A Grammar of Dazaga


In A Grammar of Dazaga, Josiah Walters provides the first detailed description and analysis of Dazaga (a Saharan language) in the past half-century. Based on a review of previous work on Dazaga, and with his own more recent data, the author describes the phonology, morphology, and syntax of Dazaga. He provides a new analysis of the categorization of verbs in to classes, demonstrating the prominence of light verb constructions in Dazaga. His analysis of the syntax brings to light several striking features of Dazaga, including optional ergative case marking, mixed alignment of objects, a variety of causative constructions, and verb serialization. Throughout the work, the author relates his findings to work on related languages and to recent typological studies.
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Biographical Note

Josiah Walters completed his M.A. (2015) in Applied Linguistics at the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (Dallas, TX).

Review Quotes

This typologically informed grammar shows that Dazaga is one of the - rare African - languages with optional ergative case marking and a split intransitive system. The book proves to be an outstanding and highly original contribution both to the study of the Saharan languages and of languages in Africa as a whole. The book is therefore of high interest to typologists working in these fields. - Angelika Jakobi, Universität zu Köln, Germany

From the middle of the 19th century data on the Dazaga language became available, collected by travellers such as Heinrich Barth and Gustav Nachtigal on their trans-Saharan journeys from the Mediterranean to Lake Chad. However, apart from some fragmentary studies in the mid-20th century, comprehensive grammatical analyses were lacking. It took more than 150 years, before Josiah K. Walters filled this gap. The phonology, morphology and syntax are described in an accessible manner. General linguists will gain insights into a lesser known language. Those interested in historical and typological aspects will access a language which may play a central role in the study of the Saharan language family, and the larger Nilo-Saharan phylum. The grammar will also provide an excellent basis for the production of language materials in education. - Norbert Cyffer, Universität Wien, Austria

Table of contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
List of Tables
List of Figures
List of Abbreviations

1 Introduction
 1.1  The Daza People and the Dazaga Lanuage
 1.2  Objectives and Methodology of the Present Study
 1.3 Typological Sketch of Dazaga
 1.4  Explanation of Certain Conventions

2 Literature Review
 2.1  Early Minor Works
 2.2 The Major Works
 2.3  Recent Minor Works

3 Phonology
 3.1  Consonant Phonemes
 3.2  Vowel Phonemes
 3.3  Syllable and Word Structure
 3.4  Tone
 3.5  Vowel Harmony
 3.6  Other Phonological Processes
 3.7  Orthography

4 Nouns and Phrase Constituents
 4.1  Syntactic Categories Found in Noun Phrases
 4.2  Structure of Noun Phrases

5 Verbs
 5.1  Verb Classes
 5.2  Subject & Object Agreement
 5.3  Agreement Morphology of Transitive Verbs
 5.5  Agreement Morphology of Intransitive Verbs
 5.6  Aspects
 5.7  Mood
 5.8 Voice
 5.9  Suppletive Verb Roots

6 Structure of the Simple Clause
 6.1  Mino Class Consituents
 6.2  Case Markers
 6.3  Basic Verbal Clauses
 6.4  Non-Verbal Predicates

7 Sentence Types
 7.1  (Indicative) Declarative
 7.2  Pro-Sentences
 7.3  Negation
 7.4  Imperatives, Hortatives, and Optatives
 7.5  Interrogatives
 7.6  Marked Topic (Left-Dislocation)
 7.7  Focus

8 Clause Combinations
 8.1  Coordination
 8.2  Subordination
 8.3  Serial Verb Constructions

9 Conclusion
 9.1  Typologically Unusual Features of Dazaga
 9.2  Areas for Further Research

Appendix: Supplemental Text and Sentences
Subject Index


Linguistics or African Studies collections in libraries, linguists studying Saharan or Nilo-Saharan languages, linguistic typologists, and anyone learning Dazaga.