Date of Award

January 2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Linguistics

First Advisor

James S. Roberts

Abstract

Bolgo [bvo] is a language spoken in central Chad. It is a Bua language within the Adamawa branch of the Niger-Congo language family. This thesis provides an overview of the phonology and morphology of Bolgo, focusing on the underdocumented Bolgo Dugag dialect. The data on which the thesis is based consist of original research; approximately 600 nouns, 350 verbs, and 50 adjectives were elicited, as well as a number of phrases and sentences.

A significant aspect of Bolgo phonology is its ATR harmony system, which contains nine phonemic vowels. In this harmony system, words contain either the +ATR vowels /i/, /e/, /u/, and /o/ or the −ATR vowels /ɪ/, /ɛ/, /ʊ/, and /ɔ/. The major exception to this is the −ATR vowel /a/, which may also occur in roots with +ATR vowels.

A topic of particular interest in Bolgo morphology is plural formation. Bolgo nouns form their plurals using a variety of suffixes that originated from former noun class suffixes in the language. In accordance with the ATR harmony, sometimes a shift of vowels from −ATR in the singular to +ATR in the plural is also involved. Bolgo contains both recessive suffixes that surface as −ATR or +ATR according to the ATR value of the stem, and also dominant suffixes that cause the −ATR vowels within the stem to shift to their +ATR counterparts.

Within the verb morphology chapter are discussions of how reduplication and auxiliaries are used in the tense/aspect/mood system. Bolgo verbs undergo two different reduplication patterns to indicate imperfective aspect: partial reduplication if the verb is intransitive, and full reduplication if the verb is transitive. There are motion verbs that double as auxiliaries, and also auxiliaries that indicate various moods.

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