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Journal of African Languages and Linguistics

Ed. by Ameka, Felix K. / Amha, Azeb

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Volume 31, Issue 1


Differential Object Marking in Nilo-Saharan

Gerrit J. Dimmendaal
Published Online: 2010-06-22 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jall.2010.003


In spite of its widespread nature in the Nilo-Saharan phylum, the differential marking of objects as constituents with or without an explicit case marker has gone virtually unnoticed in the typological literature. The present contribution gives a survey of this economy principle in three Nilo-Saharan subgroups, Fur, Maban, and Eastern Sudanic, where Differential Object Marking extends to ditransitive clauses as well as adjuncts under certain conditions. The governing principles in these Nilo-Saharan languages are in accordance with more general principles of discourse prominence, involving features like animacy and definiteness. But the data from this phylum also suggest that this two-dimensional system needs to be extended into another dimension, the categorical/thetic contrast.

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Published Online: 2010-06-22

Published in Print: 2010-06-01

Citation Information: Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, Volume 31, Issue 1, Pages 13–46, ISSN (Online) 1613-3811, ISSN (Print) 0167-6164, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jall.2010.003.

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