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By William E. Welmers

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Extra info for A Grammar of Vai (University of California publications in linguistics; v.84)

Sample text

There is no reason, however, to posit a third level tone to account for this phenomenon. Further, this compression of low-high does not affect the discrete-level character of tone sequences; a following high tone is just as high as any preceding high tone. This phenomenon may be heard in sequences like the following: anu'a kene fe'e 'they saw the house' anui kene fe'c'a 'they will see the house' A sequence of two vowels, each with low-high, compounds this effect; each low-high may give the impression of being level, the second a little lower than the first.

These will be discussed in connection with the gram- matical constructions in which they occur. 1. Vai nouns fall into two categories, free and relational, a distinction which is typical of the Mande languages. , 'night', 'shark*)* Relational nouns, on the other hand, normally require an expressed possessor; by and large, they are "inalienable possessions," or what Heydorn refers to as "natural possessions:" blood relatives and certain social affiliates, body parts and one's name, and locative relationships such as the underside or inside of something.

E . , r u s t i s on i t ) ' s t a n d beside me' ji*l-fen 'he has a b o i l ' be a ' a a ' a k o ' o s o k e ' a i 1 tie 'he stopped work' kpaatoo 'a ' c u t i t with a c u t l a s s ' a be n a - n a k o ' o 'a ' h e ' s bringing (coming with) r i c e ' a'atoonyaafoiye 'he t o l d you the t r u t h ' a be s o k e - n a mu y e ' h e ' s working for u s ' Even these forms, which do not have obvious nominal uses as subject or o b j e c t of a verb, hardly j u s t i f y p o s i t i n g a c l a s s of " p o s t p o s i t i o n s " .

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