Preliminary studies of Saba, an Eastern Chadic language in the Melfi region of Chad
Keywords:East-Chadic, preliminary (descriptive) notes, Afroasiatic
The article provides first information on Saba, an Eastern Chadic minority language spoken in the Melfi district of the Guéra region, northeast of Melfi by some 1,500 speakers. The main focus is on the grammatical structures of the verb, which are based on a binary aspect system, i.e. a perfective – imperfective distinction. A considerable percentage of verbs are “strong” in that they display internal ablaut, e.g. the verb meaning ‘to kill’: perfective: dèegè (past), imperfective: díggà (present) and dàagà (future). According to the different vocalic patterns, seven classes of strong verbs may be distinguished. Phonologically, Saba belongs to the rather small group of Chadic languages which display two centralized vowel phonemes, i.e. ə and ʌ.
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