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Journal of African Languages and Linguistics

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

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Volume 33, Issue 1


Motion events in Bambara (Mande)

Klaudia Dombrowsky-Hahn,
Published Online: 2012-06-06 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jall-2012-0002


The paper analyses motion events in the Mande language Bambara, using the theoretical framework developed by Croft et al. (2010), which is a revision of the theory first proposed by Talmy (1975, 1985). The revision of Talmy's theory on the semantics and syntax of motion events introduces a distinction between symmetrical and asymmetrical constructions and proposes to apply it to individual constructions and not to entire languages.

In Bambara we find two different types of constructions both of which are asymmetrical: verb framing and satellite framing constructions. The verb framing construction expresses the path of motion in a finite verb, whereas manner of motion is encoded in an adverbial form or copredicative form, which is derived by means of -tɔ or -bagatɔ. The adverbial form precedes the finite form of the verb.

The second type is a satellite framing construction where the manner of motion is expressed in a finite verb form and the path of motion by means of an infinitive form of the verb introduced by the morpheme . Some of the path verbs in the language have developed into prepositions together with the infinitive morpheme . Although this allows characterizing them as satellite framing, there are some features that set them apart from satellite framing constructions in languages like English, German or Polish. The first feature is that even those path verbs that develop into prepositions continue to function as full verbs in the language with no tendency to lose this function. The second distinguishing feature is the possibility of combining several path verbs in one clause. These features make Bambara resemble languages that have serial verb constructions, which belong to symmetrical constructions according to Croft et al. (2010).

About the article

Published Online: 2012-06-06

Published in Print: 2012-06-14

Citation Information: , Volume 33, Issue 1, Pages 37–65, ISSN (Online) 1613-3811, ISSN (Print) 0167-6164, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jall-2012-0002.

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©[2012] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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