Four Types of Scene Setting Clauses in Hausa
Dr. Mahamane L. Abdoulaye
Abdou Moumouni University, Niamey
Mahamane L. Abdoulaye received his PhD in linguistics in 1992 from the State University of New York at Buffalo (USA). He has taught Hausa language at the University of Leipzig, Germany and now teaches linguistics at the Abdou Moumouni University, Niamey. His primary research focuses on various aspects of the description of Hausa and other Niger languages.
Using grammaticalization theory, this paper describes four types of adverbial scene setting clauses (SSCs) introduced by the subordinating particle dà and which encode presupposed information serving as background to the asserted information in their main clause. The paper first shows that Hausa has complex copular SSCs where the subordinator dà is followed by an impersonal copular predicate ‘it be’ that takes as complement the adverbial clause proper in an ‘as it is (the children are playing) + main clause’ structure. The paper shows that when the complement clause has certain TAMs (Completive, Imperfective and Future I), the copular SSCs can have alternate, semantically equivalent versions –the reduced SSCs, which use special TAMs and have the structure ‘as (the children are playing) + main clause’. The paper shows that both copular and reduced SSCs can encode either a causal event (with the main clause expressing the consequent event) or a consequent event (with the main clause expressing the causal event). The paper shows that the four logical types of SSCs –copular causal SSCs, reduced causal SSCs, copular consequent SSCs, and reduced consequent SSCs have, respectively, the following four discourse functions: expression of neutral information, expression of speaker-based inference, expression of speaker emotions or attitudes, and expression of emphasis or contrast.
Keywords: Hausa, Relative marking, adverbial clauses, grammaticalization
Many West African languages have what is called the relative marking, i.e., a set of special tense/aspect paradigms used in pragmatically marked constructions and sometimes, in narrative storyline clauses (see among others Bearth, 1993; Hyman and Watters, 1984; Schachter, 1973). In Hausa 1, the Relative Perfective and Relative Imperfective are thought to occur mainly in perfective and imperfective clauses when some constituent is relativized, focus-fronted, or questioned, and also, for the Relative Perfective, in narrative contexts (cf. Caron, 1991: 159f, 170f; Green and Reintges, 2003; Jaggar, 2001: 161ff; Newman, 2000: 567ff; Wolff, 1993: 423f, 427f, etc.; cf. note 2 for the complete paradigms). However, as discussed in Abdoulaye (1992: 53f, 75n2, 1997, 2007), Hausa also uses relative tense/aspect marking in scene setting clauses (SSCs), i.e., causal or consequent adverbial clauses that express presupposed information and which cannot be assimilated to relative clauses, out-of-focus clauses, or the narrative storyline. The causal type of SSCs is illustrated next:
(1) a. [Dà su-kèe tsòoro-n à kaamàa su], sun gudù.
as 3p-RI fear-of imp.SBJ arrest 3p 3p.CPL flee
‘[As they are afraid of being arrested], they fled.’
b. [Dà su-kà gàji], sun koomàa inuwàa su-nàa huutàawaa.
DA 3p-RP tire 3p.CPL return shade 3p-IPV resting
‘[As they are tired], they went under shade to rest.’
c. [Dà zaa à mayar dà suu Tàawa], sun faarà sayar dà kaaya-n-sù.
as FUT imp move 3p Tawa 3p.PERF begin sell stuff-of-3p
‘As they will be reassigned in Tawa, they have started selling their things.’
(2) a. Su-nàa tsòoro-n à kaamàa su.
3p-IPV fear-of imp.SBJ arrest 3p
‘They are afraid of being arrested.’
b. Sun gàji.
‘They are tired.’
c. Zaa à mayar dà suu Tàawa.
FUT imp move 3p Tawa
‘they are going to be reassigned in Tawa.’
The sentences in (1) all contain a causal adverbial clause (in brackets) expressing a presupposed cause for the consequent event in the main clause, as indicated in the translations. The causal adverbial clause is presupposed in the sense that its content is known or taken for granted by speech participants. In the adverbial clause in (1a), the highest verb appears in the Relative Imperfective su‑kèe ‘3p‑RI’, which contrasts with the general pragmatically neutral Imperfective su‑nàa ‘3p‑IPV’, as illustrated in (2a). In the adverbial clause in (1b), the verb bears the Relative Perfective su‑kà ‘3p‑RP’, which contrasts with the general pragmatically neutral Completive sun ‘3p.CPL’, as illustrated in (2b). Finally, the adverbial clause in (1c) contains the Hausa Future I (or zaa Future), which developed from the motion verb zâa ‘be going’ (cf. Abdoulaye 2001). It may be noted that the Future I has no relative form and appears under the same form in pragmatically neutral contexts, as illustrated in (2c). The Relative Perfective, the Relative Imperfective, and the Future I are the only TAMs that can appear in the type of SSCs illustrated in (1). However, Hausa also has another type of SSCs, which are periphrastic near-equivalents to the SSCs in (1) and which do not use the relative tense/aspect marking. These SSCs are illustrated in the following (cf. also the examples given in Newman, 2000: 505):
(3) a. [Dà ya-kè su-nàa tsòoro-n à kaamàa su], sun gudù.
as it-be 3p-IPV fear-of imp.SBJ arrest 3p 3p.CPL flee
‘[As it is the case they are afraid of being arrested], they fled.’
b. [Dà ya-kè sun gàji], sun koomàa inuwàa su-nàa huutàawaa.
as it-be 3p.CPL tire 3p.CPL return shade 3p-IPV resting
‘[As it is the case they are tired], they went under shade to rest.’
c. [Dà ya-kè zaa à mayar dà suu Tàawa], sun faarà sayar dà
as it-be FUT imp move 3p Tawa 3p.CPL begin sell
‘As it is the case they will be reassigned in Tawa, they have started selling their things.’
The sentences in (3) have the same general meaning as those in (1). The SSCs in (3) differ from those in (1) in having an invariable impersonal copular predicate ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ following the subordinator dà. The copula ‑kè ‘be’ takes as complement the causal adverbial clause proper, which, as indicated, takes the pragmatically neutral tense/aspect paradigms, i.e., the general Imperfective in (3a), the general Completive in (3b), and the Future I in (3c). Besides these three TAMs, the complement clause also allows other tense/aspect paradigms and nonverbal predicates, as will be seen in due course. This makes the periphrastic “copular” SSCs in (3) more general than the “reduced” SSCs given in (1).
The aim of this paper is to describe the formal and functional relationships between the four logical types of SSCs: the causal copular SSCs as illustrated in (3), the causal reduced SSCs as illustrated in (1), the consequent copular SSCs, and the consequent reduced SSCs.
First, the paper proposes that both causal copular and causal reduced SSCs stem from temporal adverbial clauses introduced by dà ‘when’. In this regard, it may be noted that a change from temporal subordinators to causal subordinators is a well-attested process in world languages (cf. among others Hopper and Traugott, 1994: 74f; Thompson and Longacre, 1985: 181). We will however see that formally, copular SSCs are more complex and distributionally more general and have reduced counterparts only in certain contexts. Functionally, too, copular SSCs accompany main clauses that convey factual information and so contrast with reduced SSCs which seem to add marked pragmatic and expressive features to their main clause.
Secondly, the paper discusses copular and reduced SSCs that background consequent information with the causal information being encoded in the main clause, i.e., the reverse of what is illustrated in (1) and (3). The consequent SSCs are illustrated next:
(4) a. [Dà su-kà gudù], su-nàa tsòoro-n à kaamàa su.
as 3p-RP flee 3p-IPV fear-of imp.SBJ arrest 3p
‘[As they fled], (it is because) they are afraid of being arrested.’
b. [Dà ya-kè sun gudù], su-nàa tsòoro-n à kaamàa su.
as it-be 3p.CPL flee 3p-IPV fear-of imp.SBJ arrest 3p
‘[As it is the case they fled], (this means) they are afraid of being arrested.’
This paper shows that in SSCs the backgrounding of causal/reason information, as illustrated in (1) and (3), is more basic than the backgrounding of consequent information, as illustrated in (4). Indeed, we will see that causal SSCs do not always have corresponding consequent SSCs.
To account for the formal and functional relationships between the four types of SSCs, this paper assumes a process of language change that is best apprehended in the grammaticalization framework. Normally, a grammaticalization process in a specific context turns a lexical or derivational item into a grammatical marker, or a grammatical marker becomes more grammatical. This paper in particular appeals to the following key concepts in grammaticalization theory, i.e., continuum of grammaticalization, semantic bleaching, and phonological erosion (cf. Hopper and Traugott, 1994 for an introduction to grammaticalization and further references). Indeed, in typical grammaticalization changes, a grammaticalized item may develop further to fulfill more grammatical functions (cf. for example Heine, 1993 on the development of verbs to auxiliaries and then to bound tense/aspect markers). This gradual change is however accompanied by the loss of the original meaning. It is also noted that highly grammaticalized items undergo a formal weakening that can lead to a complete loss of phonological substance. As already alluded to above, this paper proposes that causal SSCs are derived from temporal clauses introduced by dà ‘when’. We will also see that dà, besides its temporal and causal interpretations, functions in some SSCs as a semantically empty subordinator which is sometimes entirely dispensable.
This paper is organized as follows. Section 2 deals with the structure of copular SSCs. Section 3 deals with the correspondence between copular and reduced SSCs. Section 4 shows that the four logical types of SSCs have four different pragmatic functions.
Formation of copular SSCs
Copular SSCs have two key markers, namely the copula kèe ‘be, be at’ and the subordinator dà. It must be noted that since the SSCs have been discussed only in recent studies (cf. Abdoulaye, 1997), the functions of the copula kèe were not always fully understood. According to Newman (1976: 177), early descriptions of Hausa usually claim that the element kèe in central/eastern dialects appears in relative, focus, and wh-question constructions, either as an auxiliarized Relative Imperfective marker ‑kèe or as a copula kèe/‑kè(e) in nonverbal predications (however, the copula, too, was most often wrongly referred to as “relative imperfective/ continuous”; cf. Schuh, 2001 for a review). In both cases, kèe alternates with –nàa, the copula or auxiliary found in assertive contexts, as illustrated next using focalization in a verbal and a nonverbal (locative) predication:
(5) a. Yâara su-nàa wargii dà saabin kaayan wàasa-n-sù.
children 3p-IPV play with new toys-of-3p
‘The children are playing with their new toys.’
b. Yâara (nèe) su-kèe wargii dà saabin kaayan wàasa-n-sù.
children cop. 3p-RI play with new toys-of-3p
‘It is the children who are playing with their new toys.’
c. Abdù ya-nàa nan.
Abdu 3ms-be.at there
‘Abdu is around.’
d. Abdù (nee) kèe nan.
Abdu cop. be.at there
‘It is Abdu who is around.’
In (5a‑b) both sentences are in the Imperfective with –nàa marking the general (assertive) Imperfective in (5a) and –kèe marking the Relative Imperfective in the out-of-focus clause in (5b). In (5c‑d) kèe and –nàa alternate as locative copulas in a nonverbal predication, again with kèe marking the non-assertive part of the predication in (5d). However, as clearly shown in Newman (1976: 181f), this account of kèe turned out to be too narrow since there are contexts where kèe does not alternate with –nàa in focus, relative, or wh-question constructions. These contexts are illustrated next:
(6) a. Àkuyà-r (cee) kèe bàbba.
goat-df cop. be big
‘It is the goat that is big.’
b. Àkuyà-r bàbba cèe.
goat-df big cop.
‘The goat is big.’
(7) a. Màalàmai ukkù (nee) kèe àkwai.
teachers three cop. be.at there.is
‘It is three teachers that there is.’
b. Àkwai màalàmai ukkù.
there.are teachers three
‘There are three teachers.’
(8) a. Karfèe 2 nèe ya-kè sun zoo.
o’clock two cop. it-be 3p.CPL come
‘It is by 2 o’clock that they had arrived/ will have arrived.’
b. Karfèe 2 sun zoo.
o’clock two 3p.CPL come
‘By 2 o’clock they had arrived/ will have arrived.’
In data (6a) kèe marks the out-of-focus part of a focalized adjectival predication. The neutral predication uses the copula nee/cee, as seen in (6b), which establishes an alternation between kèe and nee/cee (note that the cee in (6a) is a focus marker). In (7a) kèe marks the out-of-focus part of an existential predication. In the neutral sentence (7b) one finds the existential predicate àkwai ‘there is/are’ alone. Sentence (8a) illustrates focalization in an anterior construction. In this case the normal Relative Perfective cannot be used since, as a true perfective, it would eliminate the anterior meaning (cf. karfèe biyu (nèe) sukà zoo ‘it is at 2 o’clock that they arrived). Instead there seems to be the insertion of an impersonal predication ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ which takes the rest of the clause as complement in an equational construction and so marks it as the non-asserted part of the sentence (compare with the neutral (8b)). In (7‑8) then kèe, strictly speaking, alternates with nothing. Nonetheless, the illustrations so far given do not exhaust the distribution of kèe and indeed some other uses are reported in the literature but are either quickly discarded as unproductive remnants (cf. Newman, 1976: 178n3) or they receive an inadequate characterization (cf. Jaggar, 2001: 177f, 463f; cf. also note 2). The main feature of these uses is that kèe cannot be associated with the typical Hausa relative, focus, or wh‑question construction. One of these uses is illustrated next (cf. also Abdoulaye, 2006: 1141f):
(9) a. Bàlki ta-nàa dà wàayoo.
Balki 3fs-have cleverness
‘Balki is clever.’
b. Bàlki (cèe) ta-kèe dà wàayoo./ Wàayoo (nèe) Bàlki ta-kèe dà shii.
Balki cop. 3fs-have cleverness/ cleverness cop. Balki 3fs-have 3ms
‘It is Balki who is clever./ ‘It is clever that Balki is.’
c. Bàlki dà wàayoo ta-kè.
Balki with cleverness 3fs-be
‘Balki is really clever.’
Example (9a) presents a pragmatically neutral possessive construction (with a characterizing function). The two arguments in the predication can each be focalized in the typical way, with complete fronting and the focus marker nee/cee as indicated in (9b). However, as seen in (9c), there exists another pragmatically marked sentence where the second argument (in the neutral predication) obligatorily appears just before the copula kèe, and the construction has an emphatic meaning as indicated. In (9c) none of the two NPs is focus-fronted (and the focus marker nee/cee cannot be used) so that kèe here is not associated with a relative, focus, or wh‑question structure. In fact there is even a clearer case showing the independence of kèe vis‑à‑vis focus and assimilated constructions, as seen next (cf. Abdoulaye, 2007; cf. also Newman, 2000: 547):
(10) a. (Wannàn) màigaadìi kèe nan.
this watchman be.at there
‘This is the watchman (whom I just talked to you about).’
‘This is the watchman (you expect there is one for this place).’
b. (Wannàn) màigaadìi nee.
this watchman cop
‘This is the/a watchman.’
In (10a) kèe is combined with a bleached locative demonstrative nan ‘there’ and the whole complex has a deictic identification function as indicated. Although (10a) does not have the structure or meaning of typical Hausa focus constructions (compare with (9b) above), it does have a certain pragmatic function. Indeed, in (10a) kèe nan is a presuppositional identification copula that typically indicates that the hearer has already heard or has information about the identified referent (first interpretation) or that he/she expects given the context (second interpretation). By contrast, sentence (10b), with the general identificational copula nee/cee, identifies a new referent to the hearer in a pragmatically neutral context. Sentence (10b) is typically followed by further information about the referent.
Data (9‑10) clearly establish kèe (or its variant –kè(e) with a prefixed pronoun) as a presupposition marker whether or not it is associated with a grammatically marked focus, relative, or wh-question construction. This characterization of kèe is well supported by its functions in the two main Hausa dialect clusters, the west and the central/eastern dialects, as represented in Table 1 (for basic information on west dialects, see Caron, 1991).
Table 1: Some functions of kèe in Hausa dialects
Presuppositional identification copula
Presupposition marker in emphatic possession
Presupposition marker in anterior focus
Presupposition marker in focus of nonverbal complement/ locative NPs
Presupposition marker in focus of nonverbal subjects
Presupposition marker in constituent focus in Imperfective clauses
In Table 1 one notes that only certain functions of kèe are pandialectal, i.e., the presuppositional identification function and presupposition marking in marginal (and probably archaic) focus/emphatic constructions. In typical constituent focus constructions in Imperfective clauses, the western dialects do not use kèe but a marker ‑kà (cf. Caron, 1991: 23, 126f, 147). As one may note in Table 1 copula kèe is always associated with presupposition marking. For this reason this paper will consider that the basic function of kèe is first of all a presupposition marker. It may then be assumed that kèe appears in relative, focus, and wh question constructions for the purpose of marking the presupposed parts of these constructions, i.e., the relative and the out-of-focus clause.
We said at the beginning of this section that copular SSCs have two key markers, the copula kèe (or more precisely its shorter ‑kè variant) and the subordinator dà. Indeed, the impersonal locution ya‑kè ‘it‑be’, containing the presuppositional copula, seems to combine with the temporal marker dà ‘when’ to form presupposed causal/reason adverbial clauses meaning ‘when [as] it is the case…’, i.e., the copular SSCs. This is illustrated in the following:
(11) a. [Dà bàakii sun fìta], kà rufè koofàa.
when guests 3p.CPL exit 2ms-SBJ close door
‘As soon as the guests go out, you may close the door.’
b. [Dà ya-kè bàakii sun fìta], sai kà rufè koofàa.
as it-be guests 3p.CPL exit then 2ms-SBJ close door
‘As it is the case the guests went out, you may now close the door.’
(12) a. [Dà su-nàa aikì-n yinìi], a-nàa kaawoo ma-sù àbinci.
when 3p-IPV work-of day imp-IPV bring to-3p food
‘When they were working all day, they were supplied with food.’
b. [Dà ya-kè su-nàa aikì-n yinìi], a-nàa kaawoo ma-sù àbinci.
as it-be 3p-IPV work-of day imp-IPV bring to-3p food
‘As it is the case they are working all day, they are supplied with food.’
(13) a. [Dà zaa à mayar dà ita Tàawa], an kaaràa ma-tà àlbâashii.
when FUT imp move 3fs Tawa imp.CPL raise to-3fs salary
‘When she was about to be reassigned in Tawa, her salary was raised.’
b. [Dà ya-kè zaa à mayar dà ita Tàawa], an kaaràa ma-tà àlbâashii.
as it-be FUT imp move 3fs Tawa imp.CPL raise to-3fs salary
‘As it is the case she is going to be reassigned in Tawa, her salary was raised.’
Sentences (11a), (12a), and (13a) contain simple temporal adverbial clauses introduced by dà ‘when’. As suggested in Abdoulaye (2006), this temporal subordinator may have derived from comitative and instrumental marker dà ‘with, and’. Sentences (11b), (12b), and (13b) by contrast contain causal/reason adverbial clauses as indicated in the translations. Another difference between the two sets of sentences is that the temporal clauses are in the assertion domain of their sentence, while the causal/reason clauses, because of the presence of ya‑kè ‘it‑be’, carry presupposed information, i.e., information that is known or taken for granted by the speech participants. In this paper I will assume that the causal function of the adverbial clause is due to the temporal subordinator dà which gets a causal interpretation in this context (cf. Hopper and Traugott, 1994: 74f and Thompson and Longacre, 1985: 181 on the development of causal markers from temporal markers). As already suggested in Section 1, the subject in the causal clause is the impersonal ya‑ ‘it’ (<3masc. sing.) and the complement the inner tensed clause, in a “as it is + clause” structure (for other functions of yakè in relative clauses, see Abdoulaye, 1992: 75n2, 2007; McConvell, 1977: 19ff; and Newman, 2000: 540f).
Formation of reduced SSCs
The copular SSCs seen in the previous section sometimes have corresponding reduced SSCs with the same general meaning (but with different pragmatic implications). Besides having a simpler syntactic structure, the reduced SSCs also differ from copular SSCs in exhibiting a special form for the perfective and imperfective aspect, i.e., the relative marking. The correspondence between copular and reduced SSCs seems however to be subject to various constraints.
3.1 Four cases of correspondence between copular and reduced SSCs
The first case of correspondence between copular and reduced SSCs involves a copular SSC with a nonverbal complement clause, i.e., equational, nominal, or adjectival predications, and locative or possessive predications. The nominal and possessive predications are illustrated next:
(14) a. [Dà ya-kè Bàlki yar dàariyaa cèe], hiirâ-r taa yi daadii.
As it-be Balki laugh.person cop. chat-df 3fs.CPL do pleasure
‘As it is the case Balki is an entertaining person, the chat was pleasant.’
b. [Dà Bàlki ta-kè yar dàariyaa], (ai) hiirâ-r taa yi daadii.
As Balki 3fs-be laugh.person well chat-df 3fs.CPL do pleasure
‘As Balki is an entertaining person, the chat was, naturally, pleasant.’
(15) a. [Dà ya-kè ta-nàa dà haalii], taa sàyi gidâ-n mài tsàadaa.
as it-be 3fs-have wealth 3fs.CPL buy house-df expensive
‘As it is the case she is rich, she bought the expensive house.’
b. [Dà ta-kèe dà haalii], (ai) taa sàyi gidâ-n mài tsàadaa.
as 3fs-have wealth well 3fs.CPL buy house-df expensive
‘As she is rich, she, naturally, bought the expensive house.’
In the adverbial clause of (14a) the subordinator dà introduces a predicate ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ that takes as complement an equational clause containing the regular equational copula nee/cee. In (14b), the adverbial clause has a much simpler structure. Indeed, in (14b) the subordinator dà introduces a simple equational predication with Bàlki as subject of the copula ‑kè. Data (15) shows the same correspondence involving a possessive ‘have’ clause as complement of ya‑kè ‘it‑be’. One can probably assume that copula –kè(e) in (14b) and (15b) is the same presupposition-marking copula that appears in copular SSCs and the other pragmatically marked contexts described in Table 1. As may be noticed copular SSCs and their corresponding reduced SSCs have the same general meaning. There is however a difference between them: copular SSCs accompany a main clause that simply asserts a situation while reduced SSCs accompany a main clause that also reflects the attitude of the speaker about the information conveyed (cf. Section 4 for details on the functions of SSCs).
The second case of correspondence between copular and reduced SSCs happens in imperfective context, as illustrated next:
(16) a. [Dà ya-kè Aishà ta-nàa sôn shubkà gyàdaa], ta-nàa saaran daajìi.
as it-be Aishà 3fs-IPV want plant peanuts 3fs-IPV cut bush
‘As it is the case Aisha wants to plant peanuts, she clears the bush.’
b. [Dà Aishà ta-kèe sôn shubkà gyàdaa], (ai) ta-nàa saaran daajìi.
as Aisha 3fs-RI want plant peanuts well 3fs-IPV cut bush
‘As Aisha wants to plant peanuts, she naturally clears the bush.’
In the adverbial clause of (16a), the subordinator dà introduces the predicate ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ which takes a verbal clause as complement, a clause that carries the general Imperfective auxiliary –nàa. In the corresponding reduced SSC in (16b) the predicate ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ is absent, but the simple clause has the Relative Imperfective marked by –kèe instead of ‑nàa. This paper will assume that the Relative Imperfective auxiliary –kèe in (16b) developed from locative copula kèe, just as regular Imperfective auxiliary –nàa developed from locative copula –nàa (cf. data (5) above). One, therefore, need not assume a direct derivational relationship between the copular and the reduced SSC in (16). Rather, we will just say that the sequence “ya‑kè + regular Imperfective complement clause” can functionally be replaced (or can alternate) with an independently existing Imperfective clause built with the auxiliary –kèe in causal/reason adverbial clauses introduced by dà (in central and eastern dialects, cf. Table 1 and note 2).
The third correspondence between copular and reduced SSCs happens when the complement clause of ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ has the Completive TAM. To this configuration corresponds (in the reduced SSC) an element ‑kà, as illustrated next:
(17) a. Dà ya-kè sun cêe su-nàa zuwàa, mun yi jirà-n-sù.
as it-be 3p.CPL say 3p-IPV come 1p.CPL do wait-of-3p
‘As it is the case they advised us they are coming, we waited for them.’
b. Dà su-kà cêe su-nàa zuwàa, (ai) mun yi jirà-n-sù.
as 3p.RP say 3p-IPV come well 1p.CPL do wait-of-3p
‘As they advised us they are coming, we, of course, waited for them.’
In (17a) subordinator dà introduces a predicate ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ that takes as complement a clause whose highest verb cêe ‘say’ carries the Completive TAM sun ‘3p.CPL’ (a paradigm that has a basic perfect meaning; cf. Caron, 1991: 164ff; Newman, 2000: 569ff; and Schubert, 1971/72: 220f). The reduced SSC in (17b) is simpler in structure since the subordinator dà is directly followed by the verb cêe ‘say’ and its TAM marker. The clause however carries the Relative Perfective su‑kà ‘3p‑RP’ (a paradigm that has a basic perfective meaning; cf. Abdoulaye, 2008). In this case we see that the sequence “ya‑kè + Completive complement clause” alternates with a simple clause built with the element –kà in causal/reason adverbial clauses introduced by dà. Since the copular and the reduced SSC in (17a‑b) both have the same meaning, one may assume that –kà, whatever its provenience, marks perfectivity and presupposition in causal/reason adverbial clauses. 2
The last case of correspondence between copular and reduced SSCs is observed when the clause complement of ya‑kè carries the Hausa Future I or zaa‑Future, as illustrated next:
(18) a. [Dà ya-kè zaa à mayar dà suu Tàawa], sun faarà sayar dà
as it-be FUT imp move 3p Tawa 3p.CPL begin sell
‘As it is the case they will be reassigned in Tawa, they have started selling their
b. [Dà zaa à mayar dà suu Tàawa], sun faarà sayar dà kaaya-n-sù.
as FUT imp move 3p Tawa 3p.PERF begin sell stuff-of-3p
‘As they will be reassigned to Tawa, they have started selling their things.’
In (18a), the subordinator dà introduces a predicate ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ that takes as complement a clause containing the Future I. In the corresponding reduced SSC in (18b) the ya‑kè complex is absent but the inner TAM does not change its shape, i.e., to the Future I of copular SSCs corresponds no special form in reduced SSCs. It should be noted that negative nonverbal predications and negative Completive, Imperfective, and Future I in copular SSCs have no special form in reduced SSCs (cf. Abdoulaye, 1997: 316n3).
3.2 Tense/aspect paradigms in the correspondence between copular and reduced SSCs
As seen in the preceding subsection, copular SSCs allow regular Completive, regular Imperfective, and Future I in their inner clause; TAMs that respectively correspond to the Relative Perfective, Relative Imperfective, and Future I are in reduced SSCs. Besides these three TAM paradigms, the copular SSCs also allow in their inner clause the Future II, the Habitual, and the Eventual. However, copular SSCs that have these TAMs in their inner clause have no corresponding reduced SSCs, as illustrated next (cf. also Abdoulaye 1997: 318f):
(19) a. Dà ya-kè Àali yâa jee kàasuwaa, Bàlki taa baa shì sabtù.
as it-be Ali 3ms.FUT go market Balki 3fs.CPL give 3ms shop
‘As it is the case Ali will go to the market, Balki asked him to shop for her.’
b. *Dà Àali yâa jee kàasuwaa, Bàlki taa baa shì sabtù.
as Ali 3ms.FUT go market Balki 3fs.CPL give 3ms shop
‘As Ali will go to the market, Balki asked him to shop for her.’
(20) a. Dà ya-kè Àali ya-kàn jee kàasuwaa, ka-nàa iyà baa shì sabtù.
as it-be Ali 3ms-HAB go market 2ms-IPV can give 3ms shop
‘As it is the case Ali usually goes to the market, you can ask him to shop for you.’
b. *Dà Àali ya-kàn jee kàasuwaa, ka-nàa iyà baa shì sabtù.
as Ali 3ms-HAB go market 2ms-IPV can give 3ms shop
‘As Ali usually goes to the market, you can ask him to shop for you.’
(21) a. ??Dà ya-kè Àali ya-kàa yi wannàn aikìi, an tàmbàyee shì.
as it-be Ali 3ms-EVE do this deed imp-CPL ask 3ms
‘As it is the case Ali may have done this deed, he was questioned.’
b. *Dà Àali ya-kàa yi wannàn aikìi, an tàmbàyee shì.
as Ali 3ms-EVE do this deed imp-CPL ask 3ms
‘As Ali may have done this deed, he was questioned.’
In (19a) and (20a) the clause complement of ya‑kè carries, respectively, the Future II and the Habitual in the copular SSC. As shown in (19b) and (20b), these SSCs have no reduced alternative, i.e., the Future II and the Habitual cannot appear in reduced SSCs. Sentence (21) shows that the Eventual is barely acceptable in copular SSCs but simply ungrammatical in reduced SSCs. The remaining Hausa TAMs, i.e., Subjunctive and Imperative, do not at all appear in SSCs, copular or reduced (cf. Abdoulaye, 1997: 319 for an illustration). The pattern of interaction between the TAMs and the SSCs can be summarized as in Table 2.
Table 2: Interaction between TAMs and SSCs (central/east dialects)
Yes (Rel. Imperf.)
Yes (Rel. Perf.)
At this point, one may wonder why in Hausa we have an alternation between copular and reduced SSCs in some cases but not in others. It may be assumed that in copular SSCs, the ya‑kè predicate marks not only presupposition but also realis status, whether or not the complement clause itself describes a real event. For example, in (16a),ya‑kè predicates as true a situation where Aisha wants to plant peanuts, while in (19a), ya‑kè predicates as true a situation where Ali is projected to go to the market next day. When one looks at Table 2, one realizes that reduced SSCs are possible when the TAM of the complement clause in the copular SSC is realis. Indeed, Completive and regular Imperfective typically express realis state of affairs. Copulas such as nee/cee in equational, nominal, and adjectival predications and ‑nàa in locative and possessive ‘have’ predications can also be considered to describe realis state of affairs. As for the Future I, it may be noted that it differs from a pure future tense (such as the Future II) in the sense that it typically presupposes that the future event is underway or in preparation. Indeed, Future I grammaticalized from the verb zâa ‘start to go, be going’ which has an inchoative or action in progress meaning (cf. Abdoulaye, 2001 for details). In other words, reduced SSCs describe events that are presupposed and (quasi) realis (cf. Abdoulaye, 1997 for more details on this point). If the complement clause in the copular SSC is not realis (if it bears Future II or Habitual), there is no corresponding reduced SSC. Furthermore, ya‑kè apparently cannot predicate a situation that is neither realized nor firmly projected to be realized in the future, hence the inability of the Subjunctive and other pure irrealis/hypothetical TAMs to appear even in the copular SSCs.
3.3 Formal constraints on the correspondence between copular and reduced SSCs
When a copular SSC contains certain operators or some special syntactic configurations, it will not have a corresponding reduced SSC even if the complement clause bears a realis TAM. For example, if in a copular SSC the complement clause is part of a conditional construction and is preceded by in/ìdan ‘if’, then a corresponding reduced SSC is not possible, as illustrated next:
(22) a. Dà ya-kè ìdan sun tsayàa âa kaamàa su, sai su-kà wucèe.
as it-be if 3p.CPL stop imp.FUT arrest 3p then 3p-RP pass
‘As it is the case if they stay they would be arrested, they continued.’
b. *Dà ìdan su-kà tsayàa âa kaamàa su, sai su-kà wucèe.
as if 3p-RP stop imp.FUT arrest 3p then 3p-RP pass
‘As if they stay they woul be arrested, they naturally continued.’
In the copular SSC in (22a), ya‑kè takes as complement a conditional construction marked with in/ìdan ‘if’ and whose first TAM is the Completive sun ‘3p.CPL’. As indicated in (22b) there is no corresponding reduced SSC. In (22a) it may be noted that the conditional operator in/ìdan follows and is under the scope of the ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ predicate. However, in the ungrammatical (22b), the conditional operator precedes the relative TAM and is hence out of the scope of the presupposition and realis features of the adverbial clause. The same pattern of interaction between in/ìdan and the SSCs is also observed with nonverbal complement clauses (cf. dà yakè ìdan likitàr màce cèe… ‘as it is the case if the doctor is a woman…’, with no reduced SSC) or with Imperfective or Future I complement clauses. Besides in/ìdan ‘if’, other operators that cannot appear in reduced SSCs are koo ‘even’, har ’till, even, etc.’, sai ’till, unless, must, etc.’, duk ‘all’, etc.
Similarly, if the complement clause of a copular SSC has a focus or a topicalized structure, then there is no corresponding reduced SSC, as seen next:
(23) a. Dà ya-kè dàrii nèe ta-kèe sôo, sai kudî-n bà sù isa ba.
as it-be hundred cop. 3fs-RI want then money-df NEG.CPL 3p suffice NEG
‘As it is the case she wanted a hundred [something], the money wasn’t enough.’
b. *Dà dàrii nèe ta-kèe sôo, sai kudî-n bà sù isa ba.
as hundred cop. 3fs-RI want then money-df NEG.CPL 3p suffice NEG
‘As she wanted a hundred [something], the money, naturally, wasn’t enough.’
(24) a. Dà ya-kè shii Abdù ya-nàa dà mootàa, sai ya kai sù can.
as it-be 3ms Abdu 3ms-have car then 3ms.RP take 3p there
‘As it is the case, Abdu [as for Abdu] has a car, he took them there.’
b. *Dà shii Abdù ya-kèe dà mootàa, sai ya kai sù can.
as 3ms Abdu 3ms-have car then 3ms.RP take 3p there
‘As Abdu [as for Abdu] has a car, he, naturally, tookthem there.’
In (23a) and (24a) the complement clause in the copular SSC starts with a focalized or topicalized constituent, respectively. As shown in (23b) and (24b), there is no corresponding reduced SSCs. We see that because of their periphrastic structure, copular SSCs can embed complement clauses with a variety of syntactic configuration. This is apparently not possible with the syntactically tighter reduced SSCs.
In Section 3.1, we saw that copular SSCs with equational, nominal, adjectival, locative, and possessive ‘have’ predications as complement have corresponding reduced SSCs. It seems, however, that copular SSCs with other nonverbal clauses appearing as complement of ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ have no corresponding reduced SSCs. Similarly, copular SSCs containing the defective motion verb zâa ‘start to go, be going’ also have no corresponding reduced SSCs. The next data illustrate the interaction between a deictic identification, an existential, a zâa ‘go’ predication, and the SSCs:
(25) a. Dà ya-kè Bàlki cèe, sun yàrda.
as it-be Balki cop. 3p.CPL agree
‘As it is the case it is Balki, they agreed.’
b. *Dà Bàlki cèe/ ta-kè, sun yàrda.
as Balki cop./ 3fs-be 3p.CPL agree
‘As it is Balki, they,naturally, agreed.’
(26) a. Dà ya-kè àkwai mutàanee à fiilî-n, an bar wutaa kùnne.
as it-be there.are people in place-df imp.CPL leave light on
‘As it is the case there are people in the place, the light was left on.’
b. *Dà àkwai mutàanee à fiilî-n, an bar wutaa kùnne.
as there.are people in place-df imp.CPL leave light on
‘As there are people in the place, the light was,naturally, left on.’
(27) a. Dà ya-kè zâa ta Saafòo gòobe, an jinkìrtà aikì-n.
as it-be go 3fs Safo tomorrow imp.CPL delay work-df
‘As it is the case she goes to Safo tomorrow, the work is delayed.’
b. *Dà zâa ta Saafòo gòobe, an jinkìrtà aikì-n.
as go 3fs Safo tomorrow imp.CPL delay work-df
‘As she goes to Safo tomorrow, the work,naturally, is delayed.’
In (25a) the copular SSC has a complement clause that consists in a deictic identification predication (which is typically used for direct, visual identification; cf. Abdoulaye, 2007). Data (25b) shows that this configuration has no corresponding reduced SSC, whether one uses the neutral copula nee/cee or the presuppositional ‑kè copula. Data (26) shows that a copular SSC with an existential predication built with àkwai ‘there is/are’ has no corresponding reduced SSC (the same observation applies to the alternate existential predicate dà ‘there is/are’, but apparently not to the negative existential bâa/baabù, as seen in: dà yakè bâa koowaa… = dà bâa koowaa ‘as it is the case there is nobody…’). In data (27) the complement clause has the verb zâa ‘start to go, be going’, which is defective and in fact has no overt identifiable tense/aspect paradigm (cf. Abdoulaye, 2001: 5). As in seen in (27b) verb zâa ‘start to go, be going’ cannot appear in reduced SSCs. Overall, the difference between the nonverbal predications illustrated in (25‑27) and those in (14‑15) is that the former have only one argument. The exact reason why one-argument nonverbal predications would not appear in reduced SSCs will be left to future research.
Another formal constraint on the correspondence between copular and reduced SSCs relates to the complexity of the inner complement clause. Indeed, copular SSCs with a temporal adverbial clause inserted between the predicate ya‑kè and the complement clause have no corresponding reduced SSCs. This is illustrated next:
(28) a. [Dà ya-kè [lookàcin dà ya-nàa aikìi] yaa ji zuwà-n-sù]…
as it-be time that 3ms-IPV work 3ms.CPL hear coming-of-3p
‘[As it is the case that [when he was working] he heard them coming]…’
b. *[Dà [lookàcin dà ya-nàa aikìi] ya ji zuwà-n-sù]…
‘[As [when he was working] he heard them coming]…’
c. [Dà ya ji zuwà-n-sù [lookàcin dà ya-nàa aikìi]]…
‘[As he heard them coming [when he was working]]…’
Example (28a) presents a copular SSC (main clause left out) where the complement clause of ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ has a preposed temporal adverbial clause (cf. the inner brackets). In this configuration the copular SSC cannot have a corresponding reduced SSC, as seen in (28b). However, reduced SSCs can have a modifying temporal clause if the temporal clause is postposed, as seen in (28c). In fact, there may be a more general constraint to the effect that copular SSCs with any TAM intervening between predicate ya‑kè ‘it‑be’ and the highest TAM of the complement clause will have no corresponding reduced SSCs. This is illustrated next, with inner subject arguments containing a clause:
(29) a. [Dà ya-kè [cêewaa su-nàa ganin sarkii] ya-nàa ban màamaakìi]…
as it-be given 3p-IPV see emir 3ms-IPV give surprise
‘As it is the case that the fact that they see the emir is surprising…’
b. *[Dà [cêewaa su-nàa ganin sarkii] ya-kèe ban màamaakìi]…
as given 3p-IPV see emir 3ms-RI give surprise
‘As the fact that they see the emir is surprising…’
(30) a. [Dà ya-kè [bàaki-n dà su-kà zoo] su-nàa sôn fìtaa]…
as it-be guests-df that 3p-RP come 3p-IPV want go.out
‘As it is the case that the guests who came want to go out…’
b. ??[Dà [bàaki-n dà su-kà zoo] su-kèe sôn fìtaa]…
as guests-df that 3p-RP come 3p-IPV want go.out
‘As the guests who came want to go out…’
(31) a. [Dà ya-kè [indà su-kà tàfi] ya-nàa dà niisaa]…
as it-be where 3p-RP go 3ms-have distance
‘As it is the case [the place] where they went is far…’
b. *[Dà [indà su-kà tàfi] ya-kèe dà niisaa]…
as where 3p-RP go 3ms-have distance
‘As [the place] where they went is far…’
Examples (29a) and (30a), respectively, portray a copular SSC (main clause left out) where the subject of the complement clause is a that‑clause or contains a relative clause. As shown in (29b) and (30b), in both cases there are no corresponding reduced SSCs, although the grammaticality is not always as bad as in the case of an intervening adverbial clause, as illustrated in (28). The same pattern of correspondence obtains for copular SSCs containing a locative adverbial relative clause as inner subject, as seen in (31), and for copular SSCs containing a manner adverbial clause as inner subject (cf. dà yakè [yaddà sukèe yîi] yanàa dà ban wàhalàa… ‘as it is the case [the way they do it] is tiresome…’, with no reduced version).
Finally, it may be noted that a copular SSC with a complex complement clause corresponds to a reduced SSC where only the highest (and also the first) TAM of the clause bears the relative tense/aspect alternation. This is illustrated next:
(32) a. [Dà ya-kè mun ji Abdù yaa cêe ta-nàa aikì-n-sù kàasuwaa]…
as it-be 1p.CPL hear Abdu 3ms.CPL say 3fs-IPV send-of-3p market
‘As it is the case we heard Abdu say that she sends them to the market…’
b. [Dà mu-kà ji Abdù yaa cêe ta-nàa aikì-n-sù kàasuwaa]…
as 1p-RP hear Abdu 3ms.CPL say 3fs-IPV send-of-3p market
‘As we heard Abdu say that she sends them to the market…’
In (32a) the portrayed copular SSC (main clause left out) has a complement clause that itself contains three clauses. As seen in (32b) in the reduced SSC, only the highest TAM is a relative TAM, the Relative Perfective mu‑kà ‘1p‑RP’. Indeed, the appearance of the relative marking on the other verbs would lead to ungrammaticality.
4. Functional aspects of the SSCs
So far this paper has discussed causal/reason SSCs, i.e., adverbial clauses that provide the causal background for the consequent event expressed in the main clause. However, there are also some SSCs, which can be copular or reduced, that express the consequent event and accompany main clauses expressing the causal/reason event. There are therefore four logical types of SSCs, i.e., (i) causal copular SSCs, (ii) consequent copular SSCs, (iii) causal reduced SSCs, and (iv) consequent reduced SSCs, each with a distinct discourse function.
Turning first to the copular SSCs, we see that they fulfill basic information function when they background the causal/reason event and convey speaker-based inference when they background the consequent event. The contrast causal vs. consequent event backgrounding in copular SSCs is illustrated next (cf. also Abdoulaye, 1997: 312):
(33) a. [Dà ya-kè Aishà ta-nàa sôn shubkà gyàdaa], ta-nàa saaran daajìi.
as it-be Aishà 3fs-IPV want plant peanuts 3fs-IPV cut bush
‘As it is the case Aisha wants to plant peanuts, she clears the bush.’
b. Dà ya-kè Aishà ta-nàa saaran daajìi, ta-nàa sôn shubkà gyàdaa (kèe nan).
as it-be Aishà 3fs-IPV cut bush 3fs-IPV want plant peanuts this.means
‘As it is the case Aisha is clearing the bush, (this for me means) she wants to plant peanuts.’
In (33a), where the causal/reason event is backgrounded in the copular SSC, the speaker evokes two connected states of affairs, one of which (the causal event) is presupposed or taken for granted. By contrast, the consequent event in the main clause is asserted, whether as new information or as something that is being explained to the hearer. However, when the consequent event is backgrounded in the copular SSC, as in (33b), then the speaker is using some evidence or a reported fact (the presupposed consequent situation) to infer its cause or reason. This is shown by the fact that (33b) is in fact more natural if it is completed with the inference marker kèe nan ‘this for me means’ (cf. note 2). It should be noted that the inference is speaker-based only and has no implication whether or not the hearer already came to the same conclusion by himself/ herself. In fact (33b) can be used to submit the inference (i.e., the inference that Aisha wants to plant peanuts) to the appreciation of a more knowledgeable hearer (both speaker and hearer naturally share the presupposed bush clearing event expressed in the SSC).
On the grounds of the contrast “hearer information” vs. “speaker-based inference” alone maybe one can conclude that causal event backgrounding is the primary function of the copular SSCs. However, there is another clearer indication for the basicness of the cause/reason backgrounding function. Indeed, it is not always possible, from a consequent situation, to infer a cause, and in this case consequent event backgrounding is not possible, as seen next:
(34) a. Dà ya-kè bandìr dàrii ta-kèe sôo, sai kudî-n bà sù ìsa ba.
as it-be rolls hundred 3fs-IPV want then money-df NEG CPL suffice NEG
‘As it is the case she wanted hundred rolls, the money was not enough.’
b. ??Dà ya-kè kudî-n bà sù ìsa ba, bandìr dàrii ta-kèe
as it-be money-df NEG CPL suffice NEG rolls hundred 3fs-IPV
sôo (kèe nan).
‘As it is the case the money was not enough, (this for me means) she wanted
(35) a. Dà ya-kè yâu Lahàdi nèe, ma’àikàtaa su-nàa huutuu.
as it-be today Sunday cop. workers 3p-IPV rest
‘As it is the case today is Sunday, workers are resting.’
b. ??Dà ya-kè ma’àikàtaa su-nàa huutuu, yâu Lahàdi nèe (kèe nan).
as it-be workers 3p-IPV rest today Sunday cop. this.means
‘As it is the case workers are resting, (this for me means) today is Sunday.’
In (34a) the causal situation is the desire to acquire 100 rolls and the consequent situation that the money was not enough (i.e., the amount of money failed to buy the desired quantity of rolls). In sentence (34b) the consequent situation cannot be backgrounded since, normally, one cannot tell the precise quantity of rolls desired just from the fact that a certain amount of shopping money was insufficient. Similarly, in (35b) the consequent event cannot be backgrounded since one cannot infer it is Sunday just from the observation that people are not working.
In Section 3 we have presented many pairs of copular SSCs and reduced SSCs encoding a causal/reason situation and have given the two constructions as equivalent. In fact, though copular and reduced SSCs have the same general meaning, they are not pragmatically equivalent. Reduced SSCs encoding a causal/reason situation indeed seem to convey speaker conviction, expressivity, attitudes, or emotions about the proposition in the main clause. In data (14‑18) above the translation of sentences with reduced SSCs contains the words “naturally” or “of course” to show that the main purpose of the speaker is to express a conviction, more than factual information. Reduced SSCs are also frequently associated with rhetorical style, irony/sarcasm, pride/honor, derision, and scolding. Irony or sarcasm can be detected in the following example: 3
(36) a. Dà ya-kè su-nàa tsòoron à kaamàa su, sun gudù.
as it-be 3p-IPV fear imp.SBJ arrest 3p 3p.CPL flee
‘As it is the case they are afraid of being arrested, they fled.’
b. Dà su-kèe tsòoron à kaamàa su, ai sun gudù.
as 3p-RI fear imp.SBJ arrest 3p well 3p.CPL flee
‘As they are afraid of being arrested, well [isn’t it true that] they fled!’
c. Dà su-kèe tsòoron à kaamàa su, bàa sun gudù ba!
as 3p-RI fear imp.SBJ arrest 3p NEG 3p.CPL flee NEG
‘As they are afraid of being arrested, isn’t it the case that they fled!’
Sentence (36a), with a copular SSC, recalls a presupposed state of affairs (some people fear being arrested) and informs the listener about the consequent state of affairs. By contrast, in (36b) the speaker is sarcastic and the sentence can still be told even if hearer knows about both states of affairs and their connection. In this case the function of (36b) would be to remind the hearer of a situation that is embarrassing (if it is his/her people) or funny (if hearer is unrelated to the people). In fact, sentence (36b) is more natural with the particle ai ‘well, isn’t it true that, of course, indeed, etc.’. As seen in (36c) reduced SSCs can occur with emphatic negation. The emphatic negation would not be natural with copular SSCs. It is not really the case that copular SSCs cannot be used to express speaker attitude, however, reduced SSCs seem to have specialized in this function. These two points are illustrated next:
(37) a. Dà ya-kè ka-nàa tsòoro-n-tà, ai bà kà cêe ma-tà koomii ba.
as it-be 2ms-IPV fear-of-3fs well NEG CPL say to-3fs nothing NEG
‘As it is the case you are afraid of her, well, you said nothing.’
b. Dà ka-kèe tsòoro-n-tà, ai bà kà cêe ma-tà koomii ba.
as 2ms-RI fear-of-3fs well NEG CPL say to-3fs nothing NEG
‘As you are afraid of her, well, you said nothing.’
(38) a. ??Dà ya-kè ka-nàa tsòoro-n-tà, kaa cêe ma-tà wani àbù?
as it-be 2ms-IPV fear-of-3fs NEG CPL say to-3fs something
‘As it is the case you are afraid of her, did you say anything?’
b. Dà ka-kèe tsòoro-n-tà, kaa cêe ma-tà wani àbù?
as 2ms-RI fear-of-3fs NEG CPL say to-3fs something
‘As you are afraid of her, did you say anything?’
Given the general content of sentences (37) both copular SSC and reduced SSC can have the sarcastic use. Note that the sentences express what happened in reality (i.e., the hearer is afraid of someone and did not say a thing). However, as shown in (38), the speaker can also explicitly encode his/her sarcasm by using a stylistic reverse polarity (it is known hearer did not say a thing). In that case, sentence (38b), with a reduced SSC, is more natural, as indicated. Sometimes the reduced SSC is more specialized, for example when expressing the pride or honor of the speaker. In this situation the copular SSC is unnatural, as seen in the following:
(39) a. *Dà ya-kè kin kaarè aikì-n-kì, (ai) naa biyaa kì!
as it-be 2fs.CPL finish work-of-2fs well 1s.CPL pay 2fs
‘As it is the case you finished the work, well, I paid you.’
b. Dà ki-kà kaarè aikì-n-kì, (ai) naa biyaa kì!
as 2fs.RP finish work-of-2fs well 1s.CPL pay 2fs
‘When/as you finished your work, I paid you [if that need reminding]!’
In the background situation of sentences (39), both speaker and hearer are involved and agree on the factual events. In this sense the basic information function of the copular SSC is irrelevant. However, situations may arise where the hearer (the worker paid) behaves in an inconsistent way (say, insinuating speaker is a bad payer or complaining about not having enough available money, etc.) In that case, the speaker may need to defend himself/herself and, for that purpose, the reduced SSC is the most natural option while the copular SSC is simply unfelicitous, as indicated in (39a). Such sentences can also be used unprovoked, if a speaker just wants to be mean (for example in doing goorìi in Hausa, such as when one helps and later reminds the receiver about it). The same pattern is observed in the case of scolding, as seen next:
(40) a. *Dà ya-kè su-nàa fìtaa, (ai) sai kà kiraa nì!
as it-be 3p-IPV go.out well then 2ms.SBJ call 1s
‘As it is the case they are/were going out, you should have called me!’
b. Dà su-kèe fìtaa, (ai) sai kà kiraa nì!
as 3p-RI go.out well then 2ms.SBJ call 1s
‘As they are/were going out, you should have called me!’
In (40) a potential causal event (people going out) could have as consequence the hearer’s alerting the speaker. If the hearer fails to act properly, then the speaker can complain and so scold or blame the hearer. In this case, only reduced SSCs are appropriate, as indicated in (40b). There may be more to say about the expressive functions of causal reduced SSCs, however, the purpose of this paper is not to be exhaustive in this regard. Furthermore, there may be a ranking between the various functions already surveyed here. This however will be left to future studies. 4
Besides backgrounding causal/reason situations, reduced SSCs can also background consequent situations and express what in Abdoulaye (2007) was referred to as “profiling” (or “highlighting, prominence”). In profiling the speaker emphasizes, contrasts, or requests overdue information (cf. Abdoulaye, 2007). In this regard, reduced SSCs are well distinct from copular SSCs, as shown in the following:
(41) a. Dà ya-kè Aishà ta-nàa fiddà kùjèeruu, bàakii zaa sù zoo (kèe nan).
as it-be Aisha 3fs-IPV take.out chairs guests FUT 3p come this.means
‘As it is the case Aisha is getting chairs out, (this for me means) guests
b. Dà Aishà ta-kèe fiddà kùjèeruu, (àkwai mafaarii), bàakii zaa sù zoo (nèe).
as Aisha 3fs-RI take.out chairs there.is reason guests FUT 3p come cop.
‘As [if] Aisha is getting chairs out, (there must be a reason), [it is because] guests
In (41a) with a copular SSC, the speaker infers a reason for Aisha’s action (cf. discussion of (33b) above) and the inferential marker kèe nan ‘this for me means’ can be used. One may note that the sentence can be used irrespective of whether or not the speaker thinks the hearer holds the same inference. However in (41b), with a reduced SSC, the speaker assumes the hearer cannot conceive of an explanation (a reason) for Aisha’s action and supplies one (the event in the main clause). That the speaker indeed refers to the state of mind of the hearer is shown by the presence in (41b) of the expression àkwai mafaarii ‘there must be a reason’, which can be used to prepare the hearer to accept an explanation. The expression àkwai mafaarii would be unfelicitous in sentence (41a). Similarly, instead of kèe nan ‘this for me means’, the copula nee/cee can naturally be used in (41b) to show that speaker implies hearer cannot arrive at the same conclusion on his/her own. There is a good indication that the profiling SSCs are distinct from all other SSCs and represent the most grammaticalized stage of the subordinator dà. Indeed, it is only the profiling SSCs that can shed away the subordinator dà, as illustrated next:
(42) a. Bàakii zaa sù zoo (nèe), dà Aishà ta-kèe fiddà kùjèeruu.
Guests FUT 3p come cop. as Aisha 3fs-RI take.out chairs.
‘[It is because] guests are coming, as [if] Aisha is getting chairs out.’
b. Bàakii zaa sù zoo (nèe) Aishà ta-kèe fiddà kùjèeruu.
Guests FUT 3p come cop. Aisha 3fs-RI take.out chairs.
‘[It is because] guests are coming that Aisha is getting chairs out.’
(43) a. (Ai) Aishà taa fiddà kùjèeruu, dà bàakii su-kà zoo.
well Aisha 3fs.CPL take.out chairs as guests 3p-RP come.
‘(Well), Aisha got the chairs out, when/as the guests came.’
b. *(Ai) Aishà taa fiddà kùjèeruu bàakii su-kà zoo.
well Aisha 3fs.CPL take.out chairs guests 3p-RP come.
‘(Well), Aisha got the chairs out, when/as the guests came.’
In sentence (42a) the consequent reduced SSC (as in fact all other SSCs) can be postposed to the main clause. In this position, however, only consequent reduced SSCs can drop the subordinator dà and be intonationally integrated with the main clause, as shown in (42b). Indeed in (43a), a causal reduced SSC can also follow the main clause but, as indicated in (43b), it is not possible to drop the subordinator dà and keep the SSC reading. The SSC in (42b) can be referred to as a “dà‑less reduced SSC” and is very likely the source of out-of-focus clauses, with which it has the same form (cf. Abdoulaye, 2007).
Although there is a clear association between the types of SSCs and various discourse functions, these associations should be taken as general tendencies and it may not be forgotten that context is also important. For this reason, there may be an overlap between the constructions as is normal in grammaticalization change. 5
The main grammaticalization process described in this paper is the evolution of dà from a temporal ‘when’ subordinator to a causal marker introducing causal SSCs, then to a semantically empty subordinator that introduces consequent SSCs and other subordinate clauses (cf. notes 3 and 4). The changes affecting dà can be recapitulated as follows:
(44) Dà ‘when’ > dà ‘as, because’ > dà (subordinator) > Ø
temporal causal SSCs consequent SSCs,
As discussed in Section 2, the change from a temporal subordinator ‘when’ to a causal subordinator is a well-established process cross linguistically (cf. Hopper and Traugott, 1994: 74f, Thompson and Longacre, 1985: 181). The diagram in (44) proposes that the semantically empty subordinator function developed from the causal function. One indication for the basicness of the causal SSCs is the fact that they alone can express neutral information, while all other types of SSCs have speaker-based meanings (speaker-based inference, speaker attitude and emotions, and profiling). Speaker-based meaning is generally considered to be characteristic of grammaticalized constructions (cf. Hopper and Traugott, 1994: 4). Another indication for the basicness of causal SSCs is the fact that it is not always possible, given a causal SSC, to have its corresponding consequent SSC. Finally, the last stage of the evolution of dà, i.e., the Ø-stage, is evidenced only in consequent reduced SSCs.
This paper explored a family of constructions, the scene setting clauses, which are adverbial clauses introduced by the subordinator dà and which carry presupposed information setting the event in the main clause. The SSCs vary in two fundamental ways. Formally, SSCs can be complex and involve a “copula + complement clause” structure (i.e., the copular SSCs). They can also have a simple, monoclausal structure and exhibit special perfective and imperfective markers (i.e., the reduced SSCs). Semantically, SSCs may encode either the causal or the consequent event. The paper shows that the four logical types of SSCs have each a distinct discourse function, a fact that illustrates the importance of functional considerations in the description of linguistic structure. The paper argues that the SSCs expressing consequent event are derived from the SSCs expressing causal event. The causal SSCs in turn may derive from temporal clauses that are introduced by the subordinator dà ‘when’. This change would be consistent with the results of grammaticalization studies showing that temporal markers indeed develop to become causal markers. This paper shows that causal markers can continue their evolution and turn into semantically empty clause subordinators that can be omitted in highly grammaticalized constructions.
1 Hausa (Chadic, Afroasiatic) is spoken mainly in Niger and Nigeria. Most data in this paper are constructed example sentences the grammaticality of which has been checked with speakers of Katsinanci dialect and Standard Hausa. Some of the data are examples adapted from previous publications, as indicated sometimes in the text. Still other examples are adapted from naturally occurring utterances collected by the author. The transcription follows Hausa standard orthography with some changes. Long vowels are represented as double letters, low tone as grave accent, and falling tone as circumflex accent. High tone is unmarked. Small capitals (B, D, K, Y, R) represent glottalized/laryngealized consonants and the trilled [r]. Written ‘f’ is pronounced [h] (or [hw] before [a]) in Katsinanci. A double question mark before an example indicates pragmatic oddness or mild ungrammaticality. The abbreviations are: 1, 2, 3 ‘1st, 2nd, 3rd person’; CPL ‘Completive’; cop. ‘copula’; df ‘definite’; EVE ‘Eventual’; f ‘feminine’; FUT ‘future’; HAB ‘Habitual’; imp ‘impersonal’; IPV ‘Imperfective’; m ‘masculine’; NEG ‘negative’; p ‘plural’; RI ‘Relative Imperfective’; RP ‘Relative Perfective’; s ‘singular’; SBJ ‘Subjunctive’; SSC ‘scene setting clause’.
This paper is part of a project on the relative marking in Hausa and other West African languages that was supported by the University of Antwerp Research Council through a postdoctoral research position at the Center for Grammar, Cognition, and Typology, 2003-2004. I thank Johan van der Auwera for his detailed comments on this paper, on various aspects of the entire project, and for all the material support.
2 The complete affirmative paradigms for Completive, general Imperfective, Relative Perfective, and Relative Imperfective are given in Table (i) for reference.
Table (i): General and relative paradigms (“C” assimilates to next consonant):
3 There are many syntactic contexts that allow only the reduced SSCs. For example, Hausa renders psyche-verb predications (‘be surprised, be furious/annoyed, be glad, be pleased, etc.’) with predications involving nominals, ‘do surprise, feel annoyance, do happiness, feel pleasure, etc.’, that are accompanied by SSCs expressing the triggering event. In these constructions reduced SSCs seem to show more syntactic integration when they appear postposed in the psyche-predication. Indeed, in this position reduced SSCs ‑but not copular SSCs‑ can integrate the predication as nominal complements. This is seen next:
(i) a. Naa yi màamaakìi dà su-kèe fìtaa dà wuri/ dà ya-kè su-nàa
1s.CPL do surprise as 3p-RI go.out at early/ as it-be 3p-IPV
fìtaa dà wuri.
go.out at early
‘I am surprised that they go out early.’
b. Naa yi màamaakì-n dà su-kèe fìtaa dà wuri/ *dà ya-kè su-nàa
1s.CPL do surprise-of as 3p-RI go.out at early/ as it-be 3p-IPV
fìtaa dà wuri.
go.out at early
‘I am surprised that they go out early.’
In (ia), where the SSCs are not syntactically bound with the noun màamaakìi ‘surprise’, both types are possible. However, when the word màamaakìi takes the possessive marker ‑n, indicating a noun complement structure, only reduced SSCs are possible, as shown in (ib). Also, only reduced SSCs are able to appear as clausal subjects (cf. [dà sukèe fìtaa] bàa lâifii ba nèe ‘[that they go out] is not a problem’).
4 Reduced SSCs expressing causal/reason clauses can appear in isolation as a repartee to a previous speaker. In this context, they express derision, as illustrated next:
(i) a. Fadà-n mìi nee ta-kèe yîi?
noise-of what cop. 3fs-RI do
‘What is the matter her rumbling?
b. Wai dà yâara su-kèe wargii koofà daakì-n-tà.
it.seems as children 3p-RI play door.of room-of-3fs
‘It appears it is just because children are playing before her room.’
c. Wai yâara su-nàa wargii koofà daakì-n-tà.
it.seems children 3p-RI play door.of room-of-3fs
‘It appears it is because children are playing before her room.’
In reply (ib), the speaker not only minimizes the reason with evidential wai ‘it seems’, but he/she also portrays the referent in a derisive way (i.e., referent should not be angry over a trivial, normal fact of life). By contrast in (ib), the speaker only stresses the fact that he/she is not certain of the facts but there is no implication over the legitimacy of the reason. Another example is given next:
(ii) Ii, dà Abdù ya-kèe zuwàa hiira wajen Fàati, kôo? (ai naa sanìi).
yes as Abdu 3ms-RI going dating at Fati right well 1.CPL know
‘You want to say that Abdu is dating Fati, right? (well, I know that).’
Sentence (ii) can be uttered if the speaker senses that an interlocutor is presenting some state of affairs as a secret or as hot news and goes by innuendoes. The speaker, getting the point, in effect signifies that the interlocutor’s innuendoes are useless. It should be noted that copular SSCs cannot be used in (i‑ii).
5 Besides the basic constructions discussed in this paper, copular and reduced SSCs can combine with other particles such as har ’till, to the point that, even’, concessive koo ‘even’, tun ‘since’, etc. (cf. Abdoulaye, 1997: 314). The complex interaction between these particles and the SSCs (as well as simple temporal dà-clauses) deserves further studies (cf. also Newman, 2000: 505).
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