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Using findings on language contact for linguistic reconstruction Bernd Heine Lyon, 13 May 2008.

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Presentation on theme: "Using findings on language contact for linguistic reconstruction Bernd Heine Lyon, 13 May 2008."— Presentation transcript:

1 Using findings on language contact for linguistic reconstruction Bernd Heine Lyon, 13 May 2008

2 The grammaticalization of reflexives in Africa: grammaticalization areas

3 Mauritian (Morisien, French-based creole; Carden, 1993: 107) aZorz fin pan  di li.(him) bZorz fin pan  di limem. (himself) cZorz fin pan  di so lekor.(his body) George COMPL hang himself 'George hanged himself.’

4 Main strategies to develop reflexive markers LabelStrategy PPronoun strategy [uR] = „unmarked reflexive“ Use personal pronouns I Intensifier strategyAdd an „intensifier“ to P N Noun strategyUse a „body“-noun X Non-transparent (opaque) reflexives

5 Mauritian (Morisien, French-based creole; Carden, 1993: 107) aZorz fin pan  di li. Pronoun s. bZorz fin pan  di limem. Intensifier s. cZorz fin pan  di so lekor. Noun s. George COMPL hang himself 'George hanged himself.’

6 Intensifiers (variously referred to as an emphatic reflexive, intensive reflexive, adverbial reflexive, appositive pronoun, emphatic pronoun, emphasizing clitic, intensive reflexive, or identifier), serve mainly to evoke alternatives to the focus they refer to, in particular: To present an unexpected participant (paraphrasable by ‘even’), To present a participant in addition to the expected one (‘also’), To exclude other possible participants (‘only’), To express a contrast vis-a-vis other possible participants ('X, rather than Y'), To express emphasis or discourse prominence. König, Ekkehard and Peter Siemund Intensifiers and reflexives: A typological perspective. In Frajzyngier, Zygmunt and Traci S. Curl (eds.) Reflexives: Forms and functions. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: Benjamins. Pp

7 Africa: The noun strategy (N) Efik (Benue-Congo, Niger-Congo; Essien 1974: 11, 14) a Árìt éye  ídém. Arit has body 'Arit has a beautiful body.' b Árìt óyòm n  díwòt ídém ésie . Arit want kill body her 'Arit wants to kill herself.‘ Yoruba (Kwa, Niger-Congo; Awolaye 1986: 4) Nwosu rí ara r . Nwosu saw body his ‘Nwosu saw himself.’

8 Nominal sources of reflexive markers in African languages (Sample: 46 African languages, 49 forms). Nominal source FrequencyPercentage ‘body’ % ‘head’ % ‘soul/life’ % Other body parts (e.g. ‘skin’, ‘heart’) % Total %

9 Nominal sources of reflexive markers across the world (Sample: 89 languages; Schladt 2000: 112). Nominal source FrequencyPercentage ‘body’ % ‘head’ % Other body parts % Total %

10 Nominal sources for reflexive markers in African languages

11 The Western Sahel: ‘head’-reflexives Fulani or Peul (Atlantic, Niger-Congo; Klingenheben 1963: 141)  ombari hooremaako. hekilled headhis ‘He killed himself.’ Koyra Chiini (Songhai, Nilo-Saharan; Heath 1999: ): yertabinendayertunnda 1.PLTOPTOPif1.PL.Sarisewith yerbomokul, […]. 1.PLheadall ‘As for us, if we get up by ourselves, […].’

12 Hausa (Chadic; Afro-Asiatic; Kraft & Kirk-Greene 1973:231) Sun kashè ka  n- sù. they kill head-their ‘They have killed themselves.’ (Lit. ‘they have killed their head’)

13 Possible evidence for a diffusion hypothesis is provided by the following observation: Whereas Fulani (Peul) has only one reflexive marker, derived from the noun hoore ‘head’, many of the languages spoken in the Western Sahel belt have two markers, where one is a ‘head’- reflexive and the other a ‘body’-reflexive (Lele, Margi, Mina, Pero) or an unmarked reflexive (Koyraboro, Koyra Chiini).

14 The languages of the Western Sahel These languages are spoken in one specific area, the sub- Saharan belt of West Africa, roughly between Senegal and Cameroon, and they belong to three different language phyla: Niger-Congo, Afroasiatic, and Nilo- Saharan. Niger-Congo languages are Fulani and Diola (West Atlantic), while Afroasiatic is represented with two of its branches, namely Chadic (Hausa, Margi, Mina, Pero, Kwami, and Lele) and Berber (Tamazight; Schladt 2000). The only Nilo-Saharan languages to be found in West Africa are those of the Songhai group and both, Koyraboro and Koyra Chiini, have a ‘head’-reflexive, both being spoken in the Western Sahel (Heath 1999a; 1999b).

15 Possible motivating forces Two main historical forces appear to have contributed to this areal clustering. At least eight hundred years ago, Fulani people from the Senegal region of the extreme west end of Africa began to migrate eastward across the sahel belt in search for new pastures for their cattle, founding empires and extending their sphere of influence up to the Lake Chad region. The Western Sahel belt, where there is a clustering of languages having a ‘head’- reflexive, roughly coincides with that of the Fulani expansion. A second factor was presumably the trans- Saharan trade where nations in the Western Sahel played an important role. Finally, the spread of Islam in western Africa may also have contributed to the process.

16 Nominal sources for reflexive markers in African languages

17 The Eastern Sahel: ‘soul’-reflexives Languages using a noun whose meanings include ‘soul’ and/or ‘life’ as a source cluster significantly in north- central and north-eastern Africa, roughly between Lake Chad and River Nile. How come?

18 a Arabic is widely spoken as a first or second language in the region. bArabic varieties spoken in this general region make use of noun stems for ‘soul’ or ‘life’ (nefs or ru  u) to express reflexivity. c A language spoken in the Eastern Sahel belt between Lad Chad and River Nile is likely to have a ‘life/soul’- reflexive, in addition to some other reflexive marker.

19 Examples -In Maba there is ndu ‘skin’ next to néfès ‘soul, person’ (Trenga 1947: 64-5). -In the Saharan language Teda-Daza, the noun  ro ‘life’ plus possessive adjective serves as a reflexive marker, in addition to the body-nouns kasar ‘body’ and daho ‘head’ (Le Coeur 1956: 94). -In Nile Nubian there is áy ‘heart’ next to newerti ‘life, soul’ as reflexive markers (Werner 1987: 128).

20 Maba (Nilo-Saharan; Trenga 1947: 64) tinéfès ténèn tuia . hesoul his killed ‘He has killed himself.’ Trenga, Georges Le bura-mabang du Ouadai: notes pour servir à l’étude de la langue maba. (Travaux et Mémoires de l’Institut d’Ethnologie, 39.) Paris : Institut d’Ethnologie.

21 Diffusion in this region does not appear to be restricted to grammatical replication (= transfer of meaning or structure) but also involved borrowing (= transfer of form- meaning units).

22 Chimwi:ni (Bantu, Niger-Congo; Abasheikh 1976: 12) Mu:saxad  a  -ile ru:hu- ye. Musacheat-PAST soul- his ‘Musa cheated himself.’

23 On motivation for diffusion The Arabic expansion: In a similar fashion does the distribution of languages having grammaticalized a ‘soul/life’-reflexive coincide geographically with the Arabic expansion in northeastern Africa. Arabs reached the Lake Chad basin over a thousand years ago and from then on, the region between Lake Chad and the Red Sea became a sphere of Arabic influence.

24 Nominal sources for reflexive markers in African languages

25 The Ethiopian area The use of a noun for ‘head’ to express reflexivity is very widespread in the Ethiopian are, most of all for intensifiers, but also for reflexive markers. The roots involved are ras and  rs ‘head’, which are widely distributed over the Ethio-Semitic area (Böhm 1984: 97; Goldenberg 1991). But diffusion also appears to also have affected other languages of the area. The Central Cushitic language Kemantney has developed its noun - a  wäy ‘head’ into an intensive reflexive (Zelealem 2003: 181), and much the same is reported for the Nilo- Saharan language Kunama, where the noun ana ‘head’ is said to have given rise to a reflexive marker (Böhm 1984: 97).

26 Grammaticalization areas “ By grammaticalization area we understand a group of geographically contiguous languages that have undergone the same grammaticalization process as a result of language contact. In order to identify a grammaticalization area it is therefore important to rule out factors other than language contact, such as genetic relationship, drift, and chance.” Heine, Bernd and Tania Kuteva Language contact and grammatical change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

27 Advantages of grammaticalization areas over sprachbunds: No mismatch between isoglosses is possible because there is only one isogloss. Unlike a sprachbund, a grammaticalization area can be assumed to be motivated by some specific historical event. Thus, there likely is a one-to-one match between linguistic and extra-linguistic processes. Accordingly, unlike sprachbunds, grammaticalization areas offer a tool for historical reconstruction.

28 Conclusions What the observations made in this talk suggest is that the development of grammatical forms is not independent of the socio-cultural environment in which it takes place. Given any unknown African language one will expect that if a new reflexive marker evolves, most likely it will be based on the grammaticalization of a noun for ‘body’, and this is also worldwide the most probable option. But in addition to this conceptual option there is at least one more factor that determines the choice of reflexive markers, namely areal influence.

29 In concluding, mention should be made of the following observation that surfaces from the above discussion: On the one hand, the cases examined are all hypothesized to be due to language contact; on the other hand, they can be described as well as involving language-internal developments. That external and internal linguistic changes are by no means mutually exclusive is not really new (see Heine 2005; 2006), but what exactly this means with reference to our understanding of linguistic change and of language structure is an issue that would seem to require much more attention in future research. Heine, Bernd & Tania Kuteva Language contact and grammatical change. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press The changing languages of Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

30 Any questions?


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