Explaining the intransitive L tone in Greater Manding: a form with(out) a function

Abstract : At least two Manding-Mokole languages (Mande, Western, Central) have been reported to use differences in tone for marking the transitivity status of the verb in constructions that otherwise contain the same TAM marker in the immediately post-subject slot, the so-called predicative marker. Thus, according to Creissels (2013), in Mandinka the negative perfective marker and the negative copula used in the future and progressive constructions have two variants depending on whether the construction is transitive or intransitive. The variant used in the intransitive construction has a floating L tone following it: transitive máŋ vs. intransitive máŋ L for the negative perfective marker and transitive té vs. intransitive té L for the negative copula. In Kakabe, as described by Vydrina (2013), the lexical H tone of a verb in any intransitive construction involving a predicative marker can optionally be changed to L. This lowering of the tone of the verb can alternatively be analysed by positing a floating L following the predicative marker, similarly to what Creissels (2013) does for Mandinka. This tonal intransitive marker in the slot immediately following the predicative marker is extremely puzzling, since Mande morphosyntax provides no natural pathway for its language-internal emergence.
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Contributor : Dmitry Idiatov <>
Submitted on : Friday, March 3, 2017 - 2:50:35 PM
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Dmitry Idiatov. Explaining the intransitive L tone in Greater Manding: a form with(out) a function. 22nd International Conference on Historical Linguistics, Aug 2015, Naples, Italy. ⟨halshs-01481400⟩

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