Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

06.12. Afrikalinguistisches Kolloquium: Existential and locative clause constructions in Siwi Berber (Schiattarella)

“Existential and locative clause constructions in Siwi Berber” - Vortrag von Valentina Schiattarella (Universität Hamburg) im Rahmen des Afrikalinguistischen Kolloquiums
  • Wann 06.12.2022 von 16:15 bis 17:45
  • Wo Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften, Invalidenstr. 118, Raum 410 & Zoom-Übertragung
  • Name des Kontakts Christfried Naumann (christfried.naumann (AT), bitte kontaktieren bzgl. Zugangsinformationen per Zoom)
  • iCal

The presentation deals with existential and locative clause constructions in Siwi, a Berber language (Afro-asiatic) spoken in Siwa (Egypt).

The existential construction features the particle di ‘there is’. While in descriptions and conversations, di is mostly used with “an indefinite and discourse-new nominal phrase” that “is said to be in some location” (Haspelmath 2022), in narrations (especially folktales), di introduces the main characters around which the story revolves (presentational constructions, Lambrecht 1994: 177-181). This difference is reflected in the formal means used to code co-reference in the subsequent clauses as well as in their associated prosodic patterns.

The presentation also describes the possible overlaps between existential and possessive clause constructions (Creissels 2013), the presence/absence of the ground and how first- and second-mentioned nouns feature a different position of the accent (last and penultimate syllable).

Accent position is also relevant in locative clause constructions. When the locative phrase is a toponym or a referential place name, the presence of a preposition is not obligatory. If the preposition is absent, the accent is on the last syllable of the noun: this particular aspect deserves attention, especially if data from previous sources on Siwi and comparative notes with other Berber languages are taken into account.


Creissels, D. (2013). Control and the evolution of possessive and existential constructions. In Elly van Gelderen, Michela Cennamo and Jóhanna Barðdal (eds.) Argument structure in flux. Amsterdam/Philadelphia, Benjamins, 461-476.

Haspelmath, M. (2022). Nonverbal clause constructions (to appear).

Lambrecht, K. (1994). Information structure and sentence form: topic focus and the mental representation of discourse referents. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.