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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton December 7, 2012

Spatial roles and verbal directionality in Dinka

  • Torben Andersen EMAIL logo


This article deals with the interaction between two subsystems of the grammar of Dinka, a Western Nilotic language: (i) the semantic role of a place adverbial as location, source or goal, and (ii) deictic directionality expressed in the verb. Some place adverbials do not encode the distinction between the three spatial roles, but some nouns and some complex noun phrases distinguish between an allative case, which encodes a goal, and an essive/ablative case, which encodes either a location or a source. The derivational morphology of verbs includes a distinction between direction towards the deictic centre (centripetal) and direction not towards the deictic centre (centrifugal). There are constraints on the combinability between a place adverbial with a given semantic role and a verb with a given derivational status. Thus, a goal adverbial requires either a centrifugal verb or a centripetal verb. In clauses with a single place adverbial, moreover, a source adverbial requires either a non-directional verb or a centripetal verb, and a location adverbial requires a non-directional verb.

Aalborg University, Denmark

Published Online: 2012-12-07
Published in Print: 2012-12-11

©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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