Klaudia Dombrowsky-Hahn: A Grammar of Syer (Western Karaboro, Senufo) [PDF]


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Phonology, Morphology, Argument Realization
Gur Monographs · Monographies Voltaïques Volume 12

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ISBN 978-3-89645-761-5 SKU: 612 Categories: , Tags: , , , ,


XX, 582 pp.
2 colour maps, numerous tables and charts

Text language: English

Syer, also known as Western Karaboro, is a Senufo language spoken in Southwestern Burkina Faso near the town of Banfora. Together with Kar it forms the Karaboro dialect continuum. Karaboro is considered to form a separate subgroup of Senufo due to several factors. One factor is its geographical situation, for Karaboro is a Senufo island surrounded by Cerma (Gouin), Curama (Turka), Tusian and Dogose, hence members of other subdivisions of the Gur family, and the Mande language Jula, which is not only spoken by their northern neighbors who belong to the ethnic group of the Cefɔ as a first language, but also by many people in the entire region as a second language. The other factors are certain lexical, phonetic and morphological characteristics that set Karaboro apart from other branches of Senufo.

The present grammar was motivated by the obviously weak mutual intelligibility of the speakers of Eastern and Western Karaboro. It concentrates on the Syer variety spoken in the Bakona district of the village of Ténguéréla, which shows considerable differences with respect to Kar of Tiéfora (Eastern Karaboro) and constitutes a conservative variety of Karaboro. The same variety is the subject of Prost’s (1964) short grammar sketch, which already noted some quirks, such as the excessive use of diminutive suffixes not only on nouns but also on determiners and numerals.

The grammar contains a phonological and a tonological analysis, chapters on nominal and verbal morphology, other word classes, the noun phrase, the TAM system, and nonverbal predication. The last chapter presents verbal clauses and focuses on argument realization. In this respect the coding of three-participant events and certain mental events show particularly interesting possibilities. Appendices contain lists of nouns and verbs.

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