Nominal suffixes as markers of information structure in Basketo




Basketo, nominal suffix, specificity, topic, discourse analysis


This paper deals with the information function of two nominal suffixes, -i appearing in all nouns, and -n- in first- and second-person pronouns in Basketo, a North Omotic language predominantly spoken in the Basketo Special Woreda in Ethiopia. The suffix -i is often described as nominative. However, object nouns without definite marker can be marked by -i, and as a result -i can appear in both subject and object in the same sentence. We analyze morpheme -i as a marker of specificity. Suffix -n- distinguishes short and long forms of the first- and second-person subject pronoun. The short form is the same as the possessive. In general, possessive does not bear any pragmatic information in discourse. Likewise, short pronouns also show no pragmatic function, but show what is subject or agent in a clause. On the other hand, long pronouns are morphologically and pragmatically marked. We analyze morpheme -n- as the foregrounded topic in discourse in contrast with zero anaphora.


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How to Cite

Inui, H. (2020). Nominal suffixes as markers of information structure in Basketo. Studies in African Languages and Cultures, (54), 97–120.