Discourse Features of Ten Languages of West-Central Africa

Levinsohn, Stephen H., editor

Presents 12 papers on coherence, participant reference, and Relevance Theory in Niger-Congo and Chadic languages of Cameroon.

The papers are organized into three sections to explain the linguistic features of Niger-Congo and Chadic languages of Cameroon whose meaning can only be explained by taking into account domains larger than the sentence. Folk tales and other narratives are used to illustrate discourse features of 10 languages from Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria, and Zaïre.

The first section concentrates on how coherence is maintained in a text when the author introduces a local discontinuity. The second section identifies factors which affect the amount of encoding used as a speaker refers to participants throughout a discourse.

The third section presents data that applies insights from Relevance Theory. Describes markers of prominence and backgrounding.

About the Authors

Stephen H. Levinsohn directed this workshop in 1993 in Yaoundé, Cameroon. He is an International Linguistics Consultant with SIL International, did fieldwork in Colombia from 1968 to 1998 with the Inga (Quechuan) people, and directs linguistic and "Discourse for Translation" workshops in different parts of West Africa and Latin America. He received his Ph.D. in Linguistic Science from the University of Reading (England) in 1980.

Table of Contents:

Preface Stephen H. Levinsohn

Section One: Cohesion and Discontinuities

  1. Discontinuities in Coherent Texts Stephen H. Levinsohn
  2. Cohesion and Discontinuities in N maand Expository Discourse Patricia L. Wilkendorf
  3. Preposed Constituents and Discontinuities in Makaa Discourse Daniel P. Heath and Teresa A. Heath

Section Two: Participant Reference Encoding

  1. Demonstrative Adjectives in Mofu-Gudur Folktales James N. Pohlig and Stephen H. Levinsohn
  2. Participant Reference in N maand Narrative Discourse Carolyn P. Taylor
  3. Field Procedures for the Analysis of Participant Reference in a Monologue Discourse Stephen H. Levinsohn

Section Three: Semantic Constraints on Relevance and Prominence Devices

  1. Semantic Constraints on Relevance in Lobala Discourse David Morgan
  2. Thematic Development and Prominence in Tyap Discourse Carl M Follingstad
  3. Prominence in Bafut: Syntactic and Pragmatic Devices Joseph Ngwa Mfonyam
  4. Further Thoughts on Four Discourse Particles in Mandara Annie Whaley Pohlig and James N. Pohlig
  5. Notes on Markers of Parallelism in Meta by Klaus W. Spreda
  6. Rheme and Focus in Mambila Mona J. Perrin
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ix, 241 pages
Discourse structure
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Congo (Kinshasa)
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