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1. Introduction

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The tense/aspect and mood (TAM) system in Hausa is characterized by the contrast between regular and so-called “relative” TAMs, a contrast that is also found in numerous West African languages (see among others Schachter 1973, Hyman and Watters 1984, Bearth 1993). Indeed, in Hausa it has been observed that the Completive and the Imperfective found in pragmatically neutral clauses are respectively replaced by the Relative Perfective and the Relative Imperfective in pragmatically marked clauses, such as relative clauses and out-of-focus clauses of focus and wh question constructions (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). Let us consider the following sentence using the Completive:

1.

   

Yâara

sun

tàfi

tashàa.

children

3PL.CPL

go

station

The children went to the station.

<2>

Example (1) gives a pragmatically neutral sentence that presents new information using the preverbal Completive marker sun ‘3PL.CPL’. However, one observes that Completive sun cannot normally be used in the following related sentences and must be replaced with the Relative Perfective:

2.

a.

Yâara

nèe

su-kà

tàfi

tashàa.

children

COP

3PL-RP

go

station

It is the children who went to the station.

   

b.

yâara-n

su-kà

tàfi

tashàa

children-DF

REL

3PL-RP

go

station

the children who went to the station

   

c.

Su wàa-nee

nèe

su-kà

tàfi

tashàa?

PL who-PL

COP

3PL-RP

go

station

Who (plur.) went to the station?

<3>

Examples (2a‑c), respectively, illustrate a relative, focus, and wh question version of sentence (1) and all display the Relative Perfective marker su‑kà ‘3PL‑RP’. These clauses are said to be pragmatically marked because they all contain presupposed information that is typically known by the addressee. It is customary to assume that except for the pragmatic contrast, all sentences in (1) and (2a‑c) have the same basic meaning, including the TAM meaning. Indeed, most researchers consider that the sun and the sukà forms are simply in a syntactic complementary distribution. It is also recognized however that this syntactic complementary distribution may not be complete, since the Relative Perfective can appear in clauses whose marked pragmatic status is not obvious, as illustrated in the following:

3.

   

Yâara

su-kà

tàfi

tashàa.

Children

3PL-RP

go

station

Then the children went to the station.

<4>

In example (3), there is no relativization, focalization or wh question, yet the Relative Perfective appears. It has been noticed however that such examples typically appear in a narrative storyline (hence the translation with “then”). For this reason, the sukà form in this context has been referred to as the “narrative Relative Perfective”. Many researchers have in fact assimilated, in one way or another, the narrative sequence to the pragmatically marked constructions so that the Relative Perfective appearing in (2) and (3) is taken to be the same TAM (cf. Caron 1991:172, Creissels 1991:337, Jaggar 2001:161f, 2006:107, Tuller 1986:117, Wald 1987:499, 506, 508, etc.; cf. Abdoulaye 2007a for a review).

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The aim of this paper is to show that although the alternation between sun and sukà forms is indeed an established fact, the two TAM markers nonetheless have fundamentally different semantics. The sun form paradigm, a category usually referred to in Hausa literature as “(general) Completive” (or Perfective, Accompli I, etc.) has actually been compared to English Perfect (past, present, or future, cf. Newman 2000:569ff; cf. also Caron 1991:164ff and Schubert 1971/72:220f). The perfect is a TAM category that is generally taken to express anteriority or current relevance, i.e., it refers to the aftermath of an event, usually the present situation (see Bybee and Dahl 1989:55, 67, Bybee et al. 1994, Comrie 1976:52, Dahl 1985, etc.). This paper will show that by contrast, the sukà paradigm in pragmatically marked constructions is a true perfective. According to Comrie (1976:3), the perfective is an aspectual category that presents a situation as a single unanalyzable whole, i.e., without reference to its internal temporal structure. The perfective essentially differs from the perfect (or anterior) in having no relevance to a reference time. Following Abdoulaye (2007a) the paper takes the Relative Perfective in narrative storyline main clauses and other pragmatically non-marked clauses to be a simple past marker that is even more remote from the perfect semantics of the sun form.

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The paper is organized as follows. Section 2 gives an overview of the various Hausa TAM markers. Section 3 then contrasts the Completive and the Relative Perfective, showing their distinct values, in particular showing that the Relative Perfective cannot replace the Completive in pragmatically marked constructions if their context must obligatorily be interpreted as perfect/anterior. Following the usual conventions in linguistic literature, TAM categories that are language-specific are written with an initial capital letter.

2. Overview of Hausa TAM paradigms

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Formally, Standard Hausa distinguishes ten TAM paradigms, i.e., forms that express aspect, tense and mood on preverbal pronouns (or on the verb for the Imperative). This section reviews the main uses of these paradigms. It should be noted that one finds alternative labels for most of the TAMs, depending on the author (cf. Jungraithmayr 1983:223 for a review of some terminological practices). Also, as will be seen in the illustrations, in the preverbal person/tense/aspect complex, some TAM markers can be isolated, while others are fused with the subject pronoun. In addition, certain TAMs have a distinctive negative form, as will be seen in due course (for more details on Hausa TAMs in general, see Newman 2000, Chap. 70).

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As is probably true with many languages, the value of most Hausa TAM paradigms may change depending on the context. However, to show the usual values of the TAMs, they will in this section be contrasted in the simple frame “children … go to the station”. We have seen in the introductory section that Completive and Relative Perfective taken together map the domain “perfect/anterior – perfective – simple past”, and they will, in some detail, be the subject of Section 3. These TAMs seem to contrast with an imperfective pole that is represented by the general Imperfective, used in pragmatically neutral clauses, and the Relative Imperfective, used in pragmatically marked constructions, as seen next:  [2]

4.

a.

General Imperfective:

Yâara

su-nàa

tàfiyàa

tashàa.

Children

3PL-IPV

going

station

The children usually go/ will go/ (?)are going to the station.

   

b.

Relative Imperfective:

Yâara

nèe

su-kèe

tàfiyàa

tashàa.

children

COP

3PL-RI

going

station

It is the children who usually go/ will go/ are going to the station.

<9>

The sunàa and sukèe forms in (4a‑b) are typical imperfective paradigms that, depending on context, can have a progressive, continuous, or habitual usage. Like the Completive/Relative Perfective pair, they are normally considered to be in syntactic complementary distribution and hence to have the same aspectual meaning. Temporally, they can have a past, present, or future interpretation. For this reason, besides the default present reading indicated, examples (4a‑b) can also refer to a past or future situation. Both paradigms are marked by auxiliaries (-nàa and –kèe) derived from locative copulas and normally require a nominal form of the verb (hence the verbal noun tàfiyàa ‘going’, in contrast to the verb form tàfi ‘go’ used in other paradigms). It should be noted that certain classes of verbs (cf. discussion below in Section 3) do not express on-going action with the general Imperfective, hence the oddness of the third interpretation in (4a). A paradigm related to the imperfective TAMs is the Habitual, as illustrated in the following:

5.

   

Habitual:

Yâara

su-kàn

tàfi

tashàa.

children

3PL-HAB

go

station

The children usually go to the station.

<10>

The Habitual in (5) has a past or present habitual usage, although in western dialects, it implies that the action happens from time to time (frequent and regular actions are expressed with the general or relative Imperfective). The next examples illustrate the two futures in Hausa:

6.

a.

Future I:

Yâara

zaa sù

tàfi

Tashàa.

children

FUT I 3PL

go

station

The children will go to the station.

   

b.

Future II:

Yâara

sûu

tàfi

tashàa.

children

3PL.FUT II

go

station

The children will go to the station.

<11>

Of the two futures in (6a‑b), Future I is probably the most recent, since it developed from the still extant verb zâa ‘start to go, be going’ and usually implies the idea of intention, preparedness, and relative imminence of action (cf. Abdoulaye 2001 for details). This future can function as a future-in-the-past, as in: an gayàa minì zaa kà zoo yâu ‘I was told you would come today’ (cf. Jaggar 2001:195). Although it is a "future", Future I belongs, along with Relative Perfective and Relative Imperfective, to the restricted group of TAMs that can appear in reduced scene setting clauses, i.e., subordinate causal or consequent clauses that express presupposed and realis events (cf. Abdoulaye 1997:317, 2001:25, 2007b). Despite the fact that it is frequently referred to as the “Potential”, i.e., a kind of uncertain or vague future (cf. Jaggar 2001:201, Newman 2000:587), the Future II, as illustrated in (6b), is a simple future that, by default, firmly predicts an event, but without any implication about the agent’s intention, state of preparedness, or imminence of action (cf. Abdoulaye 1997:324‑326, 2001:28). The seven forms so far reviewed belong to the indicative mood and so contrast with the following three forms, which express irrealis mood, although there is some caveat regarding the Subjunctive. The irrealis TAMs are illustrated in:

7.

a.

Eventual:

… koo

yâara

su-kàa

tàfi

tashàa.

in.case

children

3PL-EVE

go

station

[She locked the door] in case the children might go to the station.

   

b.

Subjunctive:

Yâara

tàfi

tashàa.

Children

3PL.SBJ

go

station

May the children go/ The children should go to the station.

   

c.

Imperative:

Abdù,

tàfi

tashàa!

Abdu

go

station

Abdu, go to the station!

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The sukàa form in (7a) is usually referred to in the literature as the “Rhetorical” (cf. Jaggar 2001:204, Newman 2000:589), due to its use in rhetorical questions such as: waa kà iyàa! (< wàa yakàa iyàa!) ‘who can possibly do [this]!’. In fact however, it has a basic “eventually” sense in regular sentences, as indicated in the gloss. Sometimes, the eventual meaning applies not to the event itself (if it already happened), but to a participant, in which case the TAM has a dubitative meaning (cf. koo Iisaa koo Abdù, wani cikinsù yakàa yi wannàn aikìi ‘either Isa or Abdu, one of them may/must have done this’). For these reasons, the label “Eventual” (originally used in Gouffé 1967-68:45‑47) is preferable. The Subjunctive, as illustrated in (7b), is a rather versatile paradigm, to the point where some authors assume two homophonous but different categories under the same form (cf. Newman 2000:593 and references cited there). It is used in typical irrealis contexts, such as giving orders (as an alternative to the Imperative), expressing whishes, purpose, etc. (cf. Newman 2000:591). It is however also used in sequential clauses as a replacement to the TAM specified in the first clause of the sequence (cf. Tuller 1986:96). The Subjunctive can also be used on its own to express past habitual events ( kullum sai sù àuni hatsii sù dakàa 'every day they would measure off millet and pound it'). In contrast to all other TAMs, the Imperative, as illustrated in (7c), has no preverbal subject pronoun and is marked directly on the verb (which, sometimes, changes in tonal pattern; cf. Newman 2000:263). The Imperative is used only in the singular and the Subjunctive must be used with second person plural.

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It may also be noted that Completive and Relative Perfective, as illustrated in (1‑3), share one negation, where a suppletive form of the TAM (or a Ø‑TAM, cf. Newman 2000:574) is marked with the negative particles bà...ba (cf. yâara bà sù tàfi tashàa ba 'the children didn't go to the station'). The paradigms in (4a‑b) also share one negation, where a suppletive form of the TAM is marked with the negative particle baa (cf. yâara baa sàa tàfiyàa tashàa 'the children are not going to the station'). Habitual, Future I, Future II, and Eventual are all negated through simple addition of the negative particles bà...ba (cf. yâara bà zaa sù tàfi tashàa ba 'the children will not go to the station'). The Subjunctive is negated through the addition of the prohibitive particle kadà (cf. kadà yâara sù tàfi tashàa 'the children should not go to the station/ lest the children go to the station'). Negative Subjunctive is also used to issue negative commands, the Imperative having no negative form. Finally, it should be noted that the TAMs so far illustrated are not combinable in one simple clause.

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To summarize, Hausa TAMs can be divided into realis and irrealis TAMs. The realis TAMs in turn groups into a perfective pole, an imperfective pole, and a future pole. The next section discusses the values of the Completive (the sun form used in pragmatically neutral clauses) and the Relative Perfective (the sukà form used in pragmatically marked constructions and in narrative storyline clauses or other simple past contexts).

3. The semantic contrast between Completive and Relative Perfective in Hausa

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In the introductory section we saw that the Completive is thought to be automatically replaced by the Relative Perfective in relative clauses and out-of-focus clauses of focus and wh question constructions, with the clause keeping the same general meaning. The aim of this section is to show that Completive and Relative Perfective have different TAM semantics and that in some contexts, the replacement is not possible and the Completive must appear in pragmatically marked clauses. The section also shows that the Completive appears in some special contexts, such as in news headlines, that are associated with the perfect and where the Relative Perfective is not systematically found.

3.1. Pragmatically marked constructions in anterior contexts

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As already mentioned in previous sections, the Completive can express functions typically expressed by perfect paradigms in other languages (cf. Comrie 1976:56‑61, Dahl 1985:129ff for the uses of the perfect). In this respect, Completive contrasts with Relative Perfective (whether it is used in relative and out-of-focus clauses or in narrative and other simple past clauses). Indeed, only Completive allows an anterior reading, as illustrated in the following:

8.

a.

Sun

zoo

ƙarfèe

biyu.

3PL.CPL

come

o’clock

two

They came at two o’clock.’ OR:

By two o’clock they had arrived/ will have arrived.

   

b.

Ƙarfèe

biyu

sun

zoo.

o’clock

two

3PL.CPL

come

By two o’clock they had arrived/ will have arrived.

NOT: They came at two o’clock.

   

c.

Sun

zoo.

3PL.CPL

come

They have arrived.’ OR:

They came [and went back].

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In (8a), the Completive allows an anterior reading (second translation), where the coming event happened before two o’clock, with a past, future, or even a habitual interpretation. One notices that the sentence also allows a perfective interpretation (first translation), where the coming event happened at exactly two o’clock, and which is actually the default interpretation of the sentence. However, this is not a sure indication that the Completive is a real perfective since, as shown in Dahl (1985:137), many languages differ from English in allowing their perfect tense/aspect paradigm to co-occur with definite time adverbs. In fact, when the time adverb is preposed in a topicalized-like construction, then only the anterior reading is possible, as indicated in (8b). Similarly, without a time specification, as illustrated in (8c), the Completive can be interpreted as a perfect of result with a current relevance value. For example, (8c) is the most straightforward way to alert someone to the fact that some people have arrived so that he/she can go and see them. In contrast, the Relative Perfective cannot express the anterior meaning, as illustrated in:

9.

a.

Ƙarfèe

biyu

(nèe)

su-kà

zoo.

o’clock

two

COP

3PL-RP

come

It is at two o’clock that they came.

NOT: It is by two o’clock that they had arrived/ will have arrived.

   

b.

Suu

(nèe)

su-kà

zoo

ƙarfèe

biyu.

3PL

COP

3PL-RP

come

o’clock

two

It is them who came at two o’clock.

NOT: It is them who had arrived/ will have arrived by two o’clock.

10.

  

Su-kà

zoo

ƙarfèe

biyu.

3PL-RP

come

o’clock

two

(Then) they came at two o’clock.

NOT: By two o’clock they had arrived/ will have arrived.

<18>

Sentences (9a‑b) illustrate the Relative Perfective in focus fronting constructions, focusing the temporal adverb and the subject, respectively. In neither case is the anterior reading possible, as indicated. Sentence (10) shows that the Relative Perfective in narrative clauses, too, does not express the anterior sense. To express the meaning ‘it is by two o’clock that they had arrived/will have arrived’, one will have to use alternative constructions, all involving the Completive sun form, as illustrated in:

11.

a.

Ƙarfèe

biyu

nèe

(duk)

sun

zoo.

o’clock

two

COP

all

3PL.CPL

come

It is by two o’clock that they had arrived/ will have arrived.

     

b.

Ƙarfèe

biyu

nèe

ya-kè

sun

zoo.

O’clock

two

COP

it-be

3PL.CPL

come

It is by two o’clock that they had arrived/ will have arrived.

<19>

In both cases, one notes that the Completive must appear somewhere in the sentence. Sentence (11a) in fact directly violates the otherwise consistent rule replacing Completive with Relative Perfective in pragmatically marked clauses.

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Similarly, certain verbs (like tàfi ‘leave, go’) that lexicalize an inchoative phase can have an on-going action reading in the Completive. Indeed, a person walking to the station would typically indicate his/her destination to by-standers by using Completive naa tàfi tashàa ‘I am off/on my way/going to the station’ (the expected general Imperfective, inàa tàfiyàa tashàa , would be fully inadequate in this context; cf. Abdoulaye 2001:7 for more details). Nonetheless, in this context, the station-bound walker cannot use the focused sentence (with Relative Perfective) *nii (nèe) na tàfi tashàa ‘It is me who is off/on my way/going to the station’ to indicate that he, and not a friend walking with him, is going to the station. This naturally applies to sentence (1), which, if appropriate contexts are specified, can have three readings, as illustrated in:

12.

a.

Yâara

sun

tàfi

tashàa,

naa

kuma

rufè

ƙoofàa.

Children

3PL.CPL

go

station

1SG.CPL

and

close

door

The children left for the station, and I have locked the door.

     

b.

Yâara

sun

tàfi

tashàa,

gàa

su

can.

Children

3PL.CPL

go

station

see

3PL

there

[Come see], the children are going to the station, there they are.

     

c.

Yâara

sun

tàfi

tashàa,

àmmaa

bà sù

îskè

Abdù

ba.

children

3PL.CPL

go

station

but

NEG 3PL.CPL

find

Abdu

NEG

The children went to the station, but they did not see Abdu.

<21>

In examples (12), Completive sun tàfi has an inchoative reading in (12a), an on-going action reading in (12b) and a completed (terminal phase) reading in (12c). It happens that only (12a) and (12c) have corresponding focused sentences, as illustrated in:

13.

a.

Yâara

(nèe)

su-kà

tàfi

tashàa,

naa

kuma

rufè

ƙoofàa.

children

COP

3PL-RP

go

station

1SG.CPL

and

close

door

It is the children who left for the station, and I have locked the door.

     

b.

Yâara

(nèe)

su-kà

tàfi

tashàa,

àmmaa

bà sù

îskè

Abdù

ba.

children

COP

3PL-RP

go

station

but

NEG 3PL.CPL

find

Abdu

NEG

It is the children who went to the station, but they did not see Abdu.

<22>

As seen in these examples, the Relative Perfective can only refer to the initial and final phases of the action (the focused equivalent of (12b) must use the Relative Imperfective). This also applies to the Relative Perfective in narrative storyline or in simple past contexts (i.e., sentence (3) can only mean ‘then the children left for/went to the station’). It is very likely that the on-going action reading seen in (12b) is possible due to the perfect/anterior value of the Completive, i.e., once the children have departed, the resulting situation is that they are on their way.  [3]

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To summarize, although the Relative Perfective in general automatically replaces the Completive in presupposed contexts, the two TAMs are not aspectually identical and, in contexts that must be interpreted as perfect/anterior, the replacement is not possible.

3.2. Completive and Relative Perfective in other perfect contexts

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Besides the fact that pragmatically marked constructions in anterior contexts do not allow Relative Perfective, the Completive and Relative Perfective contrast in other environments that are cross-linguistically associated with the perfect.

<25>

Indeed, the Completive contrasts with Relative Perfective in being able to express “hot news” perfect, as can be seen in its ability to appear in chapter titles or in news headlines (cf. Comrie 1976:60 and the reference cited there). For example, the short life-story in Moussa-Aghali (2000) has five chapters that have a finite clause as title, and four of these titles have Completive (the fifth chapter has negative Completive, which uses a suppletive marker and is not discussed in this paper). Three of the Completive titles are given next (adapted from Moussa-Aghali 2000:11, 26, 38):

14.

a.

An

baadàa

ni

ruƙòo

gurin

kàakaa-taa

IMP.CPL

give.away

1SG

holding

at

grandmother-of.1SG

One sends me away to my grandmother to stay with her

     

b.

Kàakaa-taa

taa

ràsu

naa

daawoo

gida-n-mù

grandmother-of.1SG

3F.SG.CPL

die

1SG.CPL

return

home-of-1PL

My grandmother dies and I return to our home

     

c.

Mun

ƙaura

mun

koomàa

Abalàgh

1PL.CPL

move

1PL.CPL

go

Abalak

We move and go to Abalak

<26>

The examples in (14) are the titles of three consecutive chapters and, naturally, they serve to highlight the main events that happen in the chapters. In these titles, it would be inappropriate to substitute the Relative Perfective for the Completive. Similarly, the first page of an issue of the journal “Gaskiya Ta Fi kwabo” (N° 6047, 12 October, 1998) has five titles, all of which are in the Completive. In general, in the rest of the issue, it seems that all past factual stories are titled with clauses in Completive and never in Relative Perfective. The Relative Perfective may be used in titles on the main verb only if some constituent is focalized and the reader already holds some knowledge about the story, as will be the case for a story developing over many journal issues.

<27>

Other types of perfect meanings seem to be possible both with Completive and Relative Perfective, but only for the pragmatically marked constructions. This seems to be case with the ability of the tense/aspect paradigms to appear in the experiential perfect context, as illustrated in:

15.

a.

Sun

taɓàɓ

zuwàa

Gaanà.

3PL.CPL

touch

going

Ghana

They have once traveled to Ghana.

     

b.

Suu

(nèe)

su-kà

taɓà

zuwàa

Gaanà.

3PL

COP

3PL-RP

touch

going

Ghana

It is them who once traveled to Ghana.

     

c.

*Su-kà

taɓà

zuwàa

Gaanà.

3PL-RP

touch

going

Ghana

(Then) they once traveled to Ghana.

<28>

As the data show, Completive and Relative Perfective are compatible with the experiential context, as indicated in (15a‑b) respectively. However, when the experiential context is just past and not linked to a pragmatically marked construction, then the Relative Perfective is ungrammatical, as indicated in (15c). The same pattern obtains with regard to the ability to appear in the context of persistent situations, as seen next:

16.

a.

Taa

san

indà

maagànii

ya-kè.

3F.SG.CPL

know

where

medicine

3M.SG-be

She knows where the medicine is.

     

b.

Ita

(cèe)

ta

san

indà

maagànii

ya-kè.

3F.SG

COP

3F.SG.RP

know

where

medicine

3M.SG-be

It is she who knows where the medicine is.

     

c.

Ta

san

indà

maagànii

ya-kè.

3F.SG.RP

know

where

medicine

3M.SG-be

[When he inadvertently opened the drawer] then she knew where the medicine was.

<29>

In examples (16), the tense/aspect paradigms appear with a cognition verb (‘know’), which by default expresses a persistent situation (cf. Schubert 1971/72:220f). The persistence reading is maintained with Completive and Relative Perfective in pragmatically marked constructions, as indicated in (16a‑b), respectively. Indeed, in these sentences, the referent of the subject pronoun still knows the information at the time of utterance. However, sentence (16c), which refers to a pragmatically neutral past context, only has the inceptive meaning indicated and there is no implication that the subject’s referent still knows the information at the time of utterance (i.e., the sentence will still be fine even if it is known that the medicine has been relocated in an unknown place). It should be noted that in (15) and (16), the experiential and persistent situation meanings depend, respectively, on the verb taɓà ‘touch’ and the cognition verb san ‘know’, rather than on the TAM paradigms per se.

<30>

To summarize, the sun form is a perfect category in Hausa, although it has probably acquired some perfective uses. For this reason, it may be more extensively used in Hausa than the Perfect in English. The Relative Perfective that appears in relative and out-of-focus clauses can be considered as a true perfective, since it does not have key perfect readings, such as the perfect of result. The Relative Perfective in past contexts is even more remote from the perfect semantics, since it cannot express or is not compatible with any of the perfect meanings reviewed in this section. The proposal can be summarized in the following diagram:

Diagram 1: Values of Completive sun and Relative Perfective sukà

<31>

Table (17) shows that the Completive sun and Relative Perfective sukà forms map the semantic domain “perfect-perfective-simple past”. The diagram claims that the Completive is fundamentally a perfect paradigm in Hausa. However, as illustrated in the data (8), it has acquired some perfective uses (cf. the dashed part of the arrow). By contrast, the Relative Perfective is fundamentally a perfective paradigm, which however has taken over the simple past domain. As the direction of the arrows suggests, the perfective value of the Completive derives from its perfect value, while the simple past value of the Relative Perfective derives from its perfective value. This is consistent with the body of literature dealing with the development of perfectives and simple past tenses in world languages. For example, Bybee and Dahl (1989:58, 74) show that in a number of languages (including Romance languages, Mandarin, Somali, Palaung, etc.) a perfect has taken over the functions of a perfective or a past tense. Stassen (1997) on the other hand assumes a more general tendency for aspect or aspect-dominated languages to shift over some period towards tense marking (cf. Stassen 1997:492, 563; cf. also Lehmann 1982:31).

4. Conclusion

<32>

This paper explored the semantics of Hausa Completive and Relative Perfective forms. These two paradigms are taken in most of the previous literature to be in a near syntactic complementary distribution. Indeed, in pragmatically marked constructions, the Relative Perfective automatically replaces the Completive. The paper shows that this replacement process notwithstanding, the Completive fundamentally marks perfect/anterior while the Relative Perfective is a true perfective that also has simple past uses.

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[1] Hausa (Chadic) is spoken mainly in Niger and Nigeria. Primary data in this paper are mostly from Katsinanci dialect and Standard Hausa (central/east dialects). 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. Written 'f' is pronounced [h] (or [hw] before [a]) in Katsinanci and other western dialects.

The abbreviations are: 1, 2, 3 '1st, 2nd, 3rd person'; COP 'copula'; CPL ‘completive’; DF 'definite'; EVE ‘eventual’; F 'feminine'; FUT 'future'; HAB ‘habitual’; IMP 'impersonal'; IPV 'Imperfective'; M 'masculine'; NEG 'negative'; PL 'plural'; RI 'relative imperfective'; REL ‘relative’; RP 'relative perfective'; SG 'singular'; SBJ 'subjunctive'; TAM ‘tense/aspect/mood marker’.

[2] The complete (affirmative) paradigms of Completive, general Imperfective, Relative Perfective and Relative Imperfective are given in Table 1 for reference:

Table 1: General and relative paradigms

Imperfective

Relative Imperfective

Completive

Relative Perfective

(all dialects)

others/ west

(all dialects)

others/ west

1SG

inàa

nikèe/ nikà

naa

na/ niC

2M.SG

kanàa

kakèe/ kakà

kaa

ka/ kaC

2F.SG

kinàa

kikèe/ kikà

kin

kikà/ kinkà = kiC

3M.SG

yanàa = shinàa

yakèe = shikèe/ shikà

yaa

ya/ yaC

3F.SG

tanàa

takèe/ takà

taa

ta/ taC

1PL

munàa

mukèe/ mukà

mun

mukà/ munkà

2PL

kunàa

kukèe/ kukà

kun

kukà/ kunkà

3PL

sunàa

sukèe/ sukà

sun

sukà/ sunkà

IMP

anàa

akèe/ akà

an

akà/ ankà

Sometimes, authors use the 3rd person plural form of central/east dialects to refer to a paradigm (cf. the “sun form” for Completive). As mentioned in the main text, the imperfective auxiliaries –nàa and –kèe derive from corresponding locative copulas. According to Newman and Schuh (1974:14‑16), the Completive forms derive from former independent pronouns that were reanalyzed as TAM markers. There are at least three proposals regarding the origin of the marker ‑kà (in the Relative Perfective, it is sometimes deleted or reduced to an assimilated consonant, depending on the dialect). Newman (2000:571) thinks that it derives from a Proto-Chadic perfective marker *kà/kˋә, which in Hausa was restricted to narrative and other relative marking environments after the introduction of the new Completive. Schuh (2001:5, 12) rejects such an analysis, objecting that as a perfective marker, ‑kà would not have been able to appear in western dialects in both perfective and imperfective environments. He proposes that ‑kà derives from a copula that used to mark focus. However, given the fact that subordinate causal or consequent clauses that express presupposed and realis events ‑ and not focus constructions‑ are the basic environment for relative marking, ‑kà may very likely be a former mood marker (probably marking a non-negative realis, cf. Abdoulaye 1997:315f) and, as such, is compatible with both perfective and imperfective environments. Table (ii) shows how the current situation may have arisen.

Table 2: Origin of the relative marker ‑kà

West dialects

Central/east dialects

Aspect + modal -kà

Aspect + modal -kà

Perfective

Imperfective

Perfective

Imperfective

Initial

*su[X]-kà

*su[Y]-kà

*su[X]-kà

*su[Y]-kà

Current

sun-kà

su-kà

su-kà

su-kèe

At the initial Proto-Hausa stage in Table (ii), after the suffixation of ‑kà, the distinction between the then-functioning perfective and imperfective would have been lost (distinction indicated by the "X" vs. "Y", whatever its exact locus was). This situation being untenable, western dialects adjusted the perfective form (by borrowing the Completive paradigm), while central/eastern dialects adjusted the imperfective form (by recruiting the auxiliarized copula kèe). The idea that ‑kà was some kind of addition to basic aspectual forms is also found in Jungraithmayr (1983:227). However, he proposed that –kà was added only to the perfective, as a sequential marker.

[3] Not all Completive occurrences in pragmatically marked constructions are due to the incompatibility between a perfect context and the expected Relative Perfective. As argued in Abdoulaye (1997, 2007b), the relative marking codes presupposed information. If the information contained in a relative or out-of-focus clause is somehow not presupposed, then either the Completive or general Imperfective can be used. One well-reported case where this happens concerns non-restrictive/appositive relative clauses, as illustrated in the following (for more on Hausa appositive RCs, see Jaggar 1998:220ff, Rufa’i 1983, and Schubert 1971/72:283):

i.

   

ɓàraawò-n,

wa-n-dà

dâa maa

ƴan sàndaa

sun

taɓà

thief-DF

one-DF-REL

in any case

police

3PL-CPL

touch

kaamàa

shi

catch

3M.SG

the thief, whom the police have arrested once anyway

This example consists of a noun modified by an appositive relative clause in which the Completive appears. This is understandable since the RC expresses additional new information about the head noun the referent of which is already established in the context. Another case is illustrated in:

ii.

a.

[Koo

wàa

ka

ɗaukàa]

yaa

iyà

iyò/

even

who

2M.SG.RP

take

3M.SG.CPL

can

swim/

ya-nàa

shân

giyàa.

3M.SG-IPV

drink

beer

Whoever you consider (among them) can swim/ drinks beer.

ii.

b.

Mìi-nee

nèe

[koo

wàa

ka

ɗaukàa]

yaa

iyàa/

what-M

COP

even

who

2M.SG.RP

take

3M.SG.CPL

can/

ya-nàa

shâa?

3M.SG-IPV

drink

What is it that whoever you consider (among them) can do/ drinks?

In (ia), a free-choice pronoun koo wàa ‘whoever’, characterized by an out-of-focus clause (in brackets), adds some emphasis to the main clause. When the direct object of the main clause is questioned, one observes that both Completive and general Imperfective can be used, although it is also possible to replace them with the Relative Perfective and Relative Imperfective, respectively. However, with other constructions assigning emphasis, the replacement is not possible, as illustrated next with sai ‘only’ introducing a focus-fronted clause:

iii.

a.

[Sai

Abdù

yaa

wankè

roogòo]

(nee)

mu-kèe

tàfiyàa.

only

Abdu

3M.SG.CPL

clean

cassava

COP

1PL-RI

go

It is only after Abdu has cleaned the cassava that we will go.

iii.

b.

[Mìi-nee 1

nèei

sai

Abdù

yaa/*ya

wankèe Ø 1 ]

mu-kèe

tàfiyàa?

what-M

COP

only

Abdu

3M.SG.CPL/3M.SG.RP

clean

1PL-RI

go

What is it that it is only after Abdu has cleaned [it] that we will go?

iii.

c.

[Roogòo 1

nee

sai

Abdù

yaa/*ya

wankèe Ø 1 ]

cassava

COP

only

Abdu

3M.SG.CPL/3M.SG.RP

clean

mu-kèe

tàfiyàa.

1PL-RI

go

It is the cassava that it is only after Abdu has cleaned [it] that we will go.

The particle sai in Hausa has many functions and, when it means ‘only’, it can add emphasis to nouns or clauses, as illustrated in (iiia). In this sentence, the clause introduced by sai (in brackets) is also fronted in focus, with the optional presence of the focus-related copula nee. Since this clause carries the critical information in the sentence, it bears the Completive. The main clause (which is out of focus) naturally appears with the relative Imperfective. However, it is possible, as shown in (iiib‑c), to question or focus, for example, the direct object of the already focused clause. In this case, the focused clause does not become an out-of-focus clause, despite the wh question or focus construction, and the Completive must obligatorily be used, as indicated.

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