Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

14.07. Digital Colloquium on African linguistics: Noun phrases in Limassa (Winkhart)

“Syntactic aspects of noun phrases in Limassa” - Talk by Benedikt Winkhart (HU Berlin, PhD project) given within the digital colloquium on African linguistics and languages
  • When Jul 14, 2020 from 04:15 to 05:45 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200)
  • Where via Zoom
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“Syntactic aspects of noun phrases in Limassa”
Limassa is a hitherto undescribed language of the Baka-Gundi branch of the Mundu-Baka family (Ubangi), spoken along the Sangha River in the north of the Republic of the Congo. My presentation focuses on possessive constructions in Limassa and aims to give an exhaustive overview of the documented inventory. The language categorizes nouns with respect to the concept of alienability. As such, basic genitival possession is expressed by two constructions for alienable and inalienable concepts, respectively. Furthermore, inalienable concepts are treated differently in that their possessor must be obligatorily stated. In other words, these lexical stems cannot be isolated from their semantic possessor. In addition to genitival possessive constructions, attributive and property related expressions exhibit distinct behaviour in Limassa. Both are coded by a construction with a separate linking morpheme between possessor and possessee. With respect to attributive constructions, Limassa features a second, cross-linguistically rare feature, namely juxtaposition with modifying qualifiers and possibly quantifiers construed as the syntactic phrase head. This so-called ‘dependency reversal’ (Malchukov 2000) is found throughout the Central African area and will receive special attention in my talk.

Malchukov, Andrej. 2000. Dependency reversal in noun-attributive constructions: towards a typology. LINCOM Studies in Language Typology 3. München: LINCOM.


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