Chapter published in:Antipassive: Typology, diachrony, and related constructions
Edited by Katarzyna Janic and Alena Witzlack-Makarevich
[Typological Studies in Language 130] 2021
► pp. 293–314
Antipassive derivation in Soninke (West Mande)
Soninke, a West Mande language spoken in Mali, Mauritania, Gambia, and Senegal, provides crucial support to the view that accusative languages may have fully productive antipassive derivations. In Soninke, the distinction between transitive and intransitive predication is particularly clearcut. The alignment between transitive and intransitive predication is neutral in indexation, but accusative in flagging, and accusative alignment is found in constituent order too. Soninke has two verbal suffixes that can be involved in antipassivization defined as a morphologically marked alternation by which transitive verbs are converted into intransitive verbs whose sole core argument fulfills the same semantic role as the A argument of the transitive verbs from which they derive. One of these two suffixes is a dedicated antipassive suffix, whereas the other is a multifunction detransitivizing suffix acting as an antipassive marker with a limited number of verbs. In Soninke, there is no interaction between antipassive and aspect, and there is no constraint restricting the use of the antipassive form of transitive verbs to the encoding of habitual events or stereotyped activities either. Antipassive constructions can refer to specific events, provided no specific patient is mentioned. In Soninke, null objects are not allowed, only a tiny minority of transitive verbs can be used intransitively with a subject representing their agentive argument, and the high productivity of antipassive derivation follows from the use of derived intransitive verbs as the preferred strategy for not specifying the patientive argument of transitive verbs. Diachronically, there is evidence that the multipurpose detransitivizing suffix acting as an antipassive marker with a limited number of verbs was originally a reflexive marker, whereas the dedicated antipassive suffix results from the grammaticalization of a verb ‘do’ in a cross-linguistically common type of antipassive periphrasis.
Keywords: Mande, Soninke, antipassive, detransitivization
Published online: 23 March 2021
. To appear. Reconstructing the history of the Soninke voice system. In Voice Systems in Diachrony, Michela Cennamo (ed.) <http://www.deniscreissels.fr/public/Creissels-Soninke_voice_in_diachrony.pdf> (9 April 2020).
Creissels, Denis & Dramé, Djibril
Diagana, Ousmane Moussa
Cited by 3 other publications
Janic, Katarzyna & Alena Witzlack-Makarevich
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