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A Grammar of Tadaksahak, a Northern Songhay Language of Mali

This dissertation provides a description of the language Tadaksahak as it is spoken by the Idaksahak, a people group of about 30,000 living in the most eastern part of Mali and several isolated places in western Niger.

Regula Christiansen-Bolli
31 March 2010
Full text in Leiden University Repository

The book is divided in four chapters. The first short chapter gives information about the background of the group. In the second chapter, the phonological features of the language are described.

The third chapter is dedicated to the description of the morphology of the language. It is shown that verbal derivation pulls on unrelated Tamasheq for causative, reciprocal and middle as well as passive. In addition, any verb root that is of Songhay origin is suppleted when derived and a semantic equivalent of Tamasheq origin takes its place. Another non-Songhay feature concerns inflection where the subject pronoun cliticizes to the verb and is always present even when a noun phrase holds the subject slot. The nominalization strategy used depends on the etymology of the term, a feature paralleled in the formation of adjectives.

The last chapter is dedicated to syntax. Different types of noun phrases are described. Then the different types of simple clauses are treated as well as focalization and topicalization in such clauses. Question words with their syntax, complement clauses including the two possible relativization strategies are described. A last section about complex sentences presents subordinate clauses.

In the appendixes two texts with glosses are given, lists of verb roots with their suppletions when derived, a wordlist Tadaksahak-English containing Songhay cognates and an index English-Tadsakahak.

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