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The positioning of adverbs in the sentence is as flexible in Sereer as in English, as examples (1) to (4) show:

  1. gim   -am  apax/tok  
    sing  1sg  very/a-lot       
    'I sing loudly.'
  1. apax/tok    gim   -am  
    very/a-lot  sing  1sg  
    'I sing loudly.'
  1. nang      -am  weʄ   -a   legleg    
    habitual  1sg  swim  INF  sometimes        
    'I swim often.'
  1. legleg  nang      -am  weʄ   -a   
    sometimes      habitual  1sg  swim  INF  
    'I swim often.'

When adverbs modify adjectives, they can come before or after the verb phrase, but cannot intervene between the stative verb and bare adjective with those adjectives that have a verb-adjective form, like ɓalig 'black':


 oɓoxole fop aɓalga ɓalig
 oɓoxole aɓalga ɓalig fop
 *oɓoxole aɓalga fop ɓalig
 'The dog is completely black.'

The adverb fop can also mean 'both':


 okoor fo otew fop aƈiʄ 
 ‘the boy and girl all are smart’

The most remarkable thing about adverbs in Sereer is that, like adjectives, there is a group of words that can serve adverbial, adjectival and even verbal functions. For instance, fop can be the adverb 'completely', or the quantifier 'all' in a partitive construction:


 fop no ɓoxole aɓalga ɓalig
 ‘All of the dogs are black.’

The ability of adverbs to be used as verbs can be illustrated with these minimal pairs:


 retam ñofu	               ñofam o ret
 ‘I go quickly.’	       ‘I hurry up and go.’
 weʄi ñofu	               ñofi weʄ
 ‘Swim quickly!’              ‘Hurry up and swim!'	

The sentences in (8) illustrate how adverbs can be verbs.

Go back to: Sereer Grammar

Oana 00:47, 8 December 2012 (UTC)

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