Subjunctive as 'Consecutive' marker
frank.zidle at GMAIL.COM
Sat Sep 17 22:00:33 UTC 2011
I have worked (or am working) descriptively on two non-related African
languages (Yeyi, Bantu) and (Nalu, Atlantic) and in both languages I have
found a marker that works subjunctively, e.g. it appears in subordinate
sentences expressing purpose, wishes, necessity etc. and it can be used to
form polite directives or obligatives.
Interestingly to me, the same marker appears in narrative texts used as a
dependent 'tense' marker, i.e. it orders events consecutively to a (usually
aforementioned) event. In other words, it appears on predicates that encode
consecutive events after a baseline time of reference has been established,
usually by a previous explicitly TAM marked predicate. It basically adds the
meaning 'and then' to the proposition (see example below).
I am interested, if anybody working on languages outside of Africa has ever
come across such an overlap between subjunctive and narrative functions.
However, comments about other African languages are also highly welcome.
[Please note that the glossing for Nalu is still preliminary, since i have
just started decoding Nalu grammar.]
[For people who wonder about a marker *ku-* being designated as a
subjunctive in a Bantu language, please note that Yeyi also features the
more typically Bantu suffix *-e* to mark the subjunctive. In contrast to the
'consecutive tense' *ku-* illustrated below this subjunctive form does not
appear as a 'consecutive tense'. If *ku-* is used subjunctively it bears
habitual meaning that is best rendered as 'always' or 'continually' in
English. I have included a contrast below after the narrative example on
Thanks to all of you in advance for your comments.
That one said (it) to me that:
... If it is that the thing of money arranges it,
so we will arrange it.
If it is that another thing arranges it,
so we will arrange it.
And then I said that: "That way, it is."
They took the food, and gave it to us. And we ate, and ate, and ate. We
finished, and then we slept. In the morining they said: "Let's go, let's
take you (to the workplace)"
*ku-* and *-e *in Yeyi
(933) (Textual example)
You should not continually refuse men like that.
You should not refuse men like that.
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