UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A linguistic analysis of Gurma Beckett, Eleanor


This thesis presents a linguistic description of Gurma nouns and verbs based on the Fada N'Gurma dialect. The first chapter introduces the Gurmas to the reader and tells about the first writings in and about their language. Chapter two presents a phonetic and phonemic analysis of the language. Chapter three defines the noun, presents the noun classes, and shows how tonal patterns divide the noun classes into sub-sets. It shows the pronouns which are in concord with the noun classes as well as the sub-set of personal pronouns. It then shows how tonal patterns change when nouns or pronouns are used in negative, relative and possessive constructions. Chapter four defines the verb and shows its inflections by means of tonal change, addition, deletion, replacement and suppletion. It then presents the verbal particles and shows their use. In chapter five a Gurma sentence is analysed to shown nominal and verbal morphemes in an authentic Gurma setting. The thesis is concluded with a bibliography and two appendixes, the first a brief report on work being done in the currently popular field of ideophones, the second an account of references made to the Gurma language before the twentieth century. The two maps following, page ii, show the location of Gurma in relation to Greenberg's language families of Africa, and in relation to Gurma's immediate language neighbours.

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