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Polysemy patterns of two postpositions marking class-membership and property assignment in Jeli (Central Mande)

La polysémie de deux postpositions marquant l’appartenance à une classe et attribution d’une caractéristique en jeli (Mandé Central)
Полисемия моделей двух послелогов, обозначающих принадлежность к классу и приписывающих свойства в джели (центральные манде)
Holger Tröbs
p. 131-146

Résumés

Cet article traite des modèles de la polysémie de deux postpositions marquant l’appartenance à une classe et l’attribution d’une caractéristique en jeli, une langue Mandé Centrale, dans les termes des extensions métaphoriques et de la motivation iconique. Cela permet d’élargir la base empirique de la typologie des postpositions d’identification dans les langues Mandé.

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Notes de l’auteur

The present article is based on a paper read at the 3rd International Conference on Mande Languages and Linguistics, Paris, September 14-17, 2011. The paper was presented during the workshop on “Identification and related functions” organised by Denis Creissels.

Abbreviations
COND = conditional
CONJ = conjunction
COP = copula
CR = current relevance
DEF = definite marker
DEM = demonstrative
FOC = focus particle
IPFV = imperfective
INT = interrogative
NEG = negation
Part.Res = resultative participle
PFV = perfective
PL = plural
POSS = possessive marker
Pp = postposition
REL = relative marker
SG = singular
TOP = topic marker

Texte intégral

1. Introduction

1Jeli or Jeri is an endangered Central Mande language still spoken by less than 2000 speakers in the north of the Ivory Coast, that is, in Korhogo and surrounding areas (for a detailed list of villages with estimated number of Jeli speakers, cf. Kastenholz 2001). Jeli belongs to the Manding-Jɔgɔ branch within the Central Mande languages (cf. Kastenholz 1996: 70f.). Its nearest relative is Jɔgɔ (“Ligbi”) spoken in Ghana (Brong-Ahafo Region) and some settlements in neighbouring areas of Ivory Coast (Bondoukou, Bouna).

2In contrast to other Central Mande languages such as Jɔgɔ, Koranko, Bambara, Vai and Yalunka, the concepts of class-membership (‘Musa is a hunter’) and property assignment (‘Musa is president’) on the one hand and equation (‘Musa is the winner’, ‘Musa is my father’) on the other are formally differentiated in Jeli. Whereas class-membership and property assignment are expressed by a copula and a postpositional phrase containing a predicate nominal and a postposition (i.e., kɔ́ŋ or rɛ́), the predicate nominal in nominal sentences expressing equational function is linked to the subject only by a copula, but is not further marked by a postposition.

The purpose of this paper is threefold.

  1. Data on identificational clauses (with special reference to class-membership and property assignment) in Jeli are presented and discussed within the framework of the functional-typological approach (Sections 2 and 3).

  2. The polysemy pattern of the two postpositions involved in marking class-membership and property assignment are investigated in terms of metaphorical extensions and iconic motivation (Section 4).

  3. By exploring the range of meanings associated with postpositions used to express class-membership in Jeli the empirical base for a typology of “identificational” postpositions in the Mande languages should be broaden.

2. Theoretical preliminaries

2.1 Semantic subtypes of identificational sentences

3According to a widely accepted typology of constructions featuring “predicate nominals” (cf. Dik 1989: 161-182, Hengeveld 1992, Payne 1997: 111-119, Stassen 1997), we may distinguish between two major subtypes of identificational sentences.

4In the first type “a certain property such as group membership (class-inclusion) or a positive or negative quality is predicated of a referential subject in the form of a non-referential predicate noun” (Sasse 2007: 28). This semantic subtype (for example: ‘Madu is a hunter’, ‘Madu is communist’) is called “property assignment”, “class-inclusion”, “proper inclusion”, “class-membership” or “ascriptive type” in the literature (cf. Dik 1989: 180, Payne 2007: 114, Hengeveld 1992: 110f.).

  • 1 The terminology for constructions involving predicate nominals is thus quite varied and highly conf (...)

5The second type, named “equative type”, asserts “that a particular entity (the subject of the clause) is identical to the entity specified in the predicate nominal” (Payne 1997: 114). This type can by exemplified by sentences such as ‘Madu is my father’ or ‘Madu is the winner’.1

6It must, however, be kept in mind that in many languages the equative type (having definite predicate nominals) can oscillate between a specificational and an ascriptive (characterizational) reading. As has been shown by Sasse (2007: 29), this is especially the case when the predicate nominal is a possessive phrase such as ‘my father’ in ‘Ali is my father’. In this example, the specificational reading is indicated if “Ali is the one that has to be identified with”, whereas the same sentence has an ascriptive reading, if it is understood as “Ali has the property of being in a paternal relationship of me” (Sasse 2007: 29).

2.2 Conceptual transfer and encoding strategies of identificational sentences

7In his typological study “Intransitive predication” Stassen (1997) discusses different sets of encoding mechanisms for intransitive predicates, i.e., event, class-membership, location and property concepts in the languages of the world (his sample contains 410 languages). Moreover, Stassen proposes a set of formal and semantic principles in order to account for the variation of intransitive predicates across languages.

8As regards the encoding of class-membership predicates, Stassen (1997: 111-113) argues that the use of the equational strategy seems the ‘natural’ option for the encoding of class-membership predicates. This argumentation is motivated by the semantic concept of “iconicity” (“which states, wherever possible, form will mirror function”, Stassen 1997: 113). Thus, the close semantic relation (sometimes resulting in ambiguity) between class-membership predications and equational sentences can be held responsible for the unique encoding of class-membership and equation in many languages of the world.

9However, opposed to this general concept of “iconicity”, language structure may also be shaped by a general principle of “structural economy”, called by Stassen (1997: 112) “The Economy Principle of Predicate Encoding: Languages tend to minimise the number of different surface patterns in the encoding of their intransitive sentences”. This formal principle accounts for a uniform pattern for locational, class-membership and event clauses.

For at least some languages, the ‘desire’ to create a uniform surface pattern for all intransitive sentences may be stronger than the ‘desire’ to maintain semantic transparency. (Stassen 1997: 112)

10Moreover, on the basis of the localistic interpretation of the concept of predication, the unique structural features of the encoding of class-membership and event predicates across languages can be explained by tracing them back to features of the locational strategy. Thus, according to the framework of localism, predication, i.e. the association of a particular, individual entity with semantic classes of predicates such as class-membership, events and properties can be conceived “as location of an entity into a space which is defined by the predicate” (Stassen 1997: 15).

[…] there exists a tradition of a LOCALISTIC interpretation of the concept of predication, in which events, properties, and classes are seen as ‘places’ at which (the referent of) the subject comes to be situated. […] Thus, we can distinguish between predicates which situate an entity in a CONCRETE spatial location and predicates which assign an ABSTRACT, non-physical and non–spatial, location to their subjects. (Stassen 1997: 15)

3. Identificational sentences in Jeli2

  • 2 For a description of one-argument identificational (presentational) clauses (NS + sùŋ), cf. Tröbs ( (...)
  • 3 Referentiality (involving discourse referentiality and definiteness, cf. Tröbs 1998: 106-111, Payne (...)
  • 4 The definite marker –o and the plural marker –ni are considered to be enclitics. In contrast to suf (...)

11As stated before, the concepts of class-membership and equation are formally differentiated in Jeli. Class-membership predicates are expressed by a copula and a postpositional phrase containing a non-referential3 predicate nominal and a locative postposition. Two locative postpositions are used in the marking of class-membership predicates, i.e., the inessive Pp kɔ́ŋ and the adessive Pp rɛ́. These two postpositions are used interchangeably, as shown in examples (1) and (2).4

class-membership / property assignment

NS + à + NS + kɔ́ŋ / rɛ́; predicate nominal is non-referential

(1)

ò

tà=na

gbìra

kɔ́ŋ / rɛ́

2PL

FOC=PL.COP

stupid.person

FOC

Pp

‘You are stupid people.’

(2)

nàa

jèli

kɔ́ŋ / rɛ́

1SG.COP

Jeli

FOC

Pp

‘I am a Jeli.’

12Since class-membership predicates in Jeli are always marked by a locative postposition, they are metaphorically interpreted as having a spatial dimension, i.e., as an interior when used with the Pp kɔ́ŋ or as a place when used with the Pp rɛ́. Class-membership sentences in Jeli thus locate someone in or at a class or group (‘I am in / at the group of Jeli’). In Anderson’s terms (1971: 207), class-membership predicate nominals are “a subtype of locative”.

13The concept of equation, however, is expressed in Jeli by a copula and a bare nominal. The predicate nominal is not further marked by a postposition, as shown in examples (3) and (4). Thus, no localistic interpretation can be suggested.

equation

NS + à +NS; predicate nominal is referential

(3)

kpùru-kara-mugo=ni

à

tà=ni

leather-sew-man.DEF=PL

FOC.COP

1PL

FOC=PL

‘We are the leatherworkers.’

(4)

ì

mɔ́

wù-mɔ́

3SG

FyyOC

chef.DEF

FOC.COP

3PL.POSS

head-chef.DEF

‘This person is their leader.’

14To summarize, on the basis of the localistic interpretation of the concept of predication, the structural features of the encoding of class-membership predicates in Jeli can be explained by tracing them back to features of the locational strategy. The same can be assumed for intransitive event predicates by taking their possible diachronic developments into account, cf. (5a)-(5c).

Location Schema (X is at Y)

(5a)

kpó=à

gbàŋ-dɔ́

rɛ́

3PL

all=COP

house-door.DEF

Pp

‘All of them are at the entry door.’

Reconstructed Progressive

(5b)

*ní

kpó=à

kù=o

rɛ́

3PL

all=COP

talk=DEF

Pp

‘All of them are at talking.’

Progressive / Habitual

(5c)

kpó=à

kù-ɛ

3PL

all=COP

talk-IPFV

‘All of them are talking / talk.’

15The Jeli language has opted for a uniform surface pattern for locational, class-membership and (historically) intransitive event sentences by way of locational takeover. The locational strategy prevails over the equational strategy as regards the encoding of class-membership predicates. Or, to put it in Stassen’s terms (1997: 112), for the Jeli language, the ‘desire’ to create a uniform surface pattern for all intransitive sentences was stronger than the ‘desire’ to mirror the close semantic relation between equational predicates and class-membership predicates formally by taking over the equational strategy.

4. Polysemy pattern of the two postpositions involved in marking class-membership

16As noted above, two spatial postpositions are involved in marking class-membership predicates. As the spatial postpositions in Central Mande in general (cf. Tröbs 1998, 1999), these two postpositions express mainly topological relations (proximity, contact, containment) but are neutral with respect to the differentiation of Source and Goal. It should thus be kept in mind that directional meaning components are only lexicalized in verbs (so called directional or orientation verbs), but not in postpositions. Following Lüpke (2007: 553-561), while describing semantic extensions of the two spatial postpositions we will specify which semantic path relation, namely Source or Goal (although indicated by the directional semantics of the verb), is marked by them.

4.1 Polysemy pattern of the spatial Pp kɔ́ŋ

  • 5 It should be noted that nouns ending in a velar nasal such as kɔ́ŋ ‘stomach’ do not differ in the s (...)

17Kɔ́ŋ is a lexical postposition with the meaning ‘inside, in’. It goes back to the relational noun meaning ‘stomach’. The distinction between relational noun and lexical postposition is not always easy to draw. When used as a lexical Pp, kɔ́ŋ neither accepts nominal determiners such as the definite marker -o nor modifiers.5

(6)

kɔ́ŋ=à

díbe-nɛ

1SG

stomach=IPFV

1SG

hurt-IPFV

‘My stomach hurts (me).’

18In its original spatial meaning the Pp kɔ́ŋ indicates a specific topological or Ground relation, i.e., insideness or containment, as shown in example (7).

primarily inessive semantics with concrete nouns

(7)

ì

dà (dò+à)

yí=o

kɔ́ŋ…

3SG

REL

TOP.COP

water=DEF

Pp

‘what is in (inside) the water…’

19The extensions of kɔ́ŋ include the encoding of inessive semantics with abstract nouns as shown in (8) and (9), location in a place with non-motion verbs (10), movement towards a Goal with allative verbs (11) and movement away from a Source with ablative verbs (12).

inessive semantics with abstract nouns

(8)

kɛ̀lɛ

tìga

jèli-kpuraɔ

kɔ́ŋ?

3PL.IPFV

what

call.IPFV

peanut

Jeli-language.DEF

Pp

‘How do they say ‘peanut’ in the Jeli language?’

(9)

ɲíɛ

jòli

kɔ́ŋ

2SG.COP

year

how.many

Pp

‘How old are you?’ (lit. In how many years are you?)

  • 6 The distinction between perfective and imperfective aspect is basic to the Jeli TAM system. This op (...)
  • 7 Current relevance (CR) indicates a specific deictic component of meaning, i.e., an action which too (...)

location in a place with non-motion verbs

(10)

Ø

kpòo

kà-Ø

bɔ̀gɔ

kɔ́ŋ

1SG

PFV6

CR7

hoe.DEF

leave-PFV

bush.DEF

Pp

‘I have left the hoe in the bush.’

movement towards a goal with allative verbs

(11)

ì

Ø

sɔ̀-Ø

bɔ̀gɔ

kɔ́ŋ

3SG

PFV

enter-PFV

bush.DEF

Pp

He went into the bush.’

movement away from a source with ablative verbs

(12)

ì

Ø

búɔ-Ø

bɔ̀gɔ

kɔ́ŋ

3SG

PFV

CR

come.from-PFV

bush.DEF

Pp

He has come from the bush.’

20Furthermore, the Pp kɔ́ŋ is employed to mark abstract predicative possession by using the Location Schema (Y is located in X) encoding the possessor (X) as a locative complement and the possessee as the subject (cf. Heine 1997: 91f.). As shown in examples (13) and (14), the possessee is physical or psychological state.

abstract predicative possession

(13)

ɲɛ̀ɔ

kɔ́ŋ

sleep.DEF

FOC.COP

1SG

Pp

‘I am tired.’ (lit. sleep is in me)

(14)

fàli=à

ì

kɔ́ŋ

1SG

antidote=COP

3SG

Pp

[Some girls said:] ‘He (the youngest brother) is mine.’ (lit. My antidote is in him)

21In the uses studied so far, the Pp kɔ́ŋ functions as a Ground-denoting Pp in the expression of locative and possessive relations as well as motion events.

22Moreover, the Pp kɔ́ŋ is also used to mark predicative arguments of verbs expressing quality and transformation, as shown in (15) and (16).

predicative arguments of verbs expressing quality (essive function)

(15)

à

tà=ni

fíle-nɛ

jògo-ni

kɔ́ŋ

3PL.IPFV

1PL

FOC=PL

see-IPFV

Dyula

FOC

Pp

‘They (people from Katala) consider us (the Jeli from Korhogo) to be Dyula.’

predicative arguments of verbs expressing transformation (translative function)

(16)

ndà=ni

Ø

má-Ø

mùgu=ni

kɔ́ŋ

3PL.FOC=PL

PFV

make-PFV

person=PL

Pp

‘They became human beings.’

23As noted by Creissels (2008: 1), in contrast to canonical arguments of verbs, predicative arguments “do not denote an entity involved in the verbal event, but a property predicated of the referent of another argument of the same verb”. Typical predicative arguments appear in constructions with verbs such as ‘to become’, ‘to transform’, ‘to act as’, ‘to consider to be’, ‘to pretend to be’, etc. Thus, we observe a semantic affinity (i.e., property assignment) between predicative arguments and predicate nominals in identificational clauses.

Verbs whose argument structure includes a predicative argument lend themselves to a semantic decomposition including a predication of identification. (Creissels 2008: 1)

24The identical encoding of class-membership predicate nominals and predicative arguments of quality and transformation verbs is thus an example of iconic motivation: similar form reflects similar meaning or conceptual structure (cf. Croft 1990: §7.3).

25Finally, our corpus contains one example in which kɔ́ŋ marks the experiencer of the emotion verb kúdia ‘be pleasant’. Here, the Pp rɛ́ can be used alternatively to kɔ́ŋ.

experiencer of an emotion verb

(17)

súŋ

kúdia

kɔ̀ndi

mɛ̀

kɔ́ŋ / rɛ́

thing

REL

TOP

be.pleasant

bird

DEM

Pp

‘…which food this bird likes.’ (lit. which food is pleasant for the bird)

26Let us now turn to the other Pp involved in marking class-membership.

4.2 Polysemy pattern of the Pp rɛ́

27Rɛ́ is a formal Pp with spatial (‘at’) and associative meaning (‘with’). The assumed original meaning of rɛ́ is adessive, i.e., it indicates proximity by stating that ‘the Figure is close to a spatial Ground’, as shown in (18).

adessive meaning

(18)

sàga-ra

gbàŋ-dɔ́

rɛ́

3PL

sit-Part.Res

house-door.DEF

Pp

‘They are sitting at the entry door.’

28The metaphorical extensions of the adessive semantics of rɛ́ include the expression of temporal meaning (19), the marking of abstract predicative possession where the possessee (Y), i.e., a psychological state (20), a physical state (21) or another abstract concept (22), is located at the possessor (X), and the encoding of comparison (23). According to Heine (1997: 117), comparison is expressed by using a variant of the Location Schema, namely, ‘X is Y at Z’, which establishes a spatial relation between the comparee (X) and the standard (Z). The Location Schema can, thus, be paraphrased as “X has property Y, and if Z is placed in the same location as X, X has more than Z does” (Heine 1997: 114).

temporal meaning (location in time)

(19)

sínɛ

tàna-Ø

tɛ́lɔ

rɛ́

3SG.IPFV

look.for.IPFV

3SG.IPFV

get.red-PFV

time.DEF

REL

Pp

‘When (the time when) it (the mango fruit) is getting red…’

abstract predicative possession (Y is located at X)

(20)

yákili=à

ì

rɛ́

intelligence=COP

3SG

Pp

‘He is intelligent.’ (lit. Intelligence is at him)

(21)

kùgu=à

à

kpó

rɛ́

hunger=COP

1PL

all

Pp

‘All of us are hungry.’ (lit. Hunger is at all of us)

(22)

cà=à

í

rɛ́

1SG

POSS

credit=COP

2SG

FOC

Pp

‘You owe me money.’ (lit. My credit is at you)

comparison by using the Location Schema (X is Y at Z)

(23)

ì

gbɔ̀

ì

bála-ná

wòmɛ

rɛ́

3SG

POSS

tree.DEF

3SG

become.big-Part.Res

DEM

Pp

‘His tree is bigger than this.’

  • 8 Note that comitative semantics is usually expressed by the coordinating conjunction [N1 N2] w (...)

29In addition to the uses mentioned so far, rɛ́ is employed to encode associative meaning (comprising comitative and instrumental). As argued by Croft (1991: 197), the comitative function is related to the adessive function “by the COMITATIVE-PROXIMITY metaphor, in which a spatial expression of co-location such as ‘near’ or ‘among’ develops into a comitative form”. A similar argumentation is found in Anderson (1971: 4), who argues that the comitative function has an underlying locative structure since it indicates typically “the person along with whom”. Moreover, the conflation of comitative and instrumental meanings into one marker is widely attested in the languages of the world (Croft 1991, Heine et al. 1991). The polysemy between comitative and instrumental markers is motivated by the COMPANION-INSTRUMENT metaphor that states that ACCOMPANIMENT also indicates INSTRUMENTALITY (cf. Lakoff/Johnson 1980: 134f.). The comitative function is exemplified in (24)-(27).8 Examples (28) and (29) illustrate the instrumental function.

comitative function

(24)

Mori=à

ɲì-ɛ

à

rɛ́

súma

Mori=IPFV

spend.the.night-IPFV

1PL

Pp

tomorrow

‘Mori will spend the night at our place/with us [chez nous] tomorrow.’

(25)

yí=o

rɛ́!

come

and

water=DEF

Pp

‘Bring water!’ (lit. come with water)

(26)

Ø

tà’a-Ø

í

rɛ́?

today

FOC

PFV

CR

go.away-PFV

INT

and

2SG

Pp

‘Have you gone mad today?’ [lit. today has gone away with you?]

(27)

kù-ɛ

Soma

rɛ́

3SG.IPFV

talk-IPFV

and

Soma

Pp

‘He is speaking with/to (talking with/to) Soma.’

instrumental function

(28)

Ø

wù=o

yìri-Ø

(ní)

jèse=o

rɛ́

1SG

PFV

1SG

head=DEF

bind-PFV

(and)

yarn=DEF

Pp

‘I tied up my hair with a yarn.’

(29)

wáli=o=à

dègaŋ

kánkɔŋ

kálaŋ

nɛ́

boy=DEF=COP

grave

Pp

and

bow

Pp

‘The boy is on the grave with a bow.’

30Moreover, causation can be perceived as place with the Pp rɛ́. In example (30), the postpositional phrase kùgo rɛ́ is viewed as cause “triggering” the verbal action (cf. Radden 1985: 182).

“triggering cause”

(30)

dí=o=ni

dì-ɛ

ɲɔ̀

kùgo

rɛ́

child=DEF=PL

TOP.IPFV

cry-IPFV

1SG

Pp

hunger.DEF

Pp

‘The children are crying for me (because) of hunger.’

  • 9 For a thorough semantic analysis of postpositions marking the third participant of three-place verb (...)

31According to its broad semantics, i.e., spatial, comitative, instrumental and cause, rɛ́ is used to mark participants of certain intransitive verbs as well as the third participant of three-place verbs.9 Depending on the directional semantics of the intransitive verb governing rɛ́, rɛ́ functions to mark the Goal or Source of the verb. In (31), rɛ́ serves to encode the Goal, in (32) it marks the Source.

Goal with intransitive directional verbs

(31)

ì

Ø

màga-Ø

sìbe=o

rɛ́

3SG

PFV

CR

touch-PFV

meat=DEF

Pp

‘He has touched the meat.’

Source with intransitive directional verbs

(32)

ì

Ø

dàga-Ø

à

rɛ́

3SG

PFV

CR

slip.away-PFV

1PL

Pp

‘It (the Jeli language) has slipped away (from us).’ [it has become disused]

32The above mentioned concept of “triggering cause” (Radden 1985: 182) can be held responsible for the use of rɛ́ with emotion verbs such as ‘to dream about’, as shown in example (33).

“triggering cause” with intransitive reactional or emotion verbs

(33)

í

kúro

má-Ø

yí=o

rɛ́…

CONJ

2SG

COND

dream.DEF

do-PFV

water=DEF

Pp

‘If you dream about water…’

33Furthermore, rɛ́ is used to mark the third participant of transfer verbs. In (34) rɛ́ serves to encode the animate Goal or Receiver of a verb of change of possession, in (35) rɛ́ is used to indicate the ‘information asked for’ in a verb of transfer of information.

third participant of transfer verbs (verbs of change of possession)

(34)

Ø

wáro

lè-Ø

séŋ

rɛ́

1SG

PFV

CR

money.DEF

give-PFV

1SG

father

Pp

‘I have given [as a present] money to my father.’

third participant of transfer verbs (verbs of change of information)

(35)

Ø

í

nìgi-Ø

kíli=o

rɛ́?

who

PFV

CR

2SG

FOC

ask-PFV

way=DEF

Pp

‘Who has asked you for the way?’

34As noted by several authors (cf. Croft 1990: 166, Lüpke 2007: 557; 561), there is a clear metaphorical relationship between the change in location and the transfer of possession of an object. In this metaphorical extension, changes of possession are treated like changes in location. In a further extension, transfers of information are conceived as transfers of possession of an object. To put it in Lüpke’s (2007: 557) terms, what events of change of location, events of change of possession, and events of change of information have in common is that all three types “entail at least a metaphorical transfer of an entity from a Source to a Goal, applying a metaphor I will henceforth label ‘transfer-metaphor’”. A still more abstract extension of the “transfer metaphor” can be held responsible for the use of rɛ́ to mark the animate Goal or malefactive with the generic verb ‘to do’, as shown in (36).

third participant of transfer verbs (abstract extension of the “transfer metaphor”)

(36)

sínɛ

má-Ø

rɛ́?

3SG.IPFV

look.for.IPFV

3SG.IPFV

what

do-PFV

1SG

Pp

‘What can he (the lion) do to (against) me (the hare)?’

35Finally, according to its associative meaning, rɛ́ can also be used to mark the transferred object in a change of possession verb. In this so called “Theme-Instrument Strategy” (Lüpke 2005: 217) the object of transfer is treated as an Instrument and the Goal or target of transfer is associated with the Theme. Thus, in example (37), rɛ́ is employed to indicate the gift or the good of transfer by treating it as an instrument.

transferred object in a change of possession verb

(37)

à

Ø

ì

kúɔ-Ø

wári

rɛ́

tɛ́

1PL

PFV

3SG

present-PFV

money

Pp

NEG

‘We did not present him with money.’

5. Summary

36Our findings on the different polysemy pattern of the Pp kɔ́ŋ and rɛ́ as well as the related explanatory parameters are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1: Main extensions of the spatial postpositions kɔ́ŋ and rɛ́

Pp

Function

Motivational basis for extensions based on cross-linguistically attested conceptual transfer patterns

kɔ́ŋ

Locative relations; i.e., denotes specific Ground relations (insideness) in the expression of location, possession, motion events (with directional verbs: Source/Goal)

Abstract predicative possession is expressed with the Location Schema (Y is located in X) (Heine 1997: 91f.)

Class-membership

Class-membership predicate nominals are “a subtype of locative” (Anderson 1971: 207)

Predicative arguments of verbs expressing quality and transformation (essive/translative)

Semantic affinity between class-membership predicate nominals and predicative arguments (= iconic motivation, cf. Creissels 2008)

rɛ́

Locative relations; i.e., denotes specific Ground relations (proximity) in the expression of location and possession as well as in events of change of location (with directional verbs: Source and Goal)

Abstract predicative possession is expressed with the Location Schema (Y is located at X) (Heine 1997: 91f.)

Class-membership

Class-membership predicate nominals are “a subtype of locative” (Anderson 1971: 207); “The Economy Principle of Predicate Encoding” (Stassen 1997: 112)

Comparison

Comparison is expressed with the Location Schema (X is Y at Z) (Heine 1997: 117)

Comitative, Instrument

COMITATIVE-PROXIMITY metaphor (Croft 1991: 197); COMPANION-INSTRUMENT metaphor (Lakoff & Johnson 1980: 134)

“Triggering cause”

Causation viewed as a place “triggering” the verbal action (Radden 1985: 182)

Third participant with transfer verbs

Changes of possession and information are treated like changes of location (Croft 1990: 166; Lüpke 2007)

37The treatment of the polysemy pattern of the two postpositions used to encode class-membership predicates in Jeli was based on the localist hypothesis, according to which spatial concepts are more basic than other concepts and therefore serve as source pattern for the conceptualization of non-spatial concepts (Anderson 1971, Lakoff & Johnson 1980, Lyons 1977).

38Since these two “identificational” postpositions clearly have a spatial component (insideness, proximity), we have argued that their “identificational meaning” is derived from their spatial meaning and treated class-membership predicate nominals as “a subtype of locative” (Anderson 1971: 207).Moreover, by using several common conceptual metaphors we have shown that the basic concepts “space” and “change-in-space” served as templates for the development of a set of other postpositional functions such as the encoding of abstract predicative possession, comparison, comitative, instrumental, “triggering cause”, and third participants with transfer verbs.

39In contrast to the lexical Pp kɔ́ŋ which still preserves its concrete spatial (inessive) meaning, the formal Pp rɛ́ has a highly general semantics and is used besides its adessive semantics to cover all kinds of situations entailing metaphorical transfer.

40Finally, neither of the two postpositions can be used to mark beneficiaries (for, to somebody’s benefit) or oblique agents.

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Bibliographie

Anderson J., 1971, The grammar of case: towards a Localistic theory, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Blecke Th., 1994, “Vollverb, Kopula, Postposition: Das Morphem yé im Bambara”, in Th. Geider, & R. Kastenholz (eds.). Sprachen und Sprachzeugnisse in Afrika. Eine Sammlung philologischer Beiträge Wilhelm J.G. Möhlig zum 60. Geburtstag zugeeignet, Köln, Köppe, pp. 49-62.

Bybee J. et al., 1994, The evolution of grammar, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press.

Creissels D., 2008, “Predicative argument marking: the case of transformation verbs. Cognitive and functional perspectives on dynamic tendencies in languages”, Tartu, May 29 – June 01, 2008.

Croft W., 1990, Typology and universals, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Croft W., 1991, Syntactic categories and grammatical relations, Chicago, Chicago University Press.

Dik S., 1989, The theory of functional grammar. Part I: The structure of clause, Dordrecht, Foris.

Haiman J., 1980, “The iconicity of grammar”, Language 56, pp. 515-540.

Haiman J. (ed.), 1985, Iconicity in syntax, Amsterdam, Benjamins.

Heine B., 1997, Cognitive foundations of grammar, New York/Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Heine B., Claudi U., Hünnemeyer F., 1991, Grammaticalization: a conceptual framework, Chicago, The University of Chicago Press.

Hengeveld K., 1992, Non-verbal predication. Theory, typology, diachrony, Berlin/New York, de Gruyter.

Kastenholz R., 1996, Sprachgeschichte im West-Mande: Methoden und Rekonstruktionen. Mande Languages and Linguistics, Vol. 2., Köln, Köppe.

Kastenholz R., 2001, « Le jèri.kúò (langue mandé des Jèri) : répartition géographique et matériel lexical », Mandenkan 37, pp. 49-88.

Klamer M., 1994, Kambera: a language of Eastern Indonesia, Den Haag, Holland Academic Graphics.

Lakoff G., Johnson M., 1980, Metaphors we live by, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Lyons J., 1977, Semantics, 2 vols (continuously paginated), Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Lüpke F., 2005, A grammar of Jalonke argument structure (MPI series in psycholinguistics), PhD dissertation, University of Nijmegen.

Lüpke F., 2007, “On giving, receiving, affecting and benefitting in Jalonke”, Linguistics 45 (3), pp. 539-576.

Payne Th., 1997, Describing morphosyntax: a guide for field linguists, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press.

Radden G., 1985, “Spatial metaphors underlying prepositions of causality”, in W. Paprotté & R. Dirven (eds.), The ubiquity of metaphor, Amsterdam/Philadelphia, Benjamins, pp. 177-207.

Sasse H.-J., 2007, “Nominal” and “adjectival” predication in Lowland Eastern Cushitic, in J. Crass & R. Meyer (eds.), Deictics, copula and focus in the Ethiopian convergence area, Köln, Köppe, pp. 27-52.

Stassen L., 1997, Intransitive predication, Oxford, Clarendon.

Tröbs, H., 1998, Funktionale Sprachbeschreibung des Jeli (West-Mande), Mande Languages and Linguistics, Vol. 3, Köln, Köppe.

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Notes

1 The terminology for constructions involving predicate nominals is thus quite varied and highly confusing. We use “identificational sentences” as a cover term comprising two major subgroups: “class-membership” (rather than “class-inclusion” or “proper inclusion”) and “equation” (rather than “identificational clause”).

2 For a description of one-argument identificational (presentational) clauses (NS + sùŋ), cf. Tröbs (1998: 175ff.).

3 Referentiality (involving discourse referentiality and definiteness, cf. Tröbs 1998: 106-111, Payne 1997: 263-266) is indicated by the definite marker –o. It either “leans on” the preceding noun or replaces the final vowel of the preceding noun if the noun constitutes the only element of the nominal phrase.

4 The definite marker –o and the plural marker –ni are considered to be enclitics. In contrast to suffixes, they do not exhibit a high degree of selection with respect to their stems but, syntactically, attach to the borders of a nominal phrase.
The copula / imperfective auxiliary –
à is also treated as an enclitic, since its host is not a specific kind of stem but a specific phrasal node, i.e., the subject NP (cf. Klamer 1994: 50 for pronominal cliticisation in Kambera). Moreover, the copula / imperfective auxiliary –à cannot stand on its own in a normal utterance. Finally, the copula / imperfective auxiliary –à often merges with the preceding element.

5 It should be noted that nouns ending in a velar nasal such as kɔ́ŋ ‘stomach’ do not differ in the surface between definite (cf. kɔ́ŋ < kɔ́ŋ + o) and indefinite (cf. kɔ́ŋ) forms.

6 The distinction between perfective and imperfective aspect is basic to the Jeli TAM system. This opposition is marked by the combination of auxiliaries and inflectional verb stems. Thus, the imperfective aspect is encoded by the auxiliary (predicate marker) –à in combination with the imperfective verb form which is derived principally through suffixation (cf. Tröbs 1998: 84-89). In contrast to the imperfective aspect, the perfective aspect is unmarked twofold. First, it has no overt perfective auxiliary. Second, the perfective verb form is unmarked. In order to keep an explicit marking for these two non-overt elements, an overt “Ø” is included in the Jeli line, and “PFV” in the gloss line.

7 Current relevance (CR) indicates a specific deictic component of meaning, i.e., an action which took place in the past is relevant to the moment of speech. According to Bybee et al. (1994: 86), the specification of current relevance is lost, when an anterior (or perfect) changes into the past or perfective.

8 Note that comitative semantics is usually expressed by the coordinating conjunction [N1 N2] which assigns equal rank to the elements it connects (cf. Mori ní Soma wà cí ‘Mori and Soma have arrived’).

9 For a thorough semantic analysis of postpositions marking the third participant of three-place verbs in Yalunka, cf. Lüpke (2007: Section 3).

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Holger Tröbs, « Polysemy patterns of two postpositions marking class-membership and property assignment in Jeli (Central Mande) », Mandenkan, 50 | 2013, 131-146.

Référence électronique

Holger Tröbs, « Polysemy patterns of two postpositions marking class-membership and property assignment in Jeli (Central Mande) », Mandenkan [En ligne], 50 | 2013, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2013, consulté le 28 juillet 2017. URL : http://mandenkan.revues.org/275 ; DOI : 10.4000/mandenkan.275

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Auteur

Holger Tröbs

University of Mainz
troebs@uni-mainz.de

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