Proto-Fula–Sereer: Lexicon, morphophonology, and noun classes

Konstantin Pozdniakov  


This monograph proposes a reconstruction of the lexicon, the morphophonology and the noun class system of Proto-Fula–Sereer (~3500 BP). Fula–Sereer represents one of the six branches of the North-Atlantic group. North-Atlantic, together with the Bak group of languages, forms the Atlantic family, which represents a separate branch within the Niger-Congo macro-family.

The lexical reconstruction of the proto-language of a group such as Fula–Sereer requires the solution of a number of questions that are of interest for the general theory of comparative studies. These questions deal with the morphophonological mutations of root-initial consonants. Since consonant mutations were structured into morphological paradigms already at the Proto-Fula–Sereer stage, the evolution of initial consonantism in Fula and Sereer was based not on regular phonetic changes, but on massive irregular analogous changes. The reconstruction of Proto-Fula–Sereer consonant mutations is given in Chapter 2. In Chapters 3-6 the author proposes a reconstruction of the initial consonants. Next, the reconstruction of final consonants (Chapter 7) as well as vowels (Chapter 8) is given. In Chapter 9, taking in account the lexical cognates, the long-standing problem of the PFS noun class reconstruction is rediscussed. The Appendix provides a list of ~720 lexical reconstructions and their approximate meanings.


Author Biography

Konstantin Pozdniakov

Konstantin Pozdniakov is a professor at INALCO (Paris; African and comparative linguistics, Wolof) and a researcher at LLACAN (CNRS). He earned his 1st PhD at the Russian Academy of Sciences (Comparative historical analysis of Mande languages, Moscow, 1978) and his habilitation from the St. Petersburg State University (Comparative historical grammar of Atlantic languages, St. Petersburg, 1995). He has authored various publications on Atlantic reconstruction and the Niger-Congo languages in general (among other works the monograph The numeral system of Proto-Niger-Congo 2018, published at Language Science Press). His research interests include Niger-Congo comparative linguistics, use of statistics for comparative studies, phonotactic universals, and the deciphering of the Easter Island writing system. He is currently working on the Etymological comparative dictionary of Atlantic languages. In 2011-2016 he was a member of Institut Universitaire de France where he realised the project “Noun class systems of Atlantic languages in the Niger-Congo context”.

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January 20, 2022
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Pozdniakov, Konstantin. 2022. Proto-Fula–Sereer: Lexicon, morphophonology, and noun classes. (Niger-Congo Comparative Studies 3). Berlin: Language Science Press. DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.5820515


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