LSAL 74: Topics in Descriptive and African Linguistics

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Topics in Descriptive and African Linguistics

Essays in Honor of Distinguished Professor Paul Newman

Samuel Gyasi Obeng (ed.)
Indiana University

Some of the papers in this volume are both descriptive and theoretical in nature whereas others are purely descriptive. Two things all the papers have in common are; the ways in which Paul Newman’s work has influenced the work of the individual authors; and the close and systematic attention each author pays to natural language data. Hyman’s chapter examines verb classes and verb morphology (perfective, the pluractional, and progressive) in Leggbó, an Upper Cross language spoken by the Abi and Yakurr, in Cross River State, Nigeria.

Heine’s chapter on contact-induced grammatical replication argues that although it is fairly easy to establish that lexical material has been transferred from one language to another, establishing such lexical transfer is not easy when it comes to grammatical replication, where no form-meaning units are involved. Using the sentence as his operational construct and taking the basic sentence structure of Akan as, Subject-NP VP, Ofori examines the function(s) of the non-contentive de and fa, their complementary usage, and formal difference in activity-based (embedded serial) sentences.

Schuh, Goge and Dole examine productivity of “ish” reduplication in Gudi Ngamo, a Chadic language spoken in Yobe State, Nigeria, by demonstrating that Gudi has a productive nominal reduplication process that expresses the concept “like a NOUN,” “NOUN-like,” or “NOUN-ish.” The authors also discuss the tone patterns of reduplicants. Obeng’s chapter describes Akan (Akuapem-Twi) deverbal nouns by grouping them into simple, reduplicated, compound, and functionally shifted. Obeng describes morphophonological processes like place and voice assimilations, vowel harmony, and tonal assimilation that take place during the formation of deverbal nouns.

The chapter by Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald outlines the split ergative system (ergative-absolutive and nominative-accusative constructions) of Paumari, a member of the Arawa family spoken in Brazil on the Purús, Ituxí, and Tapauá rivers with around 200 speakers. The author shows how the above constructions are marked including case marking, cross-referencing, noun class and gender agreement, and the order of constituents. Tristan Purvis' chapter discusses adverbial expressions of manner in Tigrinya, a Semitic language of Eritrea. Purvis provides an overview of several adverb constructions and then argues that these forms exist in their own grammatical category. He discusses manner adverbs in nominalization, prepositional phrases, subordinate clauses, and serial verb constructions. In the final chapter, Obeng describes the linguistic strategies used by politicians to create new political vocabulary and expressions. He identifies eponymy, clipping, borrowing, semantic change, compounding, derivation, and coinage, as being some of the strategies through which Ghanaian political vocabulary are created.


Samuel G. Obeng: Introduction

Larry M. Hyman: Perfective, Pluractional, and Progressive Aspect Formation in Leggbó

Bernd Heine: Identifying Instances of Contact-Induced Grammatical Replication

Seth Antwi Ofori: De and Fa in Activity-Based Sentences: A Reconsideration of Their Function(s), Complementary Usage, and Formal Difference

Russell G. Schuh with Umaru Mamu Goge and Jibir Audu Janga Dole: “Ish” Reduplication in Gudi Ngamo

Samuel G. Obeng: Akan Deverbal Nouns

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald: Syntactic Ergativity in Paumarí

Tristan M. Purvis with Salem Hailemariam: Adverbial Expressions of Manner in Tigrinya: A Question of Semantics or Syntax?

Samuel G. Obeng: Linguistic Pragmatics: Noun Formation in Ghanaian Political Discourse

Paul Newman – List of Publications

ISBN 9783895868146 (Hardbound). LINCOM Studies in African Linguistics 74. 174pp. 2009.

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