Phonology and Morphology of Mambay (Niger-Congo, Adamawa)
This dissertation provides a description of the phonology and morphology of Mambay, an Adamawa (Niger-Congo) language spoken by 15,000 people in Chad and Cameroon.
- Erik Anonby
- 22 May 2008
- Full text in Leiden University Repository
Mambay is an Adamawa (Niger-Congo) language spoken by 15,000 people in Chad and Cameroon. The study opens with historical and linguistic background. A phonological inventory of the language is then presented and distribution patterns are examined. Some striking phenomena include a profoundly phonologized labial flap and a rich vowel inventory with contrastive length, nasalization, glottalization and pharyngealization. Special consideration is given to nasality and an underlyingly two-level tone system which exhibits tonal downstep as well as pragmatic employment of intonational register shift.
In the description of the morphology, nouns are treated first, with attention dedicated to a “free vs. linked” distinction in noun forms and a series of noun prefixes unrelated to wider Niger-Congo noun class prefixes. A rich system of TAM (tense/aspect/mode) inflection is marked on both pronouns and verbs. Adverbs, adjectives and ideophones are treated together, as are the remaining minor word classes of numerals, demonstratives, and prepositions. A section on clauses and clause combinations concludes the dissertation, situating word classes within the context of syntax and discourse. Interlinearized texts rich in cultural information are selected from a variety of genres: song, legend, fable and proverb. The appendices catalogue inalienable noun possession paradigms and verb conjugations.