Date: 25-Jan-2006 From: Ulrich Lueders <lincom.europat-online.de> Subject: A Reference Grammar of Mbay: Keegan
Title: A Reference Grammar of Mbay
Series Title: LINCOM Studies in African Linguistics 14
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
Author: John M Keegan
Paperback: ISBN: 3895861731 Pages: 240 Price: Europe EURO 74
Paperback: ISBN: 3895861731 Pages: 240 Price: U.S. $ 97.68
Paperback: ISBN: 3895861731 Pages: 249 Price: U.K. £ 51.04
A Reference Grammar of Mbay provides a solid introduction to the grammar of Mbay, a Central-Sudanic language of the Sara family described in a Dictionary of Mbay by the same author. It is based on extensive field research among the Mbay in Chad during the period data for the dictionary was collected. The grammar is divided into eight sections.
The first five describe the phonology and morphology. First, segmental phonology is described, and a thorough explanation and justification of the writing system is provided, followed by a description of tone and vowel length. The second section treats morpheme structure, with emphasis on the canonical and harmonic constraints which limit the shape of Mbay morphemes. The inflectional paradigms are described in the third section, and this is followed in the fourth by an explanation of the phonological change associated with inflection, with emphasis on a description of the different types of tonal change. Section five treats the limited word formation processes found in the language.
Section six through eight treat Mbay syntax. Section six describes the structure and uses of the different categories and subcategories, and includes descriptions of alienable/inalienable nouns, verb aspect, serial verbs, adjectival uses of verbs and nouns, and the various uses of ideophones, specifiers and compleentizers.
Section seven deals with word order, describing sentence order as well as the structure of the noun, verb and prepositional phrase. Included in this section are a number of special structures and expressions. In general, the description contained in these sections attempts to be broad in scope, and includes explanations of how to express common concepts (e.g. existence, impersonal expression, comparison, superlative, etx.) as well as interesting aspects of Mbay syntax which transcend individual categories (eg. the notion of 'standing/sitting/lying').
Section eight deals with the rules governing the mandatory subject and object reference affices. The grammatical descriptions are accompanied by abundant examples, and in many cases word for word translation are given in addition to a more conventional translation.