REL
pá-lé
m,
kà
kágà má pèè-lé
fíí.
happen:PFV-3SG.REFL EXPECT and.then chicken 3:OPT be.limited:OPT-3SG.REFL home
This thing, let’s listen to the thing that happened, whereby the chicken was confined to
habitations.
rò’
náá )èr
)în
líbà
má kágà,
word:LF this get.up:PFV body/at:LF guineafowl with chicken
dùgzí
àrgúú zòògì sáà kwérè:
3PL.INDEP both
bird:LF inside fence
This issue arose for the guineafowl and the chicken, both of them birds in captivity:
kà
)ù’-lé
vâg
vérgà
when arrive:PFV-3SG.REFL go:VN:LF travel(ler)
m,
EXPECT
nà-pùgpùgá gbàh
PFX-humankind catch:VN
kágà lâ’ )îg
nìì
séh
káà
pàg
mààrá.
chicken like thing:LF bottom:LF hand(adv.) head/reason:LF make:VN:LF gift
When it has come about to go on a trip, people take a chicken as something in hand to
give as a gift.
kà
vérgà
hûm-lé
when travel(ler) come:PERF-3SG.REFL
m,
EXPECT
duFg gbàh
kágà,
3GEN catch:VN chicken
káá
gòó-nà
yâg-rú.
head/reason:LF prepare:VN-OBJ to-3SG.OBJ
When a traveller has come, they catch the chicken to cook it for him.
pàrà
rò’ )éé
kyàg )în
kágà rè.
goodness! word 3SG.C/I.POSS hurt:VN body/self:LF chicken TOPIC
Goodness! This issue pains the chicken himself…
gêh-náá
day:LF-this
m,
EXPECT
toFg á%gì-zí
lààbá má líbà,
be peck.around:VN-PL eat:VN with evening
458
mûn
kágà
m,
ró’
líbà
bè
come:PFV:to.here chicken EXPECT talk:PFV guineafowl QUOT
One day, when they were pecking food in the evening, the chicken came along, and he
said to the guineafowl:
Nmár
)íí,
mú
lá’
)îg
kyàg dígní.
friend:LF 1SG.POSS 2SG.OPT hear:OPT thing:LF hurt:VN liver:1SG.POSS.INAL
“My friend, listen to what is distressing me.
kà
nà-pùgá vé-lé
vérgà
when PFX-person go:FUT-3SG.REFL travel(ler)
m,
EXPECT
)à
gbàh
3:IMPFV catch:VN
mí
m,
míí
dòógbâh7.
1SG.OBJ EXPECT 1SG:EMPH always
“When a person is about to go travelling, he catches me, always me.
kà
vérgà
hûm-lé
hîn
)îndú,
when travel(ler) come:PERF-3SG.REFL to.here body/at:3SG.POSS.INAL
)à
gbàh
mí
m,
káà
pàg
ná’rà yâg-rú.
3:IMPFV catch:VN 1SG.OBJ EXPECT head/reason:LF make:VN sauce to-3SG.OBJ
“When a travelleri has come here to hisj place, hej catches me, in order to make sauce for
himi.
rógò
tomorrow
m,
EXPECT
má rúgà
pímpím, mìí
gòg-ní
with morning very.early 1SG:IRR fly:FUT-1SG.REFL
m,
EXPECT
mìí
ví-ní
kúù.
1SG:IRR go:FUT-1SG.REFL bushland
“Tomorrow, early in the morning, I will fly, and I will go to the bush.”
líbà
gìì
bè
)ààyéé m,
lâ’ )ì-dô’
m,
Nmár )íí.
guineafowl answer:PFV QUOT indeed! EXPECT like HEAD:ANAPH EXPECT friend 1SG.POSS
The guineafowl replied, “Indeed! So be it (lit. Like that), my friend.
gíì
but.then
m,
EXPECT
kà
mù zoFn-nòm,
gíì
míí
when 2SG.S leave:PERF-2SG.REFL but.then 1SG:EMPH
459
m,
EXPECT
mìí
yáá
má víínà.
1SG.FUT stay:FUT with who?:QM
“But then…when you have left, but then what about me? Who will I stay with?
kà
sí-kètí gìì-lé
rógò
má líbà
when/if PFX-God consent:PFV-3SG.REFL tomorrow with evening
m
EXPECT
mìí
gòg-ní.
1SG:IRR fly:FUT-1SG.REFL
“If God has consented, tomorrow evening…I will fly.”
kágà bè
káà
)îg
kín
mù Qàh
Qîh
chicken QUOT head/reason:LF thing:LF which? 2SG.S call:VN name:LF
sí-kètí sáà nà m.
PFX-God inside QM EXPECT
The chicken said, “For what reason are you calling the name of God into this?
sí-kètí gìì-lé
má gìì
yá mìí
gòg-ní
PFX-God consent:PFV-3SG.REFL with accept:PFV NEG 1SG:IRR fly:FUT-1SG.REFL
rógò
má rúgà.
tomorrow with morning
“Whether God has consented or not, I will fly tomorrow morning.”
nìì
rúgà
pá-lé
kágà
%úú gìhgìlé
m,
bottom:LF morning happen:PFV-3SG.REFL chicken hit:PFV wing:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL EXPECT
gìh
)ílé
bè
lè
gógrà
strive:PFV body/self:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL QUOT 3SG.C/I fly:VN
m,
EXPECT
pèè-lé
káá
kwérè m
kàgzàg.
be.limited:PFV-3SG.REFL head/on:LF fence EXPECT IDEO
When the first light came, the chicken [kaga] flapped his wings, made a great effort
intending to fly, but petered out on top of the fence…with a flop [kagzag].
460
má rúgà
with morning
m,
nà-pùgzá
EXPECT PFX-person:PL
lùg-zí,
kó-zì-rú
bè
go.out:PFV-PL see:PFV-PL-3SG.OBJ QUOT
)áhyyáà, )ì-náá
kágà yóò
m,
)ì-náá
kágà yóò.
oh.dear! HEAD-this chicken indeed:EMPH EXPECT HEAD-this chicken indeed:EMPH
In the morning, the people went out and saw him [and they said], “Oh dear! This is the
chicken, this is the chicken.”
gbaFh-zì-rú
m,
haFn-zì-rúT
hîn
sáà kwérè.
catch:PFV-PL-3SG.OBJ EXPECT put.back:PFV-PL-3SG.OBJ to.here inside fence
They caught him, and put him back here inside the fence.
gyâh hàg-lé
sun break:PFV-3SG.REFL
m,
EXPECT
líbà
rô’-rú
bè
Nmár )íí,
guineafowl say:PFV-3SG.OBJ QUOT friend 1SG.POSS
líbà
yáh-rì
káálé
hîn
evening take:PERF-PERF head:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL to.here
m,
EXPECT
kà
sí-kètí
when/if PFX-God
gìì-lé
mìí
gòg-ní
vòró kúù
rè.
consent:PFV-3SG.REFL 1SG:IRR fly:FUT-1SG.REFL to.there bushland TOPIC
When the sunlight had diminished, the guineafowl said to him, “My friend, evening has
joined us here…if God has consented I will fly out to the bush…”
líbà
pá-lé
evening happen:PFV-3SG.REFL
m,
EXPECT
líbà
)ì-zòògá )ìn
guineafowl HEAD-bird lift:PFV
)ílé
bè
sí-kètí, yáh
Nmàhlé
body/self:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL QUOT PFX-God take:PFV foot:3SG.C/I.POSS.INAL
sà’
sà’, gòg-lé
fly:PFV-3SG.REFL
IDEO IDEO
m,
vbírprqrqrqrqrqrqrqrq, kàn-lé
pass:PFV-3SG.REFL
EXPECT IDEO
kpúz
lì’.
far.away definitively
Evening [liba] came, and the guineafowl [liba] which is a bird lifted himself saying
“God,” slowly and jerkily pulled each of his legs up, flew…with a great whirr and went
far away forever.
461
kágà kàgzàg tìì
zòògì fíí,
líbà
m
zòògì
kúù.
chicken IDEO
become:PFV bird:LF home guineafowl EXPECT bird:LF bushland
So Flop the Chicken [kaga kagzag] became a domestic bird, and the guineafowl a wild
bird.
)ígà kpá’
thing all
m,
EXPECT
mú
Qáh
Qíh
sí-kètí,
2SG:OPT call:OPT name:LF PFX-God
)àá pá-lé
yâg-ám.
3:IRR happen:FUT-3SG.REFL to-2SG.OBJ
For everything, call the name of God, and it will happen for you.
462
5. nà-tû’ ‘Proverbs’
twaFh èè
káà nà m.
snake bite:VN stick QM EXPECT
Does a snake bite the stick?
explanation: A snake doesn’t bite the stick, but rather the person holding the stick. In the
same way, one should not attack a messenger for bringing bad news.
nà-táálUlá ò’
páà
zèèlá tùm.
PFX-ant.sp. throw:VN man:LF lie:VN forward
The ant throws the rumour-monger in front.
explanation: Like the ant that returns to the colony with a report about food and is obliged
to lead the way back to the food, a person who makes a claim will have to prove it.
nà-káhrì
páà
kómnà rúrà
nìì
gàmbù.
PFX-fruit.sp.:LF man:LF hunger ripen:VN bottom:LF bag
The fruit of a hungry man ripens at the bottom of his bag.
explanation: A hungry person carefully watches over his or her food supply.
kágà
m
bè
vyàh
tûr
súmù m
sé’ hìg
súgò.
chicken EXPECT QUOT winnow:VN millet:LF night EXPECT must give:VN ear
The chicken says, “[Is someone] winnowing night millet? [One] must listen carefully.”
explanation: Like a chicken that listens carefully for the sound of food at night, people
should be alert for unseen things that might benefit them.
kà
mù híí-rì
nínù yâg páà
bîn
when 2SG give:PERF-PERF eye to man:LF other
m
EXPECT
)à
)àà-mi
kòg
kyaF’.
3:IMPFV surpass:VN-2SG.OBJ see:VN place/situation
When you have given your eyes to another man, his view surpasses yours.
explanation: People exaggerate what they actually see.
463
nà-múùrì súmù té’là
má héélà
nà m.
PFX-jinn:LF night
walk:VN with whistling QM EXPECT
Does the night jinn whistle when it walks?
explanation: If someone is doing something wrong, he or she will do it stealthily.
sígò
crocodile
m
EXPECT
hìí
%ùù byàá nîn
bàháà
3:NONPFV.NEG hit:VN water eye/in.presence.of:LF ibis.sp.
àtì yá.
two NEG
The crocodile, it doesn’t stir the water near an ibis twice.
explanation: Like a bird that has been frightened by a crocodile’s attack on another bird, a
watchful person cannot be overtaken by danger.
páà
nàá nú-lé
káámi
dâg tômná
man:LF REL sleep:PFV-3SG.REFL head/on:2SG.POSS.INAL first
m
EXPECT
)à
kpûg
káámi
tùm.
3:IMPFV wake.up:VN head/on:2SG.POSS.INAL forward
The man who is asleep ahead of you, he wakes up before you.
explanation: A person that prepares early has an advantage over those who do not.
duFg hìí
nàh
kpáávìrá
káà
pá7nì )éé
3GEN 3:NONPFV.NEG take.out:VN bulb.plant.sp.:LF head/on:LF site:LF 3SG.C/I.POSS
té%é yá.
all NEG
One doesn’t take out all the plant bulbs from where they are situated.
explanation: People should look after what they may need in the future.
páà
nàá lá’-rì
káà
nà-tú’zì
náá
man:LF REL understand:PERF-PERF head/meaning:LF PFX-proverb:PL:LF this
m
EXPECT
)àà sóg
)îg
nàá mì soFg-nà
nìì
êl
rógò.
3:IRR send:FUT thing:LF REL 1SG send:VN-OBJ bottom/for:LF child:PL:LF tomorrow
The man that has understood the meaning of these proverbs, he will pass on what I pass
on for the children of tomorrow.
explanation: A wise person will teach his or her wisdom to the next generation.
464
Appendix 1: Inalienable possession paradigms
This appendix provides an inventory of inalienable possession paradigms, which are
attested in noun-pronoun possessive constructions.
Nouns which may participate in inalienable noun-pronoun possessive constructions
(5.3.4.1) are listed in the following table and divided into groups based on the CV shape
and tonal melody of their linked forms (5.2.2.1). In each group, inalienable possessive
constructions are formed in the same way for all nouns in the group. Nouns exhibiting
idiosyncratic paradigms are also listed.
linked form type
noun
Group 1a: CVV-final,
L tone
Group 1b: CVV-final,
HL tone
Group 2: CVC-final
(where final C is a
consonant other than n),
HL tone
Group 3a: CVC-final
(where final C is n),
L tone
Group 3b: CVC-final
(where final C is n),
HL tone
fààlá
gaFh
(káà) ná-wâ%nììnú
mùhná
Nmàhná
ná-nììnú
nììnú
vbààlá
wàhlá
káálà
vbyâh
dágà
súgò
sábà
linked form
(cf. 5.2.2)
fàà
gàh
(káà) ná-wâ%nìì
mùh
Nmàh
ná-nìì
nìì
vbàà
wàh
káà
vbêh
dâg
sûg
sâb
back, skin
beard
buttocks
vulva
foot
bum
bottom
testicle
nape (of neck)
head
cheek
mouth
ear
tail
gìhgìnú
gùùgìnú
tìnú
fínù
)ínù
kpánà
nà-vínù
nínù
zínù
gìhgìn
gùùgìn
tìn
fîn
)în
kpân
nà-vîn
nîn
zîn
wing, fin
gill
front, genitals
forehead
body, self
penis
co-wife
eye, face, life
tooth, tusk
465
gloss
Group 4a: CVNn-final, L
tone
Group 4b: CVNn-final, HL
tone
Group 5: CVhn-final,
L tone
Group 6a: CVVn-final, L
tone
Group 6b: CVVn-final,
HL tone
Group 6c: CVVn-final,
HLH tone
Group 7: CVgn-final, HL
tone
Group 8a: CV-final, L tone
Group 8b: CV-final, 2mora, HLH tone
Group 8c: CV-final, 3mora, HLH tone
Idiosyncratic constructions
gì’nú
tè’nú
káà nà-sí’nù
ná-kànsí’nù
ná-kànsí’nù
kìhnú
gìNn
tèNn
káà nà-sîNn
ná-kànsîNn
ná-kànsîNn
kìhn
small of back
side (of body)
knee
shadow, soul, spirit
kneecap, fontanelle
waist, hip
hùùnú
hùùn`
thigh
síínù
síín`
horn, antenna
súùní
súùnT
younger in-law
dígnù
nìì nà-rígnù
fààzí
dígn`
nìì nà-rígn`
fààzì
)ázì T
)ázì T
fâhzí
fâhzì
dwaF’
kwàá
kyáá-rììná
márnà
Nmárà
náábà
nánà T
nà-púrà
ná-rìmnú
páà
páá-ná-rììná
páà vàà
syâh
túù
wáà
(multiple forms;
see paradigms
below)
liver
underarm
member of fààzárà
(see Glossary)
member of àzgárà
(see Glossary)
member of fàhzárà
(see Glossary)
belly
neck, voice
paternal aunt
eldest sibling
friend
colleague
maternal uncle
navel
tongue
father
paternal uncle
husband
hand
mother
nose
Inalienable noun-pronoun possessive construction paradigms are given on the following
pages for an example noun from each group in the table above as well as for all nouns
with idiosyncratic forms. The third person plural forms are not, morphologically
speaking, part of the paradigms (see 6.1.4.2); however, they are included because they
complete the semantic inalienable sets, and because they show the linked form of each of
the nouns in alienable possessive constructions.
466
pronoun
gloss
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.L/I
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.L/I
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.L/I
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.L/I
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.L/I
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.L/I
inalienable
possessive
pronoun
-í
-mi
-ná
- `rú
-lé
-rí
-ró
-zínzá
(dùgú)
-ré
Group 1a:
fààlá
‘back, skin’
fààní
fààmi
fààná
fààrú
fààlé
fààrí
fààró
fààzìnzá
(fàà dùgú)
fààré
Group 1b:
káálà
‘head’
káání
káámi
kááná
káàrú
káálé
káárí
kááró
káázínzá
(káà dùgú)
kááré
Group 2:
súgò
‘ear’
súgí
súgúm
súgná
sûgrú
súgé
súgrí
súgró
súgzínzá
(sûg dùgú)
súgré
Group 3a:
tìnú
‘front, genitals’
tìní
tìním
tìná
tìndú
tìlé
tìrí
tìró
tìnzìnzá / tìnzá
(tìn dùgú)
tìré
Group 3b:
nínù
‘eye, face, life’
níní
níním
níná
nîndú
nílé
nírí
níró
nínzínzá /
nínzá
(nîn dùgú)
níré
Group 4a:
tè’nú
‘side (of body)’
tè’ní
tè)ém
tè’ná
tèNndú
tè’lé
tè’rí
tè’ró
tèNnzìnzá /
tèNnzá
(tèNn dùgú)
tè’ré
Group 4b:
káà nà-sí’nù
‘knee’
káà nà-sí’ní
káà nà-sí)ím
káà nà-sí’ná
káà nà-síNndú
káà nà-sí’lé
káà nà-sí’rí
káà nà-sí’ró
káà nà-síNnzínzá /
káà nà-síNnzá
(káà nà-sîNn dùgú)
káà nà-sí’ré
Group 5:
kìhnú
‘waist, hip’
kìhní
kHFhm
kìhná
kìhndú
kìhlé
kìhrí
kìhró
kìhnzìnzá /
kìhnzá
(kìhn dùgú)
kìhré
Group 6a:
hùùnú
‘thigh’
hùùní
hùùmi
hùùná
hùùn`dú
hùùlé
hùùrí
hùùró
hùùn`zìnzá /
hùùn`zá
(hùùn` dùgú)
hùùré
Group 6b:
síínù
‘horn, antenna’
sííní
síími
sííná
síín`dú
síílé
síírí
sííró
síínTzínzá /
síínTzá
(síín` dùgú)
sííré
Group 6c:
súùní
‘younger in-law’
súùní
súùmi
súùná
súùn`dú
súùlé
súùrí
súùró
súùn`zìnzá /
súùn`zá
(súùnT dùgú)
súùré
Group 7:
dígnù
‘liver’
dígní
dígním
dígná
dígîndú
díglé
dígrí
dígró
dígínzínzá/
dígínzá
(dígîn dùgú)
dígré
467
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.L/I
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.L/I
Group 8a:
fààzí
‘member of fààzárà’
(see Glossary)
fààzí
fààzám
fààzìná
fààzìrú
fààzé / fààzìlé
fààzìrí
fààzìró
fààzìnzá
(fààzì dùgú)
fààzìré
Group 8b:
)ázì T
‘member of )àzgárà’
(see Glossary)
)ázì
)ázàm
)ázìná
)ázìrú
)ázè / )ázìlé
)ázìrí
)ázìró
)ázìnzá
()ázì Tdùgú)
)ázìré
Group 8c:
fâhzí
‘member of fàhzárà’
(see Glossary)
fâhzí
fâhzám
fâhzìná
fâhzìrú
fâhzé / fâhzìlé
fâhzìrí
fâhzìró
fâhzìnzá
(fâhzì dùgú)
fâhzìré
dwHF’
dò)óm
dò’ná
dò’rú
dweFQ
dò’rí
dò’ró
dò’zìnzá
(dò’ dùgú)
dò’ré
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.L/I
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
Idiosyncratic:
kwàá
‘neck, voice’
kwìí
kuFm
kùùná
kùùrú
kùùlé
kùùrí
kùùró
kùùzìnzá
Idiosyncratic:
márnà
‘eldest sibling’
mární
—
—
—
—
—
—
—
Idiosyncratic:
Nmárà
‘friend’
Nmárí
Nmárám
—
Nmârdú
—
—
—
—
3PL
3PL.L/I
(kùù dùgú)
kùùré
Idiosyncratic:
kyáá-rììná
‘paternal aunt’
kyáá-rììní
kyáá-rììmi
kyáá-rììná
kyáá-rììn`dú
kyáá-rììlé
kyáá-rììrí
kyáá-rììró
kyáá-rììzìnzá /
kyáá-rììn`zá
(kyáá-rììn` dùgú)
kyáá-rììré
(márnì dùgú)
—
(Nmár dùgú)
—
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.L/I
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
Idiosyncratic:
náábà
‘colleague’
náání
náámi
—
náàrú
náálé
—
—
—
Idiosyncratic:
nà-púrà
‘navel’
nà-púrí
nà-púrám
—
nà-pûrdú
—
nà-púrí
nà-púró
—
Idiosyncratic:
ná-rìmnú
‘tongue’
ná-rìmní
ná-rìmním
ná-rìmná
ná-rìmrú
ná-rìmlé
ná-rìmrí
ná-rìmró
ná-rìmnìzìnzá
3PL
3PL.L/I
(náábì dùgú)
—
Idiosyncratic:
nánà T
‘maternal uncle’
nánà
nánàm
nánà
nândú
nánè / nálè
nárì
nárò
nânzìnzá /
nânzá
(nân T dùgú)
nárè
(nà-pûr dùgú)
nà-púré
(ná-rìmnì dùgú)
ná-rìmré
468
Idiosyncratic:
dwaF’
‘belly’
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.L/I
Idiosyncratic:
páà
‘father’
páy
pám
pááná
páàrú
páy
Idiosyncratic:
páá-ná-rììná
‘paternal uncle’
páá-rììní
páá-rììmi
páá-rììná
páá-rììn`dú
páá-rììlé
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
páárí
pááró
páázínzá
3PL
3PL.L/I
(páà dùgú)
pááré
páá-rììrí
páá-rììró
páá-rììzìnzá /
páá-rììnzá
(páá-rììn` dùgú)
páá-rììré
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.L/I
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
Idiosyncratic:
túù
‘mother’
tíí
túm
kyááná
túùrú
kyéé
kyáárí
kyááró
kyáázínzá
3PL
3PL.L/I
(túù dùgú)
kyááré
Idiosyncratic:
wáà
‘nose’
wíí / húúní
húúmi
húúná
húùrú
húúlé
húúrí
húúró
húúzínzá /
húúnTzá / wánzá
(húù dùgú)
húúré
469
Idiosyncratic:
páà vàà
‘husband’
páà vaFy
páà vaFm
páà vààná
páà vààrú
páà vaFy /
páà vààlé
páà vààrí
páà vààró
páà vààzìnzá
Idiosyncratic:
syâh
‘hand’
síh
sáhm
séhná
sêhrú
séhlé
séhrí
séhró
séhzínzá
(páà vàà dùgú)
páà vààré
(sêh dùgú)
séhré
Appendix 2: Verb conjugations
This appendix contains conjugations of the six tonally contrastive verb classes (7.3.2.2.1).
Paradigms are given for tenses which are signalled tonally (7.4): Perfective, Perfect,
Pluperfect, Imperfective, Future, Optative and, in the case of the verb vè ‘go,’ Realis
Future (7.3.3.1.2). Since morphology is different for intransitive and transitive verbs
(7.3.2.1), and since tone is mapped on verb stems based on their CV shape (7.3.2.2.3),
verbs which illustrate these distinctions are shown when they are found in the data.
The order of the conjugations given in this appendix is as follows:
tonal class
1
transitivity
CV shape of stem
example verb
intransitive
C(C)VX
C(C)V
Qáá ‘move away’
gé ‘get lost’
transitive
C(C)VX
C(C)V
éé ‘bite’
pá ‘make, do’
2
intransitive
C(C)VX
sùù ‘lie down’
3
intransitive
C(C)V
vè ‘go’
4
intransitive
C(C)VX
hèè ‘climb, go up’
transitive
C(C)VX
gìì ‘answer, accept, admit’
intransitive
C(C)VX
Qàà ‘finish (intr.)’ (derived)
transitive
C(C)VX
Qàà ‘finish (tr.)’
intransitive
C(C)VX.CV
)òògí ‘drag one’s feet’ (derived)
transitive
C(C)VVC
C(C)V.CVC
C(C)VX.CV
C(C)VX.CV.CV
C(C)VX.CV.CV.CV
QàànT ‘cause to finish (tr.)’
dògón ‘cause to drink (tr.)
)òògí ‘set crawling’
)òògìní ‘cause to set crawling’
)òògìnìrí ‘cause to set crawling
repeatedly / cause repeatedly
to set crawling’
5
6
470
Verb class 1, intransitive, C(C)VX: Qáá ‘move away’
Perfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Perfect
mì Qáá
mù Qáá
nà Qáá
Qáá
lè Qáá
rì Qáá
rò Qáá
nà Qáází
Qáází
rè Qáází
Pluperfect
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì Qáàní
mù Qáàmi
nà Qáàná
Qáàlé
lè Qáàlé
rì Qáàrí
rò Qáàró
nà Qáàzìnzá
Qáàzìré
rè Qáàzìré
Imperfective
mì Qáání
mù Qáámi
nà Qááná
Qáálé
lè Qáálé
rì Qáárí
rò Qááró
nà Qáázínzá
Qáázíré
rè Qáázíré
Future
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
Qáà
Qáà
Qáà
Qáà
Qáà
Qáà
Qáà
Qáàzí
Qáàzí
Qáàzí
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
Qáá
Qáá
Qáá
Qáá
Qáá
Qáá
Qáá
Qáází
Qáází
Qáází
Optative
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
Qáá
Qáá
Qáá
Qáá
Qáá
Qáá
Qáá
Qáází
Qáází
Qáází
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
471
Verb class 1, intransitive, C(C)V: gé ‘get lost’
Perfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Perfect
mì gé
mù gé
nà gé
gé
lè gé
rì gé
rò gé
nà gézí
gézí
rè gézí
Pluperfect
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì génì
mù génèm
nà génà
gélè
lè gélè
rì gérì
rò gérò
nà gézínzà
gézírè
rè gézírè
Imperfective
mì géní
mù géném
nà géná
gélé
lè gélé
rì gérí
rò géró
nà gézínzá
gézíré
rè gézíré
Future
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
gélà
gélà
gélà
gélà
gélà
gélà
gélà
gézílà
gézílà
gézílà
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
gé
gé
gé
gé
gé
gé
gé
gézí
gézí
gézí
Optative
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
gé
gé
gé
gé
gé
gé
gé
gézí
gézí
gézí
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
472
Verb class 1, transitive, C(C)VX: éé ‘bite’
Perfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Perfect
mì éé
mù éé
nà éé
éé
lè éé
rì éé
rò éé
nà éézí
éézí
rè éézí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Pluperfect
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì éérì
mù éérì
nà éérì
éérì
lè éérì
rì éérì
rò éérì
nà éézírì
éézírì
rè éézírì
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Imperfective
mì éérì
mù éérì
nà éérì
éérì
lè éérì
rì éérì
rò éérì
nà éézírì
éézírì
rè éézírì
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Future
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
èè
èè
èè
èè
èè
èè
èè
èèzí
èèzí
èèzí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
éé
éé
éé
éé
éé
éé
éé
éézí
éézí
éézí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Optative
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
éé
éé
éé
éé
éé
éé
éé
éézí
éézí
éézí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
473
Verb class 1, transitive, C(C)V: pá ‘make, do’
Perfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Perfect
mì pá
mù pá
nà pá
pá
lè pá
rì pá
rò pá
nà pází
pází
rè pází
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Pluperfect
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì párì
mù párì
nà párì
párì
lè párì
rì párì
rò párì
nà pázírì
pázírì
rè pázírì
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Imperfective
mì párì
mù párì
nà párì
párì
lè párì
rì párì
rò párì
nà pázírì
pázírì
rè pázírì
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Future
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
pàg
pàg
pàg
pàg
pàg
pàg
pàg
pàgzí
pàgzí
pàgzí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
pá
pá
pá
pá
pá
pá
pá
pází
pází
pází
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Optative
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
pá
pá
pá
pá
pá
pá
pá
pází
pází
pází
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
474
Verb class 2, intransitive, C(C)VX: sùù ‘lie down’
Perfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Perfect
mì sùù
mù sùù
nà sùù
sùù
lè sùù
rì sùù
rò sùù
nà sùùzí
sùùzí
rè sùùzí
Pluperfect
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì súùní
mù súùmi
nà súùná
súùlé
lè súùlé
rì súùrí
rò súùró
nà súùzìnzá
súùzìré
rè súùzìré
Imperfective
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
súúní
súúmi
súúná
súúlé
súúlé
súúrí
súúró
súúzínzá
súúzíré
súúzíré
Future
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
sú7gà
sú7gà
sú7gà
sú7gà
sú7gà
sú7gà
sú7gà
sú7zírà
sú7zírà
sú7zírà
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
súú
súú
súú
súú
súú
súú
súú
súúzí
súúzí
súúzí
Optative
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
súú
súú
súú
súú
súú
súú
súú
súúzí
súúzí
súúzí
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
475
Verb class 3, intransitive, C(C)V: vè ‘go’
Perfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Perfect and Pluperfect
mì vè
mù vè
nà vè
vè
lè vè
rì vè
rò vè
nà vèzí
vèzí
rè vèzí
Imperfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
mì vìní
mù vùnúm / vuFm
nà vàná
vèlé
lè vèlé
rì vìrí
rò vòró
nà vànzyá
vèzìré
rè vèzìré
Realis Future
vágà
vágà
vágà
vágà
vágà
vágà
vágà
vâgzí
vâgzí
vâgzí
Future
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
víní
vúnúm / vúm
váná
vélé
vélé
vírí
vóró
vánzyá
vézíré
vézíré
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
vìní
vùnúm / vuFm
vàná
vèlé
vèlé
vìrí
vòró
vànzyá
vèzìré
vèzìré
Optative
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
víní
vúnúm / vúm
váná
vélé
vélé
vírí
vóró
vánzyá
vézíré
vézíré
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
476
Verb class 4, intransitive, C(C)VX: hèè ‘climb, go up’
Perfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Perfect
mì hèè
mù hèè
nà hèè
hèè
lè hèè
rì hèè
rò hèè
nà hèèzí
hèèzí
rè hèèzí
Pluperfect
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì hèèní
mù hèèmi
nà hèèná
hèèlé
lè hèèlé
rì hèèrí
rò hèèró
nà hèèzìnzá
hèèzìré
rè hèèzìré
Imperfective
mì hèèní
mù hèèmi
nà hèèná
hèèlé
lè hèèlé
rì hèèrí
rò hèèró
nà hèèzìnzá
hèèzìré
rè hèèzìré
Future
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
héérà
héérà
héérà
héérà
héérà
héérà
héérà
héézírà
héézírà
héézírà
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
hèè
hèè
hèè
hèè
hèè
hèè
hèè
hèèzí
hèèzí
hèèzí
Optative
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
hèè
hèè
hèè
hèè
hèè
hèè
hèè
hèèzí
hèèzí
hèèzí
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
477
Verb class 4, transitive, C(C)VX: gìì ‘answer, accept, admit’
Perfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Perfect
mì gìì
mù gìì
nà gìì
gìì
lè gìì
rì gìì
rò gìì
nà gììzí
gììzí
rè gììzí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Pluperfect
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì gììrì
mù gììrì
nà gììrì
gììrì
lè gììrì
rì gììrì
rò gììrì
nà gììzìrì
gììzìrì
rè gììzìrì
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Imperfective
mì gììrì
mù gììrì
nà gììrì
gììrì
lè gììrì
rì gììrì
rò gììrì
nà gììzìrì
gììzìrì
rè gììzìrì
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Future
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gììzí
gììzí
gììzí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gììzí
gììzí
gììzí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Optative
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gìì
gììzí
gììzí
gììzí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
478
Verb class 5, intransitive, C(C)VX: Qàà ‘finish (intr.)’ (derived from Qàà ‘finish (tr.)’;
see 7.3.2.1.2)
Perfective
Perfect
(uses transitive counterpart; cf.
7.3.2.1.2)
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Pluperfect
Imperfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì Qàánì
mù Qàámh
nà Qàánà
Qàálè
lè Qàálè
rì Qàárì
rò Qàárò
nà Qààzínzà
Qààzírè
rè Qààzírè
Future
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì Qàánì
mù Qàámh
nà Qàánà
Qàálè
lè Qàálè
rì Qàárì
rò Qàárò
nà Qààzínzà
Qààzírè
rè Qààzírè
(uses transitive counterpart; cf.
7.3.2.1.2)
Optative
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
Qààní
Qààmi
Qààná
Qààlé
Qààlé
Qààrí
Qààró
Qààzìnzá
Qààzìré
Qààzìré
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
479
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
Qààní
Qààmi
Qààná
Qààlé
Qààlé
Qààrí
Qààró
Qààzìnzá
Qààzìré
Qààzìré
Verb class 5, transitive, C(C)VX: Qàà ‘finish (tr.)’
Perfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Perfect
mì Qàà
mù Qàà
nà Qàà
Qàà
lè Qàà
rì Qàà
rò Qàà
nà Qààzí
Qààzí
rè Qààzí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Pluperfect
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì Qàárì
mù Qàárì
nà Qàárì
Qàárì
lè Qàárì
rì Qàárì
rò Qàárì
nà Qààzírì
Qààzírì
rè Qààzírì
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Imperfective
mì Qàárì
mù Qàárì
nà Qàárì
Qàárì
lè Qàárì
rì Qàárì
rò Qàárì
nà Qààzírì
Qààzírì
rè Qààzírì
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Future
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
Qáà
Qáà
Qáà
Qáà
Qáà
Qáà
Qáà
Qáàzí
Qáàzí
Qáàzí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
Qàá
Qàá
Qàá
Qàá
Qàá
Qàá
Qàá
Qààzí
Qààzí
Qààzí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Optative
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
Qàá
Qàá
Qàá
Qàá
Qàá
Qàá
Qàá
Qààzí
Qààzí
Qààzí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
480
Verb class 5, intransitive, C(C)VX: )òògí ‘drag one’s feet’ (derived from )òògí ‘set
crawling’; see 7.3.2.1.2)
Perfective
Perfect
(uses transitive counterpart; cf.
7.3.2.1.2)
1SG
mì )òògínì
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mù )òògínìm
nà )òògínà
)òògílè
lè )òògílè
rì )òògírì
rò )òògírò
nà )òògìzínzà
)òògìzírè
rè )òògìzírè
Pluperfect
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Imperfective
mì )òògínì
mù )òògínìm
nà )òògínà
)òògílè
lè )òògílè
rì )òògírì
rò )òògírò
nà )òògìzínzà
)òògìzírè
rè )òògìzírè
Future
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
(uses transitive counterpart; cf.
7.3.2.1.2)
Optative
mìí
mùú
nàá
)àá
lèé
rìí
ròó
nàá
)àá
rèé
)òògìní
)òògìním
)òògìná
)òògìlé
)òògìlé
)òògìrí
)òògìró
)òògìzìnzá
)òògìzìré
)òògìzìré
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
481
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
)òògìní
)òògìním
)òògìná
)òògìlé
)òògìlé
)òògìrí
)òògìró
)òògìzìnzá
)òògìzìré
)òògìzìré
Verb class 6, transitive, C(C)VXC: QàànT ‘cause to finish (tr.)’
Perfective
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
Perfect
mì QàànT
mù QàànT
nà QàànT
QàànT
lè QàànT
rì QàànT
rò QàànT
nà Qààn`zí
Qààn`zí
rè Qààn`zí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Pluperfect
1SG
2SG
1&2SG
3SG
3SG.LOG
1PL
2PL
1&2PL
3PL
3PL.LOG
mì QàànTnì
mù QàànTnì
nà QàànTnì
QàànTnì
lè QàànTnì
rì QàànTnì
rò QàànTnì
nà Qààn`zírì
Qààn`zírì
rè Qààn`zírì
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
mì
mù
nà
)à
lè
rì
rò
nà
)à
rè
Qáán`
Qáán`
Qáán`
Qáán`
Qáán`
Qáán`
Qáán`
Qáán`zí
Qáán`zí
Qáán`zí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
mí
mú
ná
má
má
rí
ró
ná
má
má
QàànT
QàànT
QàànT
QàànT
QàànT
QàànT
QàànT
Qààn`zí
Qààn`zí
Qààn`zí
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
)ígà
Imperfective
mì QàànTnì
mù QàànTnì
nà QàànTnì
QàànTnì
lè QàànTnì
rì Q&