Accueil / Archive / 2014 / Monotransitive Constructions in Seereer
Actions sur le document

 

1. Introduction

<1>

Seereer is one of the main languages of Senegal; spoken by about 1.8 million people. It belongs to the Niger-Congo phylum and is classified in the northern branch of the West Atlantic family. It consists of six varieties (Ool, Poofoofi, Singandum, Peefey, Kirena, Kemb). For my study I use the variety of Ool spoken in the region of Diourbel (western part of Senegal) by about 8,000 [1] people. Seereer is a language very rich in verbal derivational morphemes. The verbal structure is rather complex; it includes derivational morphemes and many inflectional suffixes marking tense, aspect and mood but also subject and object indexation and focus (this has been studied by S. Faye 1980, and Mous & Faye 2006). There are no prefixes; all morphemes which operate in verbs are suffixed.

As far as transitivity is concerned, Seereer verbs can be divided into three major types (with several subtypes for each): Strictly intransitive, strictly transitive and ambitransive or labile verbs. This paper will focus on one class of strictly transitive verbs namely monotransitive verbs including no voice mechanism. In section 2 I describe the syntactic diagnosis of transitivity, in section3 the coding properties of arguments, in section 4 I discuss the different groups within the monotransitive class, then I finally will analyse non-coded alternations in section 5.

2. Syntactic diagnosis of transitivity

<2>

There are no specific markers in Seereer that can help to identify the transitivity value of a construction and word order of the constituents that come after the verb (object and obliques) is sometimes flexible. I have used devices such as:

  • passivization ;

  • pronominalization;

  • reflexivization;

  • and the questioning of xaa ta fiaa e? “What is he doing” and xaa fiu e? “what has he done” so as to determine which constituents cannot be left out (to obtain grammatical clauses) and the different types of constructions that a given verb can integrate.

In this paper I have chosen to deal with passivization and pronominalization.

2.1. Passivization

<3>

It is always possible to passivize a verb in an active transitive construction by adding to its root the passive morpheme [2]: -e ~ -eel ~ -el. In Seereer passive constructions (1b and 2 b), the object of the active construction (1a and 2a) is promoted to subject-patient function (if the promoted constituent is in plural it agrees in number as in 1b) and the subject-agent of the basic clause is completely deleted from the core structure, but understood because of the passive marker which indicates an involvement of an initiator of the action. I agree with Dixon & Aikhenvald (2000:7) who define this phenomenon as an agentless passive: “Some languages have a derivation in which the underlying A must be omitted (although it is understood that there was an underlying A argument, i.e. there was some agent who affected the patient)”.

(1)

a.

maad

oxe

yaqas-a-y

ø

qoxoox

we

n-a

king

DEF.sg

eliminate-PFV-EXP

CL

farmer

DEF.pl

PREP-CL

jeetay

fane

conversation

DEF.sg

The king eliminated the farmers from the conversation

(1)

b.

ø

qooxoox

we

yaqas-e-y-o

n-a

jeetay

fane

CL

farmer

DEF.pl

eliminate-PSS-EXP-AGR.s.pl

PREP-CL

conversation

DEF.sg

The farmers were eliminated from the conversation.

(2)

a.

o

yaal

mbind

ne

yoog-a-y

a

cek

ake

CL

owner

house

DEF.sg

shelter-PFV-EXP

CL

chicken

DEF.pl

The householder has sheltered the chicken.

(2)

b.

a

cek

ake

Yoog-e-y-o

CL

chicken

DEF.pl

Shelter-PSS-EXP-AGR.s.pl

The chickens have been sheltered.

<4>

The passive morpheme is not productive with intransitive verbs (3). It can be applied to some set of verbs within the intransitive verbs with an extended locative argument (4).

(3)

a.

o

koor

oxe

ƭaan

n-a

ndok

ale

CL

man

DEF.sg

sleep

PREP-CL

room

DEF.sg

The man slept in the room.

(3)

b.

* a

ndok

ale

ƭaan-el

CL

room

DEF.sg

sleep-PSS.

*The room was slept in.

(4)

a.

ø

Gooram

oxe

gen-a

nu

ø

mbind

nene

CL

Gooram

s3sgPRS

live-IPFV

PREP

CL

house

this

Gooram lives in this house.

(4)

b.

ø

mbind

nene

gen-e-y

CL

house

this

live-PSS-EXP

The house is occupied.

(4)

c.

ø

Wiin

we

ndet-a-y-o

a

Njareem

xane

CL

people

DEF

go-IPFV-EPT-AGR.sg

CL

Diourbel

today

People have gone to Diourbel today.

(4)

d.

ø

Njaareem

a

ret-e-y

xane

CL

Diourbel

S3sg

go-PSS-EXP

today

Diourbel was frequented today (lit.Diourbel was gone today).

2.2. Pronominalization

<5>

Transitivity can also be tested by identifying which constituent can be replaced by an object pronoun (an index suffixed to the verb or an independent pronoun which comes just after the verb) (5). Prepositional complements cannot be referred to by an object pronoun (6b), they can however be replaced by appropriate oblique pronouns (locative for example) as in (6c).

(5)

a.

o

njaaƈ

onGe

a

rax

ø-

ndiiƭ

ne

CL

child

DEF.sg

s3sg

chase.away

CL

bird

DEF.sg

The child chased the bird away.

(5)

b.

o

njaaƈ

onGe

a

rax-in

CL

child

DEF.sg

s3sg

chase.away-o3sg

The child chased it away.

(6)

a.

o

tew

oxe

diƈ-a-y

a

saxal

ale

CL

woman

DEF.sg

put.down-PFV-EXP

CL

calabash

DEF.sg

n-o

maax

ole

PREP-CL

courtyard

DEF.sg

The woman has put the calabash down the courtyard.

(6)

b.

*o

tew

oxe

diƈ-aa-n

a

saxal

ale

CL

woman

DEF.sg

put.down-PFV-o3sg

CL

calabash

DEF.sg

*The woman has put it the calabash.

(6)

c.

o

tew

oxe

diƈ-a-y

tee

a

saxal

ale

CL

woman

DEF.sg

put.down-PFV-EXP

LOC

CL

calabash

DEF.sg

The woman has put down the calabash on it.

3. Coding properties of monotransitive constructions

<6>

I analyze here the linear order, flagging [3] and indexing of the constituents in a monotransitive construction.

3.1. Linear order of arguments

<7>

In a simple clause, that is to say without topicalization, focalization or relativization, the canonical order of core terms in monotransitive constructions is:

AVP(X)

AVPE (X)

In some cases the subject of first or second person singular is included in the verb or the auxiliary morphology.

(7)

yoog-aa-m-ii

a

cek

ale

shelter-PFV-s1sg-EXP

CL

chicken

DEF.sg

I have sheltered the chicken

(8)

naangaa-m

o

yoog-aa

a

cek

ale

AUX.HAB-s1sg

DEPV

shelter-IPFV

CL

chicken

DEF.sg

I usually shelter the chicken.

3.1.1. AVP(X) order

<8>

A represents the subject argument in a transitive clause. The position of the subject before the verb is strict except when it is included in the auxiliary or the verb morphology as mentioned above (cf. examples 7 and 8). The argument which follows the verb and is represented by P is the object of the monotransitive verb.

(9)

ø

Gooram

a

ƥaat-a-y

ø

ngaak

ne

CL

Gooram

s3sg

increase-PFV-EXP

CL

stock of food

DEF.sg

Gooram has increased the stock of food.

<9>

In X are found all non-obligatory peripheral arguments. These latter are not systematically marked. If they are marked they can be introduced by prepositions like n(u) (locative, directional, source and partitive meaning), f(u) (instrumental, comitative, coordination).

(10)

ø

Daba

mukt-a-y

o

njaaƈ

onGe

fu

ø

saafu

CL

Daba

wash-PFV-EXP

CL

child

DEF.sg

PREP

CL

soap

Daba has washed the child with soap. 

<10>

The linear order of terms that come after the verb, namely P and X, is flexible. One can have AVPX (11a) or AVXP (11b), but the order where the object comes first then followed by the obliques is preferable.

(11)

a.

ø

yaaf

re

xuuy-a-y

ø

pay

ne

faak

CL

old woman

DEF.sg

tear-PFV-EXP

CL

loincloth

DEF.sg

yesterday

The old woman has torn the peace of loincloth yesterday.

(11)

b.

ø

yaaf

re

xuuy-a-y

faak

ø

pay

ne

CL

old woman

DEF.sg

tear-PFV-EXP

yesterday

CL

loincloth

DEF.sg

The old woman has torn the peace of loincloth yesterday.

3.1.2. AVPE (X)

<11>

This order represents the argument structure of obligatorily extended monotransitive verbs. In addition to subject and object arguments, there is a third core term that comes after the object. The argument that E represents is either a locative (that can be encoded or not by a preposition) (12a), an adverb (12b), or a verbal complement (12c).

(12)

a.

soƥ-aa-m-ii

ø

Gooram

n-a

ndok

ale

find-PFV-s1sg-EXP

CL

Gooram

PREP-CL

room

DEF.sg

I have found Gooram in the room.

(12)

b.

soƥ-aa-m-ii

ø

Gooram

tafil

find-PFV-s1sg-EXP

CL

Gooram

outside

I have found Gooram outside.

(12)

c.

soƥ-aa-m-ii

ø

Gooram

ta

ñaam-aa

find-PFV-s1sg-EXP

CL

Gooram

s3sg

eat-IPFV

I have found Gooram eating.

<12>

In this structure the position of P just after the verb becomes strict. The position of constituents that come after P is flexible with the following possibilities: AVPE(X) or AVP(X)E as in (13).

(13)

a.

soƥ-aa-m-ii

ø

Gooram

n-a

ndok

ale

faak

find-PFV-s1sg-EXP

CL

Gooram

PREP-CL

room

DEF.sg

yesterday

I have found Gooram in the room yesterday.

(13)

b.

soƥ-aa-m-ii

ø

Goram

faak

n-a

ndok

ale

find-PFV-s1sg-EXP

CL

Gooram

yesterday

PREP-CL

room

DEF.sg

I have found Gooram yesterday in the room.

3.2. Flagging

<13>

Seereer does not have markers that systematically allow identifying core arguments in a transitive clause (14).

(14)

o

maad

oxe

xooy-nu-a-y

a

jaraaf

fane

CL

king

DEF.sg

call-BEN.CAUS-PFV- EXP

CL

chief of the district

DEF.sg

The king has sent for the chief of the district.

The morpheme a which comes before the object jaraaf (14) has been described as an object marker by W. Faye (1979:175-176) and (1993:203) but I analyse it as a class marker because it no longer precedes the noun when it changes a class the one of plural for example as in (15). A detailed analysis about this morpheme is given in Ngom forthcoming.

(15)

o

maad

oxe

xooy-nu-a-y

ø

caraaf

ke

CL

king

DEF.sg

call-BEN.CAUS-PFV-EXP

CL

chief of the district

DEF.pl

The king has sent for the chief of the district.

3.3. Indexing

<14>

Indexing occurs when nominal or pronominal core arguments are represented by indexes in the clause. The index can co-occur with the constituent it refers to or appear only when the constituent does not occur.

3.3.1. Indexing of A

<15>

Seereer indexes the subject of a transitive construction the same way as the subject of an intransitive construction. In plural the subject agrees in number (in all persons) with the verb. This agreement is marked by the index -o (it can be sometimes omitted when there is no difficulty to distinguish the person in subject function) in final position of the verbal structure. Agreement in number is specific to subject, object and oblique arguments do not have this property.

(16)

i

suf-a-y-o

a

sareet

ale

bo

ƈut

s1pl

load-PFV-EXP-AGR.s.pl

CL

cart

DEF.sg

until

finish

We have finished loading the cart.

3.3.2. Indexing of P

<16>

Object indexation (in a simple clause, that is to say without topicalization, focalization) in Seereer is a replacement rather than an agreement because object indexes do not co-occur with the constituents they refer to. That is to say, they appear only when the object constituents they refer to are not attested in the sentence. In the indexation of P in singular, the language makes use of object suffixes whose basic forms are: (the vowels of the suffixes may undergo morphophonological changes): -aam (first person), -ong (second person) and -in, -an,-uu (third person) (17). If P is in plural it is independent pronouns that are used. Those pronouns [4] are: in (first person), nuun (second person), den (third person) (18). The difference between the object suffixes and the independent object pronouns is in terms of position, the former are suffixed to the verb and the latter come just after the verb.

(17)

a.

buu

Gooram

a

ƭax-na

ø

coow

re

um

and

if

Gooram

s3sg

solve-na

CL

quarrel

DEF.sg

s1sg

know

ee

tee

waag-u

mee

CONJ

s3sg

can-FOC

here

If Gooram solves the quarrel, I will know that he is the best.

(17)

b.

Buu

Gooram

a

ƭax-uu-na

um

and

ee

tee

wag-u

mee

if

Gooram

s3sg

solve-o3sg-na

s1sg

know

CONJ

s3sg

can-FOC

here

If Gooram solves it, I will know that he is the best.

(18)

a.

ø

Biram

a

riñ-a-y

fu

njaaƈ

ne

CL

Biram

s3sg

push-PFV-EXP

CL

child

DEF.pl

Biram has pushed the children.

(18)

b.

Biram

a

riñ-a-y

a

den

Biram

s3sg

push-PFV-EXP

CL

o3pl

Biram has pushed them.

4. Types of plain monotransitive verbs

<17>

Strictly monotransitive verbs require in their constructions a subject argument and at least one object argument. In Seereer those verbs cannot be used intransitively unless they undergo morphological valency reducing operations. Strictly monotransitive verbs can be divided into three groups of verbs: simple or ordinary plain monotransitive; plain monotransitive verbs with a third obligatorily extended argument; plain monotransitive verbs with a third optionaly extended argument. Plain monotransitive verbs are not very numerous; they represent 8.47 % of my corpus.

4.1. Simple plain monotransitive verbs

<18>

Those verbs are necessarily constructed with only two core arguments: a subject whose semantic role is similar to agent and a patient-like object. With these verbs it is not possible to add a second object without morphological process. The argument structure is presented as following: APV (X) [5].

(19)

ø

Gooram

a

ƭag

fa

ñafaƭ

aqe

CL

Gooram

s3sg

hang up

CL

shoes

DEF.

Gooram hung up the shoes.

(20)

o

fex-ang-a

a

ba

of

f-a

ya

of

s2sg

esteem-COND-a

CL

father

POSS3sg

CON-CL

mother

POSS3sg

xan

o

xuuƭ

o

ñis

FUT

s2sg

last

CL

nose

If you esteem your parents you will have long living.

<19>

I have found one plain monotransitive verb ƭooƭ or sooƥ ‘to miss, to feel nostalgia for’ which deviates a bit from the canonical behavior of transitive verbs as far as passivization is concerned. In its active construction, the subject has the semantic role of stimulus and the object that of experiencer (21a). When the passive morpheme is added to its root, the object (experiencer) of the active clause becomes subject (with the same semantic role) and the former subject becomes an object argument (with the same semantic role) that cannot be deleted (21b). The verb in its active and passive construction remains strictly transitive this exemplified an alternation without a modification of the transitifivity.

(21)

a.

fu

njaaƈ

ne

sooƥ-a-y-o

a

Gooram

CL

children

DEF.pl

miss-PFV-EPT-AGR.s.pl

CL

Gooram

Gooram misses the children.

(21)

b.

Gooram

a

sooƥ-e-y

fu

njaaƈ

ne

Gooram

s3sg

feel nostalgia for-PSS.PFV-EXP

CL

children

DEF.pl

Gooram feels nostalgia for the children.

(21)

c.

Gooram

a

sooƥ-e-y

CL

Gooram

s3sg

feel nostalgia for-PSS-EXP

Gooram feels nostalgia.

Table 1: Some other ordinary plain monotransitive verbs

Verbs

Basic structure

Glosses

yoog

A yoog P

to shelter

rax

A rax P

to chase

sut

A sut P

to take out

ƭax

A ƭax P

to solve

paang

A paang P

to complete

yirif

A yirif P

to shake off

jel

A jel P

to pass over

4.2. Plain Monotransitive with an obligatory extended argument

<20>

Verbs in this class require three arguments: a subject constituent with a semantic characteristic of agent, an object whose semantic property is similar to the patient of a monotransitive verb and a third argument that is either a circumstantial complement (encoded or not by a preposition) (22) or a verbal complement (23). Construction as in (24) is ungrammatical.

The basic argument structure is: AVPE (cf. linear order in 3.1.2)

(22)

ø

Ajma

soƥ-a-y

ø

rew

we

a

Njaareem

CL

Ajma

find-PFV-EXP

CL

woman

DEF.pl

CL

Diourbel

Ajma has found the women in Diourbel.

(23)

um

ret

nu

saax

njan

soƥ

ø

saax

raa

s1sg

go

PREP

village

foreign

find

CL

village

DEF.sg

njeetaay-aa-y-o

converse-PFV-EPT-AGR.s.pl

I went to a foreign village and found villagers conversing.

(24)

ø

*Ajma

soƥ-a-y

ø

rew

we

CL

Ajma

find-PFV-EXP

CL

woman

DEF.pl

Ajma has found the women.

In this class only the argument whose semantic role is similar to patient and represented by P which is ø rew we (22) and ø saax raa (23) has the syntactic characteristic of a prototypical object. This type of verb is not very representative in Seereer ool. I have found one for the time being and it is soƥ ‘to find’.

4.3. Plain Monotransitive with a third optionally extended constituent.

<21>

Those verbs require two arguments in their construction, one in subject function and the other in object function. It is always possible to add a second non-subject constituent without any morphological valency increasing process. Semantically the extended constituent is either an instrumental or a goal. In the syntactic level it is treated like an object or an oblique depending on the feature [±animate] of the two non-subject constituents reason why I have chosen to treat them within the monotransitive class and not within the ditransitive verbs.

4.3.1. The extended constituent is an instrumental

<22>

Plain monotransitive verbs that can be optionally extended with an instrumental participant are obligatorily constructed with a subject whose semantic role is similar to the agent and an object with a semantic characteristic that resembles the patient (25a and 26a). Those verbs can extend their terms to a third non subject one and which semantically has the role of instrument.

The basic structure is presented as following: AVP.

The canonical order of the extended structure is: AVP(I).

This additional term is treated like an object (what gives a ditransitive structure) if the obligatory object whose semantic role is similar to the patient has an animate referent and the extended constituent an inanimate referent (25).

(25)

a.

o

tew

oxe

ƭuum-a-y

o

kulook

oxe

CL

woman

DEF.sg

smear-PFV-EXP

CL

bridegroom

DEF.sg

The woman has smeared the bridegroom.

(25)

b.

o

tew

oxe

ƭuum-a-y

o

kulook

oxe

CL

woman

DEF.sg

smear-PFV-EXP

CL

bridegroom

CL

ø

fonGam

fane

CL

cream

DEF.sg

The woman has smeared the bridegroom with the cream.

(25)

c.

ø

fonGam

fane

ƭuum-e-y

o

kulook

oxe

CL

cream

DEF

smear-PSS-EXP

CL

bridegroom

DEF.sg

The cream has been smeared to the bridegroom.

(25)

d.

o

tew

oxe

ƭuum-aa-n-ii

o

kulook

oxe

CL

woman

DEF.sg

smear-PFV-o3Ss-EXP

CL

bridegroom

DEF.sg

The woman has smeared the bridegroom with it.

In (25), the additional constituent which is here ø fonGam fane (25b) has all object properties; it can be promoted to subject function in passive (25c) and be replaced by a pronoun suffixed to the verb (25d).

<23>

The extended term is treated as an oblique if the two non subject constituents have inanimate referents (26). In such a construction although the additional term I is not introduced by a preposition, it has any object properties. It can have access to object criteria via non-coded alternation object/ locative that I treat in 5.1

(26)

a.

ø

Xemes

a

ƭuum-a-y

ø

kawdiir

ne

CL

Xemes

s3sg

smear-PFV-EXP

CL

pot

DEF.sg

Xemes has smeared the pot

(26)

b.

ø

Xemes

a

ƭuum-a-y

ø

kawdiir

CL

Xemes

s3sg

smear-PFV-EXP

CL

pot

ne

ø

ndaw

DEF.sg

CL

ash

Xemes has smeared the pot with ashes.

(26)

c.

ø

kawdiir

ne

ƭuum-e-y

ø

ndaw

CL

pot

DEF.sg

smear-PSS-EXP

CL

ash

The pot has been smeared with ashes.

(26)

d.

ø

ndaw

ne

ƭuum-e-y

ø

kawdiir

ne

CL

ash

DEF.sg

smear-PSS.PFV-EXP

CL

pot

DEF.sg

*The ashes has been smeared the pot.

(26)

e.

Xemes

a

ƭuum-aa-n-ii

ø

ndaw

CL

Xemes

s3sg

smear-PFV-o3sg-EXP

CL

ash

Xemes has smeared it with ashes.

(26)

f.

Xemes

a

ƭuum-aa-n-ii

ø

kawdiir

ne

CL

Xemes

s3sg

smear-PFV-o3sg

CL

pot

DEF.sg

*Xemes has smeared it the pot.

(26)

g.

ø

Xemes

a

ƭuum-a-y

ø

kawdiir

ne

ø

ndaw

CL

Xemes

s3sg

smear-PFV-EXP

CL

pot

DEF.sg

CL

ash

Xemes has smeared the pot with ashes.

(26)

h.

Xemes

a

ƭuum-a-y

ø

ndaw

ø

kawdiir

ne

CL

Xemes

s3sg

smear-PFV-EXP

CL

ash

CL

pot

DEF.sg

Xemes has smeared the pot with ashes.

In the example (26) only the object represented by P which is ø kawdiir ne can be promoted to subject function in a passive construction (26c). The extended constituent I, does not have this property (26d). It is also noticed that only P can be replaced by an object pronoun (26e) and not I (26f). The linear order of nominal objects is frozen (AVPI), P comes strictly in postverbal position then followed by I (26g).

Table 2: Some other verbs in this group

Verbs

Basic structure

Extended structure

Glosses

sing

A sing P

A sing P (I)

to cover (something)

sooc

A sooc P

A sooc P (I)

to clean out

soƭ

A soƭ P

A soƭ P (I)

to cram

4.3.2. The extended constituent is a goal

<24>

Verbs within this group are necessarily constructed with a subject whose semantic role is similar to the characteristic of an agent and an object whose semantic role is similar to the patient (28a). With these verbs it is possible to add a third constituent. Semantically the extended constituent has a role that is similar to the goal (28b).

The basic structure is: A V P

The canonical order of the extended structure is: A V (G) P or A V P (PREPG)

With verbs in this class, it is generally noticed that the access of the additional constituent to the syntactic properties of object is conditioned by the feature ± animate of the referent. If the extended constituent has an animate referent it has access to all object criteria. It can be promoted to subject function in passive (27c) and be replaced by an object pronoun (27d). In this case the verb is constructed with two objects.

(27)

a.

ø

Maan

a

ƥax-a-y

ø

foof

le

CL

Maan

s3sg

pour-PFV-EXP

CL

water

DEF.sg

Maan has poured the water.

(27)

b.

ø

Maan

a

ƥax-a-y

a

Gooram

ø

foof

le

CL

Maan

s3sg

pour-PFV-EXP

CL

Gooram

CL

water

DEF.sg

Maan has poured Gooram the water.

(27)

c.

ø

Gooram

a

ƥax-e-y

ø

foof

le

CL

Gooram

s3sg

pour-PSS.PFV-EXP

CL

water

DEF.sg

*Gooram has been poured the water to

(27)

d.

ø

Maan

a

ƥax-aa.n-ii

ø

foof

le

CL

Maan

s3sg

pour-PFV-o3sg-EXP

CL

water

DEF.sg

Maan has poured him the water

If the extended third constituent has an inanimate referent, it is encoded as an oblique introduced by the preposition n(u) and loses therefore all the syntactic characteristics of object (28b) . In this case the verb appears in a monotransitive structure. In such a construction the extended constituent in oblique function can be promoted to object function by the non-coded alternation object/ instrument that I analyze in the section 5.2

(28)

a.

ø

Maan

a

ƥax-a-y

ø

foof

le

CL

Maan

s3sg

pour-PFV-EXP

CL

water

DEF.sg

Maan has poured the water.

(28)

b.

ø

Maan

a

ƥax-a-y

ø

foof

le

nu

CL

Maan

s3sg

pour-PFV-EXP

CL

water

DEF.sg

PREP

ø

ndaxar

ne

CL

tree

DEF.sg

Maan has poured the water on the tree.

Table 3 : Some other verbs in this group

Verbs

Basic structure

Extended structure

Glosses

deƥ

A deƥ P

A deƥ (G) P/ A deƥ P (PREP G)

to throw

gadand

A gadand P

A gadand (G) P/ A gadand P (PREP G)

to launch

yip

A yip P

A yip (G) P /A yip P (PREP G)

to put

suuy

A suuy P

A suuy (G) P/ A suuy P (Prép G)

to spread

5. Non-coded alternations

<25>

The non-coded alternations include alternations that do not require any morphological marking. In Seereer it is possible to promote to object function, constituents that did not have access to syntactic properties of object. Non-coded alternations are rendered by verbs that are classified within the monotransitive with an optionally extended constiuent. The constituent in subject function is still the same and the construction remains transitive. The types of alternations are: object/locative and object/instrument.

5.1. Object/locative alternation

<26>

According to Levin (1993:50) “the locative alternation involves what Clark & Clark (1979) have called, the locatum argument (substance or entity whose location is changed) and the location argument. Specifically, in each variant one of these arguments is expressed as the object of an appropriate preposition, while the second is not”.

In Seereer, the object/locative alternation applies to monotransitive verbs that can extend their constituents to a third constituent that represents the instrument. This latter is not introduced by any preposition; however, I have shown that (cf. section 4.3.1) if both P and I are inanimate, the access of I to syntactic properties (passivization, pronominalization) of object is blocked. Through the object/locative alternation, I can have access to prototypical object properties. This operation consists of introducing the object of the basic clause P by the locative preposition n(u).

(29)

a.

ø

Xemes

a

ƭuum-a-y

ø

kawdiir

ne

ø

ndaw

CL

Xemes

s3sg

smear-PFV-EXP

CL

pot

DEF.sg

CL

ash

Xemes has smeared the pot with ashes.

(29)

b.

ø

Xemes

a

ƭuum-a-y

ø

ndaw

nu

kawdiir

ne

CL

Xemes

s3sg

smear-PFV-EXP

CL

ash

PREP

pot

DEF.sg

Xemes has smeared ashes on the pot.

(30)

a.

o

qooxoox

oxe

soƭ-a-y

o

saaku

le

a

ñaaw

CL

farmer

DEF.sg

put-PFV-EXP

CL

bag

DEF.sg

CL

bean

The farmer has crammed beans in the bag (lit. he has crammed the bag with beans).

(30)

b.

o

qooxoox

oxe

soƭ-a-y

a

ñaaw

n-o

saaku

le

CL

farmer

DEF.sg

cram-PFV-EXP

CL

bean

PREP-CL

bag

DEF.sg

The farmer has crammed beans in the bag.

5.2. Object/ instrument alternation

<27>

In the object/instrument alternation, the inanimate goal introduced by the preposition n(u) in the basic construction (31a and 32a), is treated as object by its dislocation to immediately postverbal position (which was the initial position of the patient-object in the basic clause) and the deletion of its preposition (31b and 32b). The P of the basic clause is treated like an oblique.

(31)

a.

a

suuy-a-y

ø

pep

n-o

qol

ole

s3sg

spread-PFV-EXP

CL

grain

PREP-CL

field

DEF.sg

He has spread grain in the field.

(31)

b.

a

suuy-a-y

o

qol

ole

ø

pep

s3sg

spread-PFV-EXP

CL

field

DEF.sg

CL

grain

*He has spread the field with grain.

(31)

c.

o

qol

ole

suuy-e-y

ø

pep

CL

champ

DEF.sg

spread-PSS-EXP

CL

grain

The field has been spread with grain.

(31)

d.

a

suuy-aa-n-ii

ø

pep

s3sg

spread-PFV-o3sg-EXP

CL

grain

* He has spread it with grain.

(32)

a.

a

yip-a-y

ø

saaƈ

n-a

saxal

ale

s3sg

put-PFV-EXP

CL

couscous

PREP-CL

calabash

DEF.sg

He has put couscous in the calabash.

(32)

b.

a

yip-a-y

a

saxal

ale

ø

saaƈ

s3sg

put-PFV-EXP

CL

calabash

DEF.sg

CL

couscous

*He has put the calabash with couscous

(32)

c.

a

saxal

ale

yip-e-y

ø

saaƈ

CL

calabash

DEF.sg

put-PSS-EXP

CL

couscous

*The calabash has been put with couscous.

(32)

d.

a

yip-aa-n-ii

ø

saaƈ

s3sg

put-PFV-o3sg-EXP

CL

couscous

*He has put it with couscous.

In the examples above the constituent in oblique function introduced by the preposition n-(u) which is o qol ole (31a) and a saxal ale (32a) is treated like an object in (31b et 32b). It can be promoted to subject function in passive (31c and 32c) and replaced by an object pronoun (31d and 32d). The constituents ø pep and ø saaƈ which were the objects respectively in (31a) and (32a) are treated like obliques although they are not introduced by a preposition. In Seereer this alternation applies to monotransitive verbs that can extend their constituents to a third participant that represents the goal. If this latter is animate, it has the same syntactic properties as the object of the basic clause (cf. 27); if it is inanimate it is introduced by a preposition (28). The prepositional constituent can become object by the object/instrument alternation.

6. Conclusion

<28>

In this paper, I have demonstrated the syntactic devices used to identify object namely passivization and pronominalization. Passivization reveals that most of the intransitive verbs are not compatible with the passive morpheme. pronominalization shows that constituents that are introduced by a preposition are not objects. I also describe the linear order of participants and which terms are marked.

<29>

On the one hand, based on the group of ordinary plain monotransitive verbs one can assume that transitivity can be predicted from the lexical meaning of the verb (most of the verbs in this group denote two-participant events that determine their transitivity value). On the other hand, from the group of plain monotransitives with an extended term one can claim that transitivity is determined on the syntactic level. Most of these verbs like sooc ’to clean out’, sing ‘to cover something’, gadand ‘to launch’ can have a second object that is not involved in the lexical meaning of the verb.

<30>

In the group of plain monotransitives with an extended term, the syntactic behavior of the object of the basic clause and the extended term reveals a tendency to link passivization to linear order. In fact, if the word order between the object of the basic clause and the extended (non-prepositional complement) term is flexible, either of them can be promoted to subject function in a passive construction (cf. 25); if the linear order is frozen, only the constituent in immediately postverbal position can become subject in a passive construction (cf. 26).

<31>

I also show that complements treated like oblique within the group of plain monotransitive verbs with an optionally extended constituent can have access to object criteria through the alternations object/locative and object/instrument.

Abbreviations

A

subject of transitive verb

AGR.s.pl

Aux.HAB

plural subject agreement

habitual auxiliary

BEN.CAUS

benefactive causative

CL

noun class marker

CON

connective

COND

conditional

CONJ

conjunction

DEF.pl

DEF.sg

definite plural

definite singular

DEPV

verbal dependency

E

obligatory extended argument

EPT

epenthesis

EXP

phonological extension

FOC

focalization

FUT

future

G

goal

I

instrumental

IPFV

imperfective

LOC

locative

o3sg

object of third person singular

P

object of transitive verb

PSS

passive

PFV

perfective

POSS3sg

third person singular possessive

PREP

preposition

s1sg 

subject of first person singular

s2sg

subject of second person singular

s3sg 

subject of third person singular

s1pl

subject of first person plural

s3pl

subject of third person plural

V

X

verb

oblique

*

ungrammatical clause

References

Clark, E. V. and Clark, H. H. 1979

‘When nouns surface as verbs’. Language 55,4:767-811

Dixon, R.M.W. and Aikhenvald, A. Y. 2007

Changing valency. Case Studies in Transitivity, Cambridge University Press

Faye, Souleymane and Marten Mous 2006

‘Verbal system and diathesis derivations in Seereer’. Africana Linguistica 12,1:89-112

Faye, Souleymane 1980

Comparative study between Tamil and Seereer, PhD thesis, Center of Advanced Study in Linguistics, Annamalai University

Faye, Waly Coly 1979

Etude morphosyntaxique du sereer singandum (région de Jaxaaw-Ñaaxar), Thèse de doctorat du 3ème cycle, Université de Grenoble III

Faye, Waly Coly 1993

Les pronoms personnels en sereer singandum. In Annales de la Faculté des Lettres et Sciences Humaines , n°23. Université Cheikh Anta Diop de Dakar

Haspelmath, Martin 2005

‘Argument marking in ditransitive alignment types’. Linguistic Discovery 3.1:1-21, http://journals.dartmouth.edu/cgi-bin/WebObjects/Journals.woa/1/xmlpage/1/article/280?htmlAlways=yes (24.02.2015)

Levin, Beth 1993

English Verb Classes and Alternations: A Preliminary Investigation . Chicago: The University of Chicago Press

Ngom, M., forthcoming

Une marque de classe déficitaire en seereer (variante ool de NGoye mbayaar)



[1] According to the census of the population made by the Rural Council of Ngohé Mbayard in 2002.

[2] The passive morpheme is the only derivational morpheme which appears in the aspect slot.

[3] I use here the terms flagging and indexing like Haspelmath (2005)

[4] Independent pronouns are also used for topicalization, focalization and relativization of subject and object; they can also assume the function of personal possession determiner, cf. Faye, W., (1993:202).

[5] The letter between the parentheses means that the constituent it refers to is optional.

License

Fulltext

Comments

There are no comments yet.

Do you have any additions or comments?

Submit comment.