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Verb apocope as a marker of predicate backgrounding in Yulu (Central Sudanic, C.A.R./South Sudan/Sudan)

Abstract : Provided that they are followed either by a pause or by the polar interrogative nee / -ee, some Yulu verb forms are articulated without their final vowel (non-intense ə). This apocope, which is then to be observed in very restricted contexts only (final position or before the polar interrogative), affects systematically – i.e. without any possible choice – the subject-focalizing forms, the negative forms, and, in dependent clauses, the purposive and the consecutive forms. It is clearly related to discourse hierarchy (or information structure) and indicates predicates that are backgrounded because of the assertion (or ‘focus’ in a wide sense) bearing either on another constituent (subject, negation) in the same clause, or on the predicate of the preceding main clause (in the case of purposive and consecutive). The aim of the present paper is to give a more detailed account of the situation of Yulu, in relation with similar phenomena in some languages of the same continent. Finally two different questions will be asked: 1. What is the real value of a function the marking of which is limited to the above mentioned contexts? and 2. Are such cases of interaction between verbal morphology and information structure attested outside Africa? If yes, where and how?
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https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01487657
Contributor : Pascal Boyeldieu <>
Submitted on : Sunday, March 12, 2017 - 10:48:47 PM
Last modification on : Friday, March 27, 2020 - 3:43:29 AM

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Pascal Boyeldieu. Verb apocope as a marker of predicate backgrounding in Yulu (Central Sudanic, C.A.R./South Sudan/Sudan). 10th Biennial Conference of the Association for Linguistic Typology (ALT 10), Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Aug 2013, Leipzig, Germany. ⟨halshs-01487657⟩

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