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1. Preliminary remarks

1.1. The documentation process

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The data in this paper was obtained during a discovery workshop in April-May 2012 in Khartoum, Sudan, attended by mother-tongue writers from the following four Talodi languages: Lumun [lmd], Acheron [acz], Tocho [taz], and Dagik [dec]. The workshop participants created grammar booklets on their languages in 12 days by completing data tables for a different section of the survey each day. I then re-transcribed the data from all four languages in the International Phonetic Alphabet to enable linguistic comparison here. This documentation process was characterised by three particular methodological features which I will briefly review in turn: a language cluster approach, a parts of speech approach, and documenting languages with mother-tongue writers.

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A language cluster approach, as described by Lewis and Stalder (2010), conducts work on several languages on some common basis, whether similar logistics (operational basis), a high degree of linguistic similarity (linguistic basis), ethno-linguistic affinity that stimulates co-operation in reaching common goals (sociolinguistic basis), or a combination of these. The cluster approach is well-suited to the linguistic geography of Africa, which contains vast numbers of situations where sets of immediately related languages are spoken in physically adjacent communities. The present work adopted this perspective to discover the grammar of four Talodi languages, which were documented in parallel in the same time it could have taken to document one of the languages. The expectation of high linguistic similarity between the related languages informed the planning of the discovery process, as data tables to be filled in were customised to reflect paradigm structures reported in previous sources on Talodi languages, so that these structures could be checked in the four languages present. Documenting the languages in parallel then produced situations where a consistent property was discovered in most or all of the four languages on the same day. Typically, this is a common inheritance shared by the languages, and thus reinforces the reliability of the finding.

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A parts of speech approach involved collecting data in sections for different morphosyntactic word classes. This approach to grammar discovery is rooted in a typological perspective (Kröger 2012) and enables an assessment of word order type to be made (Dryer 1992). On a practical level, it takes advantage of the familiarity of parts of speech to the mother-tongue participants from their formal learning of English or other developed languages, which contributes to a discovery process that is achievable, understandable, and useable (Kröger 2012). However, it is worth emphasising that each part of speech is established by the evidence collected, not by imposing an English model. The English parts of speech are useful as a source of terminology, but word classes vary across languages (Munro 2007), and even in English they remain a matter of on-going research (Payne, Huddleston and Pullum 2010). A benefit of parts of speech research in the world’s languages is that it provides a basis for dictionary construction (Munro 2007).

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The third notable feature of the documentation process is the practice of documenting languages with mother-tongue writers. This option is increasingly possible and appropriate as the number of written languages in Africa (and the world) has increased in recent decades. It has the ethical advantage of enabling research to be shared immmediately with the language communities, which was achieved by the writers keyboarding their data each day to be printed as a booklet to take away at the end of the workshop. There are also linguistic advantages of working with mother-tongue writers, due to their ability to provide accurate phonemic representations that are not vulnerable to the hearing errors of a transcriber from outside the community. To ensure phonemic accuracy, languages represented in the workshop were required to have existing phonemic orthographies, and writers who were competent in using those orthographies.  [2] More specifically, writers’ data can be assumed to conform to the lexical level of phonological representation, prior to the application of post-lexical phonological changes that apply across words below speaker awareness (Mohanan 1986). This is not always the same level of transcription as used in other sources on these languages,  [3] but the lexical level is arguably the most cognitively accessible level of phonemic representation for the speakers of a language, and hence both the optimal choice for, and often spontaneously reflected in, orthographies (Mohanan 1986, Snider 2014). I thus consider it a theoretical advantage as well as a practical one that writers’ data provides a cognitively realistic representation of the language.

Figure 1. Talodi language tree, with locations of geographical sub-clusters underneath (Norton & Alaki 2015)

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Working with writers also raises problems of word boundaries and tone, however. Regarding word boundaries, pioneer writers of a language sometimes justify word boundary choices by appeal to the word boundaries used between equivalent morphemes in the developed language of wider communication. Thus, mother-tongue writers’ intuitions on word boundaries in their own language seem less reliable (or are less reliably accessed) compared to their remarkable phonemic awareness. As a result, linguistic criteria for determining word boundaries come into consideration (Kutsch Lojenga 2014b). Tone presents a more serious problem: since tone is not marked in the orthographies of the languages in this survey, tone is also absent from the phonetic re-transcriptions of the writers’ data in this survey. Talodi languages appear to fit a type of African language in which tone has a low functional load in the lexicon, where the case for exhaustively representing tone in the orthography is unpersuasive (Kutsch Lojenga 2014a:63). Even if writers were to accept training to add tone marks, it could not be expected to be fully reliable (Bird 1999). However, this absence of tonal data is disadvantageous for grammatical research, because the question of functional load in the lexicon is orthogonal to the question of how tone functions in the grammar (Kutsch Lojenga 2014a:62). I therefore noted homographs in the writers’ data that may conceal grammatical tone contrasts and as such may need other forms of research. [4]

1.2. Comparative analysis

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A comparative lexical study in Norton & Alaki (2015) using word lists collected at the same workshop confirmed that the four varieties in this study are separate languages, out of a total of nine Talodi languages spoken in communities in the south-eastern Nuba Mountains. That study also classifies Lumun in a separate sub-branch from Tocho, Acheron, and Dagik of the Narrow Talodi sub-branch, and the present grammatical survey provides an immediate opportunity to test this branching on additional data. [5]

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When starred reconstructions are used in this paper to refer to certain morphemes shared by the languages, the reconstructions are based on the sound correspondence tables for Talodi languages given in Norton & Alaki (2015). Reconstruction to proto-Talodi requires that cognates are present in both sub-branches, and thus present in both Lumun and in at least one of Tocho, Acheron, or Dagik. However, there is a possibility that Tocho and Acheron may have acquired some structures from Lumun due to contact across their adjacent settlements at Saraf Al-Jamous, as already found in basic lexicon in Norton & Alaki (2015). Hence, the safest reconstructions here are those for cognates present in (at least) Lumun and Dagik.

Figure 2. Map of Talodi languages

2. Ethnology

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As first noted in a Talodi language in Stevenson (1956ː101), the four languages surveyed all use related terms for people, person, language, and homeland, for both themselves and other Talodi communities (where no terms were obtained for a given people, the cells are left empty):

gloss

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

'Lumun people'

a-rʊ

a-rʊ

wa-məŋ

(=Tocho people)

'Lumun person'

pa-rʊ

pa-rʊ

bʊ-məŋ

'Lumun language'

ka-rʊ

ka-rʊ

ɡə-məŋ

'Lumun homeland'

tɔ-rʊ

tɔ-rʊ

yɔ-məŋ

'Tocho homeland'

tɔ-ppɔ

tɔ-ccɔ

yɔ-sɔ

tɔ-sɔ

'Acheron people'

ə-ɽɛmɛ

a-rəmmɛ

wa-rəmɛ

(=Tocho people)

'Acheron person'

pə-ɽɛmɛ

pə-rəmmɛ

bə-rəmɛ

'Acheron language'

kə-ɽɛmɛ

kə-rəmmɛ

ɡə-rəmɛ

'Acheron homeland'

tɔ-ɽɛmɛ

tɔ-rəmmɛ

yɔ-rəmɛ

'Dagik people'

ɲa-kkɪ

a-kkɪ

wa-kkɪ

a-ɾʊwa

'Talodi town'

palɛd̪ɪ

t̪ɔɾɛd̪i

d̪ɔ-yɛd̪ɪ, d̪ɔ-b-əlad̪ɪ

ðɔ-llaðɪ

'Daloka village'

t̪ɔllɔkka

d̪-əlɔka

Most of the examples use the prefixes in the following table. The first vowel /a-/ of the people term is often preserved in the person and language terms, but not in the homeland term. Two alternative locative prefixes are used for homelands up on the hills or down on the plains in Tocho, Acheron and Dagik, as also found on place adverbs (8.2):

prefix

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

people *a-

a-

a-

wa-

a-

person *p-

p-

p-

b-

p-

language *k- [6]

k-

k-

ɡ-

ð-

location *tɔ- (up), *t̪ɔ- (down)

tɔ-

tɔ-, t̪ɔ-

yɔ-, d̪ɔ-

tɔ-, ðɔ-

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The languages also use four related terms for people, person, language, and homeland for other nearby ethnic groups living in the south-eastern Nuba Mountains that are not part of the Talodi family. Although the latter three terms use the same prefixes as for Talodi settlements, several of the people terms for non-Talodi peoples use initial consonants l,k,m not found in terms for Talodi peoples:  [7]

gloss

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

'Moro people'

lamparən

kəmmɔɾɪŋ

wa-nsɔrəŋa, …əma

məɽa

'Moro person'

p-amparən

c-əmmɔɾɪŋ

ba-nsɔrəŋa, …əma

p-əɽa

'Moro language'

k-amparən

k-əmmɔɾɪŋ

ɡa-nsɔrəŋa, …əma

ð-əɽa

'Moro homeland'

tɔ-lamparən

tɔ-kəmmɔɾɪŋ

yɔ-nsɔrəŋa, …əma

tɔ-məɽa

'Tira people'

məɽa

məra

məɽa

'Tira person'

p-əɽa

p-əra

b-əɽa

'Tira language'

k-əɽa

k-əra

ɡ-əɽa

'Tira homeland'

tɔ-p-əɽa

tɔ-ɟaɾɪŋ

yɔ-məɽa

'Otoro people'

l-ʊt̪t̪ʊɽʊ

w-ʊt̪t̪ʊɽʊ

'Otoro person'

ʊt̪t̪ʊɽʊ

b-ʊt̪t̪ʊɽʊ

'Otoro language'

k-ʊt̪t̪ʊɽʊ

ɡ-ʊt̪t̪ʊɽʊ

'Otoro homeland'

tɔ-ʊt̪t̪ʊɽʊ

yɔ-t̪t̪ʊɽʊ

'Krongo people'

l-ʊkkʊɾʊŋkʊ

ʊː wɔ kʊɾʊŋkʊ

kaðinti

'Krongo person'

ʊkkʊɾʊŋkʊ

pʊː pɔ kʊɾʊŋkʊ

p-aðinti

'Krongo language'

k-ʊkkʊɾʊŋkʊ

kaccɔ kɔ kʊɾʊŋkʊ

ð-aðinti

'Krongo homeland'

tɔ-ʊkkʊɾʊŋkʊ

kʊɾʊŋkʊ

tɔ-ɡaðinti

'Shatt people'

kasa

'Shatt person'

p-asa

'Shatt language'

ð-asa

'Shatt homeland'

ðɔ-ɡasa

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As with Talodi peoples, if the settlements are known to speakers then four terms are generated; no incomplete paradigms were collected for any settlement. The most widespread pattern across both tables is that the people term is the base term, and the person and language prefixes preserve the first vowel of the people term when the initial consonant is replaced (Lumun lamparən / p-amparən / k-amparən). The homeland prefix is not replacive and may be added to the front of the entire people term (Lumun tɔ-lamparən) or replace the productive people prefix if it occurs (Acheron yɔ-nsɔrəŋa < wa-nsɔrəŋa). For some groups, however, the person term is a base preserved in other terms (Lumun ʊt̪t̪ʊɽʊ, ʊkkʊɾʊŋkʊ), or periphrastic phrases are built from a placename for the homeland.  [8]

3. Nouns

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Nouns distinguish singular and plural by various means (3.1) and they occur as both heads and dependents of genitive constructions (3.2). Several parts of speech agree with nouns usually by alliteration of the noun’s initial prefix consonant: verbs (4.,10.,11.), adjectives (5.), numerals (6.), demonstratives (7.), possessive pronouns (8.2) and dependent genitive nouns (3.2). These findings extend to the present four languages similar observations made on this language family in Stevenson (1957:35-43) and Tucker & Bryan (1966:270-288).

3.1. Singular and plural

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Most nouns alternate in the initial consonant between singular and plural:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

'person / persons'

p-ʊl / ʊl

p-ʊː / ʊː

b-ʊr / w-ʊr

p-ʊr / ʊr

'eye / eyes'

c-it / k-it

c-ik / k-ik

z-ik, ð-ik / ɡ-ik

s-ɪɡɪ / k-ɪɡɪ

'heart / hearts'

c-iɡit / m-iɡit

c-əɡik / m-əɡik

z-əɡik, ð-əɡik / m-əɡik

s-iɡi / m-iɡi

'nose / noses'

k-ɪɲcɛ / ɪɲcɛ

k-əɲcɛ / n-əɲcɛ

ɡ-ənzɛ / n-ənzɛ

k-əsɛ / n-əsɛ

'rope / ropes'

t̪-ɔɽak / l-ɔɽak

t̪-ɔrək / l-ɔrək

d̪-ɔrək / r-ɔrək

ð-ɔrək / r-ɔrək

As previously documented in several Talodi languages by Schadeberg (1981), some nouns alternate in the first vowel as well as the initial consonant:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

'belly / bellies'

ca-rək / kə-rək

ca-rək / kə-rək

za-rək, ða-rək / ɡə-rək

sa-rək / kə-rək

'meat sg / meat pl'

ɔ-ba / kə-ba

a-bək / kə-bək

wa-bək / ɡə-bək

wa-bɪ / kə-bɪ

'husband / husbands'

pə-rɛk / a-rɛk

bə-rɛk / wa-rɛk

pə-rɛ / a-rɛ

'sheep sg / sheep pl'

t̪ʊ-ŋɡak / lə-ŋɡak

d̪ʊ-ŋɡak / rə-ŋɡak

ðʊ-ŋɡa / rə-ŋɡa

'hair sg / hair pl'

kʊ-ɡəŋ / nə-ɡəŋ

ɡʊ-ɡəŋ / nə-ɡəŋ

Some nouns have completely different roots for singular and plural:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

'goat / goats'

ɪmmɪt / lɪɟɔk

ŋumik / ləɟɔk

wumik / rəssɔk

umi / rəsɔ

'cow / cows'

waɪ / kɪɛ

wɛɛ / kɪɛ

waɪ, waɪŋ / ɡɪyɛ

waɪ / arəɡu

'leg / legs'

wɛk / taɟɔk

'man / men'

pat̪ɪ / ʊrɪ

Kinship terms use a suffix in the plural:

Lumun

Acheron

Tocho

Dagik

'my father'

ɔŋappa / ɔŋappa-n

ɔbəd̪ɛŋ / ɔbəd̪ɛŋ-ɛŋ

ɔt̪t̪ɛŋ / ɔt̪t̪ɪŋ-ɛŋ

kəðɪbɪ / kəðɪbɪy-ɛ

'my mother'

ɔɪaɪa / ɔɪaɪa-n

ɔbənɛŋ / ɔbənɛŋ-ɛŋ

ɔnɛŋ / ɔnɛŋ-ɛŋ

kənɪbɪ / kənɪbɪy-ɛ

'my sibling'

ɔbaŋkɪn / ɔbaŋkɪŋ-ɔn

ɔbaŋ / ɔbaŋ-ɛŋ

ɔpat̪t̪ɔnɛŋ / ɔpat̪t̪ɔnɛŋ-ɛŋ

ŋɡɔɡənɪbɪ / ŋɡɔɡənɪbɪy-ɛ

'my uncle'

ɔrɛɪn / ɔrɛɪŋ-ɔn

ɔlɛŋ / ɔlɛŋ-ɛŋ

ŋɔlɛŋɪ / ŋɔlɛŋɪy-ɛ

Some mass nouns do not distinguish singular and plural:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

'ash'

mʊɟʊk

məɟʊk

məðuk, məzuk

wɛɡa

'smoke'

kʊɟʊk

kuɟuk

ɡuðuk, ɡuzuk

usu

'wind'

kanaŋ

kɪɟɔ

ɡɪðɔ, ɡɪzɔ

kɛsu

'rain'

kabɪk

pənnɛ

ɡabɪk

pənnɛ

'fog'

pʊrʊɟɛ

pʊrɟɛ

bəðʊyɛ, bəzʊlɛ

pəsʊllɪ

3.2. Genitive construction

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In the genitive construction that expresses an association between two nouns, the consonant of the head noun is repeated with a vowel *ɔ before the second noun, although /ɛ/ may be used in western (W) Acheron.

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

‘bottom of the pot’

cʊrɛ cɔ-ɡʊmmʊk

cʊrɛ cɔ pɛ

d̪ɔzəɡɛŋ d̪ɔ-ɡəbɛ

sʊɽɛ sɔ ŋəppaɪ

‘well of my father’

tɔk tɔ-bappa

tɔk tɔ t̪ɛpɪŋ

yɔk yɔ-d̪ad̪a

‘calabash of water’

cat̪t̪ak cɔ-ɪɽɪ

tarrʊk tɔ ŋɪː

ɡəttarʊ ɡɔ-ŋɪr (E)
ɡəttarʊ ɡɛ-ŋɪrək (W)

saɽɔ sɔ ŋɛrək

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In the table above, the agreement consonant and the genitive vowel are provisionally analysed as joined to the second noun in Lumun and in Acheron, but as a separate genitive particle in Tocho and in Dagik. To decide word boundaries, one test is whether or not an initial plosive consonant on the second noun undergoes intervocalic voicing, because if voicing is a lexical property in these languages (footnote 4), intervocalic voicing would be triggered by affixation of the genitive vowel to the second noun. This test gave contrasting results in Lumun and Tocho: in Lumun, the initial consonant of the second noun is voiced, implying the genitive form /Cɔ-/ is affixed, whereas in Tocho, the initial consonant of the second noun remains voiceless, implying a separate genitive word /Cɔ/ between the two nouns. In Acheron, initial plosives are always voiced so this test does not help. However, the western dialect vowel /ɛ-/ also occurs within verbs as a relative prefix (9.4), implying that it is a prefix here also. In Dagik, voicing occurs (not in the parallel examples above, but in səŋɔ sɔ [b]urək p-abaɾɪ (singing gen person female) ‘singing of a woman’), but it applies across various words in Dagik sentences (8.4, 9, 10) so it does not establish wordhood in this language. The genitive marker is tentatively written separate from the noun here by analogy to locative markers, which are considered separate from their noun in Dagik (8.4).  [9]

4. Verbs

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Verbs in the four languages take inflections for imperative, past (or perfective), habitual, progressive, future (or prospective) and negation. These inflections were surveyed on 11 verbs which were chosen to cover different syntactic classes and different stem-final vowels.

4.1. Imperatives

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Verbs may or may not take a suffix in the imperative; two imperative suffixes *-ʊ,*-ɪ both occur in Acheron and in Dagik, but in Lumun and Tocho, surveyed verbs other than ‘eat’, ‘sit’, or ‘cook’ lack suffixes. The imperative plural (that is, second person plural) is always marked by an affix, in Lumun a 2pl prefix (7.2) added to the citation stem not the imperative form, and in Tocho, Acheron, and Dagik a 2pl suffix added to the imperative form:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

‘vomit’

ʊttɛ

uttɛ

uttɛ

utɛ

imperative

ʊttɛ

uttɛ

utt-ɪ

utɛ

imperative plural

n-ʊttɛ

utt-ɪ-ɔŋ

utt-ɪ-nɔŋ

utɛ-nɔ

‘eat’

ɔɽɡɔ

ɔrɡɔ

ɔ-rəɡɔ

rəɡɔ

imperative

ɔɽɡ-ʊ

ɔrɡ-ɪ

rəɡ-ʊ

rəɡ-ʊ

imperative plural

n-ɔɽɡɔ

ɔrɡ-ɔŋ

rəɡ-ʊ-nɔŋ

rəɡ-ʊ-nɔ

‘say’

ɪɽɛ

ɔmma

ɔmɔ

sɛmɔ

imperative

ɪɽɛ

ɔmma

ɔm-ʊ

sɛm-ʊ

imperative plural

n-ɪɽɛ

ɔmma-ɔŋ

ɔm-ʊ-nɔŋ

sɛm-ʊ-nɔ

‘be’

ɔɡa

ɔnt̪ɔɡa

ɔɡa

kaɡa

imperative

ɔɡa

ɔnt̪ɔɡa

ɔɡa-wʊ

kaɡ-ɪ

imperative plural

n-ɔɡa

ɔnt̪ɔɡa-ɔŋ

ɔɡa-wʊ-nɔŋ

kaɡ-ɪ-nɔ

‘have’

ɔna

ɔna

ɔna

tɔnna

imperative

ɔna

ana

ɔna-wʊ

tɔnn-ɪ

imperative plural

n-ɔna

ana-ɔŋ

ɔna-wʊ-nɔŋ

tɔnn-ɪ-nɔ

‘know’

ɪna

ənna

ɪnna, ənna

ʊnəɡɪkɔ

imperative

ɪna

ənna

ɪnna-wʊ

ʊnəɡɪk-ɪ

imperative plural

n-ɪna

ənna-ɔŋ

ɪnna-wʊ-nɔŋ

ʊnəɡɪk-ɪn-nɔ

In all four languages, ‘go’ and ‘come’ have suppletive imperatives:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

‘go’

ɛɔ

akɔ

ɔnɔ

taʊ

imperative

ŋkɔ

əŋkɔ

əŋkɔ

aɡ-ʊ

imperative plural

n-ɛɔ

əŋk-ɔŋ

əŋkɔ-nɔŋ

aɡ-ʊ-nɔ

‘come’

aɟɔ

aðɔ, azɔ

tasɔ

imperative

aɽɪk

arɛ-k

arɛ-k

ŋɡarɛ

imperative plural

n-aɔ

ar-ɪ-ɔŋ

arɛ-nɔŋ

ŋɡarən-nɔ

<17>

In the following verbs, the imperative has another suffix *-d̪ɛ which appears in addition to the imperative suffix if there is one, and which replaces a stem-final consonant (-t/-k) if there is one (‘give’ is more idiosyncratic, being invariant in Lumun and suppletive in Acheron):

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

‘cook’

ɔkkɔ-t

akkɔ-k

akkɔ-k

rɔkɔ

imperative

ɔkkɔ-d̪ɛ

akk-ɪ-d̪ɛ

akk-ʊ-d̪ɛ

rɔk-ʊ

imperative plural

n-ɔkkɔ-t

akkɔ-d̪-ɔŋ

akk-ʊ-d̪ɛ-nɔŋ

rɔk-ʊ-nɔ

‘sit down’

ɪkkɔ-ɪk

ɔrəŋɔ cɪk

rəŋɔ-k cɪk

nəŋa sɪ

imperative

ɪkk-ɪ-k

ɔrəŋ-ɪ-d̪ɛ cɪk

rəŋ-ʊ-d̪ɛ cɪk

nəŋa-n̪t̪ɛ sɪ

imperative plural

n-ɪkkɔ-ɪk

ɔrəŋɔ-d̪-ɔŋ cɪk

rəŋ-ʊ-d̪ɛ-nɔŋ cɪk

nəŋa-n̪t̪ɛ-nɔ sɪ

‘give’

ɛd̪ɛt

ɔɟɛ-k

ɪɟɛ-k, ɪzɛ-k

ɪsɔ

imperative

ɛd̪ɛt

ɔɟɛ-d̪ɛ

ənd̪ɛ

ɪs-ʊ

imperative plural

n-ɛd̪ɛt

ɔɟɛ-d̪-ɔŋ

ənd̪ɛ-nɔŋ

ɪs-ʊ-nɔ

Acheron is the only language that has either an imperative suffix or suppletive imperative for all 11 verbs surveyed, and Dagik has these for 10 of the 11 verbs. In Lumun and Tocho, few of the 11 verbs take an imperative suffix, leading to homography in several verbs between imperative and citation stem. The possibility that these contain undescribed tone changes is confirmed for Lumun imperatives in Smits (2017ː339-341).

4.2. Past

<18>

In most of the 11 verbs, past is marked on the stem by -t in Lumun (Smits 2017ː355) or -k in Tocho and in Acheron (Alamin 2003), though no cognate suffix appears on the verbs in Dagik. In certain verbs, the suffix *-d̪ɛ is used instead, replacing a stem-final consonant (-t/-k) if there is one as first observed by Alamin (2003) in Acheron, and as also seen on imperatives in 3.1 (in this and subsequent data tables, initial p- or b- marks subject agreement with a p/b-initial subject noun or a singular pronoun):  [10]

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

'vomited'

p-ʊttɛ-t

p-uttɛ-k

b-uttɛ-k

p-utɛ-ɔ

'ate'

p-ɔɽɡɔ-t

p-ɔrɡɔ-k

b-ɔrəɡɔ-k

pɔ-rəɡɔ

'said'

p-ɪɽɛ-t

p-ɔmma-k

b-ɔmɔ-k

pɔ-sɛmɔ

'was'

p-ɔɡa-t

p-ɔnt̪ɔɡa-k

b-ɔɡa-k

pɔ-kaɡa

'had'

p-ɔna-t

t-ana-k

b-ɔna-k

pɔ-tɔnna

'went'

p-ɛɔ-t

p-a-k

b-ɔnɔ-k

p-aɡɔ

'came'

p-a-t

p-aɟɔ-k

b-aðɔ-k

p-asɔ

'knew'

p-ɪna-t

p-ənna-k

b-ɪnna-k

p-ʊnəɡɪkɔ-t̪ɛ

'sat down'

p-ɪkkɔ-t cɪk

p-ɔrəŋɔ-d̪ɛ cɪk

b-ɔ-rəŋɔ-d̪ɛ ðɪk

pɔ-nəŋa-t̪ɛ sɪ

'cooked'

p-ɔkkɔ-d̪ɛ

p-akkɔ-d̪ɛ

b-akkɔ-d̪ɛ

pɔ-rɔkɔ-t̪ɛ

'gave'

p-ɛd̪ɛt

p-ɔcɛ-d̪ɛ

b-ɪɟɛ-d̪ɛ

p-ɪsɔ-t̪ɛ

4.3. Habitual

<19>

Habitual aspect is expressed in Dagik by an auxiliary verb /a/, while the other languages have a prefix /a-/, and the auxiliary/prefix distinction is sustained in forthcoming subsections, where further inflections are added to the auxiliary in Dagik, or added to the verb containing /a-/ in the other languages. Tocho and Lumun habituals show an additional pattern of pluractional marking by internal reduplications, extensions, and suppletions relative to the citation stem shown in brackets (also in 3.6, 10.2 and Smits 2017:461ff).

Dagik

Acheron

Tocho

Lumun

'vomits'

p-a utɛ

p-a-uttɛ

p-uttəttɛ (uttɛ)

p-uttuttɛ (uttɛ)

'eats'

p-a rəɡɔ

b-a-rəɡɔ

p-a-rəttɛ (ɔrəɡɔ)

p-a-ɽəttɛ (ɔɽəɡɔ)

'says'

p-a sɛmɔ

b-a-mɔ

p-a-məma (ɔma)

p-ɪɽɪllɛ (ɪɽɛ)

'goes'

p-a ɾaʊ

b-a-nɔ

p-akkəkkɔ (aɡɔ)

p-a-ɪnɟɪccɛ (ɛɔ)

'comes'

p-a ɾasɔ

b-aðɔ

p-aɟəkkɔ (aɟɔ)

p-a-ukkukkwɔ (aɔ)

'knows'

p-a ʊnɛkɔ

b-ɪnna

p-əŋkənna (ənna)

p-ɪnɪna (ɪna)

'gives'

p-a ɪsɔ

b-a-ɪɟɛk

p-a-ɟɪkkɛk (ɔɟɛk)

p-ɪɡɪkkɛt (ɛðɛt)

'cooks'

p-a rɔkɔ

b-akkɔk

p-akkəkkɔk (akkɔk)

p-a-kkattɛt (ɔkkɔt)

'sits'

p-a nəŋa sɪ

b-a-rəŋɔk cɪk

p-a-rəŋɔk cɪk (ɔrəŋɔ)

p-ɪɡɪkko-ɪk (ɪkkɔ-ɪk)

4.4. Progressive

<20>

In all four languages, progressive aspect is expressed by an auxiliary verb before the main verb. In three of the languages, the auxiliaries show locative extensions /-ɾɪ,-ɟɪk,-ɪk/ on the base /a/ as used for habitual aspect in Dagik.

Dagik

Acheron

Tocho

Lumun

'is vomiting'

p-a-ɾɪ utɛ

b-ɔɡa uttɛ

p-a-ɟɪk uttɛ

p-a-ɪk p-ʊttɛ

'is eating'

p-a-ɾɪ rəɡɔ

b-ɔɡa ɔrəɡɔ

p-a-ɟɪk ɔrɡɔ

p-a-ɪk p-a-ɽɡɔ

'is cooking'

p-a-ɾɪ rɔkɔ-t̪ɛ

b-ɔɡa akkɔk

p-a-ɟɪk akkɔk

p-a-ɪk p-a-kkɔt

'is giving'

p-a-ɾɪ ɪsɔ-t̪ɛ

b-ɔɡa ɪɟɛk

p-a-ɟɪk p-a-ɟɛk

p-a-ɪk p-ɛd̪ɛt

The suffix *-d̪ɛ appears on certain verbs in the progressive in Dagik only. The additional use of the prefix /a-/ on main verbs in Tocho and Lumun, also used for habitual (3.3) or prospective (3.5), is presumably expressing a more complex inflection.

4.5. Future

<21>

To express future time, Dagik uses an auxiliary verb with a different extension /-nta/, while the other three languages again have the prefix /a-/ giving it a broader prospective or incompletive meaning. Acheron and Tocho have additional prefixes, but in Lumun the /a-/ prefix alone gives a prospective reading. None of the additional morphemes /ɪy-/, /d̪-/, /-nta/ are cognate so they are likely to have different underlying source meanings.

Dagik

Acheron

Tocho

Lumun

'will eat'

p-a-nta rəɡɔ

b-ɪy-a-rəɡɔ

p-a-d̪-ɔrɡɔ

p-a-ɽɡɔ

'will cook'

p-a-nta rɔkɔ

b-ɪy-a-kkɔk

p-a-d̪-akkɔk

p-a-kkɔt

4.6. Negation

<22>

Imperative verbs can be negated in all four languages by a negative auxiliary verb, which takes the imperative plural marking. In Lumun, the different stem-final vowel of the negative auxiliary in the imperative plural reflects the earlier observation that the Lumun imperative plural uses the citation stem and not the imperative stem. The Acheron data use prefixation (which recalls the use of prefixation for imperative plural in Lumun), but Acheron participants reported afterwards that they also have a negative auxiliary /d̪əma/ cognate with that of Dagik.

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

stem 'vomit'

ʊttɛ

uttɛ

uttɛ

utɛ

negative imperative

kərənn-ɪ ʊttɛ

ma uttɛ

b-əd̪-a-uttɛ

ðəma utɛ

negative imperative plural

n-ɔkərənnɔ ʊttɛ

ma-ŋɔŋ uttɛ

d̪-əd̪-a-uttɛ

ðəma-nɔ utɛ

<23>

In declarative sentences, the strategies are more varied. Lumun uses incorporation of the negative auxiliary in reduced form, Tocho uses a postverbal negative particle, Acheron uses a negative verbal prefix, and Dagik uses the same auxiliary as with negative imperatives, with inflection expressed on a following dependent copula verb /ka/ː

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

negative past

p-a-kənn-ʊttɛ

p-uttɛ-k tɪ

b-əd̪-a-uttɛ-k

p-ɔ-ðəma utɛ

negative present habitual

p-a-kənn-ʊttʊttɛ

p-uttəttɛ ɾɪ

b-əd̪-a-uttɛ

p-ɔ-ðəma ka utɛ

negative future

p-a-kənn-ʊttɛ

p-a-d̪-uttɛ ɾɪ

b-əd̪-ɪy-a-uttɛ

p-ɔ-ðəma ka-nta utɛ

negative present progressive

p-aɪk p-a-kənn-ʊttɛ

p-aɟɪk uttɛ ɾɪ

b-əd̪-a-ɡa uttɛ

p-ɔ-ðəma ka-ɾɪ utɛ

<24>

In both Lumun and Acheron, the negation marker co-occurs with the incompletive prefix /a-/ (3.3-3.5) in declarative verbs. The Lumun data uses a reduced form kənn- of the negative auxiliary ɔkərənnɔ, and past is not distinguished as the past suffix appears neither after the incorporated auxiliary kənn- nor after the main verb root. This contrasts with Acheron where the past suffix does occur at the end of the verb, b-əd̪-a-uttɛ-k.

<25>

There are recurrent forms for negation across the Narrow Talodi languages. The Dagik negative auxiliary ðəma and its Acheron cognate d̪əma (reported afterwards by the participants) have the form of the Acheron negative prefix d̪- plus the Tocho negative auxiliary ma, both of which were previously reported by Stevenson (1957:39) in the Narrow Talodi language Masakin Tuwal (prefix t̪-, auxiliary maa).. The post-verbal negation particle tɪ in Tocho (becoming flapped ɾɪ after a vowel) was also reported in Masakin Tuwal (Stevenson 1957:39), and subsequently in Dagik (Vanderelst 2016ː124). Thus, three negative morphemes *t̪-,*ma,*tɪ all occur in at least three or four Narrow Talodi languages, and these languages use multiple negation strategies. In place of Narrow Talodi *ma, Lumun employs a different verbal stem ɔkə́rənnɔ ‘let, abstain’ (Smits 2017ː423ff) with negation as an extended meaning.

4.7. Prominence of imperative and past

<26>

Imperative is especially prominent in Talodi languages in the sense of Bhat (1999) as it shows extensive morphologisation: suppletive imperatives, two imperative vowel suffixes that replace final stem vowels, a plural suffix for imperatives, and negative auxiliaries that are used only with imperatives. It is also reported elsewhere that imperatives are marked by tone changes as well (Vanderelst 2016:108-109, Smits 2017:339-341).

<27>

Past is quite prominent as well in Lumun, Tocho, and Acheron, with two suffixes marking past for different verb classes, and these also appear pervasively in published Lumun narrative texts (Smits 2007a, Stirtz 2012). At the same time, the prominence of past is limited in that Lumun does not use the past suffix on ‘give’ or on negated verbs, and the suffix *-d̪ɛ, though required by some verbs such as ‘cook’ or ‘sit’ as the only expression of past, is required in other inflectional categories as well, and Smits (2013) has analysed this suffix as a locative-applicative extension. Like the other prominent category of imperative, past is grammaticised by suffixation, in contrast to other inflections that are found before the verb root in prefixes and auxiliaries.

5. Adjectives

<28>

The four languages have adjectives as a distinct word class that occurs after inflected copula verbs in predicates (4.1). They have certain adjectives that alternate in meaning between size and quantity in singular and plural (4.2). Adjectives can be modified by intensifying adverbs (4.3), and are used in comparative constructions (4.4).

5.1. Predicative and attributive use

<29>

In all four languages, adjectives follow the noun and agree with the noun in the initial consonant in both predicative and attributive use. In predicative use, adjectives come after a copula verb that inflects like other verbs. The same copula verb root *ɡa occurs in all four languages, but is left out in the unmarked present tense in Tocho, Lumun, and Dagik:  [11]

Acheron

Tocho

Lumun

Dagik

'is strong'

b-ɔɡa b-ɔbɔrɔk

p-ɔbɔrɔk

p-ɔnt̪ɔmat

p-ɔsʊrək

'was strong'

b-ɔɡa-k b-ɔbɔrɔk

p-ɔnt̪ɔɡa-k p-ɔbɔrɔk

p-ɔɡa-t p-ɔnt̪ɔmat

p-ɔ-kaɡa p-ɔsʊrək

'will be strong'

b-ɪya-ɡa b-ɔbɔrɔk

p-ad̪-ɔnt̪ɔɡa p-ɔbɔrɔk

p-a-ɡa p-ɔnt̪ɔmat

p-a-nta kaɡa p-ɔsʊrək

'be strong!'

ɔɡa-wʊ b-ɔbɔrɔk

ɔnt̪ɔɡa p-ɔbɔrɔk

ɔɡa p-ɔnt̪ɔmat

kaɡ-ɪ p-ɔsʊrək

<30>

Predicative adjectives in present tense (‘the goat is black’, ‘the goat is big’) occur after a copula verb in Acheron but are unmarked in Tocho, Lumun and Dagik. Attributive adjectives (‘black goat’, ‘big goat’) are unmarked in eastern Acheron, but in other languages are marked by relative prefixes, western Acheron -ɛ- (before a consonant), Tocho ɔN-, Lumun and Dagik ɪ-. So these attributive constructions can be interpreted as nouns modified by relative clauses containing an adjective predicate (‘goat which is black’, ‘goat which is big’):  [12]

Acheron

Tocho

Lumun

Dagik

'the goat is black'

wumik w-ɔɡa w-ɔɲi

ŋumik ŋ-ɔɲi

imit w-ɔɲɪ

umi w-ɔn̪i

'black goat'

wumik w-ɔɲi (E)

wumik w-ɛ-ɲi (W)

ŋumik ɔŋ-ŋ-ɔɲi

imit ɪ-ɔɲɪ

umi ɪ-w-ɔn̪i

'the goat is big'

wumik w-ɔɡa w-uyik

ŋumik ŋ-uttik

imit w-ɪttɪk

umi w-ɔɡɔ

'big goat'

wumik w-uyik

ŋumik ɔŋ-ŋ-uttik

imit ɪ-ttɪk

umi ɪ-w-ɔɡɔ

5.2. Plural adjectives

<31>

In all four languages, the size adjective roots ‘small’ and ‘big’ take quantity meanings ‘few’ and ‘many’ in the plural except when reduplicated, as first reported in Tocho by Schadeberg (1981:132,148) (reduplicated forms are connected by ‘~’ following the Leipzig Glossing Rules, instead of the usual morpheme boundary symbol ‘-’):  [13]

Acheron

Tocho

Lumun

Dagik

'the goat is small'

wumik w-ɔɡa w-ɔttɛŋ

ŋumik ŋ-ɔttɛŋ

imit w-ɔttɛ-ɪk

umi w-ət̪ɛ

'the goats are few'

rəssɔk r-ɔɡa r-ɔttɛŋ

ləɟɔk l-ɔttɛŋ

lɪɟɔk l-ɔttɛ-ɪk

rəsɔ r-ət̪ɛ-mɛ

the goats are small'

rəssɔk r-ɔɡa r-ɛtt~ɛttɛŋ, r-ɔttɛŋ~r-ɔttɛŋ

ləɟɔk l-ɔttɪŋ~l-ɔttɪŋ

lɪɟɔk l-ɔttɔ~l-ɔttɛ-ɪk

rəsɔ r-ət̪ɛ~r-ət̪ɛ

'the goat is big'

wumik w-ɔɡa w-uyik

ŋumik ŋ-uttik

imit w-ɪttɪk

umi w-ɔɡɔ

'the goats are many'

rəssɔk r-ɔɡa r-uyik

(ləɟɔk l-ɔd̪ʊbɔk)

(lɪɟɔk l-ɔppɔt)

rəsɔ r-ɔɡɔ

'the goats are big'

rəssɔk r-ɔɡa r-uttiy-aða

ləcɔk l-uttik~l-uttik

lɪcɔk l-ɪtt~ɪttɪk

rəsɔ r-ɔɡɔ~r-ɔɡɔ

Although adjectives have been reported to reduplicate regularly in the plural in one Talodi language, Tuwal (Stevenson 1957:39, Crocker 1982), this does not happen in the four languages surveyed here, outside of the size adjectives already shown:

Acheron

Tocho

Lumun

Dagik

'the goats are black'

rəssɔk r-ɔɡa r-ɔɲɪ

ləɟɔk l-ɔɲɪ

liɟɔk l-ɔɲɪ

rəsɔ r-ɔn̪i

'the goats are heavy'

rəssɔk r-ɔɡa r-imməŋ

ləɟɔk l-imməŋ

liɟɔk l-immin

rəsɔ r-imək

'the goats are good'

rəssɔk r-ɔɡa r-ɔrɪŋ

ləɟɔk l-ɔrɪŋ

liɟɔk l-ɔpɔrɔt

rəsɔ r-ɔrɪ

5.3. Intensifiers

<32>

Adjectives can be modified by an intensifier word after the adjective in all four languages; in some cases the intensifier is derived from the adjective itself (‘good’); another intensifying strategy is partial reduplication (‘black’) which, though missing in Dagik in this survey, is now reported there too (Vanderelst 2016:147):

'the goat is'

Acheron

Tocho

Lumun

Dagik

'very big'

wumik w-ɔɡa w-uyik ɡəttiŋ

ŋumik ŋ-uttik cannaŋ

imit w-ɪttɪk cannan

umi w-ɔɡɔ manɪkɔ

'very 'good'

wumik w-ɔɡa w-ɔrɪŋ d̪-ɔrɪɲ-a

ŋumik ŋ-ɔrɪŋ ɪ-llɪŋ

imit w-ɔbɔrɔt cannan

umi w-ɔrɪ manɪkɔ

'very black'

wumik w-ɔɡa w-ɔɲi~ɲi

ŋumik ŋ-ɔɲi~ɲi

imit w-ɔɲɪ~ɲɪ

umi w-ɔɲi manɪkɔ

The intensifier words that modify adjectives are recognisable as adverbs (section 8.) because: 1. like adverbs they do not inflect for agreement in their initial consonant, 2. their initial consonants g,c,m are typical of the initial consonant classes of adverbs in these languages, 3. specific adverbs (Tocho ɪ-llɪŋ) can modify both adjectives and verb phrases.

5.4. Comparatives

<33>

In comparative sentences, the adjective is unmarked in all four languages and the pivot (P) and standard (S) of comparison come after the adjective (A). Acheron and Dagik both show double pivot marking, by both a pivot word (ɔkkɔ/na) and a locative prefix (nɔ-/ɪ-) on the standard of comparison (see 8.4):

‘This goat

is blacker

than that (goat).’

Tocho

ŋumik ŋ-ɪɔŋ

ŋ-ɔɲiA

ənnaŋP-əlɛS

Lumun

imit ɛnɪ

w-ɔɲiA

P-imitS ɛnɛɽɛS

Acheron

wumik i-ww-i

w-ɔɡa w-ɔɲiA

ɔkkɔPP-wumikS w-ərɛS

Dagik

umi w-i

w-ɔn̪iA

naP ɪP-w-ənaS

6. Numerals

<34>

The four languages have numerals used in cardinal expressions (5.1) and in ordinal expressions (5.2), with ordinal number also encoded in birth order noun systems. The numeral ‘ten’, and in some languages ‘twenty’, are used as bases for higher numerals (5.3). The four languages also have a collective quantifier which is morphologically similar to some base numerals (5.4).

6.1. Cardinal numerals 1-10

<35>

In all four languages the numerals 1,2,3 agree with the noun in the initial consonant as first noted in a Talodi language by Tucker & Bryan (1966:270-288), although this persists to further numerals in particular languages. The numerals 6,7,8,9 are built from various root combinations in Lumun and Tocho as first documented in Lumun by Smits (2007a), whereas in Acheron and Dagik they are built by adding 1,2,3,4 to a base 5 after the conjunction na- as first documented in Dagik by Schadeberg (1981). However, in all four languages the numeral 9 is expressed as the sum of 5 and 4.  [14]

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron (E)

Dagik

'1 day'

caɽɪ c-ʊllʊkkʊ

caʊŋ c-ʊllʊk

zəŋki z-ʊllʊk

sawɪ s-əllʊ

'2 days'

maɽɪ m-ɛɽa

maʊŋ m-ɛrak

məŋki m-ɛɽak

mawɪ m-ɛɽa

'3 days'

maɽɪ m-əɽabʊrʊk

maʊŋ m-ət̪t̪ək

məŋki m-ət̪t̪ək

mawɪ m-ət̪ək

'4 days'

maɽɪ m-ɔɟɔɽɪn

maʊŋ mɔ-brandɔ

məŋki bɽandɔ

mawɪ mɔ-pɽandɔ

'5 days'

maɽɪ m-ʊɡʊllʊk

maʊŋ mɔ-ɡʊɲcʊrʊk

məŋki zəɡʊnzʊlʊk

mawɪ mɔ-sɪsəllʊ

'6 days'

maɽɪ m-əɽa-kkʊrʊk

maʊŋ pət̪t̪ək~pət̪t̪ək

məŋki zəɡʊnzʊlʊk na-z-ʊllʊk

mawɪ mɔ-sɪsəllʊ na-s-əllʊ

'7 days'

maɽɪ m-əɽa-m-əɽabʊrʊk

maʊŋ m-ɛrɛk mɔ-brandɔ a-m-ɛrɛk m-ət̪t̪ək

məŋki zəɡʊnzʊlʊk na-m-ɛɽak

mawɪ mɔ-sɪsəllʊ na-m-ɛɽa

'8 days'

maɽɪ mɔrmɔr

maʊŋ prandɔ~prandɔ

məŋki zəɡʊnzʊlʊk na-m-ət̪t̪ək

mawɪ mɔ-sɪsəllʊ na-m-ət̪ək

'9 days'

maɽɪ ʊɡʊll-a-ɟɔɽɪn

maʊŋ cəɡʊŋ c-ʊllʊk a-mɔ-brandɔ

məŋki zəɡʊnzʊlʊk na-bɽandɔ

mawɪ mɔ-sɪsəllʊ na-mɔ-pɽandɔ

10 days

maɽɪ attʊl

maʊŋ attu

məŋki ɡʊrrʊŋ

mawɪ mɔ-n̪ɪpɽa

When we compare the root combinations in Lumun and Tocho, Lumun 6 (2-5) and 7 (2-3) do not correspond to Tocho 6 (3-3) and 7 (4-3). Instead, Tocho 6 and 7 match Tira [tic], a Heiban language also present in the Saraf Al-Jamous language cluster:

Tira (Alaki 2008)

Tocho

1

kɛ̀nːɛ

caʊŋ c-ʊllʊk

2

kɪ̀ɽɪcàn

maʊŋ m-ɛrak

3

kɪ̀ɽɪcɪ́n

maʊŋ m-ət̪t̪ək

4

maɬɽʊ̀

maʊŋ mɔ-brandɔ

5

ðɛ́nɛ̀

maʊŋ mɔ-ɡʊɲcʊrʊk

6

ɽɪ̀cɪ́n~ɽɪ̀cɪ̀n (3~3)

maʊŋ pət̪t̪ək~pət̪t̪ək (3~3)

7

maɬɽʊ̀-kɪ̀ɽɪ́cɪ̀n (4-3)

maʊŋ m-ɛrɛk mɔ-brandɔ a-m-ɛrɛk m-ət̪t̪ək (4-3)

8

ɔ́bbɔ̀

maʊŋ prandɔ~prandɔ (4~4)

9

ðɛ́nɛ̀-n̪-maɬɽʊ̀ (5-4)

maʊŋ cə-ɡʊŋ c-ʊllʊk a-mɔ-brandɔ (5-4)

10

ʊ́rrɪ̀

maʊŋ attu

<36>

Under influence from Tira, then, Tocho deviates from other Talodi languages, in particular from the base 5 strategy found in the other two Narrow Talodi languages Dagik and Acheron, which is also reported in other Narrow Talodi languages apart from Tocho (Schadeberg 1981:45) and is thus the original system for that sub-branch. The Lumun system is different and more opaque. Lumun root compounds for 6 (-əɽa-kkʊrʊk 2-5) and 7 (-əɽa--əɽabʊrʊk 2-3) are not transparent sums or products of their component roots, despite Lumun 3 (-əɽa-bʊrʊk 2-1) being a transparent sum, so -əɽa is functionally opaque or polysemous in Lumun. In Lumun 6 (2-5), -əɽa functions as ‘successor’, thus 6 = ‘successor-5’. A successor etymology in Lumun 7 (2-3) would imply ‘successor-3’, which could be an opaque rendering of ‘successor-three[s]’ = ‘successor-6’ = 7. Another possible analysis is that 7 (2-3) is an abbreviation of 2-2-3 = 7 (Smits 2017:295). Thus, of the three numeral systems found in these four languages, we have two historic systems of opaque compounding in Lumun and the base 5 strategy in the Narrow Talodi sub-branch, plus the Tocho system which resembles neighbouring Tira instead.

6.2. Ordinal numerals 1st-10th

<37>

Ordinal numerals are formed in various ways that appear to support definiteness of the noun they are modifying. Tocho adds a prefix a- also seen with a definite nominal function in Dagik in 7.2, Acheron uses genitive prefixation (2.2) where the relative prefix -ɛ- is used in western Acheron, and Lumun and Dagik use a relative prefix ɪ- (9.4). Special forms are used for the lowest ordinals in Acheron and Lumun, discussed below. In languages other than Tocho, the expressions for ‘second’ onwards are unexpectedly plural (‘days of four’?, ‘days that are four’?), but function as ordinal:

Tocho

Acheron (E)

Acheron (W)

'1st chair'

pɔrɔk a-p-ʊllʊk

'1st day'

zəŋki zɔ-nɔd̪ɔŋ

ðəŋki ð-ɛ-nɔd̪ɔŋ

'2nd chair'

pɔrɔk a-p-ɛrak

'2nd day'

məŋki m~a-m-ɛɽak

məŋki m-ɛ~y-ɛɽak

'3rd chair'

pɔrɔk a-p-ət̪t̪ək

'3rd day'

məŋki m~a-m-ət̪t̪ək

məŋki m-ə~y-ət̪t̪ək

'4th chair'

pɔrɔk a-pɔ-brandɔ

'4th day'

məŋki mɔ-bɽandɔ

məŋki m-ɛ-bɽandɔ

'5th chair'

pɔrɔk a-pɔ-ɡʊɲcʊrʊk

'5th day'

məŋki mɔ-zəɡʊnzʊlʊk

məŋki m-ɛ-ðəɡʊnsʊk

'6th chair'

pɔrɔk a-pət̪t̪ək~pət̪t̪ək

'6th day'

məŋki mɔ-zəɡʊnzʊlʊk na-z-ʊllʊk

məŋki m-ɛ-ðəɡʊnsʊk na-ð-ʊllʊk

'7th chair'

pɔrɔk a-p-ɛrɛk pɔ-brandɔ a-p-ɛrɛk pət̪t̪ək

'7th day'

məŋki mɔ-zəɡʊnzʊlʊk na-m-ɛɽak

məŋki m-ɛ-ðəɡʊnsʊk na-m-ɛɽak

'8th chair'

pɔrɔk a-prandɔ~prandɔ

'8th day'

məŋki mɔ-zəɡʊnzʊlʊk na-m-ət̪t̪ək

məŋki m-ɛ-ðəɡʊnsʊk na-m-ət̪t̪ək

'9th chair'

pɔrɔk a-cəɡʊŋ-cʊlʊk a-pɔ-brandɔ

'9th day'

məŋki mɔ-zəɡʊnzʊlʊk na-bɽandɔ

məŋki m-ɛ-ðəɡʊnsʊk na-bɽandɔ

'10th chair'

pɔrɔk attu

'10th day'

məŋki mɔ-ɡʊrrʊŋ

məŋki m-ɛ-ɡʊrrʊŋ

Lumun

Dagik

'1st day'

caɽɪ cɔ-nɔd̪ɔn

sawɪ ɪ-s-əllʊ

'2nd day'

maɽɪ ɪ-m-ɛɽa

mawɪ ɪ-m-ɛɽa

'3rd day'

maɽɪ ɪ-m-əɽabʊrʊk

mawɪ ɪ-m-ət̪t̪ək

'4th day'

maɽɪ ɪ-m-ɔɟɔɽɪn

mawɪ ɪ-mɔ-bɽandɔ

'5th day'

etc.

maɽɪ ɪ-m-ʊɡʊllʊk

mawɪ ɪ-mɔ-sɪsəllʊ

<38>

Acheron and Lumun share a root for ‘first’ which appears to have the etymology *nɔ-t̪ɔn ‘on-mouth’. This etymology supports an analysis with genitive prefixation /Cɔ-/ before *nɔ-t̪ɔn, which is also evident from the use of /ɛ-/ on this item in western Acheron, which appears in the genitive construction (2.2). Acheron has special forms for ‘second’ and ‘third’ as well, derived differently in the eastern and western dialects. The eastern dialect forms (m~a-m-ɛɽak, m~a-m-ət̪t̪ək) have the prefix /a-/, which is productive in Tocho ordinal numerals, with a reduplicated agreement consonant in front of it. The western dialect forms (m-ɛ~y-ɛɽak, m-ə~y-ət̪t̪ək) have a reduplicated root vowel and an internal plural prefix /y-/ that is also found in two irregular plural adjectives /b-a-b-arək, w-ɪ-y-arək/ ‘male (sg, pl)’, /b-a-b-ayɪ, w-ɪ-y-ayɪ/ ‘female (sg, pl)’.

However, all four languages also have systems of birth-order terms in families. Here, ordinal number meaning is included in the noun, so ordinal numerals are not used in this culturally important domain:

male

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

'first born son'

kʊkkʊ

kʊkkʊ

ɡʊkkʊ

yaŋɡʊ

'second born son'

lɔttɪ

kɔdi

ŋɔsɪ-yaŋ, t̪-ibabu

ŋappɪ

'third born son'

lallʊ

ŋallʊ

ŋallʊ

ðiya

'fourth born son'

t̪ʊt̪t̪ʊ

ŋat̪t̪uŋ

ŋat̪t̪uŋ

ŋat̪u

'fifth born son'

lɔccɔ

kumaŋ=

ɡummaŋ=

kuwa=

'sixth born son'

kʊkkʊ+

kakki=

kida=

kannʊ=

'seventh born son'

lɔttɪ+

lɔccɔ=

ŋɔðɔŋ, ŋɔzɔŋ=

kakɪ=

'eighth born son'

lallʊ+

ŋɔɟɔŋ=

nʊka=

yaŋɡʊ+

'ninth born son'

t̪ʊt̪t̪ʊ+

ŋɪraŋ=

ɡʊkkʊ+

ŋappɪ+

'tenth born son'

lɔccɔ+

ɔruɟuk=

ŋʊssʊ=

ðiya+

female

'first born daughter'

kakka

kakka

ɡakka

kakaʊ

'second born daughter'

nɛnnɪ

ŋani

nanɪ-yaŋ, n-ibabu

ŋɔt̪ɔ

'third born daughter'

cɛccɛ

kɔccɛ

ɡɔssɛ

ŋɔsɛ

'fourth born daughter'

ŋɔɽɪn

ŋɔrɪŋ

ŋɔɽɪŋ

ŋɔɽɪ

'fifth born daughter'

kʊmaŋ

kumaŋ=

ɡummaŋ=

kuwa=

'sixth born daughter'

kakka+

kakki=

kida=

kannʊ=

'seventh born 'daughter'

nɛnnɪ+

lɔccɔ=

ŋɔðɔŋ, ŋɔzɔŋ=

kakɪ=

'eighth born daughter'

cɛccɛ+

ŋɔɟɔŋ=

nʊka=

kakaʊ+

'ninth born daughter'

ŋɔɽɪn+

ŋɪraŋ=

ɡakka+

ŋɔt̪ɔ+

'tenth born daughter'

kʊmaŋ+

ɔruɟuk=

ŋʊssʊ=

ŋɔsɛ+

<39>

Where a series terminates, the repeated terms are marked by ‘+’. Where son and daughter terms merge, they are marked by ‘=’. Son and daughter series both terminate at the same number in each language, but this number differs in every language. Son and daughter terms merge to gender-neutral terms at the fifth-born child in the three Narrow Talodi languages Tocho, Acheron, Dagik.

6.3. Multiples of ten

<40>

Acheron and Tocho use base 10, and Tocho has an alternate suppletive term for multiples of 10:

Acheron

Tocho

10

ɡʊrrʊŋ

attu

20

ɡʊrrʊŋ ɡ-ɛɽak

nat̪t̪ɪ n-ɛrak

(10x2)

30

ɡʊrrʊŋ ɡ-ət̪t̪ək

nat̪t̪ɪ n-ət̪t̪ək

(10x3)

40

ɡʊrrʊŋ bɽandɔ

nat̪t̪ɪ nɔ-brandɔ

(10x4)

50

ɡʊrrʊŋ ðəɡʊnsʊyʊk

nat̪t̪ɪ nɔ-ɡʊɲcʊrʊk

(10x5 etc.)

60

ɡʊrrʊŋ ðəɡʊnsʊyʊk na ɡʊrrʊŋ ɡ-ʊllʊk

nat̪t̪ɪ pət̪t̪ək~pət̪t̪ək

70

ɡʊrrʊŋ ðəɡʊnsʊyʊk na ɡʊrrʊŋ ɡ-ɛɽak

nat̪t̪ɪ n-ɛrɛk nɔ-brandɔ a-n-ɛrɛk n-ət̪t̪ək

80

ɡʊrrʊŋ ðəɡʊnsʊyʊk na ɡʊrrʊŋ ɡ-ət̪t̪ək

nat̪t̪ɪ prandɔ~prandɔ

90

ɡʊrrʊŋ ðəɡʊnsʊyʊk na ɡʊrrʊŋ bɽandɔ

nat̪t̪ɪ cəɡʊɲ-cʊrʊk a-nɔ-brandɔ

100

ɡʊrrʊŋ ɡɔ-ɡʊrrʊŋ (10x10), dummɛk

nat̪t̪ɪ attu (10x10)

Lumun and Dagik have base terms for both 10 and 20, where Lumun has a suppletive form for 10 added to 20 in higher multiples, and Dagik uses a pluralised phrase for multiples of 20:

Lumun

Dagik

10

attʊl

n̪ɪ-pɽa

‘all hands’

20

arrɪal

k-asa-pɽa

‘all body’

30

arrɪal ana alkaɪrɛ

k-asa-pɽa na-n̪ɪ-pɽa

'20+10'

40

arrɪal w-ɛɽa

w-asa

wɔ-rək

y-ɛɽa

'20x2'

pl-body

agr:of-person

agr-two

50

arrɪal w-ɛɽa ana alkaɪrɛ

w-asa wɔ-rək y-ɛɽa na-n̪ɪ-pɽa

'20x2+10'

60

arrɪal w-əɽabʊrʊk

w-asa wɔ-rək y-ət̪t̪ək

70

arrɪal w-əɽabʊrʊk ana alkaɪrɛ

w-asa wɔ-rək y-ət̪t̪ək na-n̪ɪ-pɽa

80

arrɪal w-ɔɟɔɽɪn

w-asa wɔ-rək yɔ-bɽandɔ

90

arrɪal w-ɔɟɔɽɪn ana alkaɪrɛ

w-asa wɔ-rək yɔ-bɽandɔ na-n̪ɪ-pɽa

100

arrɪal ʊɡʊllʊk

w-asa

wɔ-rək

yɔ-sɪ-səllʊ

'20x5'

pl-body

agr:of-person

agr:of-hand-one

<41>

Since Dagik and Acheron also use 5 as a base for 6,7,8,9, the four languages are all different in which base numerals they use, although all four languages have 10 as one of their bases - and none report a stable term for ‘hundred’:

Base

Tocho

Lumun

Acheron

Dagik

5

zəɡʊn-zʊlʊk ~ ðəɡʊn-sʊyʊk

sɪ-səllʊ

‘one hand’

10

attu; nat̪t̪ɪ

attʊl; alkaɪrɛ

ɡʊrrʊŋ

n̪ɪ-pɽa

‘all hands’

20

arrɪal

kasa-pɽa;
wasa wɔ-rək …

‘all body’

<42>

Base numerals and other higher numerals behave like nouns in Talodi languages in a number of ways. First, as originally noted by Schadeberg (1981ː45,154), the numeral ‘five’ has a noun phrase etymology ‘one hand’, and in Dagik higher multiples are transparent noun phrases that imply similar counts of fingers and toes. Second, in Dagik, to some extent in Tocho, and on ordinal numerals in Acheron, higher numerals take genitive marking, as in Dagik mawɪ mɔ-n̪ɪpɽa ‘ten days’. Third, when a base numeral is modified by another numeral, the modifier agrees with the head numeral in the initial consonant, as in Acheron ɡʊrrʊŋ ɡ-ɛɽak ‘20’ lit. ‘two ten’. Note, however, that the Acheron the base numeral 10 does not pluralise, nor the Lumun base numeral 20 as in arrɪal w-ɛɽa lit. ‘two twenty’ – a departure from the expected behaviour of nouns (unlike Tocho which has a suppletive plural nat̪t̪ɪ ‘tens’, and Dagik where representation of multiples of 20 use the pluralised noun ‘bodies’). Fourth, higher numerals that do not take genitive marking have no agreement at all with their head noun, thus appearing as a dependent noun as in Acheron məŋki ɡʊrrʊŋ ‘ten days’, unlike the adjective-like lower numerals that agree with the noun they modify in the initial consonant. Fifth, Tocho and Lumun base numerals have an initial /a-/ which can be interpreted as a plural nominal prefix, also found in people group nouns (1. Ethnology), in some other nouns (2.1), and in the collective quantifier immediately below (5.4). Sixth, two Lumun base numeral terms are borrowed Arabic nouns: alkaɪrɛ ‘ten’ refers to the former Sudanese coin of ten piasters (Smits 2017:62), borrowed with the Arabic article al- retained, and a-rrɪal ‘twenty’ adds the plural prefix /a-/ to the Arabic monetary term riyal (Smits 2017ː296).

6.4. Collective quantifier

<43>

All four languages have a collective quantifier:

Dagik

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

'all the eggs'

muwi a-pɽa

mɪn a-ppɪk

mɪŋ a-m-ʊk

mɪŋ a-m-ʊk

'all the dogs'

n̪aʊ a-pɽa

lʊk a-ppɪk

laʊk a-l-ʊk

rawʊk a-r-ʊk

The quantifier in Dagik and Lumun behaves like some base numerals as it appears as a second noun with an initial plural prefix *a- and no agreement with the head noun. The quantifier in Tocho and Acheron is not, or is no longer, a noun because it agrees with the initial consonant of the head noun. Since reconstruction is safe when based on Dagik and Lumun (0.2), the collective quantifier can be reconstructed as a noun in the proto-Talodi ancestor language. The nominal plural *a- is preserved in all four languages, but with agreement with the head noun developing in some languages.

7. Demonstratives

<44>

In all four languages, there is an interrogative demonstrative, and a 3-way distinction between proximal, medial, and distal demonstratives first documented by Smits (2007a) for Lumun:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

interrogative

'which egg?'

cɪn c-ɪad̪a

cɪŋ c-ɪyad̪ɪ

zɪŋ z-ayɪzʊŋ

suwi s-iɡa

proximal

'this egg'

cɪn ɛn-c-ɪ

cɪŋ c-ɪyɔŋ

zɪŋ i-zz-i

suwi s-i

medial

'that egg (near)'

cɪn ɛn-c-ərik

cɪŋ c-ɛŋ

zɪŋ z-ɛ~z-ɛ

suwi s-əri

distal

'that egg (far)'

cɪn ɛn-c-əɽɛ

cɪŋ c-əllɛ

zɪŋ z-ərɛ

suwi s-ərri

2nd person

'that egg by you'

suwi s-ɛ

Dagik also has a 2nd person demonstrative, but the other languages would use a medial demonstrative in this situation. The Dagik 2nd person demonstrative root /-ɛ/ contrasts with the phonetically similar 2nd person possessive root /-a/ (7.1).

8. Pronouns

8.1. Personal pronouns

<45>

All four languages distinguish eight personal pronouns, as first documented by Smits (2007a) in Lumun. The eight pronouns are generated by the presence or absence of speaker, hearer and augmentation. This gives three singular pronouns, one dual pronoun (speaker and hearer), and four augmented pronouns above singular or dual number, together constituting a “minimal/augmented” pronoun system (Thomas 1955):  [15]

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

‘I’

ɔʊn

ɔɪŋ

wɪŋ

aŋɪ

(speaker)

‘you (sg)’

ɔʊŋ

ɔʊŋ

ŋʊŋ

aŋa

(hearer)

‘you (sg) & I’

ɔɾɪt

ɔssɪk

ɔɾɪk

aŋɔɾɪ

(speaker and hearer)

‘he/she’

ɔɔk

ɔŋɔk

ŋɔk

aŋɔ

(neither speaker nor hearer)

‘we’

ɔnin

ɔniŋ

ŋiŋ

aŋɔni

(augmented speaker)

‘you (pl)’

ɔnɔn

ɔnɔŋ

ŋɔŋ

aŋɔnɔ

(augmented hearer)

‘you (pl) & I’

ɔɾɔn

ɔssɔŋ

ɔttɔŋ

aŋɔɾɪnnɔ

(augmented speaker and hearer)

‘they’

ɔkɪn

ɔɡɛŋ

ŋɛŋ

aŋɛ

(augmented neither speaker nor hearer)

<46>

Vanderelst (2013) lists eight pronoun sets for Dagik for different sentence contexts. Since therefore Talodi languages are potentially rich in pronoun sets, one further pronoun set was compiled in each language with its own respective function. Once again, all the sets have eight pronouns in a minimal/augmented system:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

subject prefixes

prepositional suffixes

prepositional pronouns

dependent pronouns

‘I’

mp-

-ɛŋ

ɡɪŋ

1sg

‘you (sg)’

ŋkʷ-

-aŋ

ɡaŋ

ka

2sg

‘you (sg) & I’

ɪt̪-

-aɾɪk

ɡɛssɪk

kaɾɪ

12du

‘he/she’

kʷ-

-ɔk

ɡɔk

ka

3sg

‘we’

int̪-

-iŋ

ɡɛniŋ

kani

1aug

‘you (pl)’

nt̪-

-ɔŋ

ɡɛnɔŋ

kanɔ

2aug

‘you (pl) & I’

ʊnt̪-

-attɔŋ

ɡɛssɔŋ

kaɾɪnnɔ

12aug

‘they’

nt̪-

-aɡɛŋ

ɡɛŋ

3aug

examples

Lumun

mp-aɪk

paɽɡɔ

ŋʊɽʊ

‘I’m eating asida.’

1sg-cop

eat

asida

Tocho

tɪrɔk

taɟɪk

ann-ɛŋ

‘God is with me.’

God

cop

with-1sg

Acheron

ɡənzɪ

ɡɔɡa

əŋɔ

ɔɪŋ

‘God is with me.’

ɡənzɪ

ɡɔɡa

əŋa

ɡɪŋ

‘God is with me.’

God

cop

with

1sg

(əŋɔ ‘with’ occurs with the first pronoun set, and əŋa with the prepositional pronoun set)

Dagik

aŋɔɾɪ

d̪aɾɪ

pəlɔ

kaɾɪ

rəɡɔ

‘You (sg) and I are running and eating.’

12du

cop

run

12du

eat

8.2. Possessive pronouns

<47>

Possessive pronouns in predicative and attributive use tend to follow the same strategies as adjectives, but there are some variations. In predicative use, the predicative pronoun appears immediately after the noun in the first three languages and only Acheron uses a copula verb, just as with adjectives. However, the Dagik predicative possessive pronouns have initial a-, also seen on ordinalised numerals in Tocho (4.2), and a plausible function uniting these occurrences is a definite nominaliser, ‘(the one that is) four’, ‘(the one that is) mine’.  [16]

predicative

Lumun

Tocho

Dagik

Acheron

'the pig is mine'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ɪn

tət̪ruk t-ɪŋ

ŋəllɛðu a-ŋ-ɪ

yət̪t̪əruk yɔɡa y~ɪ-y-ɪŋ

'the pig is yours (sg)'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-aŋ

tət̪ruk t-aŋ

ŋəllɛðu a-ŋ-a

yət̪t̪əruk yɔɡa y~ɪ-y-aŋ

'the pig is yours (sg) & mine'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ɔɾɪt

tət̪ruk t-ɔɾɪk

ŋəllɛðu a-ŋ-ɔɾɪ

yət̪t̪əruk yɔɡa y-ɛssɪk

'the pig is his/hers'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ʊŋ

tət̪ruk t-ʊŋ

ŋəllɛðu a-ŋ-ʊ

yət̪t̪əruk yɔɡa y~ɪ-y-ʊŋ

'the pig is ours'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-in

tət̪ruk t-iyiŋ

ŋəllɛðu a-ŋ-ɔnɪ

yət̪t̪əruk yɔɡa y~i-y-iŋ

'the pig is yours (pl)'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ɔn

tət̪ruk t-ɔŋ

ŋəllɛðu a-ŋ-ɔnɔ

yət̪t̪əruk yɔɡa y~ɪ-y-ɔŋ

'the pig is yours (pl) & mine'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ɔnnɔn

tət̪ruk t-ɔttɔŋ

ŋəllɛðu a-ŋ-ɔɾɪnnɔ

yət̪t̪əruk yɔɡa y-ɛssɔŋ

'the pig is theirs'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ɛn

tət̪ruk t-ɛŋ

ŋəllɛðu a-ŋ-ɔɡɛ

yət̪t̪əruk yɔɡa y~ɪ-y-ɛŋ

<48>

In attributive possessive pronouns, a relative prefix is not used in Lumun although it occurs in Tocho and Dagik just as in attributive adjectives. Attributive and predicative possessive pronouns are thus homographs in Lumun, but in this instance a difference in tone was heard, tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ɪ̂n ‘the pig is mine’, tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ìn ‘my pig’. Also, the attributive possessive pronoun in Dagik is always [+ATR], which may therefore be a further attributive marker in Dagik.

attributive

Lumun

Tocho

Dagik

Acheron

'my pigs' (Lumun pig)

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ɪn

nət̪ruk ɔn-n-ɪŋ

n̪əllɛðu i-n̪-i

nət̪t̪əruk n~ɪ-n-ɪŋ

'your (sg) pig(s)'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-aŋ

nət̪ruk ɔn-n-aŋ

n̪əllɛðu i-n̪-a

nət̪t̪əruk n~ɪ-n-aŋ

'your (sg) & my pig(s)'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ɔɾɪt

nət̪ruk ɔn-n-ɔɾɪk

n̪əllɛðu i-n̪-ɔɾi

nət̪t̪əruk n-ɛssɪk

'his/her pig(s)'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ʊŋ

nət̪ruk ɔn-n-ʊŋ

n̪əllɛðu i-n̪-u

nət̪t̪əruk n~ɪ-n-ʊŋ

'our pig(s)'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-in

nət̪ruk ɔn-n-iyiŋ

n̪əllɛðu i-n̪-ɔni

nət̪t̪əruk n~i-n-iŋ

'your (pl) pig(s)'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ɔn

nət̪ruk ɔn-n-ɔŋ

n̪əllɛðu i-n̪-ɔnɔ

nət̪t̪əruk n~ɪ-n-ɔŋ

'your (pl) & my pig(s)'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ɔnnɔn

nət̪ruk ɔn-n-ɔttɔŋ

n̪əllɛðu i-n̪-ɔɾinnɔ

nət̪t̪əruk n-ɛssɔŋ

'their pig(s)'

tʊt̪t̪rʊk t-ɛn

nət̪ruk ɔn-n-ɛŋ

n̪əllɛðu i-n̪-ɔɡɛ

nət̪t̪əruk n~ɪ-n-ɛŋ

<49>

In Acheron, the agreement consonant prefix is reduplicated in most possessive pronouns, and the relative prefix *ɪ- is preserved after the reduplicated agreement consonant, just as Acheron also preserves the definite nominaliser *a- after a reduplicated agreement consonant in some ordinal numerals (5.2). The relative prefix is preserved in its original high front vowel quality *ɪ-, whereas the productive relative prefix in Acheron relative clauses is now /ɛ-/ or /ə-/ (9.4).

9. Adverbs

<50>

The four languages all have adverbs that appear after the core SVO clause, expressing pace, truth, time (8.1), place (8.2), quality (8.3) and position (8.4):

examples

Lumun

ti tɔɡat cɪk maɽɔt

‘Famine was there in the past.’

Tocho

kəbək kaŋkɔk ɪllɪŋ

‘The meat cooked well.’

Acheron

rawʊk rɔrabɔd̪ɛ wɪk nəŋəŋ

‘The dogs caught the wild hen there.’

Dagik

pat̪ɪ paɾɪ tasɔ tasɛ

‘The man is coming slowly.’

Adverbs do not agree with the words they modify, unlike verbs, adjectives, numerals, demonstratives, and possessive pronouns. The adverbs surveyed belong to a limited number of initial consonant classes (*t,*c,*k,*m) or an initial vowel class (*i), or they are formed by locative prefixes (*ɪ- ‘in’, *n(ə)- ‘at’, *tɔ- ‘up’, *t̪ɔ- ‘down’).  [17]

9.1. Adverbs of pace, truth and time

<51>

Adverbs of pace ‘slowly’, ‘quickly’ use reduplication, also apparent in the truth adverb ‘really’ in Lumun and Dagik but obscured by phonological change in Tocho and Acheron:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

'slowly'

kɪ-ccɛ~kɪ-ccɛ

kə-ccɛ-ɾɪk

ɡə-ssɛŋ~ɡə-ssɛŋ

ta-sɛ

'quickly'

cɔ-ɡɔc~cɔ-ɡɔk

cə-ɡɔc~cə-ɡɔk

ɡə-rɛ~ɡə-rɛ

tɔ~tɔ~tɔ

'really, truly'

ɪɟa~ɪɟa-t

ɪɟaccak

izɛssak

isa~isa

'yesterday'

mɛ-ccɪn

ma-ccɪŋ

mə-ssɪŋ

mə-si

'today'

ɪnɛnnɪ

ɪnɛnna

inanɛŋ

imɛmɛ

'tomorrow'

ŋɔrrɔt

nə-ŋɡɔllɔk-kəmɛ

nə-ŋɔrrɔk

ma-ŋɔrrɔ

'in daylight'

ɪ-cɪŋkɪ

ɪ-cəŋki

ɪ-zəŋki

ti-səŋɡi

'at night'

ɪ-ŋkɔɽa

nə-ŋkɔra

nə-ŋkɔra

nə-ŋɡɔra

The initial consonant class of a given adverb can vary from language to language, as can the first vowel which thereby also precedes the adverb root. The truth adverb ‘really, truly’ and the time adverb ‘today’ have an initial [+ATR] vowel *i in Acheron and Dagik which contrasts with the adverb-forming locative prefix*ɪ- seen in other adverbs. The word for ‘in daylight’ in all four languages contains the noun *cəŋki ‘sun’ with locative prefixation.

9.2. Adverbs of place

<52>

Place adverbs have locative *n- in the three Narrow Talodi languages Tocho, Acheron, and Dagik, as also in the time adverbs ‘at night’, ‘tomorrow’:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

c-ɛnɛ

‘here’

n-innɛ

‘there near’

iɲɛ ‘

here close to me’

n-ini

‘here’

c-ɛnɛ-ɡɛt

‘there’

n-ɪyɔŋ

‘here’
(ɪyɔŋ ‘this’)

n-əŋəŋ

‘there with it’

n-ɛnɛ

‘there near’

All four languages have a contrast between ‘up’ and ‘down’ locative prefixes on place adverbs, as seen earlier in toponyms for local ethnic groups in the three Narrow Talodi languages (1. Ethnology), and previously reported in Lumun in predicate locative expressions (Smits 2007b). The position adverb cɪk ‘down there’ (8.4) combines with place adverbs containing the down prefix t̪- in some languages as /cɪt̪-t̪-/:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

*t̪(ɔ)- 'down'

t̪-ɛn t̪-ɪ, t̪-ɛn t̪-ɪ-d̪-ɛ

‘far there’

t̪ɔ-ɡaŋ

‘far there’

d̪-ɛ-d̪-i

‘down there’

ð-isi n-ini

‘down here’

cɪt̪-t̪-ɛn-t̪-ɪ-d̪-ɛ

‘down far there’

cɪt̪-t̪ɔ-ɡaŋ

‘down far there’

d̪-əɡək

‘far down there’

ð-isi n-ɛnɛ

‘down there near’

t̪ɔ-məɡɛŋ

‘down’

ð-it̪i

‘over there’

t̪ɔ-məɡɛŋ t̪ɔ-ɡaŋ

‘down there’

ð-ɛt̪ɛ ð-it̪i

‘far over there’

t̪-aŋ

‘on the floor’

cɪt̪-t̪-aŋ

‘there on the floor’

*t(ɔ)- 'up'

t-ɛn-d-ə-ɾ-ɛ

‘up there’

tɔ-t̪t̪ɔk

‘up’

y-ɛ-s-i

‘up there’

tɔ-mpəlla n-ini

‘up here’

tɔ-t̪t̪ɔk tɔ-ɡaŋ

‘up there’

y-əɡək

‘far up there’

tɔ-mpəlla n-ɛnɛ

‘up there near’

9.3. Adverbs of quality

<53>

Adverbs of quality are derived from adjectives using locative prefixes *ɪ- (Dagik tɪ-) or *d̪ɔ-, often with root consonant gemination, whereas in Lumun the adjective modifies lɔn ‘word’ in an adverbial noun phrase, although a similar derived adverb ɪ-kkɪ́d̪ak ‘badly’ has since been reported in Lumun as well (Smits 2017:621):

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

Lumun

'good'

pɔ-rɪŋ

bɔ-rɪŋ

y-ɔrɪ

l-ɔbɔrɔt

'well'

ɪ-llɪŋ

ɪ-rrɪŋ

tɪ-y-ɔrɪ

lɔn l-ɔbɔrɔt

'bad'

pɔ-ɡid̪ak

bɔ-ɡid̪ak

y-isa

l-ɔɡɪd̪ak

'badly'

ɪ-kkid̪ak

d̪ɔ-ɡid̪aɡ-ɔ

t-isa

lɔn l-ɔɡɪd̪ak

examples

Lumun

ŋɡʷɔlɔt lɔn l-ɔbɔrɔt

‘You run well.’ (‘You run in a good way.’)

Tocho

kəbək kaŋɡɔk ɪ-llɪŋ

‘The meat cooked well.’

Dagik

pat̪ɪ pasɛmɔ ðaɾʊwa tɪ-y-ɔrɪ

‘The man speaks the Dagik language well.’

9.4. Adverbs of position

<54>

The four languages all have certain monosyllabic positional adverbs, as first documented in Lumun by Smits (2007a):

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

'on it'

nan

naŋ

naŋ

na

'in it'

tɪt

tik

yik

ti

'down there'

cɪk

cɪk

ðɪk, zɪk

examples

Lumun

cat̪t̪ak cɔnʊ ŋʊɽʊ nan

‘The calabash has dirt on it.’

Tocho

uni-d̪ɛ ŋɪː cɪk

‘Pour the water downǃ’

Acheron

ɡaya ɡɔnʊ ŋuzi yik

‘The cup has milk in it.’

Dagik

pɪra pɔnnɛ ŋəɽəbɛ na

‘The tree has a bird on it.’

<55>

The four languages all have some further positional adverbs referring to certain frequent locations. These are derived from nouns in the same way as adverbs of quality are derived from adjectives, using a locative prefix and gemination of the first root consonant:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

'house fields' (N)

kə-ɾək

kə-ɾək

ɡə-ɾək, ɡə-yək

kə-ɾək

'in the house fields' (Adv)

ɪ-ttək

ɪ-ttək

ɪ-ttək

tɪ-ttək

'far fields' (N)

kɔ-bɔn

kə-bɔŋ

ɡə-bɔŋ

kə-bɔ

'in the far fields' (Adv)

ɪ-kkʷɔn

ɪ-ppɔŋ

ɪ-ppɔŋ

tɪ-ppɔ

'homeland/town' (N)

pɔ-d̪ɔk

pə-d̪ɔk

bə-d̪ɔk

in the homeland/town (Adv)

nɔ-t̪t̪ɔk

nɔ-t̪t̪ɔk

nɔ-t̪t̪ɔk

<56>

The locative markers *ɪ,*nɔ seen in adverbs may also be placed productively before other nouns. These are not adverbs but regularly inflected nouns, though they may be used adverbially. They differ from derived adverbs as there is no root consonant gemination: they have the usual structure of nouns with a noun class prefix before the root, and the locative marker is added in front. Locative-inflected nouns are also unlike adverbs formed by locative prefixes (including place adverbs in 8.2) in that there is variation from language to language as to whether or not the locative marker is joined to the noun, as shown in the table and discussed below:

Lumun

Tocho

Acheron

Dagik

one word:

ɪ-bɔd̪an

nɔ-ɟabʊ

‘on the ground’

‘in the basket’

ɪ-ɾɔk

tɔ-ɟaraŋ

‘in the well’

‘upon the shelf’

ɪ-yɔk

nɔ-bɪya

‘in the well’

‘on the tree’

two words:

nɔ cʊ

nɔ paŋ

‘on the rakuba’

‘with the rest’

ɪ yazɔ

nɔ ɔɪŋ

‘in the grass’

‘on/with me’

ti ɡəðu

nɔ bɪɾa

‘in the room’

‘on the tree’

<57>

As with genitive markers (2.2), one test for whether the locative inflections are joined to front of the noun is whether they trigger the lexical process of intervocalic voicing on the word-initial noun class consonant when it is a plosive. In Lumun, voicing of the noun class consonant suggests that the locative marker is prefixed to the noun. In Tocho, we have a distinction between /ɪ-, tɔ-/ which trigger voicing and hence are prefixed, and /nɔ/ which does not trigger voicing and hence is separate from the noun. In Acheron, the initial consonant is always voiced, so the intervocalic voicing test does not help. Instead, Acheron writers proposed that the locative markers are joined in some frequently-used expressions as in |ɪ.yɔk| ‘in the well’ |nɔ.bɪ.ya| ‘on the tree’, but separate when used with other words as in |ɪ|ya.zɔ| ‘in the grass’, |nɔ|ɔ.ɪŋ| ‘on/with me’. I have transcribed these examples using foot boundaries to suggest a possible prosodic difference that needs further investigation. In Dagik, the noun class consonant becomes voiced in the presence of the locative marker, but the intervocalic voicing test does not diagnose wordhood in Dagik as it is triggered at word boundaries in a number of clause contexts (sections 9.,10.). However, there is evidence that /tɪ/ is detachable because it occurs as a verbal extension on the copula /a-ɾɪ/ before a main verb (3.4).

10. Clauses

10.1. Basic word order

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All four languages have SVO word order (both here and throughout sections 7.-10.). The verb agrees with the subject noun in the initial consonant prefix. There is no case marking on subjects or objects.

intransitive clause (SV)

Lumun

p-ʊl p-ɛɔt

‘The person slept.’

Tocho

p-ʊ p-iɟad̪ɛ

‘The person slept.’

Acheron

b-ʊr b-iðad̪ɛ

‘The person slept.’

Dagik

p-at̪ɪ p-ɔbəlɔ

‘The man ran.’

transitive clause (SVO)

Lumun

p-ʊl p-ɔɽɡɔt kəba

‘The person ate meat.’

Tocho

p-ʊ p-ɔrɡɔk kəbək

‘The person ate meat.’

Acheron

b-ʊr b-ɔrəɡɔk ɡəbək

‘The person ate meat.’

Dagik

p-at̪ɪ p-ɔ-rəɡɔ kəbɪ

‘The man ate meat.’

<59>

Deviation from SVO order was found within imperative verbs, where a plural subject is marked by a verb suffix in the three Narrow Talodi languages Tocho, Acheron, and Dagik (3.1). The plural suffix (marking a plural addressee of the command) occurs before an object suffix, Acheron /ɪɟɛ-nɔŋ-ɛŋ/ (give-2pl.imp-3pl.obj) ‘give (pl) themǃ’, attesting V-s-o order within the verb, unlike Lumun where plural imperatives have been regularised to s-V-o by use of the regular 2pl subject prefix n- (3.1, 7.1). Subject marking by verb suffix is also observed in Dagik relative clauses, pat̪ɪ ɪ-p-ɔsəɡɪt̪-ɪ ‘the man who saw me’ ~ ‘the man who I saw’, where the 1sg verb suffix /-ɪ/ acts as either object or subject, distinguished by a tone difference that still needs to be described. VSO is previously reported as a variant word order in Masakin Tuwal (Stevenson 1957:38-39).

10.2. Stative clauses

<60>

Predicate nominals use one of two copulas (with personal names lacking noun class prefixes as subject, the copula takes a default singular agreement prefix p- or b-):

copula

predicate nominal

Lumun

a

ɔlalʊ p-a bʊl ɪbaŋkɛnɛ

‘Lalu is a teacher.’

Tocho

a

accalʊk p-a bart̪t̪ɔk

‘Accaluk is a teacher.’

Acheron

ɔɡa

ɡʊkkʊ b-ɔɡa bɪɽɪmak

‘Gukku is a hunter.’

Dagik

ɔka

kafɛna p-ɔka pat̪ɪ ɪba un̪i

‘Kafena is a teacher.’

Predicate locatives use various copula verbs, or no copula in Tocho:

copula

predicate locative

Lumun

a-ɪk

ɔlɔccɔ p-a-ɪk ɪkkʷɔn

‘Locco is in the near-field.’

Tocho

Ø

ɔkʊplɪ p-ɪppɔŋ

‘Okupli is in the near-field.’

Acheron

ɔɡa

bʊmaŋ b-ɔɡa ɪttək

‘A Lumun is in the far-field.’

Dagik

a

kafɛna p-a ɾɪ ɡəðu

‘Kafena is in the room.’

In Tocho, the locative adverb ɪppɔŋ ‘in the near-field’ appears as a predicate that agrees with the subject noun by its agreement prefix p-. In earlier sections, we saw that predicate adjectives and predicate possessive pronouns lack a copula in Tocho, Lumun, and Dagik, hence in Tocho that pattern is extended to predicate locatives also.

<61>

The different parts of speech in this survey occur as the complements of the following copulas. In Acheron there is one copula verb for all parts of speech, but the other languages have several copulas, or lack a copula verb in some constructions, at least in present tense:

copula (present tense)

Acheron

Tocho

Lumun

Dagik

noun

ɔɡa

a

a

ɔka, a

adjective

ɔɡa

-

-

-

possessive pronoun

ɔɡa

-

-

-

locative expression

ɔɡa

-

a-ɪk

a

preposition of accompaniment

ɔɡa

a-ɟɪk

?

?

verb (progressive)

ɔɡa

a-ɟɪk

a-ɪk

a-ɾɪ

verb (habitual)

a

Three copulas used with adjectives, nouns, and verbs are widespread enough that they go back to the ancestor proto-Talodi language:

predicate adjective

*ɡa

- occurs with adjectives in non-present tenses in all four languages (4.1)

- extends to all parts of speech and to present tense adjectives in Acheron (4.1)

- as /ka/, extends to predicate nominals and to dependent clauses in Dagik (3.6,7.1)

predicate nominal  [18]

*a

- extends to predicate locative expressions and to habitual aspect (3.3) in Dagik; it is distinct from the verb prefix *a- separately reconstructible from Acheron, Tocho, Lumun for incompletive (habitual/prospective) aspect

progressive aspect

*a-cɪk

- in Dagik the positional extension /-cɪk/ ‘down’ is replaced by another /tɪ/ ‘in’ (3.4)

- extends to predicate locative expressions in Lumun, also preposition of accompaniment in (at least) Tocho (7.1)

10.3. Complement clauses

<62>

All four languages have a complementiser particle occurring before the complement clause. The complementiser *na in the three Narrow Talodi languages shows an irregular sound shift in Dagik *n>m also seen in ‘today’, ‘tomorrow’ (8.1).

complementiser

‘I know that [God hears us].’

Lumun

ɪttɪ

mp-ɪna ɪttɪ [kabɪk kaccɪɡɔt-tɔn]

Tocho

(na)

wɪŋ p-ənna (na) [tɪrɔk taɡɛcciɡɔk ɔttɔŋ]

Acheron

na

ɔɪŋ b-ɪnna na [ɡənzɪ ɡɔɡəsɪ-sɔŋ]

Dagik

ma

aŋɪ p-ʊna ma [məlla ma pɛt̪ɔ-ɪnnɔ]

10.4. Relative clauses

<63>

The relative clause follows the head noun in all languages, and is marked by a relativiser prefix on its verb, although the same prefixes are also seen on attributive adjectives (4.1), genitive nouns (2.2), ordinal numerals (5.2), attributive possessive pronouns (7.2), and verbs of interrogative clauses (9.5):  [19]

relativiser *ɪ-

‘The dog [who has a long mouth] died.’

Lumun

ɪ-

t̪ʊk [ɪ-t̪-ɔnʊ t̪ɔn t̪ʊɡʷɪt] t̪ɪɔt

Dagik

ɪ-

ŋaʊ [ɪ-ŋ-ɔnnɛ ðʊɡaɽɔ ɪðɔsɪ] ŋɔɪŋɔ

Acheron E

ə-

d̪awʊk [ə-d̪-ɔnʊ d̪ɔŋ d̪uzɛk] d̪ɪŋɔk

Acheron W

-ɛ-

d̪awʊk [d̪-ɛ-nʊ d̪ɔŋ d̪isɛk] d̪ɪɲɔk

Tocho

ɔN-

t̪aʊk [ɔn-t̪-ɔnɔ t̪ɔŋ t̪uccək] t̪ɪŋɔk

<64>

The prefix *ɪ- may be reconstructed from Lumun and Dagik, reducing to schwa in eastern Acheron, although the original high front vowel quality is apparently fossilised in Acheron possessive pronouns (7.2). Relative prefixes in western Acheron and Tocho are more different, however.

The western Acheron relative prefix /-ɛ-/ differs from those in other Talodi languages in that it appears after the agreement consonant, not before it. A similar prefix /-é-/ in Moro [mor] (Jenks 2013), a larger language group bordering Acheron in the west, likewise appears after the agreement consonant rather than before it, and moreover it also occurs on genitive nouns and attributive adjectives just as the western Acheron prefix does (2.2, 4.1). Moro is a likely source for the western Acheron relative prefix because western Acheron dialect speakers report bilingualism in Moro, and Moro influence is also suggested by occurrence of a dental fricative /ð/ in western Acheron, which is frequent in Moro but atypical in the Talodi family (Norton & Alaki 2015:84).  [20]

<65>

The Tocho prefix /ɔN-/ matches the initial *ɔŋ- found on pronouns of Narrow Talodi languages (Schadeberg 1981:155). Smits (2012) finds that the Lumun cognate /ɔ́-/ on pronouns and some nouns is a marker of specificity, and its extension to relative clauses in Tocho is consistent with the fact that relative clauses make their head noun specific.

10.5. Interrogative clauses

<66>

All four languages have interrogative pronouns that include extended plural forms of ‘who’. Those in Lumun, Tocho and Acheron show recurrent suffixes /-t̪a/, /-t̪ɪ/ or /-ɪ/. Verbs that follow interrogative pronouns often take additional prefixes, a- in Lumun or relative prefixes in Narrow Talodi languages, and placement of the time and place interrogatives ‘when’ and ‘where’ varies between initial and final position in the clause.

who? (sg, pl)

‘who saw the snake?’

Lumun

ɔt̪-t̪a, ɔt̪-t̪a-n

ɔt̪t̪a a-kɪmmat pɪɲɪl

Tocho

ɔt̪-t̪ɪ, ɔt̪-t̪ɪ-nɛŋ

ɔt̪t̪ɪ-yaŋ ɔm-pɛnɔk pəra

Acheron

ɔb-ɪ, ɔb-ɪ-ɛnɪŋ

ɔbɪ bɔɽəmɛk bənɪr (E), ɔbɪ b-ɛ-ɽəmɛk bənɛrək (W)

Dagik

aŋɔ, aŋɔ-wɛ

aŋɔ ɪ-pɔsəɡɪt̪ɛ pəntɛr

what?

‘what is in the cup?’

Lumun

ŋɪn-t̪a

ŋɪnt̪a a-kaɪk ɪkɛt̪t̪ɛɽɛt

Tocho

ŋɪn-t̪ɪ

ŋɪnt̪ɪ-yaŋ ɔm-pɪ part̪ɔrɔk

Acheron

ŋən-ɪ

ŋənɪ bɔɡa ɪɡaya

Dagik

yɔka

yɔka kaɾɪ ŋɔtɔ

when?

‘when did he die?’

Lumun

accɪn-t̪a

kʷɪɔt accɪn̪t̪a

Tocho

ŋɔn-t̪ɪ

ŋɔnt̪ɪ-yaŋ ɔn-na ŋɔk ɪŋɔ

Acheron

mɔn-ɪ

mɔnɪ mama bɪŋɔk

Dagik

ɪmasɔ

ɪmasɔ ɪŋɔ~ŋɔ

where?

‘where did he die?’

Lumun

kəɾ-d̪a

kʷɪɔt̪ɛ kəɾd̪a

Tocho

kəɾɛ-d̪ɪ

kəɾɛd̪ɪ-yaŋ ɔn-na ŋɔk ɪŋɔ

Acheron

ɡəyɛ

ɔŋɔk bɪŋɔd̪ɛ ɡəyɛ

Dagik

kəɾɛ

kəɾɛ ɪŋɔt̪ɔ

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All four languages have a clause-final particle for yes/no questions. There is a polarity switch /ɪ/ ~ /a/ between the yes-no question particle vowel and the final vowel of the interrogative pronouns in Lumun and Narrow Talodi languages.

yes/no question

Lumun

ɪ

ŋkʷɪmmat pɪɲɪl-ɪ

‘did you see the snake?’

Tocho

a

ŋʊŋ pɛnɔk pəra-a

‘did you see the snake?’

Acheron

a

ɔʊŋ bɔɽəmɛk bənɪr-a

‘did you see the snake?’

Dagik

a

pat̪ɪ pi pa pamɪ-a

‘is this man a doctor?’

11. Verb extensions

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All four languages have verb extensions for passive, pluractional, reciprocal, benefactive-applicative, and causative, as first observed in a Talodi language by Stevenson (1957:37-38). These extensions usually replace the final vowel of the verb stem, as imperative suffixes also do (3.1). The survey only establishes the existence of extensions for these categories and makes no claims to be exhaustive: longer extensions may well consist of two suffixes, and there may be more than one alternate suffix for a given category in a language.

11.1. Passive

Lumun

-ɪtta

ɔɟɔn pɔccɔɡ-ɔ-d̪ɛ ʊmad̪ɔn

ʊmad̪ɔn wɔccɔɡ-ɪtta-d̪ɛ

‘John caught an elephant.’

‘An elephant was caught.’

Tocho

-kɔ

ɔkɔtɪ pɔrab-ɔ-k ŋʊmad̪ɔŋ

ŋʊmad̪ɔŋ ŋɔrak-kɔ-k (əŋa kɔtɪ)

‘Koti caught an elephant.’

‘The elephant was caught (by Koti).’

Acheron

-kɔ

amʊza bɔrab-ɔ-k wʊmad̪ɔŋ

wʊmad̪ɔŋ wɔrak-kɔ-k (əŋa amʊza)

‘Amuza caught an elephant.’

‘An elephant was caught (by Amuza).’

Dagik

-ɡɔ, -ŋɔ

yɔn pɔrabɔ maðɔ

maðɔ mɔrabɔ-ɡɔ

maðɔ mɔrabɔ-ŋɔ yɔn

‘John caught an elephant.’

‘The elephant was caught.’

‘The elephant was caught by John.’

The demoted actor can be mentioned in the passive construction in the three Narrow Talodi languages, either after the preposition əŋa in Tocho and Acheron (also in 7.1) or after a different passive suffix -ŋɔ in Dagik. In Lumun, mentioning a demoted agent was only achieved by an object cleft construction that does not use the passive suffix, ʊmad̪ɔn wa [ɟɔn pɔccɔɡ-ɔ-d̪ɛ] ‘An elephant is [(what) John caught].’

11.2. Pluractional

Lumun

-ʊttɛ

ɔkkʷ-ɔ ntan

ɔkkʷ-ʊttɛ ntan

‘sneeze’

‘sneeze many times’

Tocho

~əCred

wɪŋ patrɛ-k

wɪŋ pat~ət-rɛ

‘I sneezed.’

‘I sneeze many times.’

Acheron

~VCred

ɔɪŋ bayɪss-ɛ wat̪t̪ərɪyɔ

ɔɪŋ bayɪs~ɛss-ɛ wat̪t̪ərɪyɔ

‘I sneeze.’

‘I sneeze many times.’

Dagik

~əC

aŋɪ pɔbiɽ-ɔ

aŋɪ pɔbiɽ~ət-ɔ

‘I sneezed.’

‘I sneeze many times.’

The pluractional marking strategies of partial reduplication and extension also appear in habitual aspect in Tocho and Lumun (3.3).

11.3. Reciprocal

Lumun

-ɛttɔ

ɔɟɔn paɡad̪acc-ɛ ɔlʊkka

ɔkɪn t̪aɡad̪acc-ɛttɔ

‘John sees Luka.’

‘They see each other.’

Tocho

-əɾɔ

atuttuk pɛŋkɛn-ɔ atuttuk

ŋɛŋ t̪ɛŋkɛn-əɾɔ

‘Tuttuk sees Tuttuk.’

‘They see each other.’

Acheron

-ɪttɪyɔ

kid̪a baɽəm-ɛ ɔŋallʊ

ɔɡɛnd̪ɛŋ d̪aɽəm-ɪttɪyɔ

‘Kida sees Ongallu.’

‘They see each other.’

Dagik

-təra

yɔn pɔsəɡɪ-t̪ɛ lʊk

yaɾɪ səɡɪ-təra-t̪ɛ

‘John saw Luke.’

‘They see each other.’

11.4. Benefactive-Applicative

Lumun

-ɪn-t̪ɛ

mpaccɔɡ-ɔ-t pabɛ

mpaccɔɡ-ɪnt̪ɛ-t ɔcɔn pabɛ

‘I caught a fish.’

‘I caught a fish for John.’

Tocho

-ɛn-t̪ɔ

wɪŋ paɪll-ɛ-k yabɛ

wɪŋ paɪll-ɛnt̪ɔ-k acalʊk yabɛ

‘I caught fish.’

‘I caught fish for Caluk.’

Acheron

-ɪnɔ

ɔɪŋ parab-ɔ wʊzabɛ

ɔɪŋ parab-ɪnɔ ɔkid̪a wʊzabɛ

‘I catch fish.’

‘I catch fish for Kida.’

Dagik

-ɪnɔ

aŋɪ baɾɪ rab-ɔ ŋabɛ

aŋɪ baɾɪ rab-ɪnɔ yɔn ŋabɛ

‘I am catching a fish.’

‘I am catching a fish for John.’

11.5. Causative

Lumun

-ɪɛ

ɔɽɡ-ɔ

‘eat’

mpaɽɡ-ɪɛ ɔɟɔn

‘I make John eat.’

Tocho

ɔrəɡ-ɔ

‘eat’

wɪŋ pɔrəɡ-ɛ-k ɔɟɔn

‘I made John eat.’

ɔɟʊpr-ɔ

‘walk’

wɪŋ paɟʊpr-ɪ-d̪ɛ ɔɟɔn

‘I made John walk.’

Acheron

-ɪkkɛ

-ɪssɛ

ɔrəɡ-ɔ

‘eat’

ɔɪŋ barəɡ-ɛ kid̪a

‘I make Kida eat.’

ɔwʊkk-ɔ

‘dance’

ɔɪŋ bawʊkk-ɪkkɛ kid̪a

‘I make Kida dance.’

ɔðəpp-ɪyɔ

‘walk’

ɔɪŋ baðəpp-ɪssɛ kid̪a

‘I make Kida walk.’

Dagik

rəɡ-ɔ

‘eat’

aŋɪ baɾɪ rəɡ-ɪ yɔn kəbɪ

‘I am making John eat meat.’

12. Conclusions

12.1. Word order type

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The four languages show the same word orders on all parameters surveyed. Within the clause, there is consistent head-first word order on all of the following parameters (Dryer 1992):

Word Order

Abbreviation

Paper Section

Verb before object

VO

9. Clauses

Auxiliary before main verb

AuxV

3. Verbs

Noun before genitive

NG

NPoss

2. Nouns

7. Pronouns

Noun before adjective

NA

NNum

NDem

4. Adjectives

5. Numerals

6. Demonstratives

Noun before relative clause

NRel

9. Clauses

Preposition before noun

PN

(see below)

Verb before adverb

VAdv

8. Adverbs

Adjective before intensifier adverb

AAdv

4. Adjectives

Adjective before pivot and standard noun

APN

4. Adjectives

The NA and PN word orders are less widely established than the rest. NA order is clear in eastern Acheron where unmarked adjectives after nouns are attributive, but in all other languages unmarked adjectives after nouns are predicates, and when they modify the noun they are marked by a relative prefix, so these are actually ambiguous with NRel word order. Nevertheless, the NA word order occurring in eastern Acheron is reported elsewhere as marginally possible in Lumun and Dagik (Smits 2007a:42, Vanderelst 2016:145), and furthermore numeral adjectives and demonstrative adjectives follow the noun in all four languages.

<70>

The question of whether Talodi languages have true prepositions before nouns in the order PN is not a trivial one. Genitive markers (2.2) and locative markers (8.4) come before the noun in the four languages, but they may or may not be separate from their nouns, and could be case modifiers rather than prepositional heads, in a given language. However, credible prepositions of accompaniment are seen in Acheron and Tocho with a pronoun complement and, in Acheron, governing the selection of different pronoun sets (7.1). Pivot words in Acheron and Dagik comparative sentences before locative-marked nouns are also candidate prepositions (3.4).  [21]

<71>

Turning to word orders at the clause level, clause particles do not all occur in head-first position before their clause. In all four languages, complementisers and relativisers come before their clause (head-first), but yes/no question particles come after their clause:

Word Order

Abbreviation

Paper Section

Complementiser before complement clause

CompS

9. Clauses

Relativiser before relative clause

RS

9. Clauses

Question particle after clause

SQ

9. Clauses

<72>

Reviewers of this paper point out that the solitary exception of question particle order calls into question whether the question particle is actually a head (see also Dryer 1992:102-123). It thus recalls the negative verbal modifier particle *tɪ found in some Narrow Talodi languages (3.6). There are no other exceptions to head-first word order in the survey, nor in published analysis of lengthy Lumun texts (Smits 2007a, Stirtz 2012), although since this survey was done Dagik has been reported to allow OV order for object focus (Vanderelst 2016:233). Another language, Lafofa [laf], classified as a Talodi language by Greenberg (1963) and Schadeberg (1981), shows multiple opposite word orders OV, AN, PossN, NP (Stevenson 1957:43-46, Tucker & Bryan 1966:270-288), but its membership of the Talodi family is disputed on independent lexical grounds by Stevenson (1964), Blench (2013), and Norton & Alaki (2015).

12.2. Diagnostic grammar features

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The four languages surveyed all share the following grammar features. As the survey builds on previous work on Talodi languages starting with Stevenson (1957:35-42), this list provides the stable features that jointly characterise the Talodi languages in the current state of knowledge:  [22]

Ethnology

four terms for people, person, language, homeland for each known settlement, by either prefixation or periphrasis

Nouns

noun classes with different singular and plural prefixes

plural suffix for kinship terms

alliterative agreement with nouns by initial consonant prefix in verbs, adjectives, the numerals 1-3, demonstratives, possessive pronouns, and genitive nouns

Verbs

verb classes for forming imperatives

auxiliary verbs for progressive aspect and for negative imperative

Adjectives

size adjectives take quantity meaning in the plural unless reduplicated

adjectives intensified by reduplication or by adverbs

Numerals

10 as a base numeral

ordinal number meaning encoded in birth-order nouns

Demonstratives

at least 3: proximal, medial, distal

Pronouns

8 including dual 1st-&-2nd person and augmented 1st-&-2nd person in addition to 1sg/2sg/3sg/1pl/2pl/3pl distinctions (alternatively construed as distinguishing three 1st person plural pronouns: dual inclusive, plural inclusive, and plural exclusive)

Adverbs

set of positional adverbs including ‘in it’, ‘on it’, ‘down there’

set of locative prefixes ‘in’, ‘at’, ‘up’, ‘down’

derived adverbs with root consonant gemination after locative prefix

Clauses

head-first (VO) word order type; question particle after clause

subject-verb agreement; no case marking of subject or object

singular & plural forms of who?

Verb Extensions

(at least) passive, pluractional, reciprocal, benefactive-applicative, causative

locative-applicative *-d̪ɛ required by certain verbs in some inflections

No grammatical category surveyed here was found to be marked by a minimal tone contrast on written homographs in all four languages. However, tone is known to have a role in forming imperative verbs in both Lumun and Dagik (Smits 2017:339-341, Vanderelst 2016:108), and since Lumun and Dagik represent the two branches of Talodi, imperative tone goes back to proto-Talodi and is therefore likely to be inherited by further Talodi languages. In any Talodi language shown to have imperative tone, it must be mastered by readers wishing to use instructional texts as well as narrative texts.

12.3. Language clustering

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The four languages Lumun, Tocho, Acheron and Dagik were confirmed as separate languages on lexical grounds in Norton & Alaki (2015). Grammatically, they are all found to be different from each other in the numerals they use as bases and in the sizes of their birth-order noun sets. Otherwise, repetition of grammatical properties across at least some of the languages is the norm.

The eastern and western dialects of Acheron (Norton 1995) are found to differ grammatically. They have different relative prefixes, of which only the western prefix is found on attributive adjectives and genitive nouns. The dialects also present different derivations of the ordinal numerals ‘second’ and ‘third’.

  1. The three languages spoken on adjacent lands at Saraf Al-Jamous, Lumun, Tocho, and Acheron, which were previously classified together as a group (Stevenson 1956:102), share only a few properties in this survey that distinguish them from Dagik located furth Language prefix *k- (dental /ð-/ in Dagik)

  2. Past tense suffix *-t (absent in Dagik)  [23]

  3. Habitual and prospective expressed by verbal prefixes (by auxiliaries in Dagik)

  4. No 2nd-person demonstrative (present in Dagik)

However, the three Narrow Talodi languages Tocho, Acheron, Dagik share many more properties that distinguish them from Lumun: (here PNT = Proto-Narrow-Talodi)

  1. Toponyms use an up or a down locative prefix for tribal homelands in the hills or on the plains (one prefix used for all in Lumun)

  2. Ethnonym prefix PNT *k- for peoples outside the Talodi family (/l-/ in Lumun)

  3. The first vowel alternates for singular/plural in some nouns (rarer in Lumun)

  4. The plural suffix used on kinship nouns contains a mid front vowel PNT *ɛ (mid back vowel /ɔ/ in Lumun)

  5. Imperative plural suffix PNT *-nɔn (prefix in Lumun)

  6. Imperative plural affix is added to the imperative verb (to the citation stem in Lumun)

  7. The verbal prefix *a- has a habitual reading without further inflectional marking (prospective reading in Lumun)

  8. Negative auxiliary PNT *ma in imperatives (different auxiliary /kərənn-ɪ/ in Lumun)

  9. Past suffix still used under negation (not used with negation in Lumun)

  10. Numerals 6,7,8,9 built on base 5 (various compounds in Lumun)

  11. Numerals 4 or higher behave as nouns (10 or higher in Lumun)

  12. Birth-order terms are gender-neutral for sons or daughters from the fifth-born onwards (no gender-neutral birth-order terms in Lumun)

  13. Relative prefix occurs on attributive possessive pronouns (absent in Lumun)

  14. Adverbs of quality derived by locative prefixes (expressed by adverbial noun phrase in Lumun)

  15. Locative prefix PNT *n- on place and time adverbs (/c-/ or /ɪ-/ in Lumun)

  16. Complementiser PNT *na (different complementiser /ɪttɪ/ in Lumun)

  17. Relative prefixes appear on the verb in who-clauses (cleft marker /a-/ in Lumun)

  18. Question particle vowel PNT *a and question-word suffix vowel PNT *ɪ (vowels switched in Lumun)

  19. Passive suffix PNT *-ɡɔ (different suffix /-ɪtta/ in Lumun)

  20. Demoted agent can be expressed in passive clauses (object cleft in Lumun)

The weight of the evidence from this grammar survey therefore supports the proposal of Norton & Alaki (2015) that Lumun belongs in a separate branch from Tocho, Acheron, and Dagik and has evolved separately from them over a longer period.

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An initial syntactic description of the Asheron language, a language of the Nuba Mountains. MA Dissertation (University of Khartoum)

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The Prominence of Tense, Aspect, and Mood. Amsterdam: Benjamins

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‘When marking tone reduces fluency: An orthography experiment in Cameroon’. Language and Speech 42:83-115

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‘Splitting up Kordofanian’. In Schadeberg, Thilo and Roger Blench (eds.), Nuba Mountain Language Studies, p.571-586. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe

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The Languages of Africa . The Hague: Mouton

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‘Non-concatenative morphology in Dinka and Arabic: Augmentation and replacement’. In Matthias Brenzinger and Anne-Maria Fehn (eds.), Proceedings of the 6th World Congress of African Linguistics, Cologne, 17-21 August 2009, pp.169-180. Cologne: Rüdiger Köppe

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‘Torona: A disappearing Talodi language of Sudan’. In Gratien Atindogbe and Evelyn Fogwe Chibaka (eds.), Proceedings of the 7th World Congress of African Linguistics, Buea, 17-21 August 2012, pp.152-177. Bamenda: Langaa

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A Survey of Kordofanian, Volume 2: The Talodi Group. Hamburg: Helmut Buske

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Noun and noun phrase in Lumun (Kordofanian). MA Dissertation (University of Leiden)

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[1] The first draft of this paper was written while I was a visiting researcher at the Institut für Afrikanistik in 2013. I thank the participants of the grammar discovery workshop in 2012 for a uniquely rewarding time working together on these related languages, and I gratefully acknowledge advice and assistance on elicitation of Talodi languages from John Vanderelst, John Shakir, and Thomas Kuku Alaki who participated as workshop staff. I am also grateful to two reviewers whose comments improved this paper at a number of points. I am responsible for remaining errors.

[2] From my own inspection I believe the data is highly accurate, including on the phonetically subtle distinctions that are difficult for outsiders to get right, in ATR in high vowels and between different rhotic consonants (Norton & Alaki 2015:79,102). In Dagik, however, there are some discrepancies in ATR with Vanderelst (2016), which unfortunately may be due to the pioneer writers not having fully adjusted to the use of umlauted vowels {ïü} for [+ATR] high vowels after umlauts had previously been tried for [-ATR] high vowels, although some of the disputed [+ATR] vowels actually correspond to [+ATR] vowels in Acheron (8.1). A separate issue is that the Lumun orthography has no symbol representing the phoneme /ə/ (Smits 2017:14), but the phonetic re-transcriptions of Lumun data in this paper were corrected for this.

[3] Dagik orthography, as pointed out by Vanderelst (2016:235-7), employs a later level of phonological representation than that used in the grammar of Vanderelst (2016). Thus, Dagik writing includes transitional approximants /w/ and /y/ derivable from an insertion rule, and distinguishes voicing which Vanderelst derives from an underlying geminate/nongeminate distinction. However, lengthening is “not always audible” in the reported geminates (Vanderelst 2016:29), and there is evidence for the lexical status of voicing due to the preservation of voicelessness under variable degemination in Dagik, Acheron, and other Talodi languages (Norton & Alaki 2015:95). Furthermore, writers of the languages documented here claimed awareness of the voicing differences, affecting judgement of word boundaries in Tocho and Lumun (sections 2.2, 8.4). I therefore assume voicing is a lexicalised feature in these four languages, which is consequently represented in the transcriptions in this paper.

[4] For example, homograph corpus research (Roberts 2010). There is also, of course, a risk in written data that grammatical tone may be missed if a writer selects a near-synonymous non-tonal strategy to express a given grammatical distinction.

[5] The term “Narrow Talodi” (due to Schadeberg 1981) is sometimes interpreted more broadly as referring to the total cluster of Talodi languages other than a controversial outlier Tegem (Lafofa) (Smits 2017:8, Glottolog 3.3 https://glottolog.org/resource/languoid/id/narr1279 , accessed 7 Sept 2018). The significance of limiting the term further to the second sub-branch only, as here, is that when we actually do comparative-historical analysis, the Narrow-Talodi-oriented reconstructions proposed in Schadeberg (1981) can only be taken into consideration for the second sub-branch, because they do not take into account the languages of the other more recently identified sub-branch, Lumun-Torona.

[6] Reconstruction of a velar prefix for language could be unsafe without a cognate in Dagik, except that it is also used in other Narrow Talodi communities: ga-ttaŋ ‘Tata language’, ga-ɟʊmaŋ ‘Tasomi language’ (Stevenson 1956:101).

[7] A reviewer points out that terms for non-Talodi peoples are a domain where borrowings are likely. This potentially includes new plural noun class prefixes acquired from neighbouring Niger-Congo languages. Thus, initial l in the Lumun people terms is widely attested as a prefix on people terms in neighbouring Heiban languages (Stevenson 1956:98-100), and the term ‘Lumun’ itself is another example of this (Norton & Alaki 2015:115). Although the lateral does not function as a prefix in Lumun lamparən ‘Moro people’ as it is not dropped in the homeland term tɔ-lamparən (nor, apparently, in the term ‘Lumun’), the lateral does indeed function as a prefix in Lumun l-ʊttʊɽʊ ‘Otoro people’ and l-ʊkkʊɾʊŋkʊ ‘Krongo people’. The prefix is also productive in the Lumun data in its novel application to the Krongo people, who are not a Heiban people. Initial k, in contrast, does not look like a recent borrowing, because it is used in both Tocho and Dagik, and because it has a plausible internal source, the language prefix *k- which has been replaced by ð- in Dagik. This produces a homograph in Tocho kə-mmɔɾɪŋ ‘Moro people, Moro language’, possibly carrying an undetected tone contrast.

[8] A reviewer proposes that person and language prefixes need not be analysed as replacing the initial base consonant if the initial consonant of the people term is analysed as a prefix. In fact, people terms are formed by a longer CV- prefix in both Dagik (ka-sa ‘Shatt people’, where sa is phonologically adapted from original ʃat) and Tocho (kə-mmɔɾɪŋ ‘Moro people’). This V does not disappear in other terms but is preserved when person and language prefixes replace the initial consonant (ka-sap-a-sa, ð-a-sa). They contrast with homeland prefix which augments the base rather than replacing part of it (ka-saðɔ-ɡa-sa). On replacive vs. augmentative morphology in other African languages, see Norton (2012).

[9] The tentative separation of Dagik genitive markers seems to be strengthened by more recent evidence that a locative marker can intervene between the genitive marker and the noun (Vanderelst 2016:75).

[10] The unmarked Dagik verbs have a past reading but are analysed as perfective stems by Vanderlelst (2016:113). The function of -ɔ in Dagik ‘vomited’ is unknown.

[11] A reviewer queries whether the copula+adjective construction is a calque. However, Acheron (where the copula is used in present tense) has the same construction in data from natural text:

ɔbayɪ

na

b-ɔmɔ-d̪-ɔk

na

ɲ-əzawʊ

ɲ-ɔga

ɲ-ɔttɛŋ

wife

top

sg-say-loc.appl-3sg

comp

cl-asida

cl-be

cl-few

‘His wife said to him, “The asida is little.”’

Furthermore, by documenting the languages in parallel we discover that a cognate copula verb inflects consistently before adjectives in four languages. This degree of recurrence across speakers of multiple languages is highly unlikely to be due to calquing, and is more plausibly explained as a common inherited construction.

[12] A reviewer queries whether relative prefixes are diagnostic of verbs, so that an adjective class can be ruled out in these languages. Relative prefixes are not diagnostic of verbs, for several reasons. First, relative prefixes also appear on genitive nouns (2.2) and ordinal numerals (5.2) in some languages. Second, although adjectives take several affixes typical of verbs – relative prefixes, noun class agreement prefixes, frequent stem-initial *ɔ- and some extensions (4.2, also Norton & Alaki 2015:147-151), adjectives nevertheless fail to take verbal TAM inflections. This failure to inflect is not because they are all defective verbs, either, as TAM inflections are still required in the clause on a copula verb preceding the adjective (4.1), a fact that makes the adjectives like co-verbs (they contribute lexical meaning to complex predicates) rather than verbs. Third, while adjectives share some morphology with verbs they also share some morphology with nouns as well, specifically the markers of adverb derivation (8.3, 8.4). Other sources likewise distinguish an adjective class in various Talodi languages (Stevenson 1957, Tucker & Bryan 1966, Crocker 1982, Alamin 2003, Vanderelst 2016, Smits 2017, Norton & Alaki 2017).

[13] This table shows a number of minor variations in particular languages within the stated pattern. In Lumun and Tocho, ‘many’ is expressed by another root although ‘big (pl)’ is still reduplicated. Acheron -uttiy-aða ‘big (pl)’ is distinguished by gemination of the root consonant tt as a minimal form of reduplication (switched in another language Jomang (Tasomi), b-ʊ́ttik/y-ʊ́ʊ́ɽik ‘big (sg/pl)’ in Schadeberg 1981:20), and -aða ‘body’ is added forming a compound adjective. Dagik -ət̪ɛ-mɛ ‘few’ probably shows similar compounding with -mɛ ‘bone’. Lumun -ɔttɛ-ɪk ‘small’ has a locative adverbial extension that also occurs on the copula verb, -a-ɪk (3.3, 9.2).

[14] Some of the Tocho expressions have a more elaborate syntax:

m-aʊŋ

m-ɛrɛk

mɔ-brandɔ

a-m-ɛrɛk

m-ət̪t̪ək

‘7 days’

pl-day

agr-indef

agr:gen-four

conj-agr-indef

agr-three

m-aʊŋ

c-əɡʊŋ

c-ʊllʊk

a-mɔ-brandɔ

‘9 days’

pl-day

sg-hand

agr-one

conj-agr:gen-four

[15] A reviewer points out another widely-used categorisation of these pronouns using sub-distinctions within 1pl: thus inclusive 1pl.incl (‘we’ including hearers) and exclusive 1pl.excl (‘we’ excluding hearers), and within 1pl.incl a further sub-distinction between 1pl.incl.du (two referents, one speaker and one hearer) and 1pl.incl.pl (more than two referents). This other categorisation is relevant to verbal agreement in Talodi, as all three of these 1pl pronouns take plural agreement (see Smits 2017:207-208), but it does not seem to be the most helpful for discovering the pronoun paradigm in the first place. Thus, Stevenson (1957:37) discovered the sub-distinction between inclusive and exclusive (and the absence of sex gender distinctions) in Talodi languages, but did not discover the further sub-distinction between inclusive dual and inclusive plural. Following Smits (2007a) and Thomas (1955), the present survey successfully used the feature distinctions of speaker, hearer and augmentation to confirm eight pronouns in all four languages surveyed.

[16] I am grateful to a reviewer for the suggestion that a- is a definite nominaliser. A productive use of a- for definite nominalisation in Dagik is seen in Vanderelst (2016:145). This prefix should be distinguished from the plural noun class prefix a-: the latter attaches directly to a noun root, and marks it as plural (1, 2.1, 5.3, 5.4), whereas the former attaches to a qualifier lacking a head noun, in front of its noun class agreement prefix, and marks it as a definite nominal (4.2 and here).

[17] Two reviewers propose that locatives are a distinct word class from adverbs in these languages. However, while locative-marked words have a distinct morphology (by definition), this survey does not find them to have a separate syntax or semantics from other adverbs. Syntactically, both modify verbs, and there are intensifier words with and without locative marking that modify adjectives (4.3) as well. Semantically, there are time words both with and without locative marking (8.1), and locative marking is used to derive adverbs of quality (8.3) as well as adverbs of position (8.4). I am therefore considering locative-marked words to be a morphological sub-class of adverbs. There is a continuum in the data from adverbs without locative marking, adverbs with locative marking, adverbs derived from other parts of speech using locative marking, to adverbial nouns productively inflected by locative marking.

[18] This copula was also observed in object cleft constructions (collected as an alternative to a passive construction, and in an object relative clause, respectively) – including Acheron, where the first copula is used in all single clause predicate constructions in the main text, but which actually attests this second copula as well:

Lumun ʊmad̪ɔn w-a [ɟɔn p-ɔccɔɡɔ-d̪ɛ] ‘An elephant is (what) [John caught].’

Acheron ɔɪŋ b-ɔrabɔ-k wʊzabɛ w-a [ɔʊŋ b-ɔrəɡɔ-k ɪna] ‘I caught the fish Ø [you ate today]’.

[19] Relative prefixes are also seen in object relative clauses (Lumun mp-ɔccɔɡɔd̪ɛ pabɛ [ɪ-p-a ŋkʷ-ɔɽɡɔt ɪnɛnnɪ] ‘I caught the fish [Ø you ate today]’), although these require more syntactic analysis.

[20] It is, however, possible that lowering *ɪ- > ɛ- was an internal process in proto-Acheron, as lowering is also manifested in the eastern Acheron prefix ə-. I am grateful to a reviewer for pointing this out. In addition, use of a relative prefix on genitive nouns is not as unique to western Acheron as this survey suggests (2.2), as it has since been reported in Dagik (Vanderelst 2016:73). So the only fact pointing unambiguously to Moro influence is the atypical placement of the relative prefix after the agreement consonant.

[21] One problem when establishing prepositions is whether they can be properly distinguished from adverbs, as both terms typically refer to words that modify verbs and other word classes. Thus, in English, the classification of words as adverbs or prepositions is revisited by Payne, Huddleston & Pullum (2010). In the present languages, if adverbs of position (8.4) were reclassified as prepositions, then prepositions would have the same derivational morphology as adverbs. Nevertheless, interesting questions remain as to what syntactic differences such words might show.

[22] Since the proposed diagnostic features are found in all of the sample of four languages (and in some cases, already known in other Talodi languages as well), they do not include many other interesting features found in multiple, but not all, Talodi languages.

[23] This difference is narrowed by the subsequent finding of Vanderelst (2016:113,155) that -t is a latent suffix in Dagik that surfaces on perfective stems when further suffixes are added.

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