Morphology of the gerund in Degema and its reconstruction in proto-Edoid


  • Ben Ohi Elugbe


Degema, gerund, discontinuous morpheme, Edoid


The gerund in Degema (Delta Edoid) is derived by affixing a discontinuous morpheme to the verb stem. Verb stems ending in a vowel take a shorter form of this morpheme while stems ending in a consonant (even if such a consonant is derived from an underlying close vowel by glide formation) have the longer allomorph affixed to them. Cognates of this morpheme are identified in the three other branches of Edoid, and an attempt is therefore made to reconstruct the segmental shape of the gerund morpheme in Proto-Edoid; it comes out as *U...Amhi with vowel harmony rules determining the alternants. Although the tones of the morphemes are not reconstructed, various issues involved in the reconstruction of its segmental shape are discussed.