Analysing quality verbs in African languages

Author : Stefan Elders, Holger Tröbs, and Amina Mettouchi

Publication date : 2006

Questionnaire URL :


"In quite a few African languages property words are expressed through lexical items that are clearly verbal in character. The verbal behaviour of these items varies from language to language. This questionnaire provides a tool to guide the description of such verbs expressing property concepts in African languages." (Elders et al., 2006: 1)
"[It] represents our attempt at formulating a guide for the description of verbs for property concepts (or verbs for the expression of „adjectival‟ meanings) in African languages." (Elders et al., 2006: 3)

Protocol summary

"The questionnaire consists of two parts, Part A “Formal criteria” and Part B “Semantics”. The structure of the questionnaire is based on the assumption that the language specific analysis of word classes must start from formal criteria. [...] Therefore, to establish the possible existence of a class of quality verbs, the formal criteria (Part A) must be applied before the semantic criteria (Part B). If there are formal criteria justifying a class of quality verbs, the questions under A, Sections 1-3, have to be answered. Otherwise, the questions under Part B, semantic criteria, have to be answered." (Elders et al., 2006: 4)

Development context

This questionnaire "has been developed as a typological-oriented questionnaire for descriptive linguists and fieldworkers allowing them to determine the possible existence and language-specific characteristics of a word class of "quality verbs‟.  (Elders et al., 2006: 1)

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