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Title: The Structure of Bafut (Volumes I and II)
Authors: Ambe, Henry Suh Achuo
Keywords: Bafut - Grammar
Niger-Congo Languages
African Languages
Issue Date: 1989
Publisher: Georgetown University
Abstract: THE STRUCTURE OF BAFUT This dissertation is one of a pioneering endeavor in the field of Bafut Linguistics. The approach to the analysis is descriptive in the main but other approaches thought to be more meaningful and more revealing in certain instances have also been employed. Chapter one introduces the Bafut people and their language, one of a number of languages belonging to the Ngemba sub-group of the Mbam-Nkam Sub-division of the Grassfields Bantu language family, in the Republic of Cameroon. Chapter two is a study of the sound system, in which an inventory of phonemes and tonemes, along with phonological and tonological processes are carried out, using respectively, the generative and autosegmental approaches. Chapter three is a morphological and a syntactic study of the nominal component. Nouns are classified in terms of their ability to tolerate noun class affixes as well as their belonging to certain semantic fields. An analysis of the noun phrase takes into consideration, its component parts and the rules governing its syntactic structure. A comprehensive set of phrase structure rules are developed to account for the generation of numerals in Bafut. Chapter four studies the verbal complex by examining its component parts and the rules which govern its syntactic structure. Features such as mood, tense, aspect and polarity are examined and adequately illustrated. Chapter five deals with the processes of word formation. It is shown that suprasegmentals play a role in word formation, that is, the suprasegmentals: tone and length as well as the glottal stop segment, individually or in combination with each other generate a multiplicity of meaning on an otherwise single lexical item.A theory of derivational morphology for a Bafut lexicon is discussed and phrase structure rules are proposed to handle intra word class derivation, especially affixation and compounding. Chapter six treats of the syntax of Bafut. There is an assumption of the existence of levels in language. For Bafut, there are the deep, transformational and surface levels, with their concommitant contents. Phrase structure rules are developed and applied, firstly to various parts of a Bafut syntactic string and secondly to structures of major Bafut sentence types: the declarative, imperative, negative and the interrogative. Other sentence patterns examined are the anaphora and topicalization.
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