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Appendix

Sample texts in Beng

Section 15
Denis Paperno
p. 106-111

Texte intégral

15.1. Text in transcription: Two people on a trip

1The humorous story was recorded by Wolfgang Paesler in November 1981 from Kouassi Jean Clement, transcribed by Kouadio Kouadio Destin, and translated by Kouadio Kouadio Patrice into French.

1.

Sɔ̰̀ŋ̀

plāŋ̄

ŋó

tá

blī-mà̰.

person

two

3pl:Pst+

go:L

place-CONT

‘Two people went somewhere’.

2Commentary. tá blīmà̰ is an idiomatic expression ‘to take a trip’, literally ‘to go someplace’, related to the usage of blī ‘place’ as an indefinite pronoun.

2.

Ŋó

sró

wē

ná̰

ŋó

ŋò

gbà

pɔ̄-blē-lɛ̀.

3pl:Pst+

arrive:L

there

Top

3pl:Pst+

3pl

give:L

thing-eat-Nmlz

‘When they got there they were given food’.

3Commentary. pɔ̄blēlɛ̀ is structurally relativization of the direct object using event nominalization, literally ‘thing eaten’, or ‘eating something’, compare 6.2.

3.

Dō

pè

sá̰

ká̰-nā̰.

one

3sg:Pst+3

say:L

that

3sg:Pst+

get.satiated-Prf

‘One of them said he was full’.

4Commentary. The portemanteau pronoun a̚ contains the obligatory 3rd person direct object of the speech verb, literally ‘He said it that he was full’.

4.

Dō-lɛ̀

drɛ̄

wɔ̄

pɔ̀

pɔ̄-lɛ̀

blè.

one-Def

Emph

3sg:Pst+3

hand

wash:L

3sg:Pst+

thing-Def

eat:L

‘The other one washed his hands and ate’.

5Commentary. Here, the portemanteau pronoun contains a possessive pronoun, literally ‘He washed his hand’. Note juxtapotion of two clauses as the translation equivalent of verb phrase conjunction. Aslo notable is the usage of drɛ̄ as a topic switch marker.

5.

Gɛ̄ŋ̄

kló

ná̰

dō

lɛ̀

yúó

bò.

beautiful

little

Top

do

Def

3sg:Pst+

oral.cavity

extract:L

‘After a little while, the first one yawned’.

6Commentary. Gɛ̄ŋ̄ kló is an idiomatic expression ‘a little later’. It is marked by an overt topic marker, as usual with topicalized adverbial elements. yúó bō is an idiomatic expression ‘to yawn’. The semantic motivation of the expression is transparent: when someone yawns, the oral cavity becomes visible.

6.

Pɔ̄-blē-lí

lɛ̀

là

kēsá̰

lɛ́

lɔ̀wā.

thing-eat-Ag

Def

3sg:Pst+3

ask:L

that

3sg:Pst+

Cop:L

how

‘The one who had eaten asked him what the matter was’.

7Commentary. ó lɛ́ lɔ̀wā? is the idiomatic Beng expression for ‘why’, literally How is it?. The portemanteau pronoun a̚ includes a direct object: “He asked him”. Note the specific event reference in the interpretation of the agent nominalization in ‑lí.

7.

pè:

pɔ̄pɔ̄.

3sg:Pst+3

say:L

nothing

‘He said: “Nothing.”’

8Commentary. pɔ̄pɔ̄ ‘nothing’ is derived by reduplication from pɔ̄ ‘thing’.

8.

Ó

yúó

bò

mṵ̂ŋ́.

3sg:Pst+

oral.cavity

extract:L

again

‘He yawned again’.

9.

Pɔ̄-blē-lí

lɛ̀

là

mṵ̂ŋ́,

pè:

pɔ̄pɔ̄.

thing-eat-Ag

Def

3sg:Pst+3

ask:L

again

3sg:Pst+3

say:L

nothing

‘The one who had eaten asked him again’, ‘and he said: “Nothing.”’

10.

Ŋò-ó

blɔ̄

dɛ́ɛ̄

pè

yī

ó

ŋ̄

dɛ̀.

3pl-St+

there.Foc

if

3sg:Pst+3

say:L

hunger

3sg:Pst+

1sg

kill:L

‘They were there, and the other one said he was hungry’.

9Commentary. Here complementizer dɛ́ɛ̄ ‘if’ is used in the sense of ‘when’. The verb dɛ̄ (base sense ‘to kill’) is used in the sense of ‘experience’ with nouns of feelings and senses like ‘hunger’, ‘fear’, ‘heat’, etc. as subjects, and the experiencer in the direct object position.

11.

Pɔ̄-blē-lí

lɛ̀

pè

thing-eat-Ag

Def

3sg:Pst+3

say:L

‘The one who had eaten said:’

12.

sá̰

mà̰

pé

mḭ̄

nḭ̀

ɛ́?

that

1sg:Pst-3

say:L

2sg

BENEF

Neg

‘Hadn’t I told you?’

10Commentary. The structure of the preterite TAM construction is obscured by high tone spread to the verb stem and the tone sandhi, whereby instead of the original mǎ̰ pè (LH L) we see mà̰ pé (L H).

13.

Sá̰

ŋô

tá

blī

mà̰

ná̰,

that

3pl:Cnd+

go

place

CONT

Top

‘That when one goes somewhere’,

11Commentary. Conditional mood is used here according to the general rule of marking habitual aspect in temporal and conditional clauses.

     

ŋà

yèɲrè

pɔ̄-blē-lɛ̀

lō

ɛ́.

3pl:Hab-

be.ashame:L

thing-eat-Nmlz

with

Neg

‘one is not shy of eating’.

12Commentary. The verb yēɲré selects postposition. Note the interpretation of pɔ̄blēlɛ̀ contrasting with the object nominalization interpretation in sentence 2.

14.

Ŋó

zrɛ̈

ɛ̀

pòpò

nyɛ̰̄

ŋó

tá

ɛ̄

ná̰,

3pl:Pst+

road

Def

request:L

Foc

3pl:Pst+

go:L

Foc

Top

‘When they said goodbye and went away’,

13Commentary. To “request the road” is a common formula for guests asking permission to leave from their host in West Africa. Here the focus (and the topic) constructions are used to mark temporal sequence of events.

     

gɔ̄ló

lɛ̀

bédà

zrɛ̈

lɛ̀

yé,

3sg

friend

Def

3sg:Pst+

lie:L

road

Def

mouth

‘his friend lay down on the road’,

14Commentary. zrɛ̈ is one of the nouns that requires locative postposition yé without the ‘on the edge’ meaning of the latter.

15.

nà̰

wà

zḭ̀

yā

drɛ̄

ɛ́.

DT

3sg:Hab-

can:L

walk

anymore

Neg

‘he could not walk anymore’.

15Commentary. Particle drɛ̄ is the way to express ‘anymore’ in Beng in the context of the negative particle ɛ́.

15.2. Text in orthography: Chimpanzee’s house

16This folktale was recorded by Wolfgang Paesler in November 1981 from Kouassi Jean Clement, transcribed ny Kouadio Kouadio Destin, and translated by Kouadio Kouadio Patrice into French. For comparison with 15.1, this text is reproduced in the orthography (Kouadio, Kouakou 1997) and in phonological transcription, to provide a sample of this orthography.

1.

Ganmlàn

o

gbèe

gbɔ.

Gā̰mlà̰

gbě

gbɔ́.

chimpanzee

St+

village

old

‘Of old, Chimpanzee used to live in the village’.

17Commentary. See 12.1.2 for discussion of time reference.

2.

O

suo

dɔ̀

súó

dɔ̀

3sg:Pst

house

build:L

‘He built a house’,

fɛn

sɔ̀nŋ̀

nùnŋ̀

ŋo

tà

cà

nan,

fɛ̰̄

sɔ̰̀ŋ̀

nṵ̀ŋ̀

ŋó

tà

cà

ná̰,

Rel

person

Pl

3pl:Pst+

go:L

3sg

watch:L

Top

‘and when people came to see it’,

18Commentary. The sentence features a serial construction where one subject pronoun shares two verbs in the same (low tone) form.

3.

ŋo

pè

san

ŋó

pè

sá̰

3pl:Pst+

3sg

say:L

that

‘They said:

ganmlàn,

min

suo

lɛ̀

o

lɛ̀

gɛŋ.

gā̰mlà̰,

mḭ̄

súó

lɛ̀

lɛ̀

gɛ̄ŋ̄.

chimpanzee

2sg

house

Def

3sg:Pst+

Cop:L

beautiful

‘Chimpanzee, your house is nice’.

4.

Drɛ

o

guan nan

do.

Drɛ̄

gṵ̄ā̰-nā̰

pɔ̄

dō.

but

3sg:Pst+

remain-Prf

thing

one

‘But one thing is missing’.

19Commentary. Note the postverbal subject NP with a preverbal subject pronoun, peculiarity of the verb gṵ̄à̰ ‘to remain’.

5.

Ganmlàn

aà

pè

san:

pɔ̀

pɔ́

pɔ̀?

Gā̰mlà̰

pè

sá̰:

pɔ̀

pɔ́

pɔ̀?

chimpanzee

3sg:Pst+3

say:L

that

like

what

like

‘Chimpanzee said: “Like what?”’

20Commentary. pɔ̀ X pɔ̀ ‘like X’ expresses comparison in Beng, usually occurs in nominal positions.

6.

Sɔ̀nŋ̀

nùnŋ̀

ŋo

pè

san

pɔ̀

kpìnŋ

pɔ̀.

Sɔ̰̀ŋ̀

nṵ̀ŋ̀

ŋó

pè

sá̰

pɔ̀

kpḭ̀ŋ́

pɔ̀.

person

Pl

3pl:Pst+

3sg

say:L

that

like

door

like

‘The people said: “Like a door.”

7.

Ganmlàn

aà

pè

san:

Gā̰mlà̰

pè

sá̰:

chimpanzee

3sg:Pst+3

say:L

that

‘Chimpanzee said:’

8.

fɛn

ŋà

sì

kpìnŋ

nan,

pɔ̄

fɛ̰̄

ŋà

sì

kpḭ̀ŋ́

ná̰,

thing

Rel

3pl:Hab+3

call:L

door

Top

“The thing that they call door,”

manŋ

màn

nyrɛɛ̀n

man sà

do

ɛ.

mā̰ŋ̄

mà̰

ɲrɛ̰̚

tɔ́

mā̰-sà

dō

ɛ́.

1sg:Foc

1sg:Pst-

this

name

hear-Prf-

one

Neg

“me, I have never heard this word.”

21Commentary. ɲrɛ̰̚ is a demonstrative noun, here used as an appositive modifier of tɔ́ ‘name’. Adverbial dō, identical to the numeral ‘one’, combines with perfect aspect and means ‘ever’.

9.

Aà

pè

san:

pè

sá̰:

3sg:Pst+3

say:L

that

‘He said:’

nyrɛɛ̀n

drɛn

bɛɛ

bì-lɛ̀

màn

zin

wo

ɛ.

ɲrɛ̰̚

pɔ̄

drɛ̰̄

bɛ́ɛ̄

bì-lɛ̀

mà̰

zḭ̄

wō

ɛ́.

this

thing

work

big

this-Def

1sg:Pst-

can

3sg

do

Neg

“This big work, I can’t do.”

22Commentary. Modal zḭ̄ ‘can’ is exceptional as it combines with preterite subject pronouns while itself staying in base form, selecting a verb phrase in a base form, and having present semantics. zḭ̄ is also attested in the regular habitual construction, while still selecting a base form verb phrase.

10.

Nyɛn

ganmlàn

o

wlo

Ɲɛ̰̄

gā̰mlà̰

wló

Foc

chimpanzee

3sg:Pst

move.out:L

‘And Chimpanzee left’

o

dà

klɛŋ

nìn

wo

ɛ.

dà

klɛ́ŋ́

nḭ̀

wó

ɛ̄.

3sg:Pst+

reach:L

forest

Def

IN

Foc

‘and reached the forest’.

11.

Nàn

ganmlàn

nun

guàn

klɛŋ

wo

nan

Nà̰

gā̰mlà̰

nṵ̄

gṵ̄à̰

klɛ́ŋ́

wó

ná̰

for.to

chimpanzee

3sg:Hab+

come

remain

forest

IN

Top

‘For Chimpanzee to stay in the forest’,

din-lɛ̀

o

bɔ̀

kpìnŋ

màn

dḭ́-lɛ̀

bɔ̀

kpḭ̀ŋ́

mà̰

3sg

cause-Def

3sg:Pst+

come.from:L

door

CONT

‘the reason came from the door’

nyɛn

ganmlàn

o

gùàn

klɛŋ

wo

ɛ.

ɲɛ̰̄

gā̰mlà̰

gṵ̀à̰

klɛ́ŋ́

wó

ɛ̄.

Foc

chimpanzee

3sg:Pst+

remain:L

forest

IN

Foc

‘that Chimpanzee stayed in the forest’.

23Commentary. The last sentence of this text was reproduced and discussed earlier as example (268).

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Référence papier

Denis Paperno, « Sample texts in Beng », Mandenkan, 51 | 2014, 106-111.

Référence électronique

Denis Paperno, « Sample texts in Beng », Mandenkan [En ligne], 51 | 2014, mis en ligne le 01 juin 2014, consulté le 29 mai 2017. URL : http://mandenkan.revues.org/563 ; DOI : 10.4000/mandenkan.563

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Auteur

Denis Paperno

University of Trento, Italy
denis.paperno@gmail.com

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Les contenus de Mandenkan sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d’Utilisation Commerciale - Partage dans les Mêmes Conditions 4.0 International.

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