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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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7 Compounding and complex noun formation

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This chapter investigates complex nominal expressions in Fròʔò. I follow the Africanist tradition by calling different kinds of complex nominals ‘compounds’. Compounds or complex nouns can be considered to be a relation between two lexical categories, producing another by an implicit relationship between the constituents; see Chappell and McGregor (1989) and Guevara and Scalise (2009) among many others for similar views. Compounds can be seen as consisting of two (or more) lexemes or stems, one of them being the head, which are juxtaposed in a single word form or a word made by more than one root (Haspelmath & Sims 2010:190). From a larger perspective, such as the one taken in this chapter, nominal compounds can be endocentric, i.e. there is a unique semantic head inside the compound. An example of an endocentric compound in Fròʔò is the noun gũ̄-grɔ̄-ʔɔ̄ ‘tortoise shell’, where gũ̄ stands for ‘tortoise’ and grɔ̄-ʔɔ̄ stands for ‘shell’. Besides this kind of compound, Fròʔò also has exocentric compounds. In exocentric compounds, there is more than one semantic head, as in coordinative and appositive compounds; see for instance Bauer (1998) or Bisetto and Scalise (1999) for this distinction. Each constituent is its own head and none of theme is the head of the compound. For example, in Fròʔò, nã̀dò ‘yam’ and kwɔ̀ ‘salt’ combined produce nã̀dò-kwɔ̀ ‘potato’, a noun for which the meaning does not imply any of the compound elements.

At least three kinds of...

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