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By William E. Welmers

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Extra info for A Grammar of Vai (University of California publications in linguistics; v.84)

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Pairs of forms that differ in both tone and vowel length are even more common, as /sanja/ 'a town* and /sanjaa/ 'the town'. In context, the tonal difference between such forms is at least as conspicuous as the difference in vowel length. 3 above, low-low (or a single low) is less common than the others as a lexical tone pattern, and does not occur at all as a lexical tone with verb stems. In nouns, low(-low) may well be confined to innovated forms and a few monosyllabic relational nouns or particles (compare the situation in Kpelle, Welmers 1961).

Thus: Categories 53 of Nouns 09 a mu i wa mu "it's roe" a wa mu 'it's him* 'it's you' The plural pronoun stems are attested before /wa/ in some usages, but before the identifier /mu/, as in the above, special forms are constructed with /ami/ after the pronoun stem. ' In a f f i r m a t i v e s e n t e n c e s , however, t h e r e i s another c o n s t r u c t i o n of t o p i c a l i z a t i o n which p a r a l l e l s c o n s t r u c t i o n s in many other languages; i t w i l l be discussed more f u l l y a t a l a t e r p o i n t , but i s i l l u s t r a t e d here for purposes of comparison: manjaa fa mu na a f e ' e ' i t was t h e c h i e f ' s father I saw' In t h i s sentence, the o b j e c t pronoun / a / r e c a p i t u l a t e s the fronted obj e c t /manjaa f a / ' t h e c h i e f ' s f a t h e r * , /mu/ i n d i c a t e s identification, •it i s ' .

Such sequences are common, however, in forms in which two stem-final vowels are followed by a suffix consisting of a vowel. In sentences, up to five consecutive vowels have been recorded. Exam- ples of vowel sequences are as follows; in tho full sentence, spaces written between words are not necessarily phonologically significant*. 4. 9 above). 7 above. Apart from these, fewer than twenty forms with nasalized vowels have been recorded. Small though this number is, the forms neverthe- less fall into definably different groups.

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