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Poster communications

Wolof verbal system: a holistic construction grammar approach

Abstract : A large part of the works developed within the Construction Grammar framework (Fillmore & Kay 1993; Golberg 1995, 2003; Croft 2001) are devoted to specific constructions (e.g. most of the papers published in the journal Constructions and Frames). Much fewer publication deal with complete networks of constructions or with the whole “constructicon” (ie. the network of all construction networks of the language). Nevertheless, Construction Grammar framework allows for holistic analyses of constructions networks, as it highlights both the internal organization of these networks and the links between the different constructions. The aim of this paper is to propose a Construction Grammar analysis of the whole verbal constructions network of Wolof (Atlantic, Niger-Congo language spoken in Senegal). I consider that Wolof predicative constructions cannot be analyzed as a simple list of independent constructions. Some groupings are necessary to explain the formal similarities and differences that exist between these constructions. Besides, some apparent idiosyncrasies in Wolof conjugation can be explained in the light of diachronic elements. The framework provided by Construction Grammars – especially Bybee (2010) – allows a unified analysis of synchronic observations and diachronic phenomenons. Indeed, within the scope of a constructional approach, we may consider that Wolof predicative constructions form a construction network. Idiosyncrasies observed in synchrony can be analyzed as marks of grammaticalization processes having lead to a restructuring of the network. I thus propose to bring some constructions together into specific networks: auxiliary verb constructions, extraction constructions, negative constructions and non-finite constructions. Besides, I propose a grammaticalization hypothesis to account for formal similarities between Perfect, Future and Optative constructions. I also propose a schematic representation of each network, as well as of the whole verbal construction network of Wolof, whereby each construction will be represented as list of relevant distinctive features.
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Poster communications
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Contributor : Maximilien Guérin <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 1:29:53 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - 8:24:01 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-01841529, version 1



Maximilien Guérin. Wolof verbal system: a holistic construction grammar approach. Tenth International Conference on Construction Grammar (ICCG10), Jul 2018, Paris, France. ⟨halshs-01841529⟩



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