A GRAMMATICAL SKETCH OF MÒKPÈ (BAKWERI) , BANTU A20
Department of Linguistics, University of Buea
This work, A Grammatical Sketch of Mòkpè (Bakweri), is a linguistic description that emphasizes data showing the basic and relevant structures of the language. It covers four aspects: phonology, orthography, morphology, and syntax. Phonology studies the sound and tone systems of a language and revealed that Mokpe has seven vowels and 23 consonants, although Connell (1997) states 21. The phonological rules noted include: deletion, epenthesis, affricate and glide formation, and vowel assimilation. Tonally, Mokpe exhibits two lexical tones (low and high) and a grammatical high tone. The two basic tones combine to form either a rising or falling tone. The most prominent tonological processes are tone deletion, tone copy, tone simplification, and Meeussen’s Rule. Based on the phonological study, 26 graphemes (unigraphs only) are proposed for writing the Mokpe language. These include 18 consonants, seven vowels, and two tones. The morphological study of the nominal and verbal systems of Mokpe revealed that the language retains many intrinsic traits of Narrow Bantu. The structure of the noun is a noun class prefix followed by a root. There are 13 noun classes numbered consecutively from 1 to 10, 13 to 14 and 19. They are grouped into nine genders (singular/plural pairs), with the odd-numbered classes being singular and even-numbered classes being plural: 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 5/4, 7/8, 9/10, 14/6, 14/10, and 19/8. Regarding the verbal morphology, the focus was on inflection and derivation. The verb denotes an action, process, or state and changes according to person, time, mood, and class in agreement with the noun class of the subject. Derivation is still very productive in Mokpe. Some verb meanings are obtained by combining the verb root with a suffix. As far as syntax is concerned, the study revealed that Mokpe is a subject-verb-object (SVO) language.
Key Words: Mokpe; Bakweri; Gammar; Bantu; Cameroon.
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