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Description, Typology, Fieldwork

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Grammatical description of Ikposo Uwi, a Kwa language from Togo

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Scientific framework and objectives

This Phd thesis on Ikposo Uwi began in October 2007 under the supervision of Denis Creissels, following a master thesis about the phonology and morphology of this language. Uwi is one of the six dialects of Ikposo. The language belongs to the Niger-Congo, Kwa family. According to Ethnologue , there are about 155,000 Ikposo speakers in Togo and 7,500 in Ghana. The goal of this study is to give a general description of the language, including phonology, tonology, morphology and syntax. The data are mainly audio files with narratives. The data were collected during three fieldtrips from January to March 2008, 2009 and 2010, funded by the DDL laboratory, the AALLED ANR and the university Lumière Lyon 2. I spent 9 months at the University of Leiden, Netherlands, where the linguistics department is specialized in African languages and especially Kwa languages. Among the interesting characteristics of the language, one can mention the fact that there are 4 tonal levels and 10 vowels separated according to ATR values. Serial verb constructions are very productive in the language too. Some of them show grammaticalization paths. Finally, a pronoun is also grammaticalizing toward a valency marker.

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