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South African Journal of African Languages

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Verbal suffixes of derivation in Fang-Ntumu

Pierre Ondo-Mebiame

Abstract


Verbal suffixes have been the subject of a protracted debate. Suffixes are diachronically defined as the elements of formation that are added at the end of a root or a radical (cf. Marouzeau, 1969:216; Phélizon, 1976:209; Mounin, 1995:311). This definition is not questioned in synchrony. In fact, it is said that a suffix is a morpheme (in this case, an affix) that falls within a list that is exhaustive, expressing certain grammatical val`ues (cf. Mounin, 1995). A distinction is made between flexional suffixes or endings (which are not the subject of this investigation) and derivational suffixes. Flexional suffixes help to form usual markers, such as those for gender and number in noun inflexion and tense indicators, number markers and person indicators for verbs; whereas derivational suffixes help to form new words from radicals (Dubois, Giacomo, Guespin, Marcellesi, Marcellesi & Mével, 1994:455). The present article shows that apart from verbal derivational suffixes, which are grammatical morphemes participating in the formation of the verbal stem and determining the meaning of the verbal root by changing its semantic value, Fang-Ntumu distinguishes other types of suffixes referred to as ‘formal suffixes’. These suffixes are inseparable from the verbal root and do not have a semantic repercussion on the former.

S.Afr.J.Afr.Lang.,2007, 3



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