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Cognitive Linguistics

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Volume 18, Issue 2 (Sep 2007)


‘Smash it again, Sam’: Verbs of cutting and breaking in Jalonke

Friederike Lüpke
  • Corresponding author
  • School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK.
  • Email:
Published Online: 2007-09-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/COG.2007.013


This paper investigates the semantic and syntactic properties of cutting and breaking verbs in Jalonke. Semantic features relevant for these Jalonke verbs are control of the effector over the locus of impact, subcategorization for specific manners/instruments, and the theme being a whole vs. already detached from an entity. The latter distinction is unattested in other languages. Syntactically, the verbs fall into two classes: cut verbs with a transitive argument structure, and break verbs with causative and inchoative argument structure options. The existence of a class of exclusively transitive break verbs, despite the existence of the causative/inchoative alternation in Jalonke, is not expected in recent theories of argument structure.

Keywords: cut and break; separation events; Jalonke; Central Mande; syntax-semantics interface; argument structure; verb semantics

About the article

*Friederike Lüpke, Department of Linguistics, School of Oriental and African Studies, Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG.

Received: 2004-11-30

Revised: 2006-11-07

Published Online: 2007-09-25

Published in Print: 2007-09-19

Citation Information: Cognitive Linguistics, ISSN (Online) 1613-3641, ISSN (Print) 0936-5907, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/COG.2007.013. Export Citation

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