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Focus and the Ejagham verb system

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Abstract

This study concerns the interaction of ‘focus’ with the verbal system of Ejagham, an Ekoid Bantu language. In particular it concerns the multiple forms of the perfective and imperfective aspects. The Ejagham system differs from the tendency in Bantu systems. The verb forms in Ejagham have a ‘constituent’ focus form that sub-categorizes predicates (“verbs”) with terms (“nps”), and an ‘operator’ focus form used whenever the verbal operator is within the scope of focus. Bantu languages commonly have a form used when the verbal complement falls within the scope of focus but another form for other cases. So Bantu languages tend to group predicates with verbal operators. In addition, Ejagham conflates assertive and contrastive focus, a distinction that is important in other Bantoid languages in the general vicinity of Ejagham but not in Ejagham.

References

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