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Basic morphosyntax of verbal and non-verbal clauses in San-Maka

Le morphosyntaxe de base des phrases verbales et non-verbales en san-maka
Базовый морфосинтаксис глагольных и неглагольных предложений в сан-мака
Elena Perekhvalskaya

Résumés

L'article présente un aperçu des constructions verbales de base en san-maka, une langue Mandé du Burkina Faso. L'introduction fournit des faits généraux sur le san-maka : sa position dans le groupe San-Sane, le système phonologique segmental et tonal, la morphologie des noms et des pronoms. La partie principale de l'article traite des constructions prédicatives de san-maka. Le paradigme morphologique du verbe se compose de trois formes aspectuelles : neutre, perfective (accomplie) et imperfective (inaccomplie). Les formes accomplie et inaccomplie se combinent avec des marqueurs prédicatifs, dont certains semblent être dérivés des copules. Les valeurs grammaticales des constructions prédicatives sont analysées. Il est montré que les deux constructions imperfectives disponibles en san-maka diffèrent par leurs structures d'information et par les intentions pragmatiques du locuteur. La section finale traite des prédications non-verbales. Dans la conclusion, des similitudes entre certains mots grammaticaux (copules, marqueurs prédicatifs, la marque de focalisation) sont discutées.

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1This article presents an overview of the main verbal constructions of San-Maka, a Mande language of Burkina Faso. The article is structured as follows: the introduction provides general facts on San-Maka, its position in the San/Sane language cluster, and basic information on its phonetics and noun morphology. This is followed by a description of San verbal morphology and predicative constructions. In the final section, an overview of San-Maka non-verbal predications is given.

2This article is based on language data gathered by the author during two field work sessions in Burkina Faso (2016, 2017), data from a published San-French dictionary (Boo nɛn sɛ́wɛ) and Primer (Ka daa wɔ); as well as on works on San-Maka by Suzy Platiel (1974) and Moïse Paré (1998, 1999).

1. The San cluster

3Southern San (San-Maka) is a language of the Eastern group of the Mande language family. It belongs to a dialect / language cluster known as San or Samo. Sometimes the term Sanan is used which represents a plural form of San. According to the Ethnologue, there were 233 000 San speakers in 2009. This language is spoken almost exclusively in the provinces of Sourou (with the center in Tougan) and Nayala (with the center in Toma) in Burkina Faso.

4The divisions within the cluster are subject to debate. The most popular proposal is a subdivision into three varieties: Maka in the South, Makya and Maya in the North. The northern region is smaller as well as much less homogenous from a linguistic point of view (Berthelette 2001: 5-7).

5The names of the three varieties are based on the expression ‘I say’ in the respective varieties (Platiel 1974: 25). Traditionally in linguistic literature the northern varieties are referred to as Sane, with the term San designating the Southern dialect (see for example Vydrine, Bergman, Benjamin 2001), these labels were first proposed by André Prost (1981: 18). William Welmers (1958) expressed the idea that Northen and Southern San varieties are in fact different languages, as they are completely unintelligible, while Joseph Greenberg (1963: 8) apparently regarded all varieties of San as one language. The main difference of opinion on the subdivision of San concerns the opposition between southern and northern varieties, i.e. “the languages of Toma and Tougan”; they can be considered as one language (Greenberg), two dialects (Prost 1981) or three (Platiel 1974) of the same language, or as two different languages (Welmers 1958). Though Platiel refers to three dialects (Maka, Makya and Maya), she notes a clear cultural division, since « chacune de ces deux populations considère l’autre comme étrangère » (Platiel 1974: 25).

  • 1  Each dictionary contains an orthographic guide and a text sample.
  • 2  Macaa reflects the pronunciation [maʧaa].

6There is also debate concerning the names of these speech varieties. The San-French dictionary (Boo nɛn sɛ́wɛ s.d., 4) mentions three dialects of San: Mà kaa (Maka), Mà tiaa (Makya) and Mà yaa (Maya). Southern San, which includes the variant of Toma, is defined there as Mà kaa. The two new unpublished dictionaries by SIL1 are titled: Guide d’orthographe san macaa and Guide d’orthographe san mayaa, where he Macaa dialect corresponds to the Mà tiaa dialect mentioned in the San-French dictionary2.

Fig. 1. San varieties (Vydrine, Bergman, Benjamin 2001)

Fig. 1. San varieties (Vydrine, Bergman, Benjamin 2001)

7Linguists working on the San language cluster agree that compared to the northern speech varieties, the Southern part is most homogenous. In the area of San-Maka (or San as opposed to Sane) there are only minor differences among varieties. The description of nominal and verbal morphology by Moïse Paré (1998, 1999) was based on the Yaba variant of San-Maka, noting certain differences between Yaba and Toma varieties. Some of these differences are dealt with in this article.

8The situation in the Northern area is more complicated. According to Erwin Ebermann, within Northern San four different “lects” can be distinguished. In addition to Maya (Ko on Ebermann’s map) and Makya (Ba on the map), Ebermann notes a transitional variety: To which is situated between the Makya and Maya zones as well as the Fo variety localized in the North-West Sourou province near the border with Mali (Ebermann n.d.). San literacy workers consulted on this subject are rather skeptical on the relevance of this subdivision and insist on the existence of only three “official” San varieties, although they do mention significant cultural distinctions in the area where Ebermann’s Fo variety is spoken.

  • 3  The purple points on the Ebermann’s map are Fula-speaking villages of the so­‑called rimaibé, eth (...)

Fig. 2 Northern San varieties according to Erwin Ebermann3

Fig. 2 Northern San varieties according to Erwin Ebermann3

9Suzy Platiel (1974: 24) mentions four varieties (“parlers”) in the Makya zone: Daalo, Daale, Toa and Dya-kaso. Platiel and Ebermann agree that the Maya dialect on the North-East is quite homogenous. As for the Makya zone, it seems to be linguistically rather diverse including three or four different dialects.

10Writing systems have been elaborated for three varieties: Maka, Maya and Makya. The written form of San-Maka is based on the variety spoken in Toma, the administrative centre of the Nayala province. In this paper, this will be the variety under study.

Table 1. Vowels

Front

Middle

Back

Closed

ŋ

High

i ḭ

u ṵ

Mid-high

e

ə

o

Mid-low

ɛ ɛ̰

ɔ ɔ̰

Low

a a̰

2. General information on the language

2.1.1. Phonetics

11The system of vowels in San-Maka is represented at the Table 1.

12Comments:

  • 4  In this article, vocalic nasalization is marked with tilda below the letter.

131) Nasalization is a distinctive feature, oral phonemes /o/ and /ə/ have no nasal counterparts.4

142) I regard “long vowels” as combinations of two identical vowels: pí ‘fonio’ ~ píí ‘market’; zṵ́ ‘reject’ ~ zṵ́ṵ́ ‘husband’.

153) The phoneme /ŋ/ is classified as a vowel. Like other vowels, it is a tone-bearing unit.

Table 2. Consonants

Labial

Dental

Palatal

Velar

Uvular

Unvoiced stops (plosives)

p

t

k’

k

Voiced stops

b

d

g’

g

Unvoiced fricatives

f

s

h

Voiced fricatives

z

Sonorants

Approximants

w

l

y

Vibrant

r

Nazals

m

n

ɲ

16Comments:

  • 5  The final ŋ designates the floating nasal element (see below).

171) The palatal consonants /k’/ and /g’/ may be pronounced as affricates [ʧ] and [ʤ] or as palatals [k’] and [g’] respectively. Following San orthography, in this paper these sounds are spelled as ki and gi, therefore, kio(ŋ)5 ‘house’ may be pronounced as [k’o] or [ʧo].

  • 6  In order to distinguish the floating nasal element from the final nasal vowel -ŋ, it is designated (...)

182) The floating nasal element ŋ: some words in San Maka have a stem final nasal element, which is normally not pronounced. These are mainly nouns,6 and also several adjectives and adverbs; it is not characteristic for verbs.

193) Vowel harmony affects vowel height: within one phonetic word, vowels can be either all mid‑open (ɔ, ɛ) or mid‑closed (o, e).

20An important phonetic feature in Maka that is unique among Mande languages is the existence of harmonic variants for two clitics and one bound morpheme. These are a copula of identification nɛ̄ / nē / nī, a postposition ́ / né / ní ‘in, at’, and the allomorphs of the plural marker appearing after the (-ŋ) stems -ní /-nə /-nɛ́ /‑nɔ́ /‑ná. The distribution of the varians is shown in Table 3.

Table 3Distribution of synharmonic varians

Copula of identification

Postposition ‘in’

Plural marker

Left context

High

i, u

nī

ní

ní

Mid-high

e

nē

né

nə́

ə

o

Mid-low

ɛ, ɔ

nɛ̄

nɛ́

nɛ́

ɔ

nɔ́

Low

a

ná

21Examples. The copula of existence: Māā tásá nɛ̄. ‘It is my bowl’. Māā kiō(ŋ) nē. ‘It is my house’. Māā būūkūrù nī. ‘It is my machete’.

22The postposition ‘in, at’: làŋdā nɛ́ ‘in tradition’, nɔ̀ nɛ́ ‘in the stomach’, kíwí gólé né ‘in the city (lit.: in big village)’, wù bósò né ‘in the preparation of tô’; píí ní ‘in the market’, wù ní ‘in tô’.

23Plural marker: sāŋ́-ná ‘the San people’, dɔ̰̄ɔ̰̀(ŋ)-nɔ́ ‘relatives’, mɛ̀(ŋ)-nɛ́ ‘certain (PL)’, kōō(ŋ)-nə́ ‘chickens’, kə́(ŋ)-nə́ ‘calaos’, bāsā̰kóé(ŋ)-nə́ ‘morenga fruits’, mī(ŋ)-ní ‘people’.

2.1.2. Tonal system.

24San-Maka is a tonal language with three level tones, designated, according to IPA, by acute, macron and gravis diacritics. Tones in San-Maka play a role in both the lexicon and grammar. There are minimal pairs confirming the lexical function of tones (bálá ‘individual field’ ~ bàlà ‘stick’; pà̰à̰ ‘cheek ~ pà̰á̰ ‘force’) as well as their grammatical functions (e.g. in the verbal paradigm: ‘to come’ dāā, neutral form vs. dāà, perfective). In compound nouns, the tone of the second element is replaced by a higher one: nɛ̄ ‘child’, lɔ̄ ‘woman’ nɛ̄ lɔ́ ‘daughter’. Tonal distinctions also mark other grammatical functions.

2.2. Noun

25Nouns in San Maka may be divided into two classes: 1) those whose stems end with the floating nasal element ŋ; 2) all other words. There are minimal and quasi minimal pairs: dā ‘fetish’ ~ dā(ŋ) ‘limit’; dɔ́ ‘which also’~ dɔ́(ŋ) ‘pot’; bàá(ŋ) ‘bird’~ bāā ‘run’ ~ bà̰á̰ ‘place’ etc. The floating nasal element of an NP affects the form of certain grammatical elements, which follow it, such as the plural marker and certain predicative markers.

26Depending on the structure of the possessive nominal constructions, nouns are divided into two classes: free (alienable) and relational (inalienable). In a possessive group, free nouns require a possessive marker (possessive postposition) : Kōōdɛ́ ā kiō(ŋ) ‘Kodé’s house’. Relational nouns (terms for body parts, certain kinship terms) are used without this marker: Kōōdɛ́ gólógḭ́ḭ́ ‘Kodé’s elder brother’.

27Plurality is consistently marked on NPs. The form of the plural marker depends on the type of the noun or adjective stem. Words with stems form the plural with a high-tone suffix -ná/ -nə́/ -nɔ́/ -ní. The vowel is chosen according to the final vowel of the noun stem (see table 3). Other words form plurals by adding the suffix ŋ which carries a high tone if the stem has the structure CV; otherwise it acquires the tone of the prevous syllable, cf. Table 4.

Table 4. The formation of noun plural in San-Maka:

Singular

Translation

Plural

sɔ́

‘tooth’

sɔ́ŋ́

tù

‘well’ (for water)

tùŋ́

sèré

‘ram’

sèréŋ́

dɔ̀mɔ̄

‘griot’

dɔ̀mɔ̄ŋ̄

tóó

‘ear’

tóóŋ́

gōò

‘liver’

gōòŋ̀

wòtòró

‘cart’

wòtòróŋ́

kiō(ŋ)

‘house’

kiōŋ̄nə́

gɔ́(ŋ)

‘forest’

gɔ́ŋ́nɔ́

màŋ́

‘thing’

màŋ́ná

kɛ̀

‘this’

kɛ̀ŋ́

dɔ́

‘which also’

dɔ́ŋ́

2.3. Personal pronouns

Table 5. Personal pronouns and forms fused with predicative markers

Affixed

element

1 Sg

2 Sg

3 Sg

1 Pl

2 Pl

3 Pl

1

Basic

-

mā

ŋ̄

wɔ̄

kā

ŋ̀

2

Imperative

ŋ̄

Kà

3

Emphatic

sɛ́

māsɛ́

ŋ̄sɛ́

àsɛ́

wɔ̄sɛ́ŋ́

kāsɛ́ŋ́

ŋ̀sɛ́ŋ́

4

Possessive

māā

ŋ̄

wɔ̄ā (wā)

kāā

ŋ̀

5

Imperfective

nə̄ / ŋ̄

māŋ̄

ŋ̄ nə̄

àŋ̄

wɔ̄ŋ̄

kāŋ̄

màŋ̀

ŋ̀ nə̄

6

Imperfective

new information

tá / á

máá

ŋ̄ tá

áá

wɔ́á

káá

ŋ̀ tá

7

Imperfective Negative

bā / ā

māā

ŋ̄ bā

àà

wɔ̄

kāā

ŋ̀ bā

8

Perfective

nə́ / high tone

má

ŋ́

wɔ́

ká

ŋ̀ nə́

28There are six personal pronouns. Personal pronouns fuse with certain predicative markers and also with the possessive marker . Most of these forms can be easily decomposed: this is true for Emphatic, Imperfective habitual (with the exception of the 3 Pl form) and Imperfective negative forms.

29Comments to the Table 5:

301) The forms are written in one or two words according to the orthographic tradition. Emphatic pronouns, which are predictable, could be written in two words if one postulates the existence of a determinant sɛ́ (which has a regular plural form sɛ́ŋ́).

312) Series 5-8 result from fusion of basic pronouns with predicative markers; together with corresponding verbal forms they constitute predicative constructions in the absence of a full-fledged subject.

323) The 3 Pl pronoun optionally forms a compound màŋ̀ with the Imperfective habitual PM nə̄ / ŋ̄. However, a non-fused variant ŋ̀ nə̄ is also attested in my data and also in written texts (Syllabaire 2003). The element mà is a competing 3 Pl form which appears also with the copula of identification (3 Pl form mànɛ̄) and with postpositions (e.g. ká mànɛ́ ‘with them’, where ká is a comitative preposition).

334) The Imperative is characterized by a special 2 Pl form with a low tone (kà) which is not used in prohibitive constructions where the mid-tone subject 2 Pl form is used (kā).

345) Possessive pronouns, which are used with free nouns, have special forms only for 1 Sg, 1 Pl and 2 Pl.

2.4. Word order

35San Maka has a strict word order. Like other Mande languages, it has the following linear sequence of elements:

36S PM (Aux) DO V IO

37Order of elements in the genitive and possessive constructions is as follows:

38Noun Modifier (Possessor) – modified (Possessee)

39The order of the elements in an NP is:

40Noun – Adj – Dem – Art – Num.

2.5. Adpositions

41San-Maka uses postpositions, there is also one preposition: a comitative connector ‘with’ (used in combination with the postposition nɛ / ne / ni).

3. Verbs

42The verb in San-Maka is defined as an open class of words, which alone can be the head of a clause and which form, alone or together with a predicative marker, constructions expressing aspect, tense, modality and polarity.

43The verb is inflected for aspect and mood.

3.1. Verbal morphology

  • 7  The citation form of the verb is the Imperative which obscures the inital tone of transitive verbs (...)

44The morphological paradigm of a verb in San-Maka consists of three aspectual forms: neutral, perfective and imperfective. In non-indicative forms, aspectual meanings are not expressed, and the verb is represented by a neutral form. This form also appears in the negative perfective construction. The neutral form is used as the basic form in dictionaries and linguistic works.7

Table 6. Sample verbal forms

Neutral form

Perfective

Imperfective

‘to eat’

bīī

bīì

bīī

‘to come’

dāā

dāà

dīē

‘to strike, to kill’

dɛ̄

dɛ̄

díí

‘to send’

dīā

dīà

díɛ́

‘to teach’

dórōō

dōròò

dōréè

‘to hide’

dúrū

dūrù

dúrī

‘to stay’

gō̰ā̰

gò̰à̰

gō̰ɛ̰̄

45Both perfective and imperfective forms seem to be derived from the non-finite verb forms (nominalizations or gerunds). Perfective forms historically seem to be formed with the help of a low tone suffix (or postposition); imperfective forms are formed through the addition of a suffix ‑e / -ɛ. The neutral form seems to be etymologically simple.

46Perfective and imperfective forms have similar tonal behavior, while neutral forms raise the tone of the first syllable in the presence of a direct non-pronominal object. See the neutral form used in Imperative (1) and in Conjunctive (2) constructions.

  • 8   is a very common dish in Burkina Faso, consisting of cooked millet or sorghum flour. It is serv (...)

(1)

bíí.

2PL.IMP

8

eat/H

47‘(You, pl.) eat tô’.

(2)

Ŋ́

pɛ̀

mà

Kōōdɛ́

bíí.

2SG.PFV

say.PFV

that

Koode

eat/H

48‘You (sg.) ordered that Koodé would eat tô’.

49The neutral form of the verb bīī ‘to eat’ carries a mid tone, but with an overtly expressed direct object, the tone of the verb becomes high. This tone modification does not occur with the imperfective form of the same verb, which keeps its mid tone (3).

(3)

ŋ̄

bīī.

SG

IPFV

eat.IPFV

50‘I eat tô’.

3.2. Predicative markers

51Perfective and imperfective verb forms combine with predicative markers, some of which seem derived from corresponding copulas (see 5.2.).

52Predicative markers form a separate word class in San-Maka. They occupy the position after the Subject NP.

Table 7. Predicative markers

Perfective affirmative

nə́ / high tone on the final vowel of the Subject NP

Perfective negative

nə̄/ ø

Perfective experiential

bīŋ̀

Imperfective affirmative

nə̄ / ŋ̄

Imperfective affirmative “new information”

tá / á

Imperfective negative

bā / ā

Imperfective negative in dependent clauses, prohibitive

bāràŋ

53Comments:

541) Most of predicative markers in Maka are represented by two variants. The choice of the variant depends on the left phonological context. The full variant appears after stems or after NPs in plural; the shorter variant is used in other cases.

  • 9  A variant mā is used in some varieties.

552) Negative constructions are frames: they contain a negative particle wā9, which occupies the position at the end of the clause.

3.2.1. Perfective PMs

3.2.1.1. The perfective PM nə́

56The perfective PM nə́ (affirmative polarity) can be realized as a tone raise on the final syllable of the Subject NP (see table 7). Cf. the NP bòé lɛ̀ ‘this goat’ in the object (4) and in the subject (5) positions.

(4)

Lɔ̄

lɛ́

bòé

lɛ̀

sā̰.

woman

ART\PFV

goat

ART

sell.PFV

57‘The woman sold the goat’.

(5)

Bòé

lɛ́

dāà.

goat

ART\PFV

come.PFV

58‘The goat came’.

3.2.1.2. The experientive perfective PM bīŋ̀

59The experientive perfective PM bīŋ̀ may be used in affirmative, interrogative and negative contexts. Affirmative and interrogative sentences require the perfective verb form (6-8); in negative contexts, the neutral verb form is used (9).

(6)

Lɔ̄

lɛ̀

bīŋ̀

bòé

sā̰.

woman

ART

PFV.EXP

goat

sell.PFV

60‘The woman has already sold the goat (has the experience)’ (Paré 1998: 33).

(7)

Lɔ̄

lɛ̀

bīŋ̀

dāà

kānā.

woman

ART

PFV.EXP

come.PFV

here

61‘The woman has already come here(Paré 1998: 33).

(8)

Ŋ̄

bíŋ

nàŋsáárá

yɛ̄?

2SG

PFV.EXP

European

see.PFV

62‘Have you ever seen a white person?’

(9)

Mā

bīŋ̀

yɔ̄

mí

wā.

1SG

PFV.EXP

beer

drink.NTR/H

NEG

63‘I have never drunk beer’.

64M. Paré (1998: 36) singles out two different PMs, bḭ̄ and bīŋ̀: bīŋ̀ in affirmative sentences, and bḭ̄wā in negative sentences. My informants do not distinguish between these forms; probably this fact reflects the difference between Yaba and Toma variants.

65In my data, a variant bīnì of this PM has been attested:

(10)

Mā

bīnì

zīī

tɔ̄

wɔ́

wōō

bà̰á̰

kɔ́ŋ̀

nɛ̄

wà.

1SG

PFV.EXP

road

walk

do

go

place

any

in

NEG

66‘I have never gone anywhere’.

3.2.1.3. Perfective negative PM nə̄ / ø

67Perfective negative PM nə̄ / ø is represented by a null (11) unless it appers after a plural NP or one ending with-ŋ (12):

(11)

Lɔ̄

gō̰ā̰

píí-n

wā.

woman

remain

market-in

NEG

68‘A woman did not stay in the market’.

(12)

Mī(ŋ)

nə̄

dāā

wā.

person

PRF.NEG

come

NEG

69‘Nobody has come’.

3.2.2. Imperfective PMs

70There are two predicative markers of the affirmative polarity, which require the imperfective form of verb: tá / á and nə̄ / ŋ̄.

71The interpretation of verbal structures with these PM has been a matter of discussion. Translations of individual sentences are often misleading as they allow different interpretations. Isolated phrases (e.g. proverbs) do not clear up the situation. Researchers of the San-Maka language, Suzy Platiel (1974) and Moise Paré (1998), expressed different opinions about the meaning of these forms.

  • 10  In Platiel’s work, /~̄/ is the sign designating the nasal vowel ŋ.

72Platiel noted a similarity between San tá / á and ̄ / ŋ̄ and Spanish copular verbs ser and estar. As a result, she attributed the same meanings to the San copulas:  « …/tá/ se traduit par “ser”. Cette forme sera donc utilisée, de préférence à l’autre, toutes les fois que l’on souhaitera asserter une qualité, un état, un événement, ou une situation dont le caractère est considéré comme irrévocable, ou plus simplement, quand on ne souhaite pas mettre l’accent sur son aspect provisoire... Le prédicat de forme complète /nɛ̄/ […] par opposition au précédent correspondrait à estar; il situe l’événement en introduisant une notion de relativité à la fois temporelle et spatiale » (Platiel 1974: 570). Thus, according to Platiel, the imperfective constructions of San-Maka are contrasted by the permanent or temporary characteristics of properties, qualities and situations. Unfortunately, Platiel does not provide convincing examples to prove her hypothesis. She wrote: « Dans tous les exemples cités ci-dessus, /á/ pourrait être remplacé par /~̄/10; la traduction française ne pouvant pas rendre compte de la différence » (Platiel 1974: 570-571).

73M. Paré proposed an aspectual interpretation for the opposition between the two quasi-synonymous constructions. He attributes the habitual meaning to the constructions with the PM tá/á, and the progressive meaning to the constructions with the PM nə̄/ŋ̄ (Paré 1998: 37, 47). However, further on (p. 61) he writes: “La valeur secondaire du prédicatif tá [...] est celle du progressif. Ici le procès en cours de réalisation au moment de l’énonciation... ”. At the same time, it is stated for the PM ŋ̄ that : « En plus de sa valeur progressive, ŋ̄ est aussi le prédicatif qui est utilisé pour relater une vérité ou une opinion » (Paré 1998: 63). Thus, there is an uncertainty in his distribution of aspectual meanings between both constructions: the progressive meaning is ascribed to constructions with both PMs; and both constructions express meanings, which belong to the habitual domain (« une vérité ou une opinion »).

74Cf. examples with different PMs expressing the progressive aspectual meaning:

(13)

Lɔ̄-ŋ̄

lɛ̀-ŋ̀

bòé

sḭ̄ɛ̰̄.

woman-PL

ART.PL

IPFV.NEW

goat

sell.IPFV

75‘Women are selling a goat (right now)’.

(14)

Mā

ŋ̄

wù

bīī

sísíà.

1SG

IPFV

eat-IPFV

now

76‘I am eating tô’.

77In the following examples habitual actions (15‑16) or “eternal truths” (17‑18) are expressed by both constructions.

(15)

Lɔ̄

lɛ̀

ŋ̄

bòé-ŋ

sḭ̄ɛ̰̄.

woman

ART

IPFV

goat-PL

sell.PFV

78‘The woman sells goats’.

(16)

Ŋ̄

tá

mú

bīɛ̀

dò̰ɛ̰̀.

2SG

IPFV.NEW

water

run.PFV

know-IPFV

79‘You can swim’.

(17)

Lɔ̄

sōŋbōrē

ŋ̄

sūmū

kóɛ̀.

woman

good

IPFV

yard

put.IPFV

80‘A good woman takes care of her yard’ (Syllabaire 1: 16).

(18)

Lɛ̄

gɔ̀nɔ́(ŋ)

zìzḭ́ɛ̰̀.

mouth

IPFV.NEW

body

spoil.IPFV

81‘The mouth spoils the body’ (proverb “words may harm”).

  • 11  This fact was mentiond by Paré (1998: 61), but he did not consider it the main distinctive featur (...)

82My data show that these quasi-synonymous constructions encode different pragmatic intentions of the speaker. Constructions with nə̄ / ŋ̄ point out at a “general state of affairs”; constructions with tá / á encode information that is supposed to be new to the listener.11

83See the following examples:

(19)

Bòé

ŋ̄

būū

sɔ̰̄ɛ̰̄.

sheep

IPVF

grass

eat.IPFV

84A sheep eats grass (general information of the usual behavior of sheep).

(20)

Bòé

tá

būū

sɔ̰̄ɛ̰̄.

sheep

IPVF.NEW

grass

eat.IPFV

85A sheep eats grass’ (it is supposed that the listener is unaware of this fact).

86(19) is the expression of a common fact, while (20) may be an answer to a question, for example, whether sheep eat grass.

87Thus, the usage of nə̄/ŋ̄/màŋ̀ or tá/á shows the informational intention of the speaker: in (21) the information is an observation of a fact; in (22) it is supposed to be new to the listener.

(21)

Ŋ̀

nə̄

tɔ̀ɔ́-ŋ́

kṵ́ḭ́

bɛ̀

ŋ̀

nə̄

ŋ̀

sɔ̰̄.

3PL

IPFV

animal-PL

catch.IPFV

when

3PL

IPFV

3PL

chew.NTR

88‘They attack the domestic animals and eat them’ (Syllabaire 2: 19).

(22)

Ŋ̀

tá

gìí

kōē

nɛ̄

ɲāāŋ-nā

lā.

3PL

IPFV.NEW

3SG

egg

give.IPFV

child

child-PL

on

89‘They give its (hornbill’s) eggs to children’ (Syllabaire 2: 13).

90In (22) the phrase “anticipates” the question “And what do they do with the hornbill’s eggs?”

3.2.2.1. Imperfective PM nə̄ / ŋ̄ (3 Pl màŋ̀)

91The variant ŋ̄ acquires a low tone (ŋ̀) after a pronominal subject:

(23)

Mā

ŋ̀

gíɛ́lì

màá

Kōōdɛ́

wù

bíí.

1SG

IPFV

look.for.IPFV

that

Koodé

eat/H

92‘I want Kodé to eat tô’.

93This predicative marker of 3 PL is màŋ̀:

(24)

Bàáŋ-nə́

màŋ̀

sòé.

bird-PL

3PL.IPFV

go.out.IPFV

94The birds come out’.

95This form may substitute the pronominal subject of 3 Pers. Pl. pronoun:

(25)

Màŋ̀

wù

bósè

lɔ̄ŋ?

3PL.IPFV

cook.IPFV

how

96‘How do they prepare tô?’

97As nə̄/ŋ̄ expresses an already known information, it often encodes « eternal truths », habitual or iterative actions:

(26)

Mī(ŋ)-ní

màŋ̀

kɔ́ŋ

díí

píí

ní.

person-PL

IPFV.PL

RECP

kill.IPFV

market

in

98People fight in the market (and it is an ordinary thing).

99The constructions with nə̄ / ŋ̄ may also point out the fact that information is known to the speaker from his personal experience:

(27)

Tɛ́māā

míí

ŋ̄

búsú

díɛ̀.

smoke

drink.NMLZ

IPFV

illness

put.IPFV

100Breathing smoke provokes illness.

101Compare with the construction using tá / á, where the information is viewed as new:

(28)

Tɛ́māā

míí

búsú

díɛ̀.

smoke

drink.NMLZ

IPFV.NEW

illness

put.IPFV

102Breathing smoke provokes illness’ (do you know that?).

3.2.2.2. Imperfective PM tá / á

103Imperfective PM tá / á points to information that is new to the listener. In some instances, the difference in grammatical meanings of both constructions may be close to the sphere of evidentiality, cf.:

(29a)

Mā

ta

dō̰ḛ́

mà

ŋ

wóó

píí

ní.

1SG

IPFV.NEW

know.IPFV

that

2SG

go

market

in

104I know that you go to the market’.

(29b)

Mā

nə̄

dō̰ḛ́

mà

ŋ̄

wóó

píí

ní.

1SG

IPFV

know.IPFV

that

2SG

go

market

in

105I know that you go to the market (in spite of the fact that you did not tell me).

3.2.2.3. Imperfective negative PM  / ā

106In the imperfective negative, the distinction between both affirmative imperfective constructions is neutralized; the only negative PM is bā/ā:

(30)

Lɔ̄

lɛ̀

bòé

lɛ̀

sḭ̄ɛ̰̄

wā.

woman

ART

IPFV.NEG

goat

ART

sell.IPFV

NEG

107‘The woman is not selling the goat’.

108It is also used in proverbs (31) and for negating habitual (32) actions.

(31)

Gɔ̄ŋ

góōŋ

bā

wùsú

góɛ̀

wà.

hand

one

IPFV.NEG

flour

gather.IPFV

NEG

109‘One hand does not gather the flour’ (a proverb) (Syllabaire 1: 34).

(32)

Mā

dɔ̰̀ɛ̰̄

wā.

1SG

IPFV.NEG

know.IPFV

NEG

110‘I don't know’.

111Negative constructions with bā / ā can negate prospective situations:

(33)

Díé

nē?

Mā

pīī

nì

wā.

who

ICOP

1SG

IPFV.NEG

say.IPFV

in/L

NEG

112‘Who is this? I won't tell to anybody’.

3.2.2.4. The imperfective negative contrastive element bīē

  • 12  According to M. Paré (1998: 63), constructions with the PM bīē encode “progressif négatif” and “ (...)

113The imperfective negative contrastive element bīē, according to Paré (1998), has the experiential meaning “I have never”; in my data it appears only in the sentences of identification12 (see 5.2.2).

3.2.3. Prohibitive PMs

114Moïse Paré (1998: 53-54) mentions two prohibitive PMs: ŋā ... wā and bārà̰ ... wā. According to his description, ŋā ... wā is used more often then bārà̰ ... wā; at the same time, these PMs express different meanings: ŋā ... wā is the “negation of the imperative”, and bārà̰ ... wā is the negation of “énoncés injonctifs”. In my materials (Toma variant) the PM bāràŋ̀ ... wā is the only construction available, both in prohibitive sentences (34-35) and with the negated dependent predication (36).

(34)

Ŋ̄

bāràŋ

wɔ̄

wā.

2SG

PROH

enter

NEG

115‘Do not enter!’ (prohibition).

(35)

Kā

bāràŋ

pɛ̀rɛ̄

mú

mí

wā.

2PL

PROH

lake

water

drink/H

NEG

116‘Do not drink the water from a pond! (advice addressed to more than one person) (Syllabaire 2: 15).

(36)

Ŋ̄

dōāmáá

nɛ̄

ŋ̄

bāràŋ

sīgārɛ̄tì

mī

wā.

2SG

necessity

ICOP

2SG

NEG

cigarette

drink

NEG

117You should not smoke (lit. It is necessary that you would not smoke)’.

3.3. Auxiliaries

118In San‑Maka, there is a closed class of words, which occupy the third position in the clause, after the predicative marker and before the direct object in transitive clauses or before the verb in intransitive ones. These words will be referred to as “auxiliaries”. These are:

119tɔ́ŋ – Continuative marker (affirmative context)

120tɔ̀ŋ – Continuative marker (negative context)

121rē – Future marker

3.3.1. Continuative markers

122M. Paré (1998: 44-45) distinguishes between three markers tɔ̰̄ (tɔ̄nà), tɔ̰̀ and tɔ̄ŋ̄, which are used in different contexts: tɔ̰̄ (tɔ̄nà) « indique l’aspect continuatif du procès exprimé et est traduisable en français par “toujours”, “encore” ou l’anglais “still” ». Tɔ̰̀ is used in negative clauses « pour signifier que le procès n’est pas encore effectif au moment de l’énonciation ». The auxiliary tɔ̄ŋ̄ « est utilisé pour marquer qu’un procès est postérieur à un autre procès ».

123In my data, the distinction between these forms is only tonal. In affirmative clauses, the auxiliary tɔ̄ŋ (mid tone) is used in combination with the imperfective PMs nə̄ / ŋ̄ and tá / á (37). The high‑toned tɔ́ŋ is used as a discursive marker ‘then’ (38). The low-toned auxiliary tɔ̀ŋ appears in negative clauses (39).

(37)

Mā

dḭ́ɛ̰́-gḭ̄ḭ̄

ŋ̄

(á)

tɔ̄ŋ

dí

ɲɛ́.

1SG

younger-brother

IPFV

(IPFV.NEW)

AUX

work

do.IPFV

124(He has to stop working at a fixed time but) ‘My younger brother is still working’.

  • 13  A pronominal object (indirect or direct inanimated) of the 3Sg is usually omitted; in this case th (...)

(38)

kɔ̀

là,

tɔ́ŋ

pɛ̀

nɛ̀.13

3SG.PRF

give.PRF/L

on/L

3SG.PRF

AUX

say.PRF

in/L

125‘He gave it to him and said to him’.

(39)

Mā

tɔ̀ŋ

wɔ́rɔ́

yɛ́

wā.

1SG

not.yet

money

see/H

NEG

126I haven’t obtained any money yet’.

127M. Paré gives an example of the complex PM+AUX (bḭ̄ + tɔ̰̀) which expresses the experiential meaning:

(40)

Mā

bḭ̄

tɔ̰̀

wò

Bígīā

wā.

1SG

PFV.EXP

not.yet

go

Abidjan

NEG

128‘I have never been to Abidjan’.

3.3.2. The future auxiliary rē

129The future auxiliary rē co‑occurs with the Imperfective PMs tá / á (affirmative) or bā / ā (negative):

(41)

Lɔ̄

lɛ̀

rē

wé

Làwà

kiō(ŋ).

woman

ART

IPFV.NEW

FUT

enter.IPFV

God

POSS

house

130‘This woman will enter the church’.

(42)

Bòyó(ŋ)

bā

rē

dīè

wā.

Boyo

IPFV.NEG

FUT

come.IPFV

NEG

131‘Boyo will not come’.

3.4. Auxiliary verbs

132There are auxiliary verbs, which, from the syntactic point of view, behave as the verbal parts of the predicative constructions being heads of a verb chain. These are gō̰ā̰ (gō̰à̰, gō̰ɛ̰̄) ‘to stay’, dāā (dāà, dīē)to come’ and bāā (bāà, bīɛ̄) ‘to become’. They can also be used as ordinary verbs with their primary lexical meaning.

3.4.1. gō̰ā̰

133Gō̰ā̰ (gō̰à̰, gō̰ɛ̰̄) ‘to stay’ is used in order to shift the situation of a non-verbal sentence to past or future, thus the non-verbal sentence becomes a verbal one.

134In verbal sentences, gō̰ā̰ is a marker of retrospective shift (which indicates that the action has lost its relevance):

(43)

Lɛ́lɛ́

gō̰à̰

bōé

sɛ́wɔ̀

kḭ́ɛ̰̄

lā.

before

1SG.PFV

stay.PFV

can.IPFV

paper

write

on

  • 14  Comment of an activist of the San literacy company: “It often happens”.

135‘Formerly I could write (and now I cannot any more)’.14

3.4.2. The imperfective form of the verb dāā

136The imperfective form of the verb dāā ‘to come’ > dīē is used to mark the immediate future; it co-occurs with the PM nə̄ / ŋ̄:

(44)

Mā

ŋ̀

dīē

sḭ́ḭ̄

kúkúrì.

1SG

IPFV

FUT.PROX

meat

slice.IPFV

137‘I am going to cut meat’.

3.4.3. The perfective form of the verb bāā

  • 15  M. Paré (1998: 41) considers the sequence bāà rē to be an auxiliary but notes that the element (...)

138The perfective form of the verb bāā ‘to become > bāà together with the future marker rē expresses the avertive meaning (the action that “almost happened” or “nearly happened”).15

(45)

bāà

rē

gḭ́ɛ̰́.

3SG.PRF

become.PRF

FUT

die-IPFV

139‘He nearly died’.

(46)

Tōētóá

bāà

rē

mɛ̄nɛ̄ɛ̄

gúnúŋ

zīī

ká

Toetoa.PRF

become.PRF

FUT

fall.IPFV

yesterday

road

COMIT

       

mótó

né.

motorcycle

in

140‘Toetoa nearly fell down on the road with his motorcycle yesterday’.

4. The basic verbal constructions. Indicative

4.1. Affirmative Perfective

141Affirmative Perfective PM nə́ / high tone on the Subject NP + perfective form of the verb

142S nə́/-H (DO) V.PFV

(47)

Lɔ́-ŋ

nə́

wōò

kòè

góɛ̀

dōŋ.

woman-PL

PFV

go.PFV

shea.nut

gather.IPFV

bush

143‘Women have gone to gather shea nuts in the bush’.

(48)

Nɛ́

ànānáà

nà.

child\PFV

pineapple

cut.PFV

144‘The child has cut a pineapple’.

4.2. Negative Perfective

145Negative Perfective PM nə̄ / 0 + neutral form of the verb and the negative particle wā at the end of the sentence

146S nə̄ / Ø (DO) V.NTR ... wā

(49)

Mī(ŋ)

nə̄

dāā

wā.

person

AC.NEG

come.NTR

NEG

147‘Nobody has come’.

(50)

Ø

sɛ́wɔ̀

dɔ̰̀

wā.

3SG

PFV.NEG

paper

know.NTR

NEG

148‘He has not learned to read and write’ (lit.: he has not learned the paper).

4.3. Perfective experiential affirmative

149Perfective experiential affirmative bīŋ̀ (bīnì) + Perfective form of the verb, see examples (7-9):

150S bīŋ̀ (DO) V.PFV

4.4. Perfective experientive negative

151Perfective experientive negative bīŋ̀ (bīnì) + neutral form of the verb and the negative particle wā at the end of the sentence; see examples (10-11):

152S bīŋ̀ (DO) V.NTR ... wā

4.5. Imperfective Affirmative

153Imperfective Affirmative PM nə̄ / ŋ̄ + imperfective form of the verb:

154S nə̄ / ŋ̄ /màŋ̀ (DO) V.IPFV

155These constructions are often used in proverbs and in the expressions of “eternal truth”:

(51)

Lɛ̄-dɛ̄nāā

sùí

ŋ

bāā

síí.

mouth-owner

POSS

horse

IPFV

run

take.IPFV

156‘The horse of a phrasemonger runs fast’ (Syllabaire 2: 9).

4.6. Imperfective Affirmative (New Information)

157Imperfective Affirmative (New Information) PM tá / á + imperfective form of the verb:

158S tá / á (DO) V.IPFV

(52)

Lɔ̄-ŋ̄

tá

kɔ̀ŋ

mìí

tḭ̄ɛ̰̄.

woman-PL

IPFV.NEW

RECP

head

weave.IPFV

159‘Women are doing each other’s hair’.

(53)

Lɔ̄-ŋ̄

lɛ̀-ŋ̀

dīè.

woman-PL

ART-PL

IPFV.NEW

come.IPFV

160‘Women are coming’.

4.7. Imperfective negative

161Imperfective negative PM bā / ā + imperfective form of the verb + particle wā:

162S bā / ā (DO) V.IPFV ... wā

(54)

Mā

màŋ́

kɔ́ŋ

dɔ̰̀ɛ̰̄

wā.

1SG

IPFV.NEG

thing

any

know.IPFV

NEG

163‘I know nothing’.

4.8. Future

  • 16  On the contrary, the periphrastic construction of the Immediate Future uses the PP ŋ̄ / nə̄ with t (...)

164Future marker rē (rè) with the imperfective New Information construction,16 see examples (41-42):

165Affirmative:

166S tá / á rē (DO) V.IPFV

167Negative:

168S bā / ā rē (DO) V.IPFV ... wā

5. Non‑verbal sentences in San.

169Non‑verbal sentences in San‑Maka are those which do not contain a verbal lexeme in the Neutral form or in the forms of Perfective or Imperfective. The bearers of predication are the copulas. The following elements are used as copulas:

1701) copulas which are used as predicative markers (both polarities);

1712) postpositional copulas: the copulas of existence and the copula of identification.

5.1. Copulas

172Copulas etymologically seem to be the source for the imperfective predicative markers of both polarities; they coincide with the latter both in form and meaning. The copula nə̄ / ŋ̄ encodes the general state of affairs, and tá / á point out at the new information:

  • 17  When used as copulas they are glossed as COP.

(55)

Ŋ́

píí

ní.

3PL

COP.NEW17

market

in

173‘They are now in the market (the answer to the question “Where are they?”)’.

(56)

Màŋ̀

píí

ní.

3PL.COP

market

in.

174‘They are in the market (state of affairs)’.

(57)

Kiɛ́ŋlɛ́

kɛ̀

á

kóó

sísíà.

door

this

COP.NEW

open

now

175‘(Look), this door is now open’.

(58)

Kiɛ́ŋlɛ́

màŋ̀

kóó

dúdúú.

door

3PL.COP

open

always

176‘Doors are always open’.

177In negative constructions bā / ā is used:

(59a)

Lɔ̄

lɛ̀

ā

píí

sísíà

wā.

woman

ART

COP.NEG

market

in

today

NEG

178‘The woman is not in the market’.

(59b)

Lɔ̄

lɛ̀

ā

píí

dúdúú

wā.

woman

ART

COP.NEG

market

in

always

NEG

179‘The woman is never in the market’.

5.2. Postpositional copulas

5.2.1. The copula of identification

180The copula of identification (positive polarity) nɛ̄ / nē / nī/ mànɛ̀ occupies the final position in the clause; only the negation particle can be placed after it.

(60)

Kiō(ŋ)

nē.

house

ICOP

181‘This is a house’.

182In Southern San, the copula of identification appears in three synharmonic variants depending on the quality of the preceding vowel (about the vowel harmony, see 2.1). The form of the 3 PL is mànɛ̀.

5.2.2. Negative contrastive copula of identification

183Negative contrastive copula of identification bīē (wā) denotes a negated participant when there is a choice between two possibilities:

(61)

Kōō

bīē

wā,

gà

nɛ̄.

hen

ICOP.NEG

NEG

guinea.fowl

ICOP

184It is not a hen, it is a guinea fowl’.

185Like copula of identification nɛ̄ / nē / nī, it is used in cleft sentences:

(62)

Koodɛ́

bīē

yɔ̄

mí

wā.

Kodé

ICOP.NEG

3SG.PRF

beer

drink

NEG

186Kodé, he did not drink beer (contrary to what was expected)’.

5.2.4. Copulas of existence

187Copulas of existence táŋ̄ (affirmative) and bāŋbāŋ (negative) usually also occupy the final position in the clause (see (71) for an exception).

(63)

Lāwà

táŋ̄.

God

COP

188‘God exists’.

(64)

Bòyó(ŋ)

ā

wùrù

bāŋbāŋ.

Boyo

POSS

field

COP.NEG

189‘Boyo has no field (Boyo’s field does not exist)’.

5.2.3. Auxiliary verb gō̰ā̰ in the copular function.

190The auxiliary verb gō̰ā̰ (see 3.4.1.) is used to shift a situation to the past or future:

(65)

Bòyó(ŋ

gò̰à̰

wùrù-dɛ̄nāā

lɛ̄ā.

Boyo/PFV

stay.PFV

field-owner

EQUAT

191‘Bojo was (once) a field owner’.

(66)

Kiōŋ̄

gólé

kɛ̀

gɔ̀nɔ́ŋ

nə̄

á

gò̰à̰

fú.

house

big

this

body

ICOP

3SG.PFV

stay.PFV

white

192‘This large house was white’.

(67)

Lɔ̄

gō̰ā̰

píí-n

wā.

woman

stay.NTR

market-in

NEG

193‘The woman was not in the market’.

194When the situation refers to the future, the imperfective form is used with the PM tá / á and the future marker (68) or nə̄ / ŋ̄:

(68)

Kiōŋ̄

kɛ̀

gɔ̀nɔ́ŋ

gò̰ɛ̰̀

fú.

house

this

body

IPFV.NEW

FUT

stay.IPFV

white

195‘This house will be white’.

(69)

Zɔ́ǹ

kɛ̀

ŋ̄

gò̰ɛ̰̀

bḭ̄ɛ̰̀.

holiday

this

COP.IPFV

stay.IPFV

tomorrow

196‘The holiday will be tomorrow’.

5.3. Types of non-verbal sentences

5.3.1. Constructions with one argument

5.3.1.1. Existential construction

197Existential construction are formed with the copulas táŋ̄ (affirmative) and bāŋbāŋ (negative).

198(+) NP táŋ̄

199(-) NP bāŋbāŋ ... ()

(70)

Dōŋ

màŋ́

bābārāā

gígḭ́á̰

táŋ̄.

savannah

thing

dangerous

much

COP

200‘There are many dangerous wild animals’.

(71)

Píí

bāŋbāŋ

kīwí

kɛ̀-n

wā.

market

COP.NEG

village

this-in

NEG

201‘There is no market in this village’.

5.3.1.2. Constructions of identification

202Constructions of identification indicate an NP or names it. Affirmative and negative copulas of identification are used:

203(+) NP nɛ̄ / nē / nī/ mànɛ̀

204(-) NP bīē wā

(72)

Māsɛ́

ā

nɛ̄ɲāāŋ-nā

mànɛ̀.

1SG.EMPH

POSS

child-PL

ICOP.3PL

205‘These are my children’.

5.3.2. Constructions with two arguments

5.3.2.1. Qualitative constructions attribute a quality to the NP

  • 18  Constructions with different copulas (nə̄ or tá) have different informational structure, see 3.2. (...)

206(+) NP tá / nə̄18 Adj

207(-) NP Adj

(73)

Dìì

kélè

lá

á

kākā.

climb

mountain

on

COP.NEW

hard

208‘Climbing the mountain is hard’.

(74)

Kiōŋ̄

kɛ̀

gɔ̀nɔ́ŋ

wà.

house

this

body

COP.NEG

white

NEG

209‘This house is not white’.

5.3.2.2. Quantificational constructions

210Quantificational constructions are similar to the qualitative ones.

211(+) NP nə̄ Num

212(-) NP Num

(75)

Māā

gḭ́ŋ

nə̄

màŋ́

sīī.

1SG-POSS

dog

COP

thing

four

213‘My dogs are four’ (where màŋ́ is a classifier).

5.3.2.3. Equative constructions

214Equative constructions state the identity of two NP. These constructions use the comitative group ... nɛ /ne /ni:

215a) Complete equative constructions state the identity of the two NPs.

216(+) NP1 nə̄ ká NP2

217(-) NP NP2

(76)

Būrkíná

Fàsò

ā

kīwī

gōlé

ŋ̄

Wɔ̀dɔ́ɔ́

nɛ́.

Burkina

Faso

POSS

village

large

COP

COMIT

Ouaga

in

218‘The capital of Burkina Faso is Ouagadougou’.

  • 19  Usages of the postposition lɛ̄ā in other functions are rare, e.g.: dàgō̰ā̰ sì-lí dàgō̰ā̰ (...)

219b) Situational equativity. These constructions are similar in form and meaning to ascriptive ones. Copulas coincide with imperfective markers (both polarities). NP2 is followed by the postposition lɛ̄ā ‘like, alike’.19

220(+) NP1 tá, (nə̄) NP2 lɛ̄ā

221(-) NP1 NP2 lɛ̄ā wā

(77)

Bálá

lɛ̀

á

lɛ̄ā.

field

ART

COP.NEW

profit

EQUAT

222‘Individual field is a profit’.

(78)

Bɛ̄

tūmàà

ŋ̄

lɛ̄ā.

this

all

COP

work

EQUAT

223‘All this is work’.

5.3.2.4. Ascriptive constructions

224Ascriptive constructions express the inclusion of the referent of a NP into a particular class. They use the copula nə̄ and a postpositional group with lɛ̄ā.

225(+) NP1 nə̄ NP2 lɛ̄ā

226(-) NP1 NP2 lɛ̄ā wā

(79)

Mártī

ŋ̄

mā-ā

nɛ̄lɔ́

lɛ̄ā.

Martha

COP

1SG-POSS

daughter

EQUAT

227‘Martha is my daughter’.

(80)

Sálífù

ŋ̄

làŋdā-dɛ̄nāā

lɛ̄ā.

Salif

COP

tradition-owner

EQUAT

228‘Salif is a connoisseur of traditions’.

(81)

Bòyó(ŋ)

fṵ̀ṵ̀

lɛ̄ā

wà.

Boyo

COP.NEG

blacksmith

EQUAT

NEG

229‘Boyo is not a blacksmith’.

5.3.2.5. Construction of specification:

230(+) NP1 nə̄ ká NP2

231(-) NP1 bā ká NP2 nɛ wā

(82)

Fṵ̀ṵ̀

ŋ̄

Bòyó(ŋ)

né.

smith

COP

COMIT

Boyo

in

232‘The smith is Boyo’.

(83)

Mā-ā

nɛ̄lɔ́

ŋ̄

Mārtì

ní.

1SG-POSS

daughter

COP

COMIT

Martha

in

233‘My daughter is Martha’.

5.3.2.6. Locative constructions

234Locative constructions code the location of the referent designated by the subject NP.

235(+) NP1 tá, nə̄ Loc

236(-) NP1 Loc

(84)

Lɔ̄

píí

ní.

woman

COP.NEW

market

in

237‘The woman is in the market’.

(85)

Lɔ̄

píí

wā.

woman

COP.NEG

market

in

NEG

238‘The woman is not in the market’.

(86)

Māā

nɛ̄lɔ́-ŋ

kùŋ

mānɛ́

māā

kiōŋ̄.

1SG.POSS

daughter-PL

COP.NEW

together

1SG.in

1SG.POSS

house

239‘My daughters are with me in my house’.

5.3.2.7. Temporal constructions

240Temporal constructions are variants of the locative type:

(87)

Zɔ́ŋ̀

kɛ̀

lɛ̀

bóé

wā.

holiday

this

COP.NEG

year

return.NMLZ

NEG

241‘The festival will not take place next year’.

5.3.2.8. Possessive constructions

242San Maka has two possessive constructions: a construction with the copula of existence (the type «Boyo’s father exists») and postpositional constructions (“locative” type). In this respect San‑Maka is closer to the languages of the Southern Mande group (Fedotov, 2016). According to the classification of Leon Stassen (2009), these are “adnominal possessive constructions”, which he classified as an « additional type », in other words, as a typologically rather rare type of possessive constructions.

243A) Adnominal possessive constructions in San-Maka are similar to existential structures (with the copulas of existence táŋ̄ (+) and bāŋbāŋ (-)):

244(+) NP1 NP2 táŋ̄

245(-) NP1 NP2 bāŋbāŋ (wā)

(88)

Bòyó(ŋ)

ā

kiō(ŋ)

bāŋbāŋ.

Boyo

POSS

house

COP.NEG

246‘Boyo has no house (lit. Boyo’s house does not exists)’.

(89)

Bòyó(ŋ)

ā

nɛ̄lɔ́

páá

táŋ̄.

Boyo

POSS

daughter

two

COP

247‘Boyo has two daughters’.

248B) Pospositional constructions. According to Stassen’s classification, such structures are viewed as « locative » (locational). In San‑Maka these constructions use:

2491) the postposition lòŋ̄ which is not etymologized on the synchronic level;

2502) the postposition gɔ̄ŋ which is derived from a noun meaning ‘hand’.

251Constructions with the postposition lòŋ̄ :

252(+) NP1 nə̄, tá NP2 lòŋ̄

253(-) NP1 NP2 lōŋ̀ wā

(90)

Wùrù

Bòyó(ŋ)

lòŋ̄.

field

COP.NEW

Boyo

in.possession

254‘Boyo has a field’.

(91)

Wɔ́rɔ́

lòŋ̄

wā.

money

COP.NEG

1SG

in.possession

NEG

255‘I have no money (on me)’.

256Constructions with the postposition gɔ̄ŋ:

257(+) NP1 nə̄, NP2 gɔ̄ŋ

258(-) NP1 NP2 gɔ̄ŋ

259The adnominal possessive constructions express permanent possession and are used more often with the kinship terms or other objects of permanent possession (the possessor is a “legal” owner). Pospositional constructions with lòŋ̄ are used more often to indicate abstract possession; gɔ̄ŋ co-occurs with more concrete items or designates a situational possession:

(92)

Wɔ́rɔ́

tá

mā

lòŋ̄

pīɛ̀,

sɛ́nɛ̄

wɔ́rɔ́

bā

mā

money

COP

1SG

in.possession

at.home

but

money

COP.NEG

1SG

       

gɔ̄ŋ

kànáá

wā.

hand

here

NEG

260‘I have money at home but I have no money on me here’.

261The loss of the lexical meaning in the postposition lòŋ̄ in San‑Maka has led to the emergence of a new construction built according to the same model.

262Constructions used in non‑verbal sentences of Southern San are represented in Table 8.

Table 8. Constructions of non-verbal sentences of San-Maka

Form

Predicative element

Meaning

táŋ (+),

bāŋbāŋ ()

copulas of existence

existentional, adnominal possessive constructions

nɛ̄ (nē, nī, mànɛ̀) (+)

bīē (–)

copula of identification

construction of identification

tá (+)

nə̄ (+) Adj (Num)

bā wā (–)

imperfective PM in copular function

qualitative, quantitative constructions

tá (+)

nə̄ (+) NP + postp

bā wā (–)

imperfective PM in copular function with postpositional group

locative, temporal, possessive constructions

nə̄ + ká NP nɛ́

imperfective PM in copular function with the comitative frame construction ká ... nɛ́

(complete) equative and specificative constructions

nə̄ + NP lɛ̄ā

imperfective PM nə̄ in copular function with postpositional group (postposition lɛ̄ā)

(situational) equative, ascriptive constructions

263As shown in the Table 8, the most widely used constructions are structures with postpositions, which are, in fact, constructed by analogy with the locative construction.

6. Conclusion

264The overview of verbal and non-verbal sentences in San‑Maka shows that there is a parallelism between constructions of the imperfective zone: the imperfective predicative markers of both polarities are linked to the corresponding copulas; they coincide in form and express similar meanings.

265Copulas which coincide with predicative markers:

  • imperfective affrimative nə̄ / ŋ̄ /māŋ;

  • imperfective affrimative (new information) tá / á;

  • imperfective negative bā / ā (wā).

266There are also specific predicative markers which are not directly connected to any copula. These are:

267— perfective affirmative nə́ / high tone on the final vowel of the Subject NP;

268— perfective experientive bīŋ̀ (wā);

269— imperfective negative in dependant clauses, prohibitive bāràŋ (wā).

270There are also specific copulas:

271Copulas of identification:

  • affirmative nɛ̄/ nɛ̄ /nī / mānɛ̄;

  • negative bīē (wā);

272Copulas of existence:

  • affirmative táŋ̄;

  • negative bāŋbāŋ.

  • 20  The focus marker is a clitic.

273There is certain parallelism in form and meaning between negative copulas and negative predicative markers (bā, bāràŋ, bāŋbāŋ). The affirmative copula of identification nɛ̄/ nɛ̄ /nī / mānɛ̄ seem to be etymologically connected to the imperfective copula nə̄ / ŋ̄ /māŋ. It is worth mentioning that a focus marker ‑ŋ 20/ māŋ (3PL) seem to be related to the copula of identification.

274For further research on the origin of these word classes of San-Maka, a comparison with data of other languages of the San cluster is necessary.

Abbreviations

1 – 1st person

2 – 2nd person

3 – 3rd person

Adj – adjective

Art – article

Aux – auxiliar

COMIT – comitative

COP – copula

Dem – demonstrative

EMPH – emphatic pronoun

EQUAT – equative postposition

EXP – experientive

FUT – future

H – hign tone

ICOP– copula of identification

IMP – imperative

IPFV – imperfective

L – low tone

N – noun

NEG – negation

NEW – new information

NMLZ – nominalized form

NTR – neutral form

Num – numeral

DO – direct object

IO – indirect object

Pl – plural

PM – predicative marker

POSS – possessive preposition

PRF – perfective

PROH – prohibitive

PROX – proximate

RECP – reciprocal

S – subject

Sg – singular

V – verb.

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Bibliographie

                                                                                                                                                                

Berthelette, John. 2001 Survey Report on the San (Samo) language. SIL. https://www.sil.org/resources/archives/8983

Boo nɛn sɛ́wɛ. San-Fransi. Fransi-San [Lexique san–français, français–san]. 2003. Ouagadougou : SIL. Burkina Faso.

Ebermann, Erwin. Sane subclassification (map, manuscript).

Fedotov, Maxim. 2016. Adnominal predicative possessive construction and pragmatically “flexible” noun phrases in Gban. Studies on African languages 6. [Issledivanija po jazykam Afriki 6]. Moscow : Kliuch-C, pp. 320-345.

Greenberg, Joseph H. 1963. The Languages of Africa. International journal of American linguistics, 29:1, part 2,

Guide d’orthographe san macaa. Édition préliminaire. SIL.

Guide d’orthographe san mayaa. Édition préliminaire – juin 2011. SIL.

Ka daa wɔ San sɛ́wɛ pe. 1-2. Syllabaire en langue San (1-2). Ouagadougou: ANTBA, 2003.

Paré, Moïse. 1999. Derivation, composition et syntagmes nominaux en san (parler de Yaba). Rapport de D.E.A. Université d’Ouagadougou,

Paré, Moïse. 1998. L‘énoncé verbal en san (parler de Yaba). Mémoire de maîtrise. Université de Ouagadougou.

Platiel, Susanne. 1974. Description du parler samo de Toma, Haute-Volta. Phonologie, syntaxe. Thèse pour le doctorat d’Etat.

Prost, André. 1981. De la parenté des langues busa-boko avec le bisa et le samo. Mandenkan; 2, pp. 17-29.

Stassen, Leon. 2009. Predicative possession. Oxford studies in Typology and linguistic theory. Oxford : Oxford University Press.

Vydrine, Valentin; Ted Bergman; Matthew Benjamin. 2001. Mandé Language Family, East, Eastern-Eastern, Bisa, San and Sane. SIL. http://www-01.sil.org/silesr/2000/2000-003/bisa_san.htm

Welmers, William. The Mande languages. 1958. Georgetown Univ. Monograph Series on Languages and Linguistics, 11, pp. 9-24.

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Notes

1  Each dictionary contains an orthographic guide and a text sample.

2  Macaa reflects the pronunciation [maʧaa].

3  The purple points on the Ebermann’s map are Fula-speaking villages of the so­‑called rimaibé, ethnic San-Maya who have switched to Fula.

4  In this article, vocalic nasalization is marked with tilda below the letter.

5  The final ŋ designates the floating nasal element (see below).

6  In order to distinguish the floating nasal element from the final nasal vowel -ŋ, it is designated (ŋ) (in brackets) in this article.

7  The citation form of the verb is the Imperative which obscures the inital tone of transitive verbs, as in the presence of a non-pronominal direct object verbs raise their tones.

8   is a very common dish in Burkina Faso, consisting of cooked millet or sorghum flour. It is served as a paste and is eaten with a sauce.

9  A variant mā is used in some varieties.

10  In Platiel’s work, /~̄/ is the sign designating the nasal vowel ŋ.

11  This fact was mentiond by Paré (1998: 61), but he did not consider it the main distinctive feature.

12  According to M. Paré (1998: 63), constructions with the PM bīē encode “progressif négatif” and “indique que le process n’est pas en cours de réalisation”.

13  A pronominal object (indirect or direct inanimated) of the 3Sg is usually omitted; in this case the subsequent postposition or verb aquire a low tone.

14  Comment of an activist of the San literacy company: “It often happens”.

15  M. Paré (1998: 41) considers the sequence bāà rē to be an auxiliary but notes that the element rē is optional. In my data, only the variant with rē (bāà rē) is attested.

16  On the contrary, the periphrastic construction of the Immediate Future uses the PP ŋ̄ / nə̄ with the imperfective form of the verb dāā ‘to come’, see ex. (44).

17  When used as copulas they are glossed as COP.

18  Constructions with different copulas (nə̄ or tá) have different informational structure, see 3.2.2.

19  Usages of the postposition lɛ̄ā in other functions are rare, e.g.: dàgō̰ā̰ sì-lí dàgō̰ā̰ lɛ̀ zɛ̀nāā kōō gìí lɛ̄ā ‘The fetish‑maker made a fetish like an egg.

20  The focus marker is a clitic.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Fig. 1. San varieties (Vydrine, Bergman, Benjamin 2001)
URL http://journals.openedition.org/mandenkan/docannexe/image/1070/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 84k
Titre Fig. 2 Northern San varieties according to Erwin Ebermann3
URL http://journals.openedition.org/mandenkan/docannexe/image/1070/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 180k
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Référence électronique

Elena Perekhvalskaya, « Basic morphosyntax of verbal and non-verbal clauses in San-Maka », Mandenkan [En ligne], 57 | 2017, mis en ligne le 14 décembre 2017, consulté le 19 septembre 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/mandenkan/1070 ; DOI : 10.4000/mandenkan.1070

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Auteur

Elena Perekhvalskaya

Institut de recherches linguistiques
Académie des Sciences de la Russie
St. Petersburg State University
elenap96@gmail.com

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