Table of contents
- Linguistic classificiation
- Tone System
- Noun Class System
- Pronominal System
- Word Order
- Verb System
- Question Formation
- Mabia East
- Mabia East
Likpakpaanl has two-level tones, a high and a low tone as well as a downstep.
Contrary to the other Mabia languages, Likpakpaanl has no grammatical function of the tones. This language has independent tense and aspectual markers, thus there is no verbal inflection. More information with respect to the verbal system in Likpakpaanl is given below.
'I will cry.'|
'I cried. (in the course of the day)'|
'I cried. (remote past)'|
'I cried (yesterday).'|
Likpakpaanl uses two-level tones; low (⸜) and high (⸝) to distinguish between perfective (3a) & (4a) and habitual aspects (3b) & (4b). The tones do not change regardless of the person specification of the noun or a pronoun.
'I have bought a car.’|
'I buy cars regularly.’|
'They harvested rice.’|
'They harvest rice regularly.'|
Noun Class System
The noun class system of Likpakpaanl is quite complex. There are seven concord classes, nine prefix classes and 59 suffix classes in this language. Based on their morphology, Winkelmann (2012) classified these noun classes into fifteen classes according to whether they bear singular or plural affixes or even a circumfix.
|NC||Example(SG)||ExamplePL||SG Suffix||PL Suffix/Circumfix||Gloss|
|20|| || ||tiwan-kaan||---||generic reference|
Personal pronouns in Likpakpaanl are distinguished based on their person, number, and animacy. Besides singular and plural, there is a distinction between [+/- animate] in the third person. Pronouns in Likpakpaanl can also be classified into emphatic or non-emphatic, but gender is not marked. Although pronouns do not differ morphologically between grammatical cases, they can appear in different forms.
These pronouns occur as subjects of a verb and are all monosyllabic. The choice of either m or n as the 1st singular pronoun is phonologically conditioned by the following word.
These pronouns are used as objects in sentences. While the 1st and 2nd person singular postverbal pronouns are morphologically distinct, the 3rd person and the plural counterparts have he same form as the plural preverbal pronouns.
Likpakpaanl Emphatic pronouns occur as regular pronouns and, thus and in isolation, pre-verbally or post-verbally. There are no morphological distinctions between emphatic pronouns used in the subject (5a) and object positions (5b) but they always occur with a focus particle.
‘I am eating rice.’|
'Francis gave ME the rice.'|
Likpakpaanl has only one reciprocal pronoun, and that is tͻb which means ‘one another’ or ‘each other’.
'They visited each other yesterday.’|
'Sula and Nilimor will help one another.’|
Likpakpaanl reflexive pronouns are composed of a suffix reflexiser –bà ‘self’ and a personal pronoun.
|Personal Pronoun||Suffix||Reflexive Pronoun||Gloss|
|bì||-bà 'self'||bì-bà||themselves (+human)|
|ì||-bà 'self'||ì-bà||themselves (-human)|
The possessive pronouns in Likpakpaanl correspond to the pre-verbal, non-emphatic pronouns, as sown in (7a). Sometimes, a possessive morpheme àà- can be used, which always prefixes the possessed constituent that immediately follows the pronoun. The circumstances when to use the form in (7b) are still an open issue to investigate.
Relative pronouns in Likpakpaanl depend on the Noun class prefix of the noun that is relativised. So there is no single lexical item that represents the relative pronoun. We see that in (8a) the relative pronoun is ù because the relativised noun is prefixed by the while in (8b) it changes to ì to reflect the noun class for pigs.
‘The child who bought a car.’|
'John bought pigs (that) are lying here.'|
Demonstrative pronouns in Likpakpaanl are regulated by the personal pronouns and the NC system. They thus make a morphological difference between the singular and plural forms. Following Acheampong (in prep) the demonstrative pronoun comprises the suffix -mìnà which is attached to the noun class prefix for proximal demonstratives. With distal demonstratives, the personal-prefix precedes the bound morpheme -è.
‘This man is a farmer.’|
'John planted that tree.'|
|Interrogative Pronoun||Semantic Category||Gloss|
Likpakpaanl has a basic SVO word order. In (10) an example for an intransitive clause with an adverb is given, and (11) and (12) present examples for a transitive and ditransitive sentence, respectively. Note that the gloss for the verb in (10) and (11) stands for hesternal past.
'Adam worked yesterday.’|
'Adam slaughtered fowl yesterday.’|
'Konja begged a booked from Sam.’|
There are dedicated aspectual particles used to express tense relations in Likpakpaanl, which occur preverbally. The imperfective aspect is marked by bì, but the perfective is morphologically unmarked.4
‘Adelina is sweeping under the tree.’|
The table below illustrates the aspectual particle in conjoint and disjoint contexts, respectively.
|Imperfective|| Ù-píí gbààn bī ŋáál- ∅ lòòr. |
CL-woman DEF IMPF drive-CJ car
'The woman is driving a car.'
|Perfective|| Wáápù wìì-∅ lí-búúl gbààn. |
Waapu broke.PERF-CJ CL-pot DEF
'Wapuul broke the pot.'
| M-bìm gbààn kàrn-à. |
CL-child DEF read.PERF-DJ
'The children have read.'
Tense is also morphologically marked by particles, which are used to distinguish between immediate past (14a), remote past (14b), hesternal past (14c), future (14d) and negative future (14e).
'Naajo weeded the farm.’|
'Naajo weeded the farm.’|
'Naajo weeded the farm (yesterday).’|
'Naajo will weed the farm.'|
'Naajo will not weed the farm.'|
Main verbs in Likpakpaanl are not morphologically marked, but particles are used to mark Tense, Aspect and Mood (TAM). Since main verbs do not inflect for TAM in Likpakpaanl, there is no grammatical agreement, since number and person are not marked.
Negation in Likpakpaanl is marked either by the negative particle ká preceding the negated phrase or by the suffix -á/-àá that attaches pronominally to the subject. There exist also verbs that have a negative meaning like kpá ('to be absent') for instance, such that these verbs can also express negation without further being marked for negation.
Negation via particle
Negation of a declarative
In order to negate a declarative clause, the particle ká is placed between the subject and the predicate.
Negation of a relative clause
Negation of a relative clause is also marked by the negative particle ká immediately following the relative pronoun. Note that DP is the abbreviation for discourse particle.
Negation of an imperative
In imperatives, negation is marked by the particle tà, which also immediately follows the subject. Note that RP in the glossing stands for resumptive pronoun.
'That he avoids telling his problems.’5|
Negation via suffixation
There are two suffixes marking nominal negation -á and -àá. The former attaches to first and second person pronouns regardless of its number, while the latter attaches to third person pronouns also regardless of its number. In (19a) the affirmative version to the negation in (19b) is given, whereby the morphological different marking on both pronouns becomes clear. In (20) two examples for second person pronouns marked for negation in each number are given, whereas (21) illustrates the same for third person pronouns in singular and plural.
In Likpakpaanl, it is possible to combine two negative particles like ká and kɪ in order to express negation with respect to tense. These two combined particles for instance correspond to the negative denotation of the future translated as 'not anymore'. Both particles occur together, such that there is no intervening element between both negative particles.
'(It's the girls) who made men not swimming anymore.’5|
Questions in Likpakpaanl can be formed by an ex situ as well as an in situ strategy.
In ex situ contexts, the question word appears sentence-initially obeying the word order QVO.
'Who did Konja beg a book from?'|
'What did Konja beg for?’|
In in situ contexts the question word appears sentence-finally according to the word order SVQ as in (25). There is also the option of an in situ question marker as in (26).
'Who did Konja beg a book from?’|
'Did Adam buy fowl?’|
In embedded questions the question word again can occur ex situ and in situ, but the question itself is embedded under the complementizer ke.
'Ama asked what John slaughtered.’|
'What did Peter say that John slaughtered?’|
Questions involving more than one question word can also be formed either by an in situ strategy or by an ex situ strategy. In (29a) both question words appear in situ, while in (29b) one question word occurs ex situ and the other one in situ.
'Who did Konja beg what from?’|
'What did Konja beg from whom?'|
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- 2. Acheampong, Samuel Owoahene (2015): Reflexivisation in Likpakpaanl. MPhil Thesis. Winneba: University of Education
- 3. Issah, Samuel Alhassan & Samuel Owoahene Acheampong (2021): Interrogative pronouns in Dagbani and Likpakpaanl.: Ghana Journal of Linguistics 10(2), 30-57
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