Koyraboro Senni Songhay (Nilo-Saharan, Songhay)

Mismatch: morphosyntax: passive, causative

The factative-causative suffix -andi (associated with various morphophonological processes) is added to intransitives to make them causative, and to make factatives of verbs of adjectival quality:

ben 'finish' benandi 'cause to finish'
too 'arrive' toondi 'deliver'
fuu 'fart' fuwandi 'make fart'
kan 'be sweet' kaanandi 'sweeten'
koron 'be hot' konandi 'heat'
(Heath 1999: 164-165)

However, there is an identical suffix -andi, associated with he same morphophonological processes, which forms a mediopassive when added to transitives:

gar 'find' gar-andi 'be found'
noo 'give' noo-ndi 'be given'
duu 'get' duw-andi 'be gotten'
(Heath 1999: 167-168)

That is, what appears to be a single morphological operation, namely -andi suffixation, is valency-increasing when applied to an intransitive and valency-decreasing when applied to an transitive. This is especially striking in the case of labile verbs which may be used intransitively or transitively (e.g. 'know', 'eat', 'malfunction', 'break', 'pay', 'sell' ~ 'be for sale'), where the interpretation of -andi suffixation depends on the base sense:

ŋaa 'eat.INTR' ŋaa-ndi 'feed'
ŋaa 'eat.TR' ŋaa-ndi 'be eaten/be edible'
(Heath 1999: 165)

Galjamina (2001: 190) suggests that there is a single underlying meaning associated with the suffix -andi, namely that it marks situations where the event is caused by an argument which is not the subject of the underlying sentence. Note that the same alternation occurs with some suffixes in Korean (Sohn 1994: 394).


Galjamina, Ju. E. 2001. Akcessivno-recessivnaja polisemija kak pokazatelej zaloga i aktantnoj derivacii. 178-197. In V. A. Plungjan (ed.) Glagol´nye kategorii. Moscow: Russkie slovari.

Heath, Jeffrey. 1999. A grammar of Koyraboro (Koroboro) Senni. Koln: Rüdiger Köppe.

Sohn, Ho-Min. 1994. Korean. London: Routledge