Structural and Typological Approaches to Obang Grammar
– a Grassfields Bantu Language of Cameroon
Author: Melvice Asohsi. Series edited by: Wilhelm J.G. Möhlig, Bernd Heine.
Series: Grammatical Analyses of African Languages Volume 522015
16 pp. Roman, 276 pp.
2 colour maps, 2 colour spectrograms, 1 chart, numerous tables and overviews, paperback
Text language(s): English
Format: 170 x 240 mm
This book describes the grammar of Obang, a Niger-Congo language that belongs to a geographically defined group of languages in the Northwest Region of Cameroon known as Grassfields Bantu languages. Within this group, it are particularly the dialects of the Befang-Menchum sub-group that are linguistically understudied, and so is Obang. According to the Ethnologue, the population of the Befang is around 2,980 people. Moreover, the language Obang is still unwritten.
The present study, which is the first detailed one of its kind, therefore does not only attempt at providing a comprehensive description of the phonology, morphology and syntax of Obang based on empirical data, but also intends to fit the language in the general picture of Grassfields Bantu with its inherent unique features and in the expansion of Bantu as a whole.
Applying Robert M.W. Dixon’s Basic Linguistic Theory (1997) which has the advantage of describing each language in its own terms rather than forcing it into the framework of other languages, the study is purely descriptive. The collected Obang data demonstrate interesting phenomena, for instance the lengthening of a final vowel as question sign (an aspect of prosody) as well as morphosyntactic phenomena such as stacking of verbal suffixes etc., which have not yet been reported especially for languages of the Grassfields region. Nonetheless, the unique puzzles of the Obang language provided here are typologically and theoretically significant.
Therefore, the present work is also placed within the broad comparative concerns of linguistic typology by adopting both a structural and a functional approach. Structurally, the first parts of the book present the basic units of the language and look at possible variants where necessary and at their combinatorial properties. The later parts then examine the functions of the structural components of the language in higher constructions and emphasize the interplay of communicative needs with the fundamental aspects of the language.
The following analyses, dictionaries and text collections of Grassfields Bantu langues are also available in our programme:
- A Descriptive Grammar of Bafut
- A Descriptive Grammar of Bangwà
- A Grammatical Description of Metta (Cameroon) in Relation to Focus Parametric Variation
- A Pedagogic Grammar of Babanki
- Akum, Ala’atening and Mankon: Dialects or Languages?
- Analyse contrastive des parlers Yémba du département de la Ménoua de l’Ouest-Cameroun
- Grammaire descriptive du pólrì
- Lamnso’-English Dictionary
- Mungaka (Bali) Dictionary
- Research Mate in African Linguistics – Focus on Cameroon
- Traditions, Tales and Proverbs of the Bali-Nyonga
- Verbal Serialisation in Isu (West Ring)
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