Bridging caught in a crossfire: the marker of situated definiteness in Mano and language contact

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


In this article, I review the basic semantic functions of the determiner à
in the South Mande language Mano, which is used to mark situated defi niteness:
most prominently, bridging and anaphora. The marker derives from the 3sg pronoun.
Similar markers are also used in a number of other South Mande languages, including
Kla-Dan, Dan-Gweetaa, Guro, Tura and Gban. In Mano, as well as in the former four
languages the head noun takes an optional low-tone head marking, which is more
frequent in Mano than in other languages. I argue that the increased frequency of
use of the marking is infl uenced by contact with the Southwest Mande language
Kpelle, which has a grammaticalized preposed defi niteness marker, also deriving
from a 3sg prefi x, and triggering low tone on the noun it attaches to.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLanguage in Africa
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)158-182
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 6121 Languages

Cite this