Prosodic Segmentation and Grammatical Relations: The Direct Object in Kabyle (Berber) / Segmentação prosódica e relações gramaticais: o objeto direto em kabile (berbere)

Amina Mettouchi


Abstract: The aim of the present paper is to provide evidence for the existence, in Kabyle (Berber), of the grammatical role ‘Direct Object’, and to define it using a non-aprioristic, empirical methodology. The definition, based on the analysis of corpus data, involves formal means pertaining to morphology, syntax and prosody. Prosodic segmentation is not only crucial for the definition of the category; it also serves as supporting evidence for the tightness of the relationship between verb and direct object.

Keywords: direct object; prosody; segmentation; Kabyle; Berber; grammatical relations.

Resumo: O objetivo deste artigo é oferecer evidências para a existência da função gramatical “Objeto Direto” em kabile (berbere) e defini-lo utilizando uma metodologia empírica, não-apriorística. A definição, baseada na análise de dados de corpus, envolve meios formais pertinentes à morfologia, sintaxe e prosódia. A segmentação prosódica não é apenas crucial para a definição da categoria, mas também serve como evidência em favor da coesão da relação entre verbo e objeto direto.

Palavras-chave: objeto direto; prosódia; segmentação; kabile; berbere; relações gramaticais.


direct object; prosody; segmentation; Kabyle; Berber; grammatical relations.

Full Text:



CHAFE, W. Discourse, Consciousness, and Time: The Flow and Displacement of Conscious Experience in Speaking and Writing. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1994.

CRESTI, E.; MONEGLIA, M. C-Oral-Rom. Integrated Reference Corpora for Spoken Romance Languages. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2005.

CRUTTENDEN, A. Intonation. Second edition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

IZRE’EL, S.; METTOUCHI, A. Representation of speech in CorpAfroAs: Transcriptional strategies and prosodic units. In: METTOUCHI, Amina; VANHOVE, Martine; CAUBET, Dominique (Coord.). Corpus-based Studies of Lesser-described Languages: The CorpAfroAs corpus of spoken Afroasiatic languages. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2015. p. 13-41. Doi:

MATTHEWS, P. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Linguistics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007.

METTOUCHI, A. Segmenting spoken corpora in lesser-described languages: new perspectives for the structural analysis of speech. In: ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SOCIETAS LINGUISTICA EUROPAEA, 46th., Split (Croatia), 18-21 Sept. 2013. Plenary talk.

METTOUCHI, A.; FRAJZYNGIER, Z. A previously unrecognized typological category: The state distinction in Kabyle (Berber). Linguistic Typology, De Gruyter, v. 17, n. 1, p. 1-30, 2013. Doi: 10.1515/lity-2013-0001

METTOUCHI, A. Foundations for a typology of the annexed/absolute state systems in Berber. Language Typology and Language Universals (STUF), Berlin; Boston, v. 67, n. 1, p. 47-61, 2014. Special issue: TAINE-CHEIKH, Catherine; LUX, Cécile (Ed.). Berber in Typological Perspective. DOI:

METTOUCHI, A. Aspect-Mood and discourse in Kabyle (Berber) spoken narratives. In: PAYNE, Doris L.; SHIRTZ, Shahar (Ed.). Beyond Aspect: the expression of discourse functions in African languages. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2015. p. 119-143. Doi:

METTOUCHI, A. Predication in Kabyle (Berber). In: METTOUCHI, A.; FRAJZYNGIER, Z.; CHANARD, C. (Ed.). Corpus-based cross-linguistic studies on Predication (CorTypo). 2017. Available at:

METTOUCHI, A. The interaction of state, prosody and linear order in Kabyle (Berber): Grammatical relations and information structure. In: TOSCO, Mauro (Ed.). AfroAsiatic: Data and Perspectives. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2018. p. 261-285. (Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 339). [Paper first presented at the 14th Italian Meeting of AfroAsiatic Linguistics in Turin, on 17 June 2011]). Doi:

PIERREHUMBERT, J.; HIRSCHBERG, J. The Meaning of Intonational Contours in the Interpretation of Discourse. In: COHEN, P.; MORGAN, J.; POLLACK, M. E. (Coord.). Intentions in Communications. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1990. p. 271-311.

ROSS, B. Prosody and Grammar in Dalabon and Kayardild. 2011. Thesis (PhD) - University of Melbourne, Australia, 2011.

SCHEER, T. Chunk definition in phonology: prosodic constituency vs. phase structure. In: BLOCH-TROJNAR, M.; BLOCH-ROZMEJ, A. (Coord.). Modules and Interfaces. Lublin: Wydawnictwo KUL, 2011. p. 221-253.

SELKIRK, E. On Clause and Intonational Phrase in Japanese: The Syntactic Grounding of Prosodic Constituent Structure. Gengo Kenkyu (Journal of the Linguistics Society of Japan), n. 136, p. 35-74, 2009.

TAO, H. Units in Mandarin Conversation: Prosody, Discourse, and Grammar. Amsterdam; Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 1996.

VOGEL, I. Phonological Words. In: BROWN, K. (Coord.). Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. 2. ed. Oxford: Elsevier, 2006. p. 531-534.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2018 Amina Mettouchi

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

e - ISSN 2237-2083 


Licensed through  Creative Commons Atribuição 4.0 Internacional