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Valency Change and Complex Predicates in Wolof: An LFG Account

Cheikh Bamba Dione


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This paper presents an LFG-based analysis of Wolof valency-changing suffixes found in applicative and causative constructions. The analysis addresses the particular issue of applicative-causative polysemy in this language. Similar to the work for Indonesian (Arka et al., 2009), I adopt an LFG-based predicate composition approach of complex predicate formation (Alsina, 1996; Butt, 1995), and extend it to handle the Wolof data. However, the present work does not propose a unified argument-structure to handle applicative-causative polysemy. It rather postulates an a-structure for each derivation (applicative and causative) by analyzing polysemous suffixes as carrying their own PRED(ICATE) argument structure which they share with other suffixes of the same derivation type.

The proposed analysis is integrated into an implementation of an existing computational grammar using the XLE grammar development environment. The relevant system components include a finite-state morphology, annotated phrase structure and sub-lexical rules. The implementation makes use of the restriction operator (Kaplan and Wedekind, 1993; Butt et al., 2003).

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