Book notice

Zygmunt Frajzyngier Zygmunt.frajzyngier at COLORADO.EDU
Fri Jan 20 15:24:30 UTC 2006

Book notice

Frajzyngier, Zygmunt / Johnston, Eric

A Grammar of Mina

In coop. with Edwards, Adrian

December 2005. 16 x 24 cm. XX, 512 pages. Cloth. Euro [D] 148.00 /  
sFr 237.00 / for USA, Canada, Mexico US$ 207.20. *
ISBN 3-11-018565-2

A Grammar of Mina is a reference grammar of a hitherto undescribed  
and endangered Central Chadic language. The book contains a  
description of the phonology, morphology, syntax, and all the  
functional domains encoded by this language. For each hypothesis  
regarding a form of linguistic expression and its function, ample  
evidence is given. The description of formal means and of the  
functions coded by these means is couched in terms accessible to all  
linguists regardless of their theoretical orientations.

The outstanding characteristics of Mina include: vowel harmony; use  
of phonological means, including vowel deletion and vowel retention,  
to code phrasal boundaries; two tense and aspectual systems, each  
system carrying a different pragmatic function; a lexical category  
‘locative predicator’ hitherto not observed in other languages; some  
tense, aspect, and mood markers that occur before the verb, and  
others that occur after the verb; the markers of interrogative and  
negative modality that occur in clause-final position; the  
conjunction used for a conjoined noun phrase in the subject function  
that differs from the conjunction used for a conjoined noun phrase in  
all other functions.In addition to the coding of argument structure,  
adjuncts, tense, aspect, and mood categories, Mina also codes the  
category point-of-view. The language has a clausal category ‘comment  
clause’ used in both simple and complex sentences, which overtly  
marks the speaker’s comment on the proposition. The discourse  
structure has the principle of unity of place. If one of the  
participants in a described event changes scene, that is coded by a  
special syntactic construction in addition to any verb of movement  
that may be used. Because of these unusual linguistic  
characteristics, the Grammar of Mina will be of interest to a wide  
range of linguists.

Zygmunt Frajzyngier
Dept. of Linguistics, Box 295
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309
Phone: 303-492-6959
Fax: 303-492-4416

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