On the Expression of Diminutivity in Susu

The notion of diminutivity is mentioned only in passing in the major contemporary works devoted to describing Susu (e.g., Houis, 1963; Touré, 1994, 2004). It has yet to be given the careful attention that this topic has received in other Mande languages (e.g., Nikitina in press), though some uses of the word díí ‘child,’ from which the Susu diminutive is derived, are explored in work by Diané & Vydrine (2012) on the language’s kinship system. This paper has the modest goal of adding to what is currently known about Susu diminutivity by reporting on and considering the use of several morphemes, both affixal and free, that figure into the expression of diminutivity in the language. Key to our discussion will be the behavior of Susu’s suffixal diminutive marker -dí, which is cognate to similar morphemes found in other Mande languages; we also discuss additional ways in which diminutivity is encoded in the language. Lastly, we consider similarities and differences between the encoding of diminutivity in Susu and certain other Mande languages.

Publication Date:
Oct 17 2018
Date Submitted:
Jun 28 2019
Journal of West African Languages
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 Record created 2019-06-28, last modified 2019-08-06

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