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    On The Margins of Language: Ideophones, Interjections and Dependencies in Linguistic Theory
    (2017-05-10) Dingemanse, Mark
    On the margins of language: Ideophones, interjections and dependencies in linguistic theory.
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    Multiple Exponence In The Lusoga Verb Stem
    (2017-04-06) Hyman, Larry; Inkelas, Sharon; Jenga, Fred
    In this paper we address an unusual pattern of multiple exponence in Lusoga, a Bantu language spoken in Uganda, which bears on the questions of whether affix order is reducible to syntactic structure, whether derivation is always ordered before inflection, and what motivates multiple exponence in the first place. In Lusoga, both derivational and inflectional categories may be multiply exponed. The trigger of multiple exponence is the reciprocal suffix, which optionally triggers the doubling both of preceding derivational suffixes and of following inflectional suffixes. In these cases, each of the doubled affixes appear both before (closer to the root) and after the reciprocal. We attribute this pattern to restructuring, arguing that the inherited Bantu stem consisting of a root + suffixes has been reanalyzed as a compound-like structure with two internal constituents, the second headed by the reciprocal morpheme, each potentially undergoing parallel derivation and inflection.
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    Multiple Argument Marking In Bantoid: From Syntheticity To Analyticity
    (2017-07-05) Hyman, Larry
    This paper addresses the mechanisms of change that lead from syntheticity to analyticity in the Bantoid languages of the Nigeria-Cameroon borderland area. I address the different strategies that are adopted as these languages lose applicative “verb extensions” found elsewhere in Bantu and Niger-Congo. I show that although historical recipient, benefactive, and instrumental applicative marking on verbs allowed multiple object noun phrases (send-APPL chief letter, cook-APPL child rice, cut-APPL knife meat), they have been replaced by adpositional phrases and/or serial verb constructions in all branches of Bantoid. I map out the different analytic strategies that have been adopted and reconstruct the original verbal, nominal and pronominal sources of the different grammaticalization processes. Of particular interest is the development of a recipient/benefactive preposition ‘to, for’ from the word for ‘hand’ and a comitative/instrumental preposition ‘with’ from a third person plural pronoun.
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    Copulas Originating From The Imperative Of 'see/Look' Verbs In Mande Languages
    (2017-07-05) Creissels, Denis
    This paper analyzes Mande data that suggest a grammaticalization path leading from the imperative of ‘see/look’ verbs to ostensive predicators (i.e. words functionally similar to French voici, Italian ecco, or Russian vot), and further to copulas. Clear cases of copulas cognate with ‘see/look’ verbs are found in several branches of the Mande family, and there is convincing evidence that they did not develop from the semantic bleaching of forms originally meaning ‘is seen/found’ (another plausible grammaticalization path leading from ‘see’ verbs to copulas), but from the routinization of the ostensive use of the imperative of ‘see/look’. Comparison of the Mande data with the Arabic data provided by Taine-Cheikh (2013) shows however that this is not the only possibility for imperatives of ‘see/look’ verbs to grammaticalize into copulas, since in the Arabic varieties in which the imperative form of ‘see’ has become a plain copula, the most plausible explanation is that a modal/discursive particle resulting from the grammaticalization of the imperative of ‘see’ has undergone a process of semantic bleaching in the context of an equative or locational predicative construction that initially included no overt predicator.
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    Ellipsis In Arabic Fragment Answers
    (2017-12-15) Algryani, Ali
    Fragment answers are short answers to questions consisting of non-sentential XPs that convey the same propositional content as complete sentential answers. This squib discusses the syntax of ellipsis in Arabic fragments answers focusing on whether or not ellipsis in fragmentary utterances contains syntactic structure and whether, if so, such fragmentary XPs can be derived via A-bar movement to a clause-initial position plus TP deletion at PF in a way similar to that of Merchant (2004). It is argued that ellipsis in Arabic fragment answers contains syntactic structure and therefore can be analysed as TP ellipsis derived by focus movement of the remnant to a left peripheral position followed by deletion of the TP constituting the background information. Such an analysis captures some morpho-syntactic effects such as morphological case-matching, preposition-stranding, and islands effects.
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    Emergence Of Optional Accusative Case Marking In Khoe Languages
    (2018-04-24) McGregor, William
    A number of languages of the Khoe family – one of three genetic lineages comprising southern African Khoisan – show an accusative marker, typically a postposition which in its elsewhere form has the shape (-)(ʔ)à. In all languages for which adequate data is available, this postposition is optional on object NPs, at least in some circumstances. A few proposals have been made for the grammaticalisation of this marker, notably by Kilian-Hatz (2008: 55; 2013: 376–378). However, not only are these proposals specific to the Khwe language, but also they fail to account for the fact that (-)(ʔ)à marks the accusative and that it is optional. In this paper I widen the net to the Khoe family as a whole, and consider the synchronic situations for the usage of the marker (-)(ʔ)à and its putative cognates in those languages for which pertinent data is available. This is used to motivate a diachronic proposal concerning the grammaticalisation of (-)(ʔ)à in the modern languages. Specifically, it is proposed that the accusative marker began life as a presentative copula; this served to index an item, drawing the addressee’s attention to it. It later became an optional accusative marker via grammaticalisation processes akin to those outlined in McGregor (2008; 2010; 2013; 2017) for the development of optional ergative case markers in some Australian languages. Thus the grammaticalisation scenario proposed is consistent with pathways of development of other optional case-markers.
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    Verbal Semantics And Differential Object Marking In Lycopolitan Coptic
    (2018-04-24) Engsheden, Åke
    This paper seeks to clarify the role of affectedness for the marking of direct objects through an analysis of a corpus of Lycopolitan Coptic texts (4th to 5th centuries AD). Whereas previous research has shown the importance of definiteness for the use of the direct object marker n with the so-called imperfective tenses (present and imperfect), it has proven more difficult to establish why it alternates in the non-imperfective with a zero marker. An attempt is made here to correlate the two different object constructions to Tsunoda’s verb-type hierarchy, which was conceived to capture the degree of affectedness. It appears that the more affected a direct object is, the more likely it is to receive the direct object marker; whenever the object is little affected or unaffected, the zero-marked construction is preferred.
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    From Suffix To Prefix To Interposition Via Differential Object Marking In Egyptian-Coptic
    (2018-04-24) Grossman, Eitan
    This article argues that Differential Argument Indexing (DOI) and Differential Argument Marking (DOM) constructions in Coptic (Afroasiatic, Egypt) are reanalyzed, resulting in a set of verbs with interposed P-indexes within bipartite stems (DeLancey 1996; Nichols 2003). Basically, incorporated noun phrases with prefixed possessor indexes become parts of derived verbs with unpredictable lexical semantics, and their erstwhile possessor prefixes, entrapped within the derived verb, are reanalyzed as P-interpositions. Since this possessor prefix ultimately developed from an earlier possessor suffix, the pathway documented here, stripped down to its essentials, is suffix → prefix → interposition, and erstwhile complex construction → bipartite stem. Finally, an overt genitive prefix that marks lexical possessors of incorporated noun phrases is reanalyzed as an accusative case prefix. These changes introduce new complexity into Coptic Differential Argument Marking: not only are P arguments either indexed as suffixes, case marked, or incorporated for the majority of verbs, they can be indexed as interpositions for a lexically determined set of verbs.
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    Differential Object Marking In Chichewa
    (2018-04-24) Downing, Laura
    In most Bantu languages, an object prefix can occur on the verb. In some Bantu languages, this object prefix has a purely anaphoric function, while in others it has an additional agreement function. Since Bresnan & Mchombo, Chichewa (Bantu N.31 Malawi) has been considered a textbook example of a language where the object marker is “always an incorporated pronoun and never a non-referential marker of grammatical agreement” (Bresnan & Mchombo 1987: 755). That is, in order for an overt nominal phrase (DP) to co-occur in the same sentence with an object prefix, the DP must be a dislocated Topic. Conversely, a dislocated object DP (a Topic) must be anaphorically bound to an object prefix. In this paper I present new Chichewa data showing that in modern colloquial Chichewa there is a human/non-human asymmetry in object marking. Human object DPs commonly co-occur with an object prefix, whether the object is a dislocated Topic or not, whereas non-human ones commonly do not co-occur with an object prefix, even when they are dislocated Topics. I conclude that Chichewa shows differential object marking (or object indexation), as humanness is a more important condition on the occurrence of object prefixes than word order. The implications of the Chichewa (and other Bantu) data for recent proposals like Creissels (2006), Dalrymple & Nikolaeva (2011) and Iemmolo (2013; 2014) about the diachronic development of DOM agreement systems from anaphoric Topic marking systems are discussed, and an alternative constraints-based account is proposed.
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    Linguistic Complexity: A Case Study From Swahili
    (2018-05-23) Jerro, Kyle
    This paper addresses the question of linguistic complexity in Swahili, a Bantu language spoken in East and Central Africa. Literature on linguistic complexity in other languages has argued that high levels of second-language learning affect linguistic complexity over time. Swahili serves as an ideal case study for this question because it has been used as a lingua franca for several centuries. I compare the phonological and morphological systems in Swahili to five other related Bantu languages, as well as compare all six languages to the original Proto-Bantu systems. The results of the study show that there is no decrease in phonological or morphological complexity in (standard) Swahili when compared to other closely related Bantu languages, though the grammar has strongly diverged from the other related languages.
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    Inter-Party Insults In Political Discourse In Ghana: A Critical Discourse Analysis
    (2018-05-23) Ofori, Emmanuel Amo
    In recent times, politics in Ghana has become the politics of personal attack, vilification, and insults. Various attempts have been made to stop this brand of politics, including one spearheaded by the Media Foundation for West Africa, which releases a weekly report to the general public aimed at shaming politicians who are involved in the politics of insults. If a country could go to the extent of shaming politicians involved in politics of insults, then it shows how the issue of intemperate language has become entrenched in Ghanaian political discourse. Thus, there is a need to conduct a thorough analysis of the realization of insults in Ghanaian political discussion. Utilizing a Critical Discourse Analysis approach, this paper analyzes the underlying ideologies in the representation of insults in pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) newspapers. It further compares and contrasts the use of insults in the newspapers.
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    Classification of Guébie Within Kru
    (2018-05-23) Sande, Hannah Leigh
    Guébie, a Kru language spoken in Côte d’Ivoire, is currently doubly classified within Eastern Kru according to Ethnologue (Lewis et al. 2013). It is listed as a dialect of two distinct subgroups, Bété and Dida. This double classification is clearly problematic, and this paper provides the initial work towards addressing the correct classification of the language. Here I compare the phonological and syntactic properties of Guébie with surrounding Bété and Dida languages in order to determine its relatedness to each subgroup. I conclude that Guébie is more closely related to Vata, a Dida language, than to Bété.
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    How Multilingual Policies Can Fail: Language Politics Among Ethiopian Political Parties
    (2018-05-23) Worku, Mehari Zemelak
    Because language has instrumental as well as symbolic values, the issue of language will always have a political aspect (Smith 2008). Often, the choice of language and its use is construed as one of the central traits to people’s definition of themselves. Besides, any given state must decide or determine the language that it deems appropriate to carry out its development and to generate, disseminate and enrich the knowledge necessary for such development. However, the case grows problematic when it comes to Sub-Saharan Africa where “every language carries a distinct and weighty baggage” of identity (Obeng & Purvis 1999). The decision was not easy for different regimes in Ethiopia, home of more than 80 ethnic groups (CSA 2008). The three consecutive regimes which have ruled the country for the last 75 years followed different paths in addressing this diversity management question. The reframing of the country under ethnic federalism, which legislates Amharic as the working language of the federal government (hereafter WL) and guarantees the right of each ethnic state to decide its own WL, is the recent attempt to respond to the same politics of recognition. However, dissatisfied voices regarding the current language policy (hereafter LP) can still be heard among political groups. Some see it as ‘not enough’ while others see it as Balkanization. Despite a few research efforts and publications on the LPs of the consecutive governments of Ethiopia, there has been no research done on the alternative policies and options available among the political parties or their relative value as LPs. Thus, the grand objective of this study is to survey, analyze and evaluate the linguistic proposals of Ethiopian political parties in government, education, and endangered languages.
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    Linguistic Imperialism And Language Decolonisation In Africa Through Documentation And Preservation
    (2018-05-23) Agyekum, Kofi
    This paper addresses the politics of language use in African nations and societies. It highlights the role of power and economics in the choice of language. It discusses linguistic imperialism and language shift, and how they lead to language endangerment. The paper also discusses linguistic decolonization whereby societies resist linguistic domination and endangerment and embark on language maintenance. It touches on the methods employed in language decolonisation, namely language revitalisation, resistance, maintenance, documentation and preservation. Attention will be on lexicology, terminology and the role of radio and TV. We argue that as a society tries to redeem itself from linguistic imperialism through decolonisation, certain stronger politico-economic factors push it back into linguistic imperialism. We will find out that some of the indigenous people themselves kick against language decolonisation. The paper hinges on the theoretical base of language endangerment. Examples are taken from African and Ghanaian languages with emphasis on Akan.
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    Dictionary Day: A Community-Driven Approach To Dictionary Compilation
    (2018-05-23) Gelles, Bryan
    A common component of language documentation is the compilation of a small dictionary. The method of compilation has changed very little in the last century: most documentarians elicit individual lexical items from a speaker and check the item through both translation and backtranslation with other speakers. Two major problems with this method are the absence of larger community engagement and idiosyncratic problems that come from lexical item elicitation. Animere is an endangered language spoken by around thirty speakers all aged over forty years. The speech community is located in Kecheibi, northern Volta Region, Ghana. Over a five month period I began the initial documentation of Animere with funds provided by a Small Grant from the Endangered Languages Documentation Programme, integrating Dictionary Day, one day a week when members of the community would gather to discuss lexical items. This method proved highly successful: I saved time and funds by making use of the speech community’s intuition while obtaining valuable folk linguistic information when there was disagreement. Furthermore, the speech community was not only engaged but agentive, allowing for genuine consultation between the linguist and the speech community. The major drawback, however, is lack of synergy among documentarians and other linguists when excluding prescribed data collection methods.
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    Language Endangerment In Southwestern Burkina: A Tale Of Two Tiefos
    (2018-05-23) Hantgan-Sonko, Abbie
    Most of the thirty or so small-population languages of southwestern Burkina Faso are still reasonably viable in spite of the spread of Jula as the dominant regional vernacular. An unusual case is Tiefo, which is really two distinct but closely related and geographically contiguous Gur languages. One, here dubbed Tiefo-N, was spoken in the villages of Noumoudara and Gnanfongo (Nyafogo). The other, Tiefo-D, was spoken in the nearby village cluster of Dramandougou. Several other ethnically Tiefo villages in the zone had already been completely Jula-ised by the mid-20th Century. Tiefo-N is moribund (a handful of ageing semi-speakers in Gnanfogo, none in Noumoudara), the villagers having gone over to Jula. By contrast, Tiefo-D is in a relatively comfortable bilingual relationship to Jula and is still spoken to some extent even by children, though everyone also speaks Jula. This paper clarifies the relationship between Tiefo-N and Tiefo-D and addresses the question why the two languages have had such different fates
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    Consonant Substitution In Child Language (Ikwere)
    (2018-05-23) Alerechi , Roseline
    The Ikwere language is spoken in four out of the twenty-three Local Government Areas (LGAs) of Rivers State of Nigeria, namely, Port Harcourt, Obio/Akpor, Emohua and Ikwerre LGAs. Like Kana, Kalabari and Ekpeye, it is one of the major languages of Rivers State of Nigeria used in broadcasting in the electronic media. The Ikwere language is classified as an Igboid language of the West Benue-Congo family of the Niger-Congo phylum of languages (Williamson 1988: 67, 71, Williamson & Blench 2000: 31). This paper treats consonant substitution in the speech of the Ikwere child. It demonstrates that children use of a language can contribute to the divergent nature of that language as they always strive for simplification of the target language. Using simple descriptive method of data analysis, the paper identifies the various substitutions of consonant sounds, which characterize the Ikwere children’s utterances. It stresses that the substitutions are regular and rule governed and hence implies the operation of some phonological processes. Some of the processes are strengthening and weakening of consonants, loss of suction of labial implosives causing them to become labial plosives, devoicing of voiced consonants, etc. While some of these processes are identical with the adult language, others are peculiar to children, demonstrating the relationships between the phonological processes in both forms of speech. It is worthy of note that highlighting the relationships and differences will make for effective communication between children and adults.
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    A Morphosyntactic Analysis Of Adjectives In Two Kwa Languages: Ga And Dangme
    (2018-05-23) Oforiwah Caesar, Regina; Ollennu, Yvonne
    The adjective category normally serves as attribute for the nouns in languages that do have them. The paper investigates the morphosyntactic properties of adjectives in two Kwa languages, Ga and Dangme. Both languages have derived and non-derived adjectives. The paper which is mainly descriptive, examines the similarities and differences that exist between these two Kwa languages in terms of their morphological and syntactic features. The paper reveals that though similarities exist in the occurrence of adjectives syntactically, there exist differences in their morphological properties. On the other hand, Ga and Dangme show agreement in terms of number with the head noun for all adjectives used attributively. The paper concludes that in both languages, adjective occur after the head noun in attributive position. Predication of adjectives can occur in nominal forms and the verbal equivalence is also employed in both languages. Plural marking in adjectives is through reduplication and affixation in Ga while in Dangme, it is only through affixation. Data for this paper were collected from both primary and secondary sources.
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    Towards A Unified Theory Of Morphological Productivity In The Bantu Languages: A Corpus Analysis Of Nominalization Patterns In Swahili
    (2018-05-23) Kloehn, Nick
    Models arguing for a connection between morphological productivity and relative morpheme frequency have focused on languages with relatively low average morpheme to word ratios. Typologically synthetic languages like Swahili which have relatively high average morpheme to word ratios present a challenge for such models. This study investigates the process of agentive nominalization from the perspective of the Dual Route Model. The findings suggest that all agentive nominal forms should decompose when accessed and thus that speakers of Swahili should include these morphemes in their lexical inventory apart from root morphemes. This process appears to not be influence by noun classification, or verbal derivation.
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    The Acoustic Vowel Space Of Anyi In Light Of The Cardinal Vowel System And The Dispersion Focalization Theory
    (2018-05-23) Koffi, Ettien
    The Cardinal Vowel System (CVS) and the Dispersion Focalization Theory (DFT) make an important assumption about the inventory of vowels in world languages. The claim is that languages organize their vowels in a certain way in the auditory-perceptual space so as to maximize intelligibility. The vowel diagrams of African languages in influential publications such as Welmers (1973: 20–45) explicitly or implicitly reflect this assumption. However, persistent confusions between [ɪ] and [e] among Anyi Morofu speakers have aroused my curiosity and led me to investigate the matter acoustically. The findings reported here show that the vowel space of Anyi Morofu is in a between and betwixt state. The data indicates that this dialect is moving from a nine-vowel system to an eight-vowel system through the merger of [ɪ] and [e]. There are also signs of the impending merger of [ʊ] and [o].