LINGUIST List 9.1623

Tue Nov 17 1998

Books: African Languages

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  1. Christoph Eyrich, Koyra Chiini (Songhay languages/West Africa)

Message 1: Koyra Chiini (Songhay languages/West Africa)

Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 13:15:31 +0100 (MET)
From: Christoph Eyrich <>
Subject: Koyra Chiini (Songhay languages/West Africa)

			 Jeffrey Heath

		 A Grammar of Koyra Chiini
		 The Songhay of Timbuktu

 1998. 24 x 16 cm. XVI, 453 pages.
		 Cloth DM 298,-/approx. US$ 186.00
			 ISBN 3-11-016285-7
		 Mouton Grammar Library 19

 Mouton de Gruyter * Berlin * New York

This volume presents the first grammar in English of a language of the
Songhay family of West Africa.

A sharp typological boundary separates Koyra Chiini in the Timbuktu
area from other Songhay languages of West Africa, including Koroboro
Senni of nearby Gao. For example, Koyra Chiini differs from these
other languages in its basic constituent order (VO) and in its syntax
of focalization and relativization (extraction with zero traces).

Since the phonology is fairly simple, this grammar emphasizes
grammatical categories and morphosyntax. Topics covered in depth
include pronominal categories, logophorics, NP conjunction,
instrumentals, aspect, the subjunctive mood, the `all' quantifier,
serial verbs, focalization, discourse-functional particles, and
relativization. There is a concluding chapter on topics in
spatio-temporal and lexical semantics.

Though the main grammar is based squarely on the Timbuktu variety,
there is a short appendix on dialects farther upriver, and a long
appendix on Djenne Chiini, a remarkable offshoot of Koyra Chiini
spoken in the Songhay enclave city of Djenne. Djenne Chiini has seven
vowel qualities to Koyra Chiini's five, and has a different syntax
based on in situ rather than extracted focalization and
relativization. This comparative material is of special importance in
that Koyra Chiini (and Djenne Chiini) are possible semi-creolized
Songhay varieties dating from the westward expansion of the Songhay
Empire (capital: Gao) of the late Middle Ages.

Mouton de Gruyter Walter de Gruyter, Inc. 
Postfach 30 34 21 200 Saw Mill River Road 
D-10728 Berlin Hawthorne, NY 10532 
Germany USA 
Fax: +49 (0)30 26005-351 Fax: +1 914 747-1326 

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1998 Contributors

  • Addison Wesley Longman
  • Blackwell Publishers
  • Cambridge University Press
  • CSLI Publications
  • Edinburgh University Press
  • Garland Publishing
  • Holland Academic Graphics (HAG)
  • John Benjamins Publishing Company
  • Lawrence Erlbaum Assoc.
  • MIT Press--Books Division
  • MIT Working Papers in Linguistics
  • Mouton de Gruyter
  • Oxford University Press
  • Francais Pratique
  • Hermes
  • Pacific Linguistics
  • Routledge
  • Summer Institute of Linguistics