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Verbal prefixes mà- and rà- in Susu and lexical features of verbal stems

Préfixes verbaux mà- et rà- en susu et des traits lexicaux des bases verbales
Глагольные приставки mà- и rà- в сусу и лексические признаки глагола
Andrey Shluinsky
p. 73-110

Résumés

L’article offre un analyse systématique des données disponibles concernant les deux préfixes verbaux les plus productifs de la langue susu, mà- et rà-. D’une part, chacun de ces préfixes a un ensemble de sens mutuellement liés, et le choix du sens dépend largement des caractéristiques sémantiques de la base verbale. D’autre part, chacun des préfixes manifeste de nombreux emplois lexicalisés.

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Notes de l’auteur

The paper is a revised version of a talk given at the 2nd Conference on Mande languages in St.Petersburg in 2008. I am grateful to the audience for the fruitful discussion.

The further research was conducted in terms of the projects supported by Russian Foundation for Humanities (grant No.12–34–01255) and by a grant of the President of Russian Federation (grant MK–3991.2012.6).

Abbreviations
act = ‘actualizer’
ass = assertive
cons = consecutive
cop = copula
emph = emphatic particle
exc = exclusive 1st plural
foc = focal particle
habfut = habitual-future
inc = inclusive 1st plural
indf = indefinite
inf = infinitive
intr = intransitive
ma = the prefix mà-
neg = negation
nmlz
= nominalization
pl = plural
poss = possessivity
prf = perfect
prog = progressive
proh = prohibitive
ra = the prefix rà-
rec = reciprocal
retr = retrospective
sbjv = subjunctive
tr = transitive

trmn
= terminative

Texte intégral

1. Introduction

1The prefixes mà- and rà- are the two most productive verbal prefixes in Susu. Although each of these two prefixes has a number of lexicalized idiomatic uses, both have a number of identifiable meanings. Moreover, the meaning of a prefixed verb can be predicted to a considerable degree from the lexical semantic features of the corresponding underived verb. This paper has two aims: the first, which is descriptive, is to systemize the available data on mà- and rà-; the second is to identify, for both prefixes, the relevant lexical features that influence the choice of the meaning with a given particular verb. For mà-, a more detailed description is presented.

2The third most frequent prefix in Susu, ì-, has a significantly lesser degree of productivity and, therefore, most ì-derivates are lexicalized. Since no generalized meanings of ì- can be made so far, the scope of this paper is limited to mà- and rà-.

3The meanings of both Susu prefixes have been described earlier only by very general labels, cf. “modalité intentionnelle” for rà-, “modalité itérative” for mà- in (Houis 1963: 75; 78); “causative”: “valence-increasing process by which a new Effector is added to the clause” for rà-, “distributive”: “distributing a verb action over several participants”, “can also distribute an event over a longer period of time then expected for the base verb” for mà- in (Lüpke 2005: 126; 127) for Jalonke, a language closely related to Susu.

4Both prefixes have parallel postpositions and . Prefixes and corresponding postpositions have common etymologies and come back to nouns with locative meanings, cf. e. g. (Bailleul 1986) for the etymology of corresponding Bambara postpositions. A possible diachronic development scenario for both prefix mà- and postposition has been proposed in (Šluinskij 2010).

5In the context of Mande studies, the verbal prefixes in Susu are not unique, although the semantics of verbal prefixes and/or preverbs in Mande has not yet fallen in the focus of attention of linguists dealing with this language family. Keïta (1989) discusses verbal prefixes má-, rá- and í- in Dialonke, a language closely related to Susu, but deals mainly with their morphophonology and tonal contour, rather than semantics. Kakabe prefixes corresponding to the Susu mà- and rà- are discussed by Vydrina (2009a; 2009b). Vydrin (2009) gives a detailed description of preverbs in Dan-Gweta. It is clear that verbal prefixes and/or preverbs in different Mande languages have different semantics and different morphosyntactic features.

6In the context of general linguistics and linguistic typology, verbal prefixes in Mande are to be compared with European-type (Slavic, Romance, Germanic, Ossetic, Georgian, North Caucasian) systems of verbal prefixes and/or preverbs which have been studied thoroughly. Verbal prefixes in Mande are similar to European-type prefixes, but only to a certain extent. In both cases verbal prefixes and/or preverbs are derived diachronically to locative nouns, but unlike the prefixed verbs in European languages, Susu prefixed verbs have no synchronically detected locative semantics.

  • 1 I am very indebted to Oumar Camara with whom I worked extensively in Moscow in autumn 2004 and in w (...)

7In my study I used available data from different sources: first-hand data from my consultant1 (C) and secondary data from existing literature: (Raimbault 1923) (R), (Houis 1963) (H), (Fofana 1992) (F), (Touré 1994) (T). All the data were summarized and systematized in a single database. Since the data for mà- are not abundant, I give the entire lists of the attested derivates, while for rà- only sample examples are given. Considering the restricted set of data coming from different sources, I realize that sometimes my interpretation may be disputable.

8The tonal contour of a verb changes when a prefix is added. This issue is not the focus of my study, since it has been discussed by Touré (1994: 232–233). According to his description, the prefixes mà- and rà- themselves in Susu always have a low tone, the first vowel of the verb has a high tone, and the subsequent vowels always have a low tone; lexical tones of the unprefixed verb are, therefore, ignored. Note however that Houis (1963: 69) reports a different tonal structure of Susu prefixed verbs; Keïta (1989) reports a different tonal structure of prefixed verbs in Dialonke.

9Tonal marking in the existing descriptions of Susu is rather controversial. Since tones are not in the scope of my study (and were not checked), in the examples I simply mark lexical tones based on the description of Touré (1994), as this description is the most reliable.

2. Prefix mà-

2.1. General overview

10Generally, the prefix mà- has been appropriately identified as an iterative / distributive marker. In the majority of cases this marker is used as a pluractional one that pluralizes an event in any sense. However, the types of pluralizing may be different. The resulting event may be distributive (i.e. involving a new participant for each repetition) or non-distributive (i.e. having a fixed set of participants for each repetition). The prefix mà- may be used for expressing both event-internal or event-external types of pluractionality, in terms of Cusic (1981), later accepted by Wood (2007). Normally, the prefix mà- is not used as a valency-changing tool (though there are exceptional cases). However, as a “by-product”, it can either increase (1-2) or decrease (3-4) the verbal valencies.

(1)

màlányì

bárà

yénsén

people

trmn

disperse

‘People dispersed.’ (H:74)

(2)

dímé-è

bárà

gɛ̀mɛ́

mà-yénsèn

child-pl

trmn

stone

ma-disperse

‘Children scattered the stones.’ (H:74)

(3)

bárà

xúnyà

xùnyí

bíí

I

trmn

I

younger_sibling

head

shave

‘I have shaved my younger brother. (H:70)

(4)

à

náxà

bírín

mà-bíì

(s)he

cons

all

ma-shave

‘He shaved totally.’ (H:70)

2.2. Derivates with an event-internal (multiplicative) meaning

2.2.1. Derivates with an event-internal (multiplicative) meaning in general

11The most frequent meaning of the prefix mà- is an event-internal pluractional meaning. It means that normally a mà-verb is a multiplicative one used to express an event that is internally plural and consists of a series of repeated sub-events. The corresponding unprefixed verb is used to express a single sub-event of such series.

12Normally, mà-multiplicatives have the same argument structure as the corresponding unprefixed verbs. mà-multiplicatives fall into two classes: a) the less numerous multiplicatives proper (that retain the same set of participants for the whole series of sub-events, see §2.2.2) and b) the more numerous multiplicative distributives (that involve different participants for different sub-events, see §2.2.3).

13All the unprefixed verbs, from which the mà-multiplicatives are derived, have to be telic and (with two exceptions in the database, dɛ́gɛ́ ‘sew’ and xánín ‘transport’) express relatively brief events. Note, however, that these brief events are not necessarily punctual, since at least some of them are compatible with Progressive and have, therefore, a durated phase before the natural endpoint, cf. (5).

(5)

kùyéfúrè

bɔ̀ɔ́-fè

à

perspiration

cop

tear-prog

(s)he

at

‘His sweat is breaking him out.’ (H:71)

14Another less trivial restriction is that all unprefixed verbs from which the mà-multiplicatives are derived have to be transitive (or labile used in the transitive sense).

2.2.2. Multiplicatives proper

15Multiplicatives proper with the prefix mà- are derived from telic verbs that denote brief events with no irreversible result (this makes the repetition of the event with the same participants possible), cf. (6-7). There are 6 unprefixed verbs in the database, from which the mà-multiplicatives proper are derived:

    • 2 Exact quotations of the meaning of the verbs as given in the referenced publication are given in th (...)

    dògòtín ‘pinch (once)’ (T:194, ‘pincer’2) > màdógòtìn ‘pinch (repeatedly)’ (T:214, ‘pincer plusieurs fois’);

  • bɔ̀nbɔ́ ‘beat’ (H:71, ‘frapper’; T:189, ‘frapper, battre’) > màbɔ́nbɔ̀ ‘beat many times, flap’ (H:71, ‘tapoter’)

  • gárín ‘beat, flap once’ (T:182, ‘taper, frapper’) > màgárìn ‘flap’ (T:212, ‘frapper plusieurs fois’);

  • sɔ̀xɔ́ ‘pierce; prick, sting’ (T:181, ‘percer, piquer’) > màsɔ́xɔ̀ ‘slaughter’ (H:82, ‘poignarder’);

  • xín ‘bite (once)’ (T:176, ‘mordre’) > màxíǹ ‘bite (repeatedly)’ (T:208, ‘mordre plusieurs fois’);

  • fìndí ‘become, turn, change’ (H:72, ‘passer d’un état dans un autre, devenir’; R:123, ‘tourner, devenir’; T:189, ‘devenir’) > màfíndì ‘turn repeatedly’ (H:72, ‘changer d’état ou faire changer d’état plusieurs fois’).

(6)

nándén

náxà

mìxìdíì

bɔ̀nbɔ́

stepmother

cons

orphan

beat

‘The stepmother beat the orphan.’ (H:122)

(7)

í

xìí-mà,

náxà

sìgá

í

mà-bɔ́nbɔ̀-fè

you

when

retr

sleep-habfut

I

cons

leave

you

ma-beat-prog

‘When you were sleeping, I came to pat you.’ (H:71)

2.2.3. Multiplicative distributives

16Multiplicative distributives with the prefix mà- are the most numerous group of the mà-derivations. They are derived from the telic verbs that denote some brief events with an irreversible result (sometimes this irreversibility is more pragmatic than logical). The lexical semantics of these verbs presumes a natural endpoint that cannot be cancelled. It is reasonable, therefore, that in an internally plural event a new participant is required for each sub-event, cf. (8-9), (10-11), (12-13). Sometimes an internally plural event is not purely distributive, but it is dispersive, because in each sub-event there is just a new part of / place for the same participant, cf. (14-15), (16-17), and not a different participant. There are 15 unprefixed verbs in the database, from which the mà- multiplicative distributives are derived:

  • gbàlàntín ‘tear out’ (H:71, ‘arracher qch. qui resiste’) > màgbálàntìn ‘tear out many objects’ (H:71, ‘arracher’);

  • bánbán ‘nail down’ (H:70, ‘enfoncer en cognant avec un instrument’) > màbánbàn ‘knock up, nail down in many places’ (H:70, ‘clouer en employant beaucoup de pointes’);

  • xábá ‘cut’ (T:179, ‘couper’) > màxábà ‘shear, peel’ (T:210, ‘tondre, couper, coiffer’);

  • tálá ‘pull out (once)?’ (T:178, ‘arracher’) > màtálà ‘pull out (many objects)?’ (T:210, ‘arracher’);

  • bɔ̀ɔ́ ‘cut, tear’ (H:71, ‘séparer, fendre, déchirer’) > màbɔ́ɔ̀ ‘cut, tear in many places’ (H:71, ‘déchirer en plusieurs endroits’; T:206, ‘éplucher’);

  • sùxú ‘catch’ (H:74, ‘saisir, attraper’) > màsúxù ‘gather, collect many objects’ (H:74, ‘attraper en plusieurs fois, ramasser avec une pluralité de gestes’);

  • báá ‘take down, pick’ (T:174 ‘puiser, cueillir, ôter’; F:66, ‘срывать’) > màbáà ‘take down, pick many objects, clean’ (F:66);

  • xìrí ‘attach, be attached’ (H:73, ‘attacher’) > màxírì ‘attach many objects, tie up’ (H:73, ‘ficeler, panser, harnacher’);

  • fíí ‘give’ > màfíì ‘distribute, waste’ (H:72, ‘donner largement, prodiguer’);

  • dɔ̀xɔ́ ‘put, seat, sit’ (H:72, ‘poser, asseoir’; T:180, ‘s’asseoir’) > màdɔ́xɔ̀ ‘put many objects, tell a story’ (T:208, ‘raconter, frequenter’; R:140, ‘asseoir, raconter, dire’);

  • bálán ‘close, be closed’ (H:70, ‘fermer, être fermé’; T:182, ‘fermer’) > màbálàn ‘close many objects’ (H:70, ‘fermer quand il y a plusieurs ouvertures, ou encore une porte qui se rouvre toujours’);

  • tòngó ‘take’ (T:190, ‘prendre’) > màtóngò ‘gather, collect’ (T:211, ‘ramasser’);

  • kɔ̀ɔ́ ‘take down, take away’ (H:73, ‘enlever’; T:175, ‘ramasser’) > màkɔ́ɔ̀ ‘sweep’ (H:73, ‘balayer’; T:206, ‘balayer’);

  • dɛ́gɛ́ ‘sew’ (H:71, ‘coudre’; R:119, ‘coudre’) > màdɛ́gɛ̀ ‘sew in many places, resew’ (H:71, ‘arranger (pantalon)’);

  • xánín ‘transport’ (T:183, ‘transporter, emporter’) > màxánìn ‘transport many objects’ (T:213, ‘transporter, emporter’).

(8)

à

làń,

í

bànànìbílì

gbàlàntín

(s)he

should

you

sbjv

this

banana_tree

tear_out

‘It is necessary that you tear out this banana tree.’ (H:71)

(9)

mùxú

sɛ́xɛ́

xáráxì

mà-gbálàntìn

we.exc

herb

dry

ma-tear_out

‘(Before we plant rice), we tear out dry herbs.’ (H:71)

(10)

bálán

sàábì

this

close

key

with

‘Lock this one.’ (Lit. ‘Close this one with a key’.) (H:70)

(11)

nàdɛ́-è

má-bálàn

door-pl

ma-close

‘Close the doors.’ (H:70)

(12)

à

náxà

yéfúrè

tòngó

(s)he

cons

hot_water

take

‘He took some hot water.’ (H:89)

(13)

mìxì-é

kánsí

mà-tóngò-fé

person-pl

cop

peanut

ma-take-prog

‘People are collecting peanuts.’ (F:72)

(14)

à

ɲɔ̀ń

nàdɛ́

bánbán-dè

(s)he

neg

finish

door

nail_down-inf

‘He did not finish nailing the door down.’ (H:70)

(15)

kàmùdɛ́rí

bárà

kánkìrá

mà-bánbàn

carpenter

trmn

box

ma-nail_down

‘The carpenter knocked the box up (by nailing it down in many places).’ (F:72)

(16)

à

bárà

dònmá

bɔ̀ɔ́

(s)he

trmn

I

at

boubou

tear

‘He tore my boubou.’ (H:71)

(17)

yókà

ndé

má-bɔ́ɔ̀

bɛ́

cassava

indf

ma-tear

I

to

‘Slice some cassava for me.’ (H:71)

17The following facts seem to indicate that this semantic group of mà-derivates could diachronically be the starting point. Firstly, this group, though semantically complex, is the most numerous one. Secondly, this group includes the aforementioned dispersive subgroup and is therefore related to the locative semantics of the noun *ma that could be the lexical source of the prefix. However, synchronically it is appropriate to interpret mà- as a general pluractional marker, and to treat its multiplicative distributive meaning as triggered by specific semantic properties of an unprefixed verb.

18There are two unprefixed verbs in this list, dɛ́gɛ́ ‘sew’ and xánín ‘transport’, that do not satisfy the condition of expressing a brief event, but still have the mà-derivates with a multiplicative distributive meaning, cf. (18-19).

(18)

à

wàntányí

dɛ́gɛ́-mà

(s)he

poss

trousers

sew-habfut

‘He sews his trousers.’ (R:119)

(19)

xúnyà

gìnɛ̀

wàntányí

mà-dɛ́gɛ̀-fè

I

younger_sibling

woman

at

cop

I

trousers

ma-sew-prog

‘My younger sister is mending my trousers.’ (H:71)

19The mà- multiplicative distributive derived from kɔ̀ɔ́ ‘take down, take away’ is strongly idiomatic, cf. (20-21).

(20)

à

náxà

káɲá

mòndɛ́

kérɛ́n

kɔ̀ɔ́

(s)he

cons

sweet_stuff

handful

one

take_down

‘He took down one handful of sweet stuff.’ (H:73)

(21)

sìgá

xándɛ́kúì

mà-kɔ́ɔ̀-dè

leave

yard

ma-take_down-inf

‘Go and sweep the yard.’ (H:73)

2.2.4. Multiplicatives that are semantically equal to unprefixed stems

20The mà-derivates with a multiplicative meaning which are derived from unprefixed verbs with a multiplicative meaning make another numerous group of mà-multiplicatives. In this case no apparent difference is attested between the unprefixed verbs’ meaning and the corresponding mà-derivates’ meaning, cf. (22-23). Presumably, the prefixed and unprefixed verbs are nevertheless different, but the difference can hardly be captured; it may be lexicalized and requires a further investigation. There are 10 unprefixed multiplicative verbs in the database from which the mà-multiplicatives with no semantic difference are derived:

  • kɔ̀ń ‘lick’ (H:22, ‘lécher’) > màkɔ́ǹ ‘lick’ (T:208, ‘lécher’);

  • géé ‘dig’ (T:174, ‘creuser’) > màgéè ‘dig’ (T:206, ‘deterrer, creuser’);

  • dìń ‘pound’ (H:72, ‘donner des coups, piler’, T:176, ‘piler, heurter, cogner’) > màdíǹ ‘pound’ (H:72, ‘piler dans un petit mortier’);

  • bórón ‘trample, move one’s legs’ (H:71, ‘agir avec des pieds’; T:182, ‘piétiner’) > màbóròn ‘trample’ (H:71, ‘piétiner’);

  • sùnbú ‘mix, blend, add’ (T:190, ‘mélanger, embrasser’) > màsúnbù ‘mix, blend’ (T:211, ‘mélanger’);

  • fílín ‘wrap’ (T:182, ‘enrouler’) > màfílìn ‘wrap’ (T:212, ‘enrouler, envelopper’);

  • yòlón ‘fall one by one’ (T:183, ‘tomber un à un’; R:161, ‘tomber, en parlant des feuilles d’arbres ou des graines’) > màyólòn ‘fall one by one’ (T:212, ‘tomber goutte a goutte’);

  • kàsán ‘splash, scatter’ (T:183, ‘gicler, eclabousser’) > màkásàn ‘splash, scatter’ (T:213, ‘éparpiller’);

  • fìntán ‘fan, ventilate’ (T:191, ‘éventer’) > màfíntàn ‘fan, ventilate’ (T:213, ‘éventer’);

  • fùrùkú ‘rub’ (T:192, ‘essuyer, frotter’) > màfúrùkù ‘rub’ (T:214, ‘essuyer, frotter, effacer’).

(22)

à

fúndényí

bórón-fè

(s)he

cop

fonio

trample-prog

‘He is trampling fonio (to thresh it).’ (H:71)

(23)

màlé

mà-bóròn-yì

tɛ́mùi

à

rice

ma-trample-nmlz

time

cop

(s)he

with

‘It is time to thresh the rice.’ (H:71)

2.2.5. Alternatives

21Alternatives with the prefix mà- are used to express multidirectional events and are derived from verbs that express manner of motion, cf. (24-25). The mà-alternatives are derived from two unprefixed verbs found in the database:

  • ɲɛ́rɛ́ ‘move, go’ (H:74, ‘faire une marche’) > máɲɛ́rɛ̀ ‘wander’ (H:74, ‘marcher longuement, se promener’, T:208, ‘se promener’);

  • gíí ‘move (intr), run’ (H:73, ‘courrir’, T:174, ‘courir, fuir’) > màgíì ‘run around, go round’ (H:73, ‘courrir de-ci de-là, gambader, éviter quelqu’un’).

22This class of mà-derivates is not expected to be numerous, but one can expect to find out more mà-alternatives derived from the verbs that express other manners of motion.

(24)

sìí

bárà

á

gíí

goat

trmn

(s)he

run

‘The goat ran.’ (F:40)

(25)

díídíí

ndé

á

mà-gíì-fè

child

indf

(s)he

ma-run-prog

‘A child is running about.’ (C)

2.2.6. (Lexicalized) multiplicative-distributive causatives

23There are 6 mà-derivates in the database that are multiplicative-distributive causatives, i.e. they express an internally plural event that involves a new participant for each sub-event and causes the event expressed by the corresponding unprefixed verb. These 6 unprefixed verbs do not form a natural class, so this meaning of the prefix mà- is lexicalized. Note that all 6 mà-derivates are to some extent idiomatic, cf. (26-27), (28):

  • yénsén ‘disperse (intr)’ (H:74, ‘disperser’) > màyénsèn ‘disperse to different places’ (T:213, ‘éparpiller’);

  • bɔ̀rɔ́ ‘rot, go bad’ (H:71, ‘pourrir’, T:179, ‘pourrir’) > màbɔ́rɔ̀ ‘spoil everywhere’ (H:71);

  • tèé ‘rise’ (T:175, ‘monter’) > màtéè ‘pick up’ (T:207, ‘remonter, retrousser’);

  • dón ‘eat’ > màdóǹ ‘feed many beings, pasture’ (H:72, ‘faire manger’; T:207, ‘faire manger, faire paître’);

  • sòlí ‘push through’ (H:74, ‘percer, pointer, germer’) > màsólì ‘make holes, cut out’ (H:74, ‘faire des trous, percer, tailler en pointe (crayon), sculpter’; T:210, ‘sculpter’);

  • dàngí ‘pass’ (H:71, ‘passer, depasser’; R:118, ‘traverser’) > màdángì ‘pass (tr) many objects, finger’ (T:211, ‘faire passer, égrener’).

(26)

sànsí

bárà

sólì

seed

trmn

push_through

‘The seeds pushed through.’ (H:74)

(27)

kámúdɛ́rí

wúrí

mà-sólì-fè,

á

bálánsè

carpenter

cop

wood

ma-push_through-prog

(s)he

sbjv

lock

bánbán

á

nail_down

(s)he

with

‘The carpenter makes holes in the wood in order to nail down the lock.’ (H:74)

(28)

á

sìgá-xì

màngɛ́

nìngé

dɛ́

mà-dóǹ-dè

(s)he

leave-prf

chief

poss

bull

throat

ma-eat-inf

‘He went to feed the mouth of the chief’s bulls.’ (H:72)

2.2.7. (Lexicalized) multiplicative causatives

24In the database there are 3 cases of mà- non-distributive multiplicative causatives, i.e. mà-derivates expressing an internally plural event that retains the same participants for all the sub-events and causes the event expressed by the corresponding unprefixed verb. The first two cases are clear, cf. (29-30) and (31-32), the third one is doubtful, cf. (33):

  • bɔ̀rɔ̀xɔ́ ‘be mild’ (H:71, ‘être mou’) > màbɔ́rɔ̀xɔ̀ ‘make mild doing a series of actions’ (H:71, ‘ramollir’);

  • dúlá ‘drown (intr), go down, disappear’ (H:72, ‘disparaître dans l’eau, sombrer, se noyer’; T:177, ‘s’enfoncer, se noyer’) > màdúlà ‘drown (tr) repeatedly’ (H:72, ‘submerger, se debattre dans l’eau, manquer de se noyer’).

  • ? dúndú ‘keep silence’ (T:188, ‘se taire’) > màdúndù ‘calm (tr)’ (T:211, ‘calmer, consoler’).

(29)

mángò-è

bɔ̀rɔ̀xɔ́-xì

this

mango-pl

be_mild-prf

‘These mangoes are mild.’ (H:71)

(30)

mùlùxúnyí

mà-bɔ́rɔ̀xɔ̀

lemon

ma-be_mild

‘Make the lemon mild (twisting it by foot).’ (H:71)

(31)

kúnkì

bárà

dúlá

ship

trmn

drown

‘The ship sank.’ (H:72)

(32)

dímé-è

bèré-fè

bàré

mà-dúlà-fè

child-pl

retr

cop

play-prog

dog

ma-drown-prog

‘The children played drowning the dog.’ (H:72)

(33)

tàrá

bárà

mà-dúndù

I

elder_sibling

trmn

I

ma-keep_silence

‘My brother calmed me.’ (C)

2.2.8. (Lexicalized) discontinuatives

25There are two -derivates in the database that are discontinuatives, i.e. they express an event that takes place with pauses. The corresponding unprefixed verbs express uninterrupted events, cf. (34-35). These two unprefixed verbs do not form any natural class:

  • dɛ́xɛ́ ‘shine’ (H:71, ‘donner de la lumière, eclairer, brûler’) > màdɛ́xɛ̀ ‘shimmer’ (H:71, ‘briller, miroiter, resplendir’);

  • bɛ̀ndún ‘drag, pull’ (H:70, ‘tirer’; T:191, ‘tirer’) > màbɛ́ndùn ‘drag, pull with intervals’ (H:70, ‘tirer par petits coups, tirailler’).

(34)

á

bɛ̀ndún

(s)he

pull

I

at

‘Drag it to me.’ (H:70)

(35)

kúnkì

mà-bɛ́ndùn

you.pl

ship

ma-pull

‘Pull (with pauses) the ship!’ (H:70)

2.3. Derivates with a meaning of property

2.3.1. Derivates with a meaning of property in general

26The other pluractional meanings of mà- are event-external. One of them is the meaning of property. This means that mà-derivates are used to express a general characteristic of an individual; in contrast, corresponding unprefixed verbs express related specific events.

  • 3 One more mental state in the database, xɔ́nɔ́ ‘get angry’, has a strongly idiomatic -derivate.

27Among the unprefixed verbs from which mà-properties are derived, there is a natural class of mental states (kólón ‘know, be acquainted with’, gààxú ‘be afraid of’, tɔ́ɔ́rɔ́ ‘suffer’, kíníkíní ‘feel pity’3), but other verbs from which the mà-properties are derived do not form any natural class.

28Most of mà-properties have an argument structure which is different from the unprefixed verbs they are derived from, both decreasing and increasing the verb’s valencies. This is evidently lexicalized, i.e. one cannot predict an argument structure of a prefixed verb from the argument structure or other features of the unprefixed verb from which it is derived.

29Most of mà-properties denote externally-oriented properties, i. e. they are related not only to the subject of the verb, but also to other individuals. The exceptions are màsálàxùn ‘make slippery’ and màbɔ̀xùn ‘spit constantly.’

2.3.2. Properties

30mà-properties with no changes in the argument structure, cf. (36-37), are derived from 4 verbs in the database. One of them (màtínxìn ‘educate’) is considerably idiomatic:

  • kàlí ‘swear’ (H:73, ‘jurer’) > màkálì ‘swear constantly’ (H:73, ‘jurer sans cesse’);

  • kíníkíní ‘feel pity’ (R:131, ‘avoir pitié, avoir compassion’) > màkínìkínì ‘be pitiful’ (T:215, ‘être pitoyable’);

  • bɔ̀xún ‘vomit, (?) spit’ (H:71, ‘vomir’) > màbɔ́xùn ‘spit constantly’ (H:71, ‘cracher sans cesse’);

  • tìnxín ‘be true, be right’ (T:191, ‘être juste, être droit’) > màtínxìn ‘educate’ (T:214, ‘redresser, eduquer’).

(36)

á

wɛ̀yɛ́nyì

fàlá,

á

kàlí-mà

(s)he

retr

word

say

(s)he

neg

swear-habfut

‘If he says any words, he does not swear.’ (H:73)

(37)

í

mà-kálì-fè

stop

you

ma-swear-prog

‘Stop swearing every time.’ (H:73)

2.3.3. Property passives

313 mà-derivates in the database are property passives, i.e. they indicate properties and have a decreased valency compared to the corresponding unprefixed verbs. The subject of a mà- property passive corresponds to an object (in case of kólón ‘know, be acquainted with’), cf. (38-39), or to a peripheral argument (in case of bèré ‘play’ and gààxú ‘be afraid of’), cf. (40-41), of the corresponding unprefixed verb:

  • kólón ‘know, be acquainted with’ (H:73, ‘connaître’; T:182, ‘connaître, savoir’) > màkólòn ‘be known by everyone’ (H:73, ‘être connu de tous’);

  • bèré ‘play’ (H:70, ‘jouer’) > màbérè ‘be mocked’ (H:70, ‘se jouer de, tourner en dérision’);

  • gààxú ‘be afraid of’ (H:73, ‘avoir peur’; R:125, ‘craindre, appréhender, avoir peur...’) > màgááxù ‘be terrible’ (H:73, ‘être terrifiant’; T:210, ‘terrifier’).

(38)

kólón-mà

I

neg

this

know-habfut

‘I don’t know this one.’ (H:73)

(39)

í

bárà

mà-kólòn-fè

you

trmn

enter

ma-know-prog

‘You became known by everyone.’ (H:73)

(40)

í

námà

gààxú

bàré

you

proh

be_afraid

dog

with

‘Don’t be afraid of the dog.’ (H:73)

(41)

kúyé

mà-gááxù

this

idol

ma-be_afraid

‘This idol is terrible.’ (H:73)

32One more unprefixed verb has a labile mà-derivate that can be both property and property passive:

  • yélé ‘laugh’ (T:177, ‘rire’) > màyélè ‘mock, be ridiculous’ (T:208, ‘se moquer de, être drôle’).

2.3.4. Property causatives

33Another two mà-derivates in the database are property causatives, i. e. they express the events that cause properties related to the events expressed by the corresponding unprefixed verbs. The object of a mà- property causative corresponds to the subject of the unprefixed verb, cf. (42-43), (44-45):

  • sáláxún ‘glide’ (H:74, ‘glisser’; T:194, ‘glisser, être gluant’) > màsálàxùn ‘make slippery’ (H:74, ‘rendre glissant, être glissant’);

  • tɔ́ɔ́rɔ́ ‘suffer’ (T:186, ‘souffrir, déranger’; F:58, ‘переживать, страдать, беспокоиться’) > màtɔ́ɔ́rɔ̀ ‘make constantly suffer’ (F:72, ‘заставлять терпеть, страдать’).

(42)

á

bárà

sáláxún

mángáxɔ́rì

(s)he

trmn

glide

mango_pit

at

‘He slipped on a mango stone.’ (H:74)

(43)

tùnɛ́

bárà

bɔ̀xì

mà-sálàxùn

rain

trmn

sun

ma-glide

‘The rain made the soil slippery.’ (H:74)

(44)

tɔ́ɔ́rɔ́-fe

I

cop

suffer-prog

‘I am suffering.’ (F:58)

(45)

sénì

bárà

á

ngá

mà-tɔ́ɔ́rɔ̀

Seni

trmn

(s)he

mother

ma-suffer

‘Seni made his mother (constantly) suffer.’ (F:72)

34One more unprefixed verb has a labile mà-derivate that can be both property and property causative:

  • tàngá ‘escape’ (C; T:190, ‘éviter, échapper à’) > màtángà ‘avoid, protect’ (T:211, ‘éviter, sauvegarder’).

2.4. Derivates with a meaning of full coverage

2.4.1. Derivates with a meaning of full coverage in general

35Another meaning of the prefix mà- is the meaning of full coverage, where a mà-derivate is used to express an event which involves a participant entirely.

  • 4 There is just one exceptional event with an incremental theme in the database, dón ‘eat’, that has (...)

36As it can be predicted, mà-derivates with the meaning of full coverage can be derived from the unprefixed verbs expressing the events with an incremental theme in the sense suggested by Dowty (1991).4 It means that the progress of these events can be measured by the degree of participant involvement (that is called ‘incremental theme’). In this case a mà-derivate denotes the natural endpoint where the participant is involved entirely.

37There are unprefixed verbs which normally express events with no incremental theme that still have mà-derivates with the meaning of full coverage. However, in this case, the meaning of an unprefixed verb is reinterpreted as if the event still had an incremental theme. E.g. sɛ̀gɛ́ ‘cut’ has no incremental theme, and its derivate màsɛ́gɛ̀ has the meaning of full coverage. This process is lexicalized, so it is not possible to explain why certain verbs undergo this process while the others do not.

38Some of the mà-derivates with the meaning of full coverage differ in argument structure from the unprefixed verbs they are derived from, either decreasing or increasing in valency. This option is evidently a case of lexicalization.

2.4.2. Full coverage derivates

39mà-derivates with the meaning of full coverage with no changes in the argument structure, cf. (46-47), are derived from two verbs in the database:

  • sɛ̀gɛ́ ‘cut’ (H:74, ‘couper avec un instrument’; T:181, ‘couper’) > màsɛ́gɛ̀ ‘cut all on a wide area’ (H:74, ‘couper sur une grande étendue’);

  • bàràbárá ‘boil (intr)’ (H:70, ‘bouillir à gros bouillons, ébouillanter’) > màbàràbàrà ‘be boiled / ready, be scalded’ (H:70).

(46)

sìgá

túgí

sɛ̀gɛ́-dè

leave

palm_branch

cut-inf

‘Go and cut the palm branches.’ (H:74)

(47)

wón

mìní-mà

xɛ́

má,

wón

mà-sɛ́gɛ̀

we.inc

exit-habfut

field

at

we.inc

sbjv

ma-cut

‘We shall go to the field to uproot it completely.’ (H:74)

2.4.3. Full coverage passives

40There are two mà-derivates in the database that are full coverage passives, i.e. they express the meaning of full coverage and have a decreased valency compared to the corresponding unprefixed verbs. The subject of a mà- property passive corresponds to the object of the unprefixed verb, cf. (48-49):

  • bíí ‘cut, root out, shave’ (H:70, ‘couper (herbes), défricher, raser (poils)’; T:174, ‘raser, sarcler’) > màbíì ‘cut, shave oneself completely’ (H:70, ‘raser dans tous les sens, ou complètement’; T:206, ‘raser, sarcler’);

  • tòlín ‘twist’ (H:74, ‘faire des torsions’; T:184, ‘tordre’) > màtólìn ‘be twisted completely’ (H:74).

(48)

á

dùgí

tòlín-fè

(s)he

cop

cloth

twist

‘She is squeezing the cloth.’ (H:74)

(49)

wúrí

mà-tólìn-xì

this

branch

ma-twist-prf

‘This branch is completely twisted.’ (H:74)

2.5. (Lexicalized) derivates with a more abstract lexical meaning

2.5.1. Derivates with a more abstract lexical meaning in general

41There is a relatively large group of mà-derivates with a more abstract / general meaning than the unprefixed verbs they are derived from. This group is strongly idiomatic and lexicalized. It is impossible to predict the meaning of a mà-derivate of this group from the meaning of the corresponding unprefixed verb, neither it is possible to predict if a given verb has a mà-derivate with a more abstract meaning.

42Some of the mà-derivates with a more abstract lexical meaning have an argument structure different from the unprefixed verbs from which they are derived, thus having an increased valency.

2.5.2. Derivates with a more abstract meaning

43mà-derivates with a more abstract lexical meaning and with no changes in the argument structure, cf. (50-51), are derived from 7 verbs in the database:

  • sàrá ‘buy, sell’ (R:151, ‘préparer, vendre, acheter’) > màsárà ‘exchange’(T:209, ‘échanger, transformer’; R:142, ‘changer, transformer’);

  • xínbélí ‘be cold’ > màxínbèlì ‘be cold, quiet, slow’ (T:214, ‘être calme, lent, refroidir’);

  • kàná ‘spoil’ (T:180, ‘gâter’) > màkánà ‘dissipate, waste’ (T:209, ‘gaspiller’);

  • wáá ‘cry, want’ (T:175, ‘pleurer, vouloir’) > màwáà ‘complain’ (T:207, ‘se plaindre’);

  • tìnkán ‘study’ (T:191, ‘apprendre, initier’) > màtínkàn ‘learn’ (C);

  • xɔ́rɔ́xɔ́ ‘be hard, difficult’ (T:192, ‘être dur, difficile’) > màxɔ́rɔ̀xɔ̀ ‘be resistant, oppose’ (T:214, ‘être resistant’);

  • xɛ́ɛ́ ‘send on a mission’ (T:175, ‘envoyer en commission’) > màxɛ́ɛ̀ ‘commit, charge with’ (T:207, ‘confier à, mettre à la charge de’).

(50)

tɔ̀xɛ́

kérén

sàrá

hen

one

buy

I

at

‘Buy / sell me a hen.’ (R:151)

(51)

é

bárà

búkí

mà-sárà

they

trmn

I

at

book

ma-buy

‘They exchanged my book.’ (F:60)

2.5.3. Causatives with a more abstract meaning

44Two mà-derivates in the database are causatives with a more abstract lexical meaning, i.e. they express events that cause more general events than those expressed by the corresponding unprefixed verbs. The object of a mà- causative with a more abstract lexical meaning corresponds to the subject of an unprefixed verb, cf. (52-53), (54-55). A further possibility is a reflexive use of the causative mà-derivate (56):

  • kánkán ‘attach (intr)’ (H:73, ‘accrocher’) > màkánkàn ‘attach, guard, save’ (H:73, ‘accrocher, garder’; T:213, ‘mettre en détention, conserver’);

  • gòró ‘go down, descend’ (T:180. ‘descendre’) > màgórò ‘diminish, lower’ (T:208, ‘abaisser, s’asseoir’).

(52)

á

bárà

kánkán

wúrí

(s)he

trmn

attach

wood

at

‘He is tied to wood (Il est accroché à l’arbre).’ (H:73)

(53)

á

bárà

kɔ́bìrì

mà-kánkàn

(s)he

trmn

I

at

money

ma-attach

‘He guarded my money.’ (H:73)

(54)

kùlé

bárà

gòró

monkey

trmn

descend

‘The monkey climbed down.’ (F:78)

(55)

tàrá

bárà

á

mà-górò

I

elder_sibling

trmn

(s)he

ma-descend

‘My brother decreased it.’ (C)

(56)

í

mà-górò

you

ma-descend

here

‘Sit down here.’ (H:64)

45One more unprefixed verb has a labile mà-derivate with a more abstract lexical meaning that can express both a more general event and a causation of it:

  • kúyá ‘be big, be long’ (T:178, ‘être grand, être long’) > màkúyà ‘be distant, make distant’ (T:209, ‘éloigner, être loin’).

2.6. (Lexicalized) derivates with an intensive meaning

46There are four mà-derivates that express more intensive events than the unprefixed verbs they are derived from, cf. (57-58). These unprefixed verbs do not form any natural class: two of them express activities, one of them designates a permanent state, and another one is a stative verb of perception. The exact meaning is defined lexically:

  • ɲááxú ‘be bad’ (H:73, ‘être mauvais, méchant’; T:185, ‘être méchant’) > màɲááxù ‘be very bad’ (H:74, ‘être devenu méchant, insupportable’; T:210, ‘être déteste’);

  • gèrún ‘swallow’ (T:183, ‘avaler’) > màgérùn ‘swallow quickly and greedily’ (T:212, ‘avaler rapidement et avidement’);

  • xàá ‘wash’ (H:73, ‘laver’; T:175, ‘laver’) > màxáà ‘wash; wash thoroughly’ (H:73, ‘laver en frottant beaucoup, avec du savon’);

  • tóó ‘see’ (C; T:175, ‘voir, apercevoir’) > màtóò ‘look’ (C; T:207, ‘regarder, examiner’).

(57)

bàré

ɲááxú

this

dog

be_bad

‘This dog is (permanently) angry.’ (H:73)

(58)

ɲààrí

mà-ɲááxù

hán

cat

ma-be_bad

very

‘The cat is (permanently) very, very angry.’ (H:74)

47xàá ‘wash’ has an unclear status in this list: the data of Houis (1963) contain clear intensive uses of màxáà, cf. (59-60), but my own first-hand data (61), as well as the data of Fofana (1992) (62), give no intensive meaning of this derivate. One can assume a semantic shift since Houis (1963).

(59)

á

sìgá-xì

dùgí-è

xàá-dè

(s)he

leave-prf

cloth-pl

wash-inf

‘She went to wash the clothes.’ (H:73)

(60)

sàfún-yí

mà-xáà

nàn

rà-fáǹ

soap-act

ma-wash

emph

ra-be_good

I

at

‘I like fine washing with soap.’ (H:73)

(61)

tàrá

bárà

á

mà-xáà

I

elder_sibling

trmn

(s)he

ma-wash

‘My brother washed himself.’ (C)

(62)

mà-xáà-fè

I

cop

I

ma-wash-prog

‘I am washing myself.’ (F:73)

48màtóò ‘look’, derived from tóó ‘see’, is a special lexicalized case of the intensive meaning where a state is converted into an activity, cf. (63-64).

(63)

bárà

tàrá

tóó

I

trmn

I

elder_sibling

see

‘I saw my brother.’ (C)

(64)

tàrá

mà-tóò-fè

I

cop

I

elder_sibling

ma-see-prog

‘I am looking at my brother.’ (C)

2.7. (Lexicalized) attenuatives

49There are 3 mà-derivates in the database that are attenuatives, i.e. they express a reduced event in comparison to the one expressed by the unprefixed verb. All the three unprefixed verbs attested to have two attenuative mà-derivates are verbs of directed motion, so their derivates express a shorter motion than the standard motion expressed by the unprefixed verbs, cf. (65-66), (67-68):

  • sìgá ‘leave’ > màsígà ‘move away from smb./smth.’ (H:74, ‘s’écarter de, se pousser, reculer’; T:209, ‘éloigner, reculer, déplacer’);

  • fáá ‘come’ (T:174, ‘venir’) > màfáà ‘approach’ (T:206, ‘approcher’);

  • sóó ‘enter’ > màsóò ‘come near, approach’ (H:74, ‘faire entrer dans un groupe, un tas; approcher, avancer près de’; T:207, ‘s’approcher, s’habiller’).

(65)

tàrá

bárà

sìgá

Kónákírí

I

elder_sibling

trmn

leave

Conakry

‘My brother left for Conakry.’ (C)

(66)

mà-sígà-mà

I

ma-leave-habfut

you.pl

with

‘I’ll move away from you (Je m’écarterai de vous).’ (H:74)

(67)

bárà

sóó

bànxí

I

trmn

enter

house

‘I came home / I entered the house.’ (C)

(68)

mà-sóò,

xúi

mɛ́

ma-enter

I

sbjv

voice

hear

‘Get closer to me so that I can hear your voice.’ (H:74)

2.8. Derivates with peripheral meanings

2.8.1. Derivates with peripheral meanings in general

50In this section the meanings of mà-derivates that are attested only for 1–2 verbs are listed when the semantic correlations of the mà-derivates and the unprefixed verbs they are derived from are clear. I assume that, since the semantic correlations are clear, one can expect more verbs in each group (of course, as well as in the main groups discussed in the previous sections); that is why, technically, subsections containing a single verb are created.

2.8.2. (Lexicalized) dispersives

51There is one mà-derivate in the database that is a dispersive, i.e. it is used to express the fact that an event takes place in different locations, cf. (69-70). As opposed to a more numerous group containing dispersive multiplicative distributives, here the events taking place in different locations do not have to occur jointly and therefore are not necessarily sub-events of a single event:

  • fúntú ‘distend, swell up’ (H:72, ‘enfler, gonfler’) > màfúntù ‘distend, swell up everywhere’ (H:72, ‘enfler de partout’).

(69)

bɛ̀lɛ̀xɛ́

bárà

fúntú

I

arm

trmn

swell_up

‘My arm swelled up.’ (H:72)

(70)

á

sànyí

bírín

mà-fúntù-mà

nɛ̀

(s)he

leg

all

ma-swell_up-habfut

ass

‘(If a woman is pregnant for the first time), her legs swell up everywhere.’ (H:72)

2.8.3. (Lexicalized) frustratives

52Another mà-derivate in the database is a frustrative, i. e. it is used to express an event that takes place in vain, in contrast to a normal event expressed by the unprefixed verb, cf. (71-72). The only unprefixed verb that has a mà-derivate with a frustrative meaning is a verb of activity, and the derivate denotes a vain activity:

  • fén ‘look for’ (H:72, ‘aller chercher’; T:175, ‘chercher’) > màféǹ ‘look for in vain’ (H:72).

(71)

á

náxà

yèlìbá-è

fén

(s)he

cons

griot-pl

look_for

‘He went to look for griots.’ (H:72)

(72)

í

tàn

nàn

bárà

é

mà-féǹ,

kɔ́nɔ́

é

sìgá-xì

you

foc

emph

trmn

they

ma-look_for

but

they

leave-prf

‘It was you who looked for them, but they had left.’ (H:72)

2.8.4. (Lexicalized) pejoratives

53One more mà-derivate in the database is pejorative, i.e. it is used to express an event that has a negative evaluation, in contrast to the neutral event:

  • fàlá ‘say’ (T:180, ‘dire, tresser’) > màfálà ‘criticize, slander’ (T:208, ‘critiquer, médire’).

2.8.5. Derivates from non-verbal parts of speech

54The prefix mà- is also occasionally used as a verbalizer that derives verbs from other parts of speech:

  • tààlí ‘parable, proverb’ (R:155, ‘parabole, proverbe’; T:84, ‘proverbe, fable’) > màtáálì ‘tell’ (T:210, ‘raconter’);

  • yándì ‘please’ (H:121, ‘s’il te plaît’; R:160, ‘s’il te plaît’) > màyándì ‘beg pardon’ (T:211, ‘prier, demander pardon’).

2.9. Unclear cases

55A number of mà-derivates have an unclear (so far) semantic correlation with the unprefixed verbs they are derived from. In most cases the meaning that is added by the prefix mà- to the lexical meaning of the corresponding unprefixed verb is difficult to identify mainly because of insufficient data (therefore, this is to be fixed during further research).

2.9.1. Activities semantically close to unprefixed verbs

56There are four mà-derivates in the database that are used to express activities which are semantically equal or close to the activities expressed by the corresponding unprefixed verbs:

  • kérí ‘pursue, chase’ (T:177, ‘chasser, poursuivre’) > màkérì ‘pursue, relieve’ (T:209, ‘poursuivre, venir en aide’);

  • kíítí ‘judge’ (T:185, ‘juger, aller en justice’) > màkíítì ‘judge’ (T:211, ‘juger, aller en justice’);

  • ságátá ‘follow, pursue’ (T:192, ‘suivre, rejoindre’) > màságàtà ‘pursue’ (T:214, ‘poursuivre, rejoindre’);

  • gìlín ‘roast, fry’ (T:183, ‘griller, rôtir’) > màgílìn ‘roast, fry’ (T:212, ‘griller, rôtir’).

2.9.2. Accomplishments semantically close to unprefixed stems

57There are three mà-derivates in the database that are used to express accomplishments which are semantically equal or close to the accomplishments expressed by the corresponding unprefixed verbs:

  • sɔ̀tɔ́ ‘get, obtain’ (T:181, ‘recevoir, obtenir’) > màsɔ́tɔ̀ ‘get, obtain, possess’ (T:210, ‘recevoir, obtenir, posséder’);

  • yɔ̀ntɔ́n ‘decrease tension’ (T:191, ‘diminuer de tension’) > màyɔ́ntɔ̀n ‘weaken’ (T:213, ‘détendre’);

  • yànfá ‘betray, distract, deceive’ (T:189, ‘trahir, distraire, tromper’) > màyánfà ‘distract, deceive’ (T:211, ‘distraire, tromper’).

58Possibly, mà-derivates expressing activities and accomplishments which are semantically equal or close to those expressed by the unprefixed verbs they are derived from, are obtained from the desemantization of mà-intensives (cf. the aforementioned case of xàá ‘wash’ > màxàà ‘wash thoroughly’, later ‘? wash’) or mà-derivates with other meanings, but more data and further research are needed to verify this.

2.9.3. Derivates with an internally plural participant

59Another mà-derivate in the database has a participant with an internally plural structure unlike the unprefixed verb from which it is derived, cf. (73-74):

  • bílín ‘encircle’ (H:70, ‘entourer, cerner’) > màbílìn ‘go round’ (H:70, ‘tourner autour’; T:212, ‘contourner, tourner autour’).

(73)

dònsoé-è

bárà

sílí

bìlín

hunter-pl

trmn

elephant

encircle

‘Hunters surrounded the elephant.’ (H:70)

(74)

bárà

gɛ̀mɛ̀kóntà

mà-bílìn

I

trmn

this

stone_heap

ma-encircle

‘I went around this heap of stones.’ (H:70)

2.9.4. Transitives and causatives

60There are three mà-derivates in the database that differ from the unprefixed verbs they are derived from, having an increased valency, cf. (75-76). Either only the argument structure distinguishes the derivates from the unprefixed verbs, or there is also an idiomatic semantic difference. One of the unprefixed verbs is labile, and the mà-derivate is restricted to transitive uses. The other two unprefixed verbs are intransitive, and the corresponding mà-derivates are transitive. One of them is a transitive, which adds a new object and retains the subject of the unprefixed verb. Another one is a causative, and its object corresponds to the subject of the unprefixed verb:

  • nɔ́xɔ́ ‘soil, be dirty’ ‘soil, be dirty’ (T:178, ‘salir’; H:90, ‘être sale’; R:147, ‘abîmer, tacher, salir’) > mànɔ́xɔ̀ ‘soil’ (R:142, ‘tacher, salir’);

  • sálí ‘pray’ (T:178, ‘prier’; F:67, ‘молиться’) > màsálì ‘say prayer (over a deceased)’ (F:67, ‘читать молитву над умершим’);

  • líí ‘reach’ (T:174, ‘atteindre, trouver’; R:189, ‘arriver’) > málíì ‘help’ (T:206, ‘aider, secourir’).

(75)

bárà

sálí

I

trmn

pray

‘I prayed.’ (F:66)

(76)

é

bárà

fùré

mà-sálì

they

trmn

deceased

ma-pray

‘They said a prayer over the deceased.’ (F:67)

2.9.5. Other unclear cases

61In the other four unclear cases of mà-derivates no generalization can be made at all. Intuitively, in contrast to fully idiomatic cases discussed below, here the meanings of unprefixed verbs and their mà-derivates are interrelated, but in a very obscure way, cf. (77-78):

  • kótó ‘put one on another, stack’ (H:73, ‘mettre les choses les unes sur les autres’; T:178, ‘entasser, empiler’) > màkótò ‘close’ (T:209, ‘couvrir, recouvrir’);

  • dàxú ‘be absent-minded’ (T:179, ‘être fou’) > màdáxù ‘deceive, disappoint’ (T:208, ‘tromper’);

  • fán ‘be good’ (T:175, ‘être bon’) > màfáǹ ‘be loved’ (T:207, ‘être aimé’);

  • gàlànbú ‘disagree, cross’ (T:195, ‘se manquer, être en désaccord, croiser’) > màgálànbù ‘cross, mix’ (T:214, ‘croiser, mélanger’).

(77)

yègé

kótó

wood

stack

‘Stack the wood.’ (H:73)

(78)

bàndé

mà-kótò

rice

ma-stack

‘Cover the rice (that is in the calabash).’ (H:73)

2.10. Fully idiomatic derivates

62Finally, a considerable group of mà-derivates are fully idiomatic, i.e. there is no synchronic semantic relation between them and the unprefixed verbs they are derived from, cf. (79-80), (81-82), (83-84):

  • mɛ̀ɛ́ ‘hear, feel’ (T:175, ‘entendre’; R:142, ‘entendre, comprendre’) > màmɛ́ɛ̀ ‘wait’ (T:206, ‘attendre’);

  • sáá ‘put, lie down’ (T:174, ‘mettre, poser, coucher’; R:150’, placer, mettre, déposer, se coucher’) > màsáà ‘swim, make love’ (T:207, ‘nager, faire l’amour avec’);

  • tèlèxún ‘carry on one’s head’ (T:194, ‘porter qch. sur la tête sans le tenir des mains’) > màtélèxùn ‘be eloquent’ (T:214, ‘être éloquent’);

  • kɛ́nɛ́n ‘please’ (T:182, ‘plaire’; R:130 ‘plaire, être agréable’) > màkɛ́nɛ̀n ‘clarify’ (T:213, ‘affirmer, clarifier’);

  • níɲá ‘do’ (T:178, ‘faire’) > màníɲà ‘be similar’ (T:209, ‘essayer, goûter, mésurer, ressembler à’);

  • xɔ́nɔ́ ‘get angry’ (C; T:179, ‘se fâcher, être amer’) > màxɔ́nɔ̀ ‘injure’ (T:210, ‘blesser’);

  • làń ‘agree, be necessary, must’ (T:176, ‘être d’accord, falloir’) > màláǹ ‘convoke, join’ (T:208, ‘rassembler, reunir’).

(79)

á

kùrɛ́

xílísí

mɛ̀ɛ́-mà

(s)he

tortoise

smell

feel-habfut

‘He will feel a tortoise’s smell.’ (H:55)

(80)

á

mà-mɛ́ɛ̀-fè

I

retr

(s)he

ma-feel-prog

‘(While my brother was writing a letter), I was waiting for him.’ (C)

(81)

á

sáá-xì

kɔ́ɔ́láá

búnyí

(s)he

lie_down

cola

under

‘He is lying under the cola tree.’ (H:58)

(82)

sɔ́ɲɛ́

gbégbè

bé,

nɔ̀ɔ́-mà

mà-sáà-dè

crocodile

many

cop

here

I

neg

can-habfut

this

ma-lie_down-inf

‘There are many crocodiles here, I cannot swim here.’ (H:137)

(83)

bárà

xɔ́nɔ́

tàrá

I

trmn

get_angry

I

elder_sibling

at

‘I got angry with my brother.’ (C)

(84)

bárà

tàrá

mà-xɔ́nɔ̀

I

trmn

I

elder_sibling

ma-get_angry

‘I injured my brother.’ (C)

2.11. Prefix mà-: conclusion

63A description of the prefix mà- semantics in Susu is given in §2.2–2.10.

64There is an evident core group of mà-derivates, mà-multiplicatives. Their main subgroups are multiplicatives proper, multiplicative distributives, multiplicatives semantically equal to unprefixed stems and alternatives. The type of the semantic subgroup of the core group can always be predicted from its lexical features:

  • transitive telic verbs that express brief events with no irreversible result have multiplicative proper mà-derivates;

  • transitive telic verbs that express brief events with an irreversible result have multiplicative distributive mà-derivates;

  • multiplicative unprefixed verbs have multiplicative mà-derivates with no apparent change of the lexical meaning;

  • verbs of motion manner verbs have alternative mà-derivates.

65In the non-core groups of mà-derivates there are also correlations between the lexical meaning of a verb and the meaning of its mà-derivate:

  • verbs that express mental states have mà-derivates with the meaning of property;

  • mà-derivates with an incremental theme have mà-derivates with the meaning of full coverage;

  • verbs of directed motion have attenuative mà-derivates.

66These correlations are less strong, because unlike the correlations of the core group, they can be confused by lexicalization: e.g. the verb with an incremental theme dón ‘eat’ has no expected mà-derivate with the meaning of full coverage, but has a lexicalized mà- multiplicative-distributive causative màdóǹ ‘feed many beings, pasture’.

67Other unprefixed verbs which do not participate in the discovered correlations (mainly, non-motional activities, non-brief non-incremental accomplishments), have mà-derivates that are lexically distributed between the mentioned groups (mà-derivates with different types of multiplicative meanings, with the meanings of property, of full coverage, of attenuative) and lexicalized groups.

68The prefix mà- frequently changes verbal valencies by increasing their quantity or more marginally by decreasing it. Normally, the valency-changing effect is an addition to the meaning of the prefix and not its proper function. The process of the valency-changing by mà- is lexicalized, and not incited by any general factors.

3. Prefix rà-

3.1. General overview

69Generally, the prefix rà- was fairly identified earlier as a causative marker. In the majority of cases this marker is used as a valency-increasing one that adds (at least semantically) a new participant, typically a new agent. However, firstly, a new participant with another semantic role can also be added, therefore this marker can also be used as an applicative, cf. (Peterson 1997; Jeong 2006). Secondly, there are also marginal non-valency-changing uses of the prefix rà-.

3.2. Derivates with a causative meaning

3.2.1. Derivates with a causative meaning in general

70Most typically, rà-derivates have a causative meaning. It means that usually the prefix rà- has a different syntactic subject in comparison to the unprefixed verb it is derived from; the added subject has the semantic role of an agent or an effector.

3.2.2. Causatives

71Causatives proper account for the majority of rà-derivates in the database (40 cases). The prefix rà- supplements an event with a new participant with the semantic role of an agent (if animate) or an effector (if inanimate) and with the syntactic role of a subject. The subject of an unprefixed verb from which the rà-causative is derived becomes a direct object of the rà-causative.

72The overwhelming majority of unprefixed verbs from which the rà-causative are derived are intransitive. See below for the four exceptions: two of them are reflexive verbs (i.e. they are formally transitive, but always have a reflexive pronoun as the formal direct object) and the other two are verbs of perception.

73Similarly, the majority of unprefixed verbs from which the rà-causative are derived are uncontrolled non-agentive verbs that initially have no agent valency and therefore easily add it to their argument structure. In the database there can be found eight verbs denoting an uncontrolled achievement, cf. (85-86), (87-88), three verbs for uncontrolled atelic processes, cf. (89-90), three verbs for uncontrolled accomplishments, cf. (91-92), four verbs for emotional states, cf. (93-94), six verbs for other states, cf. (95-96):

  • dúlá ‘drown (intr), go down, disappear’ (H:72, ‘disparaître dans l’eau, sombrer, se noyer’; T:177, ‘s’enfoncer, se noyer’) > ràdúlà ‘sink, drown (tr)’ (H:72, ‘couler, immerger’; T:219, ‘immerger, noyer’);

  • kísí ‘be saved from death’ (C; T:177, ‘être sauvé’) > ràkísì ‘save from death’ (C; T:221, ‘sauver de la mort’);

  • dɛ́xɛ́ ‘shine’ (H:71, ‘donner de la lumière, eclairer, brûler’) > ràdɛ́xɛ̀ ‘light, inflame’ (H:71, ‘allumer’; T:219, ‘allumer’);

  • fúntú ‘distend, swell up’ (H:72, ‘enfler, gonfler’) > ràfúntù ‘inflate, swell’ (T:226, ‘gonfler, faire enfler’);

  • gààxú ‘be afraid of’ (H:73, ‘avoir peur de’; R:125, ‘craindre, appréhender, avoir peur...’) > ràgááxù ‘frighten’ (H:73, ‘faire peur’; T:224, ‘faire peur’; F:69, ‘испугать’);

  • bɔ̀rɔ̀xɔ́ ‘be mild’ (H:71, ‘être mou’) > ràbɔ́rɔ̀xɔ̀ ‘make mild’ (H:71, ‘amollir, assouplir’; T:230, ‘ramolir, assouplir’).

(85)

kúnkì

bárà

dúlá

ship

trmn

drown

‘The ship went down.’ (H:72)

(86)

dímé-è

náxà

kúnkì

rà-dúlà

child-pl

cons

ship

ra-drown

‘The children sank the pirogue.’ (H:72)

(87)

tàrá

bárà

kísí

I

elder_sibling

trmn

be_saved

‘My brother was saved (from death).’ (C)

(88)

tàrá

bárà

nà-kísì

I

elder_sibling

trmn

I

ra-be_saved

‘My brother saved me (from death).’ (C)

(89)

lánpuì

dɛ́xɛ́-fè

lamp

cop

shine-prog

‘The lamp is on.’ (Lit. ‘The lamp is is shining.’) (H:71)

(90)

díí

bárà

lánpuì

rà-dɛ́xɛ̀

I

at

child

trmn

lamp

ra-shine

‘My child turned on the lamp.’ (F:68)

(91)

bɛ̀lɛ̀xɛ́

bárà

fúntú

=(69)

I

arm

trmn

swell_up

‘My arm swelled up.’ (H:72)

(92)

fóyé

bárà

bɛ́là

rà-fúntù

wind

trmn

sail

ra-swell

‘The wind swelled the sail.’ (H:72)

(93)

í

námà

gààxú

bàré

you

proh

be_afraid

dog

with

‘Don’t be afraid of the dog.’ (H:73)

(94)

fàtú

bárà

dùyɛ́rɛ́

rà-gááxù

Fatu

trmn

baby

ra-be_afraid

‘Fatu frightened the baby.’ (F:69)

(95)

mángò-è

bɔ́rɔ́xɔ́-xì

=(29)

this

mango-pl

be_mild-prf

‘These mangoes are soft.’ (H:71)

(96)

í

bɛ̀lɛ̀xɛ́

rà-bɔ́rɔ̀xɔ̀

you

hand

ra-be_mild

‘Relax your hand.’ (H:71)

74A significant number of unprefixed intransitive controlled (agentive) verbs also have rà-causatives. In the database there can be found 10 intransitive telic controlled verbs, cf. (97-98), (99-100), 2 intransitive atelic controlled verbs, cf. (101-102), 2 reflexive atelic controlled verbs, cf. (103-104). But it is remarkable that there is a strong tendency for the rà-causatives of this group to trigger a reinterpretation of a controlled event as an uncontrolled one. This means that uncontrolledness is an almost obligatory feature of a rà-causative:

  • sóó ‘enter’ > ràsóò ‘bring in’ (T:217, ‘faire entrer’; F:69, ‘ввести, внести’);

  • bìrá ‘throw oneself down, fall’ (C; H:89 ‘tomber’) > ràbírà ‘let fall’ (C; T:218, ‘faire tomber, rappeler a la memoire’);

  • bèré ‘play’ (H:70, ‘jouer’) > ràbérè ‘play with, amuse’ (H:70, ‘faire jouer, amuser’);

  • gíí ‘move(intr), run’ (H:73, ‘courrir’, T:174, ‘courir, fuir’) > ràgíì ‘move, drive’ (C; T:216, ‘faire courir, faire fuir’).

(97)

bárà

sóó

bànxí

=(67)

I

trmn

enter

house

‘I came home / I entered the house.’ (C)

(98)

pɔ̀ɔ́tì

rà-sóò

cup

ra-enter

‘Bring the cup in.’ (F:69)

(99)

tàrá

bárà

bìrá

bɔ́xì

fárì

I

elder_sibling

trmn

throw_oneself

ground

on

‘My brother threw himself on the ground.’ (C)

(100)

tàrá

bárà

bɔ̀nfɔ́ɛ

rà-bírà

I

elder_sibling

trmn

bag

ra-throw_oneself

‘My brother let fall his bag.’ (C)

(101)

dímé-dí

bèré-fè

búùl

child-DIM

cop

play-prog

ball

with

‘The chidren are playing ball.’ (H:70)

(102)

kùlé-dí

é

rà-bérè-fè

monkey-DIM

cop

3PL

ra-play-prog

‘The little monkey is amusing them’, (H:70)

(103)

sìí

bárà

á

gíí

=(24)

goat

trmn

(s)he

run

‘The goat ran.’ (F:40)

(104)

mà-tìnkàn-fè

wòtóò

rà-gíì-dè

I

cop

ma-study-prog

car

ra-run-inf

‘I am learning to drive.’ (C)

75The database provides only 3 exceptional rà-causatives whose semantics presumes that the causee has some control over the event, cf. (105-106):

  • gbìlén ‘come back’ (T:183, ‘revenir, se retourner’) > ràgbílèn ‘make come back’ (T:227, ‘retourner, restituer’; F:69, ‘возвратить’);

  • kàlí ‘swear’ (H:73, ‘jurer’; T:180, ‘jurer’) > ràkálì ‘make swear’ (H:73, ‘faire jurer’; T:220, ‘faire jurer, prêter serment’);

  • sìgá ‘leave’ > ràsígà ‘send smb.’ (H:74, ‘faire partir, envoyer’, T:222, ‘faire partir’).

(105)

é

bárà

gbìlén

é

xɔ̀nyí

they

trmn

come_back

they

home

‘They came back home.’ (H:81)

(106)

sɔ́xɔ̀

bárà

á

gìnɛ̀

rà-gbílèn

I

uncle

trmn

(s)he

poss

woman

ra-come_back

‘My uncle made his wife come back.’ (F:69)

76The only two transitive unprefixed verbs in the database that have rà-causatives are a verb of perception, cf. (107-108), and a verb of mental state, cf. (109-110). Both have no agentive valency in their frames. Syntactically rà-causatives derived from these verbs differ: ràtóò has the same object as the unprefixed verb (and the causee is not expressed) and ràkólòn makes the causee its syntactic object (and the object of the unprefixed verb is not expressed):

  • tóó ‘see’ (C; T:175, ‘voir, apercevoir’) > ràtóò ‘show’ (C);

  • kólón ‘know, be acquainted with’ (H:73, ‘connaître’; T:182, ‘connaître, savoir’) > ràkólòn ‘let know’ (H:73, ‘faire connaitre, avertir, prévenir’; T:227, ‘informer, prévenir’; F:70: ‘сообщать, ставить в известность’).

(107)

bárà

tàrá

tóó

=(63)

I

trmn

I

elder_sibling

see

‘I saw my brother.’ (C)

(108)

tàrá

bárà

á

kòbé

rà-tóò

I

elder_sibling

trmn

(s)he

occiput

ra-see

‘My brother showed the back of his head.’ (C)

(109)

kólón-mà

=(36)

I

neg

this

know-habfut

‘I don’t know this one.’ (H:73)

(110)

é

náxà

xɛ́mɛ́

bírín

rà-kólòn

they

cons

people

all

ra-know

‘They notified all the people.’ (H:73)

3.2.3. Transitives

77The database provides five unprefixed labile verbs of state in their intransitive uses and of change of state in their transitive uses that have rà-derivates with no apparent semantic difference from the transitive uses of the unprefixed verbs, cf. (111) & (112-113). Presumably, this group of rà-derivates can be interpreted as rà-causatives derived from intransitive uses of the labile verbs:

  • dɔ̀xɔ́ ‘put, seat, sit’ (H:72, ‘poser, asseoir’; T:180, ‘s’asseoir’) > ràdɔ́xɔ̀ ‘put, seat’ (H:72, ‘poser dans un but bien déterminé’; T:219, ‘raccorder, faire asseoir’);

  • fìndí ‘become, turn, change’ (H:72, ‘passer d’un état dans un autre, devenir’; R:123, ‘tourner, devenir’; T:189, ‘devenir’) > ràfíndì ‘turn (tr), put’ (H:72, ‘changer d’état dans un but determiné, retourner qch., faire face à’; T:225, ‘transformer’);

  • nɔ́xɔ́ ‘soil, be dirty’ (T:178, ‘salir’; H:90, ‘être sale’; R:147, ‘abîmer, tacher, salir’) > rànɔ́xɔ̀ ‘soil’ (T:221, ‘salir’);

  • sáá ‘put, lie down’ (T:174, ‘mettre, poser, coucher’; R:150, ‘placer, mettre, deposer, se coucher’) > ràsáà ‘put’ (T:217, ‘coucher qch.’);

  • xìrí ‘attach, be attached’ (H:73, ‘attacher’; T:181, ‘attacher, lier’) > ràxírì ‘unite, connect’ (H:73, ‘lier’; T:223, ‘lier, raccorder, attacher’).

(111)

é

dɔ̀xɔ́-xì

nìngé

kántá-dè

they

sit-prf

bull

look_after-inf

‘They are here to take care of the bulls.’ (H:72)

(112)

á

kóté

dɔ̀xɔ́-fè

sòóe

fárì

(s)he

cop

load

sit-prog

horse

on

‘He is putting the load onto the horse’s back.’ (H:72)

(113)

í

kébényí-è

rà-dɔ́xɔ̀

é

bóóré

you

sbjv

cop

board-pl

ra-sit

they

rec

with

‘Let you lay these boards on one another.’ (H:72)

3.3. Derivates with a benefactive meaning

3.3.1. Derivates with a benefactive meaning in general

78-benefactives add a valency of a beneficiary to the argument structure of the unprefixed verbs they are derived from. The syntactic status of the beneficiary may vary: with some ra-benefactives the beneficiary is an adjunct, with others it is a direct object. Most of the unprefixed verbs (4 of 5 in the database) that have -benefectives are controlled (agentive) verbs.

3.3.2. Benefactives with an adjunct beneficiary

79There are three unprefixed controlled transitive telic verbs (two of them are strictly transitive, one is a labile verb taken in the transitive meaning) in the database, that have rà-derivates which, having a benefactive meaning, provide a syntactically optional peripheral valency of a beneficiary expressed by the postposition bɛ́ ‘to’, cf. (114-115):

  • tòlín ‘twist’ (H:74, ‘faire des torsions’; T:184, ‘tordre’) > ràtólìn ‘twist for smb.’ (H:74);

  • bíí ‘cut, root out, shave’ (H:70, ‘couper (herbes), défricher, raser (poils)’; T:174, ‘raser, sarcler’) > ràbíì ‘cut, shave, root out for smb.’ (H:70, ‘se raser, défricher un endroit déterminé’; T:215, ‘ouvrir, inaugurer’);

  • bálán ‘close, be closed’ (H:70, ‘fermer, être fermé’; T:182, ‘fermer’) > ràbálàn ‘close for smb.’ (H:70).

(114)

á

dùgí

tòlín-fè

=(46)

(s)he

cop

cloth

twist

‘She is squeezing the cloth.’ (H:74)

(115)

xùnyí

rà-tólìn

bɛ́

I

head

ra-twist

I

to

‘Twist my head for me (i.e., braid my hair).’ (H:74)

3.3.3. Benefactives with an object beneficiary

80There are two unprefixed intransitive verbs (one of them is a controlled verb of process, while the other is an uncontrolled verb of state) in the database, which have rà-derivates with a benefactive meaning. These derivates have a direct object valency of a beneficiary, cf. (116-117), (118-119):

  • sálí ‘pray’ (T:178, ‘prier’; F:67, ‘молиться’) > ràsálì ‘bless’ (F:67, ‘проводить молитвой, благословить’);

  • ɲááxú ‘be bad’ (H:73, ‘être mauvais, méchant’; T:185, ‘être méchant’) > ràɲááxù ‘be malicious with smb.’ (H:73, ‘être méchant envers quelqu'un’; T:224, ‘haïr, detester’).

(116)

bárà

sálí

=(75)

I

trmn

pray

‘I prayed.’ (F:66)

(117)

sálìálìmámí

bárà

mùxú

rà-sálì

imam

trmn

we.exc

ra-pray

‘The imam blessed us.’ (F:67)

(118)

bàré

ɲááxú

=(57)

this

dog

be_bad

‘This dog is (permanently) angry.’ (H:73)

(119)

gìnɛ́

á

xúnyà

rà-ɲááxù

this

woman

(s)he

younger_sibling

ra-be_bad

‘This woman is malicious with her younger brother.’ (H:74)

3.4. Derivates with an abstract applicative meaning

3.4.1. Derivates with an abstract applicative meaning in general

81A number of unprefixed transitive controlled telic verbs in the database have rà-derivates that add a new semantic valency of a specific purpose or manner. In the available data this valency is never expressed syntactically and is present only in the meaning of the rà-derivates of this group.

3.4.2. Applicatives specifying purpose

82Nine rà-derivates in the database derived from transitive controlled telic verbs are used to express actions performed with a specific purpose. It means that semantically (but not syntactically) a new purpose argument is added to the argument structure of the corresponding unprefixed verbs, cf. (120-121), (122-123):

  • xàá ‘wash’ (H:73, ‘laver’; T:175, ‘laver’) > ràxáà ‘wash with a specific purpose’ (H:73; T:218, ‘laver’);

  • bɛ̀ndún ‘drag, pull’ (H:70, ‘tirer’; T:191, ‘tirer’) > ràbɛ́ndùn ‘drag, pull with a specific purpose’ (H:70, ‘tirer dans une intention bien déterminée’);

  • bɔ̀nbɔ́ ‘beat’ (H:71, ‘frapper’; T:189, ‘frapper, battre’) > ràbɔ́nbɔ̀ ‘beat to a certain target’ (H:71 ‘frapper dans un but déterminé’);

  • dón ‘eat’ > ràdóǹ ‘eat with a specific purpose’ (H:71, ‘manger dans un but déterminé, remanger’);

  • fàlá ‘say’ (T:180, ‘dire, tresser’) > ràfálà ‘arrange’ (T:219 ‘préparer, arranger’);

  • fén ‘look for’ (H:72, ‘aller chercher’; T:175, ‘chercher’) > ràféǹ ‘look for with a specific purpose’ (H:72);

  • kɔ̀ɔ́ ‘take down, take away’ (H:73, ‘enlever’; T:175, ‘ramasser’) > ràkɔ́ɔ̀ ‘take away with a specific purpose’ (H:73, ‘enlever dans une intention déterminée’; T:216, ‘ramasser, enlever’);

  • xín ‘bite (once)’ (T:176, ‘mordre’) > ràxíǹ ‘crack’ (T:218, ‘couper avec les dents’);

  • fíí ‘give’ > ràfíì ‘propose’ (H:72, ‘offrir’).

(120)

á

sìgá-xì

dùgí-è

xàá-dè

=(59)

(s)he

leave-prf

cloth-pl

wash-inf

‘She went to wash the clothes.’ (H:73)

(121)

í

bɛ̀lɛ̀xɛ́

rà-xáà,

wón

bàndé

dón

you

hand

ra-wash

we.inc

come

rice

eat

‘Wash your hands, we are going to eat rice.’ (H:73)

(122)

á

náxà

yèlìbá-è

fén

=(71)

(s)he

cons

griot-pl

look_for

‘He went to look for griots.’ (H:72)

(123)

í

námà

rà-féǹ

gèré

you

proh

I

ra-look_for

quarrel

with

‘Don’t look for me with the purpose of a quarrel.’ (H:72)

3.4.3. Applicatives specifying manner

83Similarly, three rà-derivates in the database derived from transitive controlled telic verbs are used to express actions performed in a specific manner, cf. (124-125):

  • bɔ̀ɔ́ ‘cut, tear’ (H:71, ‘séparer, fendre, déchirer’; T:175, ‘déchirer’) > ràbɔ́ɔ̀ ‘cut up’ (H:71; T:215, ‘entailler, éventer’);

  • dɛ́gɛ́ ‘sew’ (H:71, ‘coudre’; R:119, ‘coudre’) > ràdɛ́gɛ̀ ‘sew in a particular way’ (H:71, ‘coudre un sac plein, découdre, ficeler un rôti’);

  • sɛ̀gɛ́ ‘cut’ (H:74, ‘couper avec un instrument’; T:181, ‘couper’) > ràsɛ́gɛ̀ ‘cut, hatch’ (H:74; T:221, ‘éclore, couper’).

(124)

à

bárà

dònmá

bɔ̀ɔ́

=(16)

(s)he

trmn

I

at

boubou

tear

‘He tore my boubou.’ (H:71)

(125)

yɛ̀nxɛ́ɛ̀

rà-bɔ́ɔ̀

fish

ra-tear

‘Cut up the fish.’ (H:71)

3.5. Derivates with non-valency-changing meanings

84A few rà-derivates in the database have the same argument structure as the unprefixed verbs they are derived from. These include semelfactives and fully idiomatic derivates.

3.5.1. Semelfactives

85Two unprefixed transitive controlled multiplicative verbs in the database have -derivates with a semelfactive meaning. This means that a -derivate designates a sub-event from the series of sub-events expressed by the corresponding unprefixed verb, cf. (126-127). Since the database contains no other rà-derivates from transitive multiplicative verbs, one can assume that this meaning is standard for them:

  • bórón ‘trample, move one’s legs’ (H:71, ‘agir avec des pieds’; T:182, ‘piétiner’) > ràbóròn (H:71 ‘donner un coup de pied’; F:69, ‘пинать’);

  • dìń ‘pound’ (H:72, ‘donner des coups, piler’; T:176, ‘piler, heurter, cogner’) > ràdíǹ ‘pound once’ (H:72, ‘heurter, bousculer, pousser devant soi’; T:217, ‘heurter, pousser’; F:68, ‘толкать’).

(126)

á

á

kùrɛ́

bórón-fè

(s)he

cop

(s)he

poss

bicycle

trample-prog

‘He is riding his bicycle.’ (Lit. ‘He is trampling his bicycle.’) (H:71)

(127)

Fódé

bárà

báré

rà-bóròn

Fode

trmn

dog

ra-trample

‘Fode kicked the dog.’ (F:69)

3.5.2. Fully idiomatic derivates

86There are three unprefixed transitive controlled telic verbs in the database that have fully idiomatic rà-derivates, i.e. there is no synchronic semantic correlation between rà-derivates and the unprefixed verbs they are derived from, cf. (128-129):

  • báá ‘take down, pick’ (T:174 ‘puiser, cueillir, ôter’; F:66, ‘срывать’) > ràbáà ‘do’ (T:215, ‘faire’; F:66, ‘сделать’);

  • tálá ‘pull out (once)?’ (T:178, ‘arracher’) > ràtálà ‘unreel, spread out’ (T:222, ‘étendre, dérouler’);

  • sɔ̀tɔ́ ‘get, obtain’ (T:181, ‘recevoir, obtenir’) > ràsɔ́tɔ̀ ‘offend, insult’ (T:222, ‘insulter’).

(128)

mɔ́mɔ́

mángò-è

báá-fè

Momo

mango-pl

pick-prog

‘Momo is picking mangoes.’ (F:66)

(129)

á

bárà

wàlí

rà-báà

(s)he

trmn

work

ra-pick

‘He did the work.’ (F:66)

3.6. Prefix rà-: conclusion

87A description of the semantics of the prefix rà- in Susu has been given in §3.2–3.5.

88There is an evident regular core group of rà-derivates and unprefixed verbs they are derived from: rà-causatives derived from uncontrolled intransitive verbs.

Other rà-causatives are derived as follows:

  • rà-causatives can be derived from conrolled intransitive verbs, but in this case there is a strong tendency for the event to be reinterpreted as an uncontrolled one;

  • rà-causatives can be derived from a marginal group of uncontrolled transitive stative verbs;

  • labile verbs of state in their intransitive uses and verbs of change of state in their transitive uses derive rà-causatives from their intransitive meaning, and these derivates have therefore no apparent semantic difference with their transitive uses.

89Controlled transitive telic verbs have rà-derivates with other meanings, and the distribution of these meanings is mainly lexical:

  • some transitive telic verbs derive rà-benefactives;

  • some transitive telic verbs derive rà-applicatives specifying purpose;

  • some transitive telic verbs derive rà-applicatives specifying manner;

  • some transitive telic verbs derive fully idiomatic rà-derivates.

90There is also a small group of intransitive unprefixed verbs that derive rà-benefactives.

Multiplicative verbs derive rà-semelfactives.

91Admittedly, there are no rà-derivates in the database that are derived from transitive verbs of non-mentioned semantic types – e.g. atelic agentive verbs, telic effector verbs. Such derivates may be impossible in Susu, but this requires further research.

4. Conclusion

92A description of the meanings of the two most productive verbal prefixes in Susu, mà- and rà-, has been given in this paper. It has been shown that both prefixes have core meanings and more marginal meanings. Core meanings that are held by the majority of the prefixed derivates strongly correlate with lexical semantic features of the verbal stems they are derived from. More marginal meanings have weaker correlations, and are frequently defined lexically.

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Bibliographie

Sources

C – consultant, F – (Fofana 1992), H – (Houis 1963), R – (Raimbault 1923), T – (Touré 1994).

References

Bailleul Charles, 1986, « Sens originel des postpositions en Bambara », Mandenkan 11, pp. 71-74.

Cusic David D., 1981, Verbal plurality and aspect, Stanford: Stanford University (Ph.D. dissertation).

Dowty David, 1991, “Thematic proto-roles and argument selection”, Language 67(3), pp. 547-619.

Fofana Mori-Saidu, 1992, Sintaksis prostogo predloženija v jazyke analitičeckogo tipa (na materiale jazyka soso) [Syntax of a simple sentence in an analytic language (the Soso case)], Moscow, Institute of Linguistics RAS. (Ph.D. dissertation.) = F

Houis Maurice, 1963, Étude descriptive de la langue Susu, Dakar, Université de Dakar. = H

Jeong Youngmi, 2006, The landscape of applicatives, College Park, University of Maryland (Ph.D. dissertation).

Keïta Boniface, 1989, « Les préverbes du dialonké », Mandenkan 17, pp. 69-80.

Lüpke Friederike, 2005, A grammar of Jalonke argument structure Nijmegen, Radboud Universiteit (Ph.D. dissertation).

Peterson David, 1997, Discourse-functional, historical, and typological aspects of applicative constructions, Leipzig, MPI-EVA (Ph.D. dissertation).

Raimbault R. P., 1923, Dictionnaire Français-Soso et Soso-Français, Rome, Sodalité de St. Pierre Claver. = R

Shluinsky [Šluinskij] Andrej B., 2010, “Vse puti vedut v Rim, ili o pokazateljax ma v jazyke Susu [All roads lead to Rome, or On the ma markers in Susu], in Dem’jankov Valerij, Porxomovskij, Viktor (eds.), V prostranstve jazyka i kul’tury: zvuk, znak, smysl. K 70-letiju V. A. Vinogradova, Moscow, Jazyki slavjanskix kul’tur, pp. 317-331.

Touré Aboubacar, 1994, Éléments de description de la langue Soso, Grénoble, Université de Grénoble. (Thèse de doctorat.) = T

Vydrin Valentin F., 2009, “Preverby v jazyke dan-gueta” [Preverbs in Dan-Gweta], Voprosy jazykoznanija 2, pp. 75-84.

Vydrina Aleksandra V., 2009a, “Pokazatel’ glagol’noj množestvennosti v jazyke kakabe” [A marker of the verbal plurality in Kakabe], in Vydrin Valentin F. (ed.), Afrikanskij sbornik 2009, St. Petersburg, Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography, pp. 269-288.

Vydrina Aleksandra V., 2009b, Argumentnaja struktura i aktantnye derivacii v jazyke kakabe [Argument structure and valency-changing derivations in Kakabe], St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg State University (M.A. dissertation.)

Wood Esther J., 2007, The semantic typology of pluractionality, Berkeley, University of California. (Ph.D. dissertation.)

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Notes

1 I am very indebted to Oumar Camara with whom I worked extensively in Moscow in autumn 2004 and in winter and spring 2007.

2 Exact quotations of the meaning of the verbs as given in the referenced publication are given in the brackets, except for frequently used verbs with clear meaning.

3 One more mental state in the database, xɔ́nɔ́ ‘get angry’, has a strongly idiomatic -derivate.

4 There is just one exceptional event with an incremental theme in the database, dón ‘eat’, that has a strongly idiomatic -derivate.

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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Andrey Shluinsky, « Verbal prefixes mà- and rà- in Susu and lexical features of verbal stems », Mandenkan, 52 | 2014, 73-110.

Référence électronique

Andrey Shluinsky, « Verbal prefixes mà- and rà- in Susu and lexical features of verbal stems », Mandenkan [En ligne], 52 | 2014, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2014, consulté le 24 juin 2017. URL : http://mandenkan.revues.org/329 ; DOI : 10.4000/mandenkan.329

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Auteur

Andrey Shluinsky

Institute of Linguistics, Russian Academy of sciences, Moscow
ashl@yandex.ru

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