Early invitation for CALL workshop presentations

Joseph Lovestrand has sent the following message:

An online workshop on the theme “Words in Chadic languages: Phonology and morphosyntax” is being organized for August 29, 2022 in conjunction with the Colloquium on African Languages and Linguistics 2022.

Anyone who would like to contribute a presentation can express interest by emailing Joseph Lovestrand: jl119@soas.ac.uk

Planned participants include:

Théodore Bebey (University of Maroua)
Adam Mahmat (University of Maroua)
Hamidou Bappa (University of Maroua)
Ousmanou (University of Yaounde 1)
Mélanie Viljoen (SIL)
Joseph Lovestrand (SOAS University of London)
Ndokobai Dadak (SIL)
H. Ekkehard Wolff (Leipzig University)
Shannon Yee (SIL)
Sakine Ramat (FAPLN)

Words in Chadic languages: phonology and morphosyntax

Chadic languages have long been of interest to phonologists, in particular in regard to word prosodies: cases of vowel and consonant harmony in which phonological features are spread across an entire word (Lionnet & Hyman 2018: 633–646; Wolff 2021: 55–61). The most extreme cases of word prosodies are found in Central Chadic languages, while less extreme examples of phonological feature sharing are common throughout the language family (Pearce & Lovestrand forthcoming). Chadic languages also tend to have complex morphology, in particular in the verbal system where pronominal markers and other verbal morphemes (often called “extensions”) may have ambiguous status in regard to whether they are part of the verb (i.e., suffixes) or not (i.e., particles) (Jungraithmayr & Tourneux 1987). Since Chadic languages have both complex morphology and phonological processes that extend across a domain associated with wordhood, they are likely to exhibit patterns of conflicting criteria for wordhood of the type that has raised questions about the theoretical validity of wordhood and the morphology-syntax divide more generally (Tallman 2020). Of particular interest are cases where the domain of prosody or harmony does not match morphosyntactic criteria for wordhood, however, presentations on aspects of the phonology or morphology of Chadic languages will also be included in the workshop.

  • Jungraithmayr, Herrmann & Henry Tourneux (eds.). 1987. Etudes tchadiques, Classes et extensions verbales. Paris: Geuthner.
  • Lionnet, Florian & Larry M Hyman. 2018. Current issues in African phonology. In Tom Güldemann (ed.), The languages and linguistics of Africa, 602–708. De Gruyter Mouton.
  • Pearce, Mary & Joseph Lovestrand. forthcoming. Vowel harmony in Chadic languages. In Harry van der Hulst & Nancy Ritter (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Vowel Harmony. Oxford University Press.
  • Tallman, Adam J. R. 2020. Beyond grammatical and phonological words. Language and Linguistics Compass 14(2).
  • Wolff, H. Ekkehard. 2021. Historical phonology of Central Chadic: Prosodies and lexical reconstruction. Cambridge Univ Press.

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: https://join.skype.com/YTdz8ale1BIF

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. https://www.diu.edu/documents/theses/Lovestrand_Joseph-thesis.pdf (2 December, 2020).

Lovestrand, Joseph. 2017. Recording and archiving Barayin (Jalkiya) language data. London, SOAS: Endangered Languages Archive. https://elar.soas.ac.uk/Collection/MPI1035101 (2 December, 2012).

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

Skype talk on “Directionals and associated motion in Chadic languages”

Joseph Lovestrand has sent us the following message:

The Chadic Languages & Cultures group, run by Cameroonian linguists, is meeting online again on March 13th, 9 AM, Cameroon time (GMT+1). All are welcome to join the discussion!

Chadic Languages & Cultures
Saturday, March 13, 2021
9-10 am (Cameroon time, GMT+1)
Join via Skype: https://join.skype.com/YTdz8ale1BIF

Directionals and associated motion in Chadic languages
Joseph Lovestrand | SOAS University of London

[This presentation will be in French and English / Cette présentation sera en français et anglais]

In ongoing work (to be presented at WOCAL 10) I am looking at the grammaticalized expression of directional meaning (e.g. ventive extensions) and associated motion (e.g. ‘go and then V’ or ‘V and then come’) in Chadic languages, currently including data from 14 West Chadic, 20 Central Chadic and 4 East Chadic languages. All of the Central Chadic languages have a morphosyntactic means of expressing directional meaning, typically a suffix or post-verbal particle, and 9 of the Central Chadic languages have a set of three or more directionals including meanings such as UP, DOWN, IN, OUT, ON TOP, etc. These more complex directional semantics are not found in the descriptions of West and East Chadic languages, and 4 of the 18 West and East languages do not seem to have any grammaticalized way of expressing directional meaning. As noted by Belkadi (2015), directional markers in Chadic languages can also have a subsequent associated motion meaning (‘V and then come/go’) when combined with certain verbs. Of those languages that have directionals, this is reported for 6/20 Central Chadic languages, 2/11 West Chadic and 1/3 East Chadic languages. More common, but frequently overlooked, is the expression of prior associated motion (‘go and then V’) which is expressed in various kinds of multiverb constructions (e.g. auxiliary, conjunctive, serial verbs). It is found in 3/6 West Chadic, 10/14 Central Chadic, and 4/4 East Chadic languages. (Fewer sources are available for this function.)

A few issues raised include: the possible grammaticalization of prior AM into a translocative meaning, a possible prior AM interpretation of an allative suffix in Mbuko, the overlapping functions of morphology and multiverb constructions in some languages, the lexical-semantic contexts for subsequent AM interpretations, the asymmetrical distributions of ventive and allative meanings, and the need for more descriptive data, especially of East Chadic languages.

Belkadi, Aicha. 2015. Associated motion with deictic directionals: A comparative overview. SOAS Working Papers in Linguistics 17. 49–76.

New publication: Serial verb constructions in Barayin

Joseph Lovestrand has informed us that his dissertation on serial verb constructions in Barayin is now online: https://ora.ox.ac.uk/objects/uuid:39406562-02d3-46f5-abf3-180d22225925

Again, we would like to remind and encourage other linguists working on Chadic languages to also send such information. Please help us keep up to date with what is going on in Chadic Linguistics by sending us information about your research, new publications, conferences etc. (Contact)

Studies in African Linguistics online

Studies in African Linguistics is one of the journals where a number of articles on Chadic languages and linguistics have appeared. It is now possible to read these articles online and download them. Here is what can be found:

  • Dauda Muhammad Bagari 1971. Lexical hypothesis and Hausa. PDF
  • John Bryson Eulenberg 1971. A New Look at the Predicating Particles in Hausa. PDF
  • Charles H. Kraft 1971. A note on lateral fricatives in Chadic.  PDF
  • Paul Newman 1971. The Hausa negative markers.  PDF
  • N. Pilszczikowa-Chodak 1972. Tone-vowel height correlation and tone assignment in the patterns of verb and noun plurals in Hausa. PDF
  • Russell G. Schuh 1972. Rule Inversion in Chadic.  PDF
  • Paul Newman 1973. Grades, vowel-tone classes and extensions in the Hausa verbal system.  PDF
  • William R. Leben 1974. Rule inversion in Chadic: A reply. PDF
  • William R. Leben, Dauda M. Bagari 1975. A note on the base form of the Hausa verb. PDF
  • Paul Newman 1975. The non-correlation of tone and vowel height in Hausa. PDF
  • Nina Pilszczikowa-Chodak 1975. On the correlation of tone and vowel height in Hausa.  PDF
  • Zygmunt Frajzyngier 1976. Rule inversion in Chadic: an explanation.  PDF
  • Linda Dresel 1977. Some phonological aspects of the aquisition of Hausa. PDF
  • Karen H Ebert 1977. Some aspects of the Kera Verbal Structure. PDF
  • Zygmunt Frajzyngier 1977. On the intransitive copy pronouns in Chadic. PDF
  • Patrick McConvell 1977. Relativisation and the ordering of cross-reference rules in Hausa. PDF
  • Paul Newman 1977. Chadic extensions and pre-dative verb forms in Hausa. PDF
  • Philip Jaggar 1978. And what about…?’ – topicalization in Hausa. PDF
  • Paul Newman 1979. Explaining Hausa feminines. PDF
  • Zygmunt Frajzyngier 1980. The vowel system of Pero. PDF
  • Linda Hunter 1980. Stress in Hausa: an experimental study. PDF
  • Bello Ahmad Salim 1980. A note on the Hausa voiceless labials.  PDF
  • Stephen C. Anderson, Jeanette Swackhamer 1981. From Consonants to downstep in Podoko. PDF
  • Donald A. Burquest 1981. Evidence for object-verb ordering in Chadic. PDF
  • Graham Furniss 1981. Hausa disyllabic verbs: comments on base forms and extensions. PDF 
  • Donald G. Churma 1982. Rule inversion in Chadic: a closer look. PDF
  • Russell G. Schuh 1983. Kilba equational sentences. PDF
  • Paul Newman 1984. Ethonyms in Hausa. PDF
  • Mona Lindau-Webb 1985. Hausa vowels and dipthongs. PDF
  • Paul Newman 1986. Tone and affixation in Hausa. PDF
  • Philip J Jaggar 1988. Restrictive vs non-restrictive relative clauses in Hausa: where morphosyntax and semantics meet. PDF
  • Russell G. Schuh 1989. The reality of Hausa “low tone raising”; a response to Newman & Jaggar. PDF
  • Donald A. Burquest 1989. A note on Hausa plurals. PDF
  • Paul Newman, Philip J. Jaggar 1989. Low tone raising in Hausa: a critical assessment. PDF
  • Linda Schwartz 1989. Thematic linking in Hausa assymetric coordination. PDF
  • Paul Newman 1990. Internal evidence for final vowel lowering in Hausa. PDF
  • Bernard Tranel 1994. Tone sandhi and vowel deletion in Margi. PDF
  • William R Leben 1996. Tonal feet and the adaptation of English borrowing into Hausa. PDF
  • Aaron Shryock 1997. The classification of the Masa group of languages.  PDF
  • Russell G. Schuh 2002. Palatalization in West Chadic. PDF
  • Mahaman B Attouman 2009. Emplois et valeurs des marqueurs wáy et mànà en hawsa. PDF

Interaction of Morphology and Syntax — Case studies in Afroasiatic

A new publication on the “Interaction of Morphology and Syntax” in Afroasiatic languages will soon appear at Benjamins. It is edited by Zygmunt Frajzyngier and Erin Shay (University of Colorado at Boulder) and contains papers mostly on Cushitic and Chadic languages. Here is a description found at the website of Benjamins:

The present volume deals with hitherto unexplored issues on the interaction of morphology and syntax. These selected and invited papers mainly concern Cushitic and Chadic languages, the least-described members of the Afroasiatic family. Three papers in the volume explore one or more typological characteristics across an entire language family or branch, while others focus on one or two languages within a family and the implications of their structures for the family, the phylum, or linguistic typology as a whole. The diversity of topics addressed within the present volume reflects the great diversity of language structures and functions within the Afroasiatic phylum.

Table of contents

Zygmunt Frajzyngier and Erin Shay

Case marking, syntactic domains and information structure in Kabyle (Berber)
Amina Mettouchi

The internal and comparative reconstruction of verb extensions in early Chadic and Afroasiatic
Christopher Ehret

One way of becoming a dative subject
Zygmunt Frajzyngier

Coding the unexpected: Subject pronouns in East Dangla
Erin Shay

Ergative-active features of the Ethiopian Semitic type
Grover Hudson

Number as an exponent of gender in Cushitic
Maarten Mous

Relativization in Kambaata (Cushitic)
Yvonne Treis

Between coordination and subordination in Gawwada
Mauro Tosco

Author index

Language index

Subject index

New Books: A Grammar of Gidar & A Linguistic Geography of Africa

Two very important books have appeared. Our colleague Zygmunt Frajzyngier is the author of the first and co-author of an article in the second. Click on the pictures or links to get more details:

Frajzyngier, Zygmunt. 2008. A Grammar of Gidar. Frankfurt: Peter Lang.

“This reference grammar of Gidar, spoken in the Northern Province of Cameroon by some 40.000 people, contains hypotheses on the forms and functions of its linguistic structures and supporting argumentation and evidence. The language belongs to the Central Branch of Chadic languages, but its phonology, morphology, and syntax differ significantly from those of related Chadic languages and include rare or hitherto unobserved phenomena. “

Heine, Bernd and Derek Nurse (eds.) 2007. A Linguistic Geography of Africa, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Contents: Introduction Bernd Heine and Derek Nurse; 2. Is Africa a linguistic area? Bernd Heine and Zelealem Leyew; 3. Africa as a phonological area Nick Clements and Annie Rialland; 4. Africa as a morphosyntactic area Denis Creissels, Gerrit J. Dimmendaal, Zygmunt Frajzyngier and Christa König; 5. The Macro-Sudan belt Tom Güldemann; 6. The Tanzanian Rift Valley area Roland Kießling, Maarten Mous and Derek Nurse; 7. Ethiopia Joachim Crass and Ronny Meyer; 8. The marked-nominative languages of eastern Africa Christa König; 9. Africa’s verb-final languages Gerrit J. Dimmendaal.

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