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Hello all.

We're having the great opportunity to have Zygmunt Frajzyngier
at our uni. He's giving some lectures on Chadic languages this
week. There are some really cool stuff in those langs
that might be of interest to you guys. So I thought I'd share
some of it.

First of all, I think it was Barry Garcia who asked about
topicalization some time ago, or was it Focus? Anyway.
Mina has a neat way of doing this. Something for Saalángal
perhaps? :)

Subjects can occur in either phrase final form or not. The
phrase final form has 'n' at the end, marking the end of
a phrase. The neat thing is that subjects which are
topicalized has the form with the suffix '-n' (and allophones).
Example:

   hall@m   wacing a   za *sang* k@  zl@gam ab@ hong g@lb@  t@  jip
   daughter DEM    3SG be  1SG   INF speak  ASC 2SG  better GEN hole
   'That girl said: me, talking with you, a grave is better than that.'

Notice thus that the pronoun 'sang' has the phrase final form
and thus is topicalized. Compare:

   zli  t@  haza *s@*  mbal sku
   meat GEN dog  1SG   like NEG
   'Dog meat, I don't like it.'

Here the pronoun 's@' is not in phrase final form.

Concerning focus, it is coded through vowel retention of the
preceding constituent:

   s@  lime     *gwazla* mumburko
   1SG see-DIST elephant yesterday
   'I saw an elephant, just yesterday.'

The deletion of the preceding vowel indicates that the adverb has
the same information value as the other elements of the clause:

   s@  lime     *gwazl*  mumburko
   1SG see-DIST elephant yesterday
   'I saw an elephant, just yesterday.'

This - I think - could be generalized to a wider range of uses.

Notes:
ASC = associative
{zl} = voiced lateral fricative
I've skipped tones as they are not important for this matter.

/ Daniel