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The morphology and phonology of the nominal domain in Tagbana

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Yranahan Traoré

The book investigates the morphology and phonology of the nominal domain in Tagbana of the Senufo group of Côte d’Ivoire. The nominal domain is the locus of a phenomenon called ‘alliterative concord’, a special kind of concord expressed by consonantal alliteration. All dependent morphemes of a head noun share articulatory features, which are realized on the onset of the first syllable of each morpheme. In this way, the articulatory features signal the class of the dependent morphemes. This volume also discusses the segment inventory and the syllable structure and describes the complex noun operations in the nominal domain. Distributed Morphology and Optimal Theory form the theoretical background of the empirical facts.

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1 Introduction

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1.1 Introduction

World languages, following Heine and Nurse (2004), are divided into four major groups or phyla. The group Afro-Asiatic or Hamito-Semitic, the group Nilo-Saharan Phylum, the group Khoisan, and the group Niger-Congo languages. The Niger-Congo constitutes one of the largest language family in the world; the third largest language family following Thompson (2015) and the largest language family in Africa following Greenberg (1970) and Williamson and Blench (2000). Niger-Congo languages are the most important in terms of number of speakers and number of distinct languages and also in space; see Greenberg (1949–1954) and Thompson (2015). See also Williamson (1989a:21), Bendor and Rhonda (1989) for the delimitation of the Niger-Congo languages in a region of Africa. Most of the Sub-Saharan Africa languages are from this group of languages; see Stewart (1960–1970).

Varied works have tried to give the possible relations between these languages; see Koelle (1854), Giacinto Brusciotto (1659), Christaller (1875), and Greenberg (1940–1950). The Niger-Congo group contains Bantu, Kwa, Mande, Gur, and Senufo languages. Senufo languages are considered as a group of language on their own at the same level as the Gur languages according to Glottolog. In older classifications, Senufo was part of the Gur family.

Many discussions are going on the classification of the Niger-Congo languages. But the one used for the classification of the languages of this group in this work is the classification of Williamson (1989a:21) as mentioned in (1). The line...

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