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Relative clauses in Syer (Western Karaboro, Senufo, Gur)

Title data

Dombrowsky-Hahn, Klaudia:
Relative clauses in Syer (Western Karaboro, Senufo, Gur).
In: Kramer, Raija ; Kießling, Roland (ed.): Current approaches to Adamawa and Gur languages. - Köln : Köppe , 2018 . - pp. 127-170 . - (Afrika und Übersee : Beiheft ; 34 )
ISBN 978-3-89645-233-7

Project information

Project title:
Project's official title
Project's id
DFG-Projekt Die Sprache der Karaboro
No information

Abstract in another language

In this paper I analyse relative clauses in the Senufo language Syer (or Western Karaboro) spoken in Burkina Faso. Within the positional typology established by Lehmann (1984, 1986), the RCs attested in Syer belong to the adjoined type. RCs preposed to the MCs are prevailing, but there are also postposed RCs. The head always occurs in the first clause of the sentence. This means concretely that it figures in the RC when the RC is preposed, and in the MC when the RC is postposed. The RC does not directly assume a syntactic function in the MC; its function is rather indicated by means of a NP coreferentially related with the RC. The relative constructions can thus be categorized as correlative.
The head is marked by a relative morpheme agreeing in gender and number (or noun class) with it. The relative morphemes are analogous to the interrogative morphemes meaning ‘which’. Since no other feature marks a clause as relative, the entire complex sentence results in a sort of paratactic construction, the RC resembling an interrogative clause, and the MC a simple declarative clause. RCs overtly marked for definiteness are slightly more grammaticalized. Another exception to this characterization are conditional RCs, which are relative and conditional constructions at the same time, for the conditional auxiliary is unequivocally a subordination marker. For the regular preposed RCs Syer speakers have the choice between an in situ strategy, according to which all constituents maintain their canonical position, and the fronting strategy, where the head is drawn to clause initial position, together with the relative morpheme. For objects and obliques both strategies are possible, but when an oblique is fronted, there is neither adposition stranding nor pied piping. For the relativization of subjects only the fronting strategy is applied; it includes the presence of a resumptive pronoun.
There is an analogy between the position and the structure of a RC and its function. The regular preposed RC conveys presupposed information on an identifiable referent of a NP, the postposed RC bears new information on an indefinite NP, and the preposed conditional relative clause is a nonreferential or generalizing RC. All RCs in Syer are restrictive RCs.

Further data

Item Type: Article in a book
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: relative clause; adjoined correlative construction; Syer; Karaboro; Senufo; Gur; relative clause typology
Institutions of the University: Faculties
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature
Faculties > Faculty of Languages and Literature > Chair African Studies I
Result of work at the UBT: Yes
DDC Subjects: 400 Language
400 Language > 400 Language
400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 490 Other languages
Date Deposited: 29 Jan 2020 08:06
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2020 08:06