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Title: Aspects of Mandingo Grammar
Authors: Drame, Mallafe
Keywords: Mandingo - Grammar
Mande Languages
Niger-Congo Languages
African Languages
Issue Date: 1981
Publisher: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract: The present study attempts to provide a general description of the Grammar of Mandingo. Since the language has not been submitted to extensive linguistic investigation, the thesis will essentially be subdivided into three major parts: (1) A general background description of the morpho-tonology of the language; (2) a grammatical overview of simple sentences; and (3) an examination of the structure of complex sentences. In particular, Chapter II analyzes the morphology and the tonology of nouns, adjectives, verbs in an attempt to uncover general properties characteristic of all major Mandingo constituents. This chapter not only facilitates the reading of subsequent chapters, but it offers a description that is crucial for the understanding of the rest of the thesis. Chapter III examines the syntax of simple sentences. In particular, three areas are covered in this chapter: (a) word order, (b) nominals such as nominal possession marking and nominalized sentences, and (c) movement transformations. Chapter XV focuses on the syntax of complex sentences. Several questions are raised including (1) whether Mandingo conjunction fits within the Immediate Dominance/Non-immediate dominance dichotomy, proposed by Tai (1969) and Sanders and Tai (1972), (2) can a unitary account be found for Mandingo relative clause formation, that is do the two relative clause types exhibited in this language share the same deep structure^ (3) what types of complement clauses the language has , and •what are their deep structures, (4) whether or not a single rule can account for all Mandingo complement types, and (5) how can we account for the expletive pronoun a 'it' which surfaces in some complement clauses. A tentative solution is finally proposed that permits the derivation of both relative and complement clauses by a single rule. Chapter V concludes the thesis and discusses a number of theoretical issues raised in the previous chapters. It is our hope that this study, although by no means exhaustive, will bring some insight into our knowledge of the structure of Mande languages, and in so doing increase our understanding of African languages and the nature of human languages in general.
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