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Title: A Grammar of Chumburung. A Structure-Function hierarchical description of the syntax of a Ghanian language
Authors: Hansford, Keir Lewis
Keywords: Chumburung - Grammar
Guang Languages
Volta-Congo Languages
Atlantic-Congo Languages
Niger-Congo Languages
African Languages
Issue Date: 1990
Publisher: SOAS, University of London
Abstract: Chumburung is a member of the Guang group of languages, otherwise known as Western Kwa, Volta-Comoe (Eastern). Its speakers live on the north side of the Volta Lake in Ghana. It is related to Gonja and Nawuri, of which full descriptions have been written respectively by Painter (1970b) and Sherwood (1982). This is the first known complete description of the syntax of Chumburung from morpheme to sentence, and includes an account of productive word formation rules. A short summary of the phonology has been included for completeness, but is not part of the Structure-Function hierarchy of the grammar. The theoretical framework for the grammar is the Structure-Function hierarchical model of John 1. Bendor-Sainuel, proposed in 1963, which with minor modifications has been taught by the British School of the Summer Institute of Linguistics for the last two decades as a practical model for a analysis of languages. Published descriptions employing this model include Thomas -1969/1978 (Engenni) and Iwara 1982 (Lok). Like tagmemic grammar it is based on a hierarchical surface structure of ascending ranks from morpheme to sentence, and like systemic grammar it describes the structure of each rank in terms of elements from the rank below, and describes the function of each element in slots in the rank or ranks above. Its unique feature is to separate off such words as clause introducers from the structural elements and call them syntagmatic features. These overt markers, together with rules relating to word order, subordination, etc. handle many aspects of syntactic cohesion. This thesis improves upon the model by making much use of tree diagrams to gain insight into depth and dominance at every rank. Other insights offered include a novel analysis (of interest to West African linguists) of serial verbs, here redefined as serial clauses, of which auxiliary verb constructions are shown to be a special type.
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