Bole is a language spoken in Yobe, Gombe, and Bauchi States of northeastern Nigeria by a total of about 250,000-300,000 people. It is a member of the Chadic Language family, and belongs to the same main sub-branch of that family as its massively dominant "cousin", Hausa, though linguistically Bole and Hausa are probably no more closely related than, say, English and French. Aside from Hausa, Bole is one of the largest, if not the largest Chadic language among the several dozen Chadic languages spoken in Nigeria. There are no monograph-length works of any kind on the language.

The purpose of this project will be to produce a comprehensive reference grammar of Bole, a dictionary of several thousand entries, and a collection of texts including ethnography, history, tales, and poetry/song. Collateral materials arising from the project will be a dictionary and collection of texts usable by the Bole people themselves and videotapes which document the Bole language, culture, and region. Selected features of particular typological interest in Bole are tonal alternations conditioned by a combination of phonological, morphological, and syntactic conditions; extensive processes of gemination and reduplication, some lexicalized, some productive; and basic SVO syntax which leaves most questioned and focused constituents in situ but which postposes questioned or focused subjects. Detailed grammatical and lexical documentation of Bole will be of particular interest to Chadic language specialists by filling in a gap among the closest linguistic relatives to Hausa.

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University of California Los Angeles
Los Angeles
United States
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