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Non-verbal predication and copulas in three Mande languages

Abstract : Non-verbal predication and copula types are analysed in three Mande languages: Bambara, Guinean Maninka, and Eastern Dan. These languages display considerable divergences. In Bambara, there are three affirmative non-verbal copulas used in different construction types, comprising one formal class. In Guinean Maninka, there is only one non-verbal affirmative copula, and it can be omitted; there is a tendency toward its substitution with a focalization particle. The affirmative non-verbal qualitative construction is copulaless. In both these languages, there is also a verbal copula used in non-default context, and an ostentative copula going back to a verb whose lexical meaning is ‘to look’. In Eastern Dan, copulas are diverse in nature: some are of verbal origin, while others go back to demonstrative adverbs. There are three series of inflectional auxiliary lexemes which are used both in verbal constructions and in constructions with non-verbal predicates, i.e. as copulas.
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Contributor : Valentin Vydrin <>
Submitted on : Thursday, October 29, 2020 - 2:19:08 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - 8:24:01 AM


  • HAL Id : halshs-02983180, version 1



Valentin Vydrin. Non-verbal predication and copulas in three Mande languages. Journal of West African Languages, West African Linguistic Society, 2020, 47 (1), pp.77-105. ⟨halshs-02983180⟩



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