Skype talk on “Sentence-final particles in Barayin”

Joseph Lovestrand has sent the following invitation to another Skype Talk:

The Chadic Languages & Cultures group, run by Cameroonian linguists, is meeting online Saturday 28 August, 9 AM, Cameroon time (UTC+1). All are welcome to join the discussion (in French and English)!

Chadic Languages & Cultures
Saturday, 28 August, 2021
9 AM (Cameroon time, UTC+1)
Join via Skype:

Sentence-final particles in Barayin
Joseph Lovestrand
SOAS University of London

This presentation is a first exploration of the distribution and functions of seven sentence-final particles in Barayin based on the analysis of a 25,000-word corpus, primarily of transcribed monologues (Lovestrand 2017). The first two types of particles are widespread in Chadic languages: the negation marker /do/ and the interrogative marker /saŋ/. These markers only occur in a sentence-final position and appear to be monofunctional. These markers are closely related to the next two. The conjunction /sane/ ‘or’ can act as a conjunction presenting alternatives, but in a sentence-final position it is an interrogative marker with essentially the same function as /saŋ/. The sentence-final particle /kudi/ always follows the negation marker /do/. Its precise function is not clear, but it is assumed to intensify the negator in a similar sense to the expression “not at all” in English or “pas du tout” in French. The particle /atti/ seems to have a general affirmative function. It is used on its own to express agreement in dialogues. As a sentence-final particle in monologues, its function is less clear, but it could be interpreted as an intensifier analogous to “really” in English.

The other two sentence-final particles in the corpus are words from Chadian Arabic. The word /kalas/ or /halas/ is from Chadian Arabic ‘finished’. It is the 11th most frequent word in the corpus. In addition to occurring at the end of sentences, it is sometimes found transcribed in a sentence-initial position or on its own, suggesting it can appear as an interjection without being part of an adjacent clause. There are cases where /kalas/ or /halas/ is followed by the background marker /ná/ (Lovestrand 2018) thus verifying its integration in the syntax. The other Arabic-origin sentence-final particle is /bas/ ‘only’. This word is sometimes used to simply mean ‘only’, and in this function it can also occur in a non-final position. As a sentence-final particle, /bas/ can take on pragmatic functions of emphasis and downplaying in a manner analogous to some uses of “just” in English. Note that /bas/ in Chadian Arabic is not a sentence-final particle.

Lovestrand, Joseph. 2012. The linguistic structure of Baraïn (Chadic). Dallas, TX: Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics MA thesis. (2 December, 2020).

Lovestrand, Joseph. 2017. Recording and archiving Barayin (Jalkiya) language data. London, SOAS: Endangered Languages Archive. (2 December, 2012).

Lovestrand, Joseph. 2018. The background marker na in Barayin. Journal of African Languages and Linguistics 39(1). 1–39.


Presenting Chadic research online on Zenodo & Academia is an open-access repository that allows researchers to deposit research papers, data sets, research software, reports, and any other research related digital artifacts. For each submission, a digital object identifier (DOI) is created, which makes the stored items easily citeable. Find out more about Zenodo here.

Our colleague Roger Blench has uploaded a paper he presented at the Conference on African Languages and Linguistics a couple of months ago and it is now available for download or watching on Zenodo: The South Bauchi languages of Central Nigeria: a fresh overview based on recent fieldwork

Our colleague Joseph Lovestrand has uploaded a talk on “Manner demonstratives in Barayin (East Chadic)” he presented at the Dallas International Academic Lens (DIAL) conference, which is also available for download or watching on Zenodo.

Roger Blench has also uploaded many of his conference presentations, papers maps, wordlists, reports and even whole books on, e.g.

More by Roger Blench on

Online repositories like Zenodo and Academia will probably become more popular. Please let the rest of us know whenever you publish something related to Chadic on these platforms so we can keep track of what is going on in Chadic Studies.

Unpublished Data and Reports

The following unpublished data and reports can be downloaded from

Thanks go to SIL and Roger Blench who provided these data.

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