LINGUIST List 31.1066

Wed Mar 18 2020


Editor for this issue: Jeremy Coburn <>

Date: 09-Mar-2020
From: Asja Kusnezowa <>
Subject: A GRAMMAR OF SEENKU: McPherson
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Series Title: Mouton Grammar Library [MGL]
Published: 2020
Publisher: De Gruyter Mouton

Book URL:

Author: Laura McPherson
Hardback: ISBN: 9783110612950 Pages: 572 Price: U.S. $ 172.99

Seenku is a Western Mande language of the Samogo group spoken in southwestern Burkina Faso by approximately 17,000 speakers. It has undergone a lot of phonological reduction, leading to a rich segmental and tonal phoneme inventory but mainly mono- and sesquisyllabic roots. The language has four contrastive levels of tone that combine to create over a dozen contours. Tone has a high functional load lexically and grammatically, permeating all aspects of grammar. Most verbs have two stem forms: a realis form and an irrealis form. The realis is derived from the irrealis by infixing a high vowel before the stem vowel, creating a diphthong. The use of a particular stem form is determined by aspect and construction type, but most other morphosyntactic meanings (e.g. progressive aspect or causative) are expressed analytically. Like most Mande languages, Seenku has an S Aux O V X word order in addition to areal clause-final negation. It displays a reduced set of post-subject “predicate markers” compared to other Mande languages, and those that are attested are variably realized only by tone changes and lengthening on the subject itself.

Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation
                            Linguistic Theories

Subject Language(s): Seeku (sos)
Language Family(ies): Niger-Congo
Areal Regions: African

Written In: English (eng)

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Page Updated: 18-Mar-2020