Northern Songhay languages in Mali and Niger

Languages: Tadaksahak

Inherent intelligibility between Tadaksahak (Dausahaq), Tasawaq (Ingelsi), Tagdal and Tabarog was measured using the Recorded Text Test developed by the Summer Institute of Linguistics. Language attitudes of the speakers of the Northern Songhay varieties in Niger were also investigated using group interview schedules and by observation.

Report of a linguistic survey on the Malinké of Western Mali and Senegal with special regard to the Malinké of Kita

Languages: Malinké, Kita

Conversations with people working in Malinké areas and conflicting statements in literature on Malinké dialects caused us to question whether existing or developing literatures (Jula, Bambara, Khassonké, Malinké of Senegal and Maninka of Guinea) could adequately serve all Malinké speakers, especially those in the area of Kita.

The main purpose of the survey was therefore to determine whether or not the
Malinké speakers of the Kita area in Mali need a separate literature. Is their speech form a separate language or can they adequately understand and communicate in the Bambara of Bamako, Khassonké, the Malinké of Eastern Senegal or the Malinké
(Maninka) of Kankan, Guinea?

Secondly, if they are able to understand one or more of these speech forms, which one is the most easily understood and what is their attitude toward using literature in any of the above-mentioned speech forms.

Rapport d'enquête sociolinguistique des dialectes du Djenaama (aussi appelé Sorogaama)

Language: Bozo, Jenaama

Jenaama (in French Djenaama) or Sorogaama is one of the Bozo languages spoken in the interior delta of the Niger River in Mali between San and Nyafounké. The goal of this survey (done in 2003) was to gain a better understanding of Jenaama's dialects by looking at the intercomprehension and the sociolinguistic attitude between the different dialects, with regard to establishing which dialect might serve as a reference for the eventual standardization of written material in Jenaama. Besides this main goal, we also tried to clarify demographic details about the Jenaama speaking population.

The grammar of action nominals in Tigemaxo

Publisher: WOCAL, 2009
Language: Bozo, Tiéyaxo

Despite the rising interest in non-finite verb forms (infinitives, participles, converbs, action nominals (AN)) among typologically oriented linguists (e.g. König & van der Auwera 1990, Haspelmath & König 1995, van der Auwera 1998), insights into the topic from West African languages are still scarce. To help fill this huge gap, the present paper provides a descriptively oriented, text-corpus-based analysis of action nominals in Tigemaxo.

Subject: Grammar

Nasality in Bozo Jenaama

Publisher: WOCAL, 2009
Language: Bozo, Jenaama

This paper discusses one problem area of Bozo-Jenaama phonology, namely nasalization. After an introduction about the language and its speakers, it outlines the relevant data. It then shows how an analysis without contrastive nasal vowels is possible in spite of surface contrast between nasalized and non-nasalized vowels. In a next step additional data in support of the suggested analysis is presented and exceptions to it explained. A suggestion about the nature of the underlying nasal consonant is made. Finally, a pronunciation variety of one of the dialects of Jenaama is discussed.

Subject: Phonology

Sociolinguistic Survey of the Dogon language area

Languages: Dogon, Toro So

In 1998 a sociolinguistic survey was conducted in the Dogon language area in central Mali to assess whether all Dogon speakers could potentially use literature published in the Toro-soo speech variety (the Dogon variety selected by the Malian government to be the sole standard). If not, then which speakers of which speech varieties would have trouble understanding it? To what degree might these Dogon speakers benefit from literature in Bambara and Fulfulde? Or might further linguistic analysis and literacy work be needed in other Dogon speech varieties in order for all Dogon speakers to have access to a literature they could understand? This research included identifying the Dogon speech varieties, listing villages where each is spoken, mapping the geographical area of each speech variety, collecting wordlists, and asking questions following a standardized questionnaire.

Relative clauses in Tadaksahak

Languages: Tadaksahak

Three distinct relativization strategies are used in Tadaksahak: a relative pronoun strategy, a gap strategy, and one that uses the morpheme sa (hereafter, the sa-strategy). One parameter that distinguishes these strategies is whether the relative clause is restrictive (relative pronoun and gap strategies) or nonrestrictive (sa-strategy); this difference is reviewed in section 1. The parameter that usually distinguishes the two restrictive strategies is whether the referent of the head noun is definite (relative pronoun strategy-sec. 3.1) or indefinite (gap strategy-sec. 3.2). Section 4 is devoted to the sa-strategy. The paper also discusses which grammatical relations can be relativized by each strategy (sec. 2), and some motivations for left-dislocating nominal constituents that contain relative clauses (sec. 5).

Subject: Grammar

Some verb morphology features of Tadaksahak, or Berber or Songhay, this is the question

Languages: Tadaksahak; Tamasheq

Having been described as "langue mixte" (Lacroix 1971), this language presents features of Songhay and Berber languages. The observations discussed in this paper deal with the way voice changes are handled. In particular, it shows how the causative is formed. The causative morpheme S(V)- is of Berber origin and prefixed to the verb root as in Berber languages, whereas Songhay suffixes the causative morpheme that is of a very different form (-andi). But only verb roots that are also etymologically from Berber can take the morpheme in Tadaksahak. All roots that are cognates with Songhay are replaced with a Berber root with the same meaning, when causativized, changed to passive voice, or made reflexive or reciprocal.

An appendix to the paper lists examples of both intransitive and transitive verbs using suppletion of the root when changed to causative and passive voice.

Subject: Grammar