A Grammar of Koyra Chiini: The Songhay of Timbuktu (Mouton by Jeffrey Heath

By Jeffrey Heath

This article offers grammar in English of a language of the Songhay kin of West Africa. The emphasis is on grammatical different types and morphosyntax. issues contain: focalization and relativization, logophoric pronouns, conjunctions and serial verbs.

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Extra resources for A Grammar of Koyra Chiini: The Songhay of Timbuktu (Mouton Grammar Library, 19)

Example text

Velar nasal): many cases of phonetic velar nasal [η] are simply surface assimilations of n (or an underspecified nasal) to a following velar stop, as in hiqka 'two' and hin^ ka (pronounced [hirjka]) 'be able to'. Word-final η occurs in most Songhay varieties but normally shows up as Λ in Timbuktu KCh. However, η does occur before vowels in a modest number of lexical items, including rjaa 'eat' and baija 'hippopotamus'. ' (glottal stop): this sound is fairly common in Arabic, and certain Songhays who know some Arabic retain the sound in borrowings: daa'iman 'never'.

G. object pronominal or postposition). Because the small set of relevant grammatical morphemes includes several beginning in a velar stop, but none beginning with a labial stop, in practice nasal-assimilation generally involves velarization of π to η before [k g}. Examples are ay din^ ga Ί picked it up' and neegen^ga On a toilet', pronounced [ajdirjga] and [jieigerjga]. )' is regularly followed by ka and VP, as in ay hin^ ka duu ga Ί can get it', and is therefore heard as ending in a velar nasal (the alveolar is clear in Abstractive nominalization hin-ey 'wealth').

A further indication of fusion is that [nej] from 34 3 Phonology noojey has a short diphthongal nucleus, while the regular VV-Contraction rule would give a long vowel. In KCh, the basic quotative verb 'say' is bar rather than nee as in neighboring KS. Contraction of noo 'give' in cases like (38a-b) therefore poses no threat of confusion between 'give' and 'say'. 2) before a third person PP. Some of these are high-frequency combinations: goo^ a ra 'be in it' (can be used partitively as well as spatially), goo^ i se 'be for them'.

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