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Grammatical sketch of Beng

Coordination

Section 11
Denis Paperno
p. 58-60

Texte intégral

1The default way to conjoin constituents A and B in Beng is the construction A nà̰ B lō, literally ‘A together with B’. This construction conjoins noun phrases (102b), adjective phrases, as well as adverbial constituents. Verbs and verb phrases never conjoin in Beng, so that the meaning of corresponding constructions of European languages has to be expressed via clause combination of one kind or another (102c). Clause-level conjunction in its turn has to be expressed via juxtaposition of sentences, or, alternatively, as temporal subordination (see 13.5). Such differentiation of conjunction patterns by the syntactic category of the conjunction is common in languages of Sub-Saharan Africa (Haspelmath 2005b), which is the biggest area with a systematic contrast between nominal and verbal coordination.

The first conjunct in a coordinate NP is doubled by pronouns of the existential series, the second by the non-subject series.

2Disjunction, in contrast to conjunction, does not distinguish sharply between nominal and sentential domains; NPs, postpositional phrases, and full sentences are disjoined with the same marker (102b,c). The disjunctive coordinator is structurally a conditional clause à lɛ́ ɛ́ nḭ̄, literally ‘if it is not’, which can undergo shortening to àlɛ́nḭ̄. So Beng has a remarkably compositional semantics of its disjunction, as indeed, Boolean disjunction in logic (A or B) is equivalent to a combination of a negation and an implication (not A  B). Sometimes one uses the alternate disjunction nḭ̄ŋɛ̄ɛ̄ (104e). Extraposition of the second disjunct with the disjunction marker (104e) is common (though never found with overt conjunction), and perhaps could be analyzed as sentential disjunction under ellipsis; more inquiry into the structure of such sentences is needed.

Examples in (102) illustrate uses of conjunction and disjunction. (102a) presents a coordinate structure with a wh-element:

(102a)

[Mḭ̄

nà̰

dé

lō]

fɛ̰̄

ká

gṵ́à̰

kā

wlá

wē

flɔ̰́ɔ̰̄

ná̰?

2sg

and

who

with

Rel

2pl:Pst+

stay

2pl

house

there

today

Top

‘Who did you stay with at home today?’ (literally ‘You and who that you stayed at your house today?’).

(102b)

Ŋ̄

tɔ́

lɛ̀

ŋ̄

dē

nà̰

ŋ̄

1sg

name

Def

1sg

father

and

1sg

dā

lō

ɲɛ̰̄

ŋā

kà

ɛ̄.

mother

with

Foc

3pl:Pst+3

put:L

Foc

‘My name, it was my father and my mother who gave it to me’ (literally: ‘it was my father and my mother who put it’).

(102c)

Wà

bèsé

ɛ̀

yéwɔ̀

[glɛ̄

lɛ̀

ló]

2sg:Hab+3

machete

Def

sharpen:L

rock

Def

on

lɛ́-nḭ̄

[klàwá

lō].

3sg:Pst-

Cop:L:Neg-if.not

whetstone

Def

with

‘She sharpens her machete on the rock or with the whetstone’.

(102d)

ŋó

sròbɛ̀í

lɛ́

ɛ́

nḭ̄

Ŋó

gṵ̄à̰

wlá

nɔ̰̄.

1sg:St+

leave

3sg:Pst-

Cop:L

Neg

if.not

1sg:St+

stay

house

here

‘I will either leave or I will stay at home’.

(102e)

mḭ-ó

wápló

klɛ̄

nḭ̄ŋɛ̄ɛ̄

mà̰nṵ́ŋ́?

2sg-St+

fufu

Post

or

rice

‘Would you like fufu or rice?’ (lit. ‘Are you after fufu or rice?’)

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Référence papier

Denis Paperno, « Coordination », Mandenkan, 51 | 2014, 58-60.

Référence électronique

Denis Paperno, « Coordination », Mandenkan [En ligne], 51 | 2014, mis en ligne le 01 juin 2014, consulté le 28 mai 2017. URL : http://mandenkan.revues.org/567 ; DOI : 10.4000/mandenkan.567

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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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