Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften

26.10. Afrikalinguistisches Kolloquium: The subjunctive complementizer ‘mek’ in Naijá (Schneider)

"The functional and formal range of the subjunctive complementizer ‘mek’ in Naijá aka ‘Nigerian Pidgin English’" - Vortrag von Luisa Schneider (HU Berlin, Master project) im Rahmen des (digitalen) Afrikalinguistischen Kolloquiums
  • Wann 26.10.2021 von 16:15 bis 17:40 (Europe/Berlin / UTC200)
  • Wo Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften, Invalidenstr. 118, Raum 410 & Zoom-Übertragung
  • Name des Kontakts Christfried Naumann (christfried.naumann (AT), bitte kontaktieren bzgl. Zugangsinformationen per Zoom)
  • Termin zum Kalender hinzufügen iCal

Naijá (also known as Nigerian Pidgin), with 80 to 120 Million speakers, constitutes the most widely spoken “Afro-Caribbean English-lexifier Creole” (AEC) (Yakpo 2020: 63) and African language (aside from Arabic) existing on the globe today (Ihemere 2006; Faraclas & Delgado 2021). Despite its status as a “low-stigmatized” language variety (Ofulue 2011) associated with moderate prestige, Naijá continues to expand towards domains formerly occupied by Nigerian indigenous languages and ex-colonial language varieties such as English or Nigerian English (Igboanusi 2008; Yakpo 2020). Without claiming complexity, the primary objective of this study is to obtain a deeper understanding of the formal and functional variability of the subjunctive mood mek. This study is based on the descriptive grammar of Naijá by Faraclas (1996) and the areal-typological investigations of the subjunctive mood in AECs and major West African substrate and adstrates of Yakpo (2012, 2021) and Yakpo & Smith (2020). The spoken corpus NaijaSynCor (2019) has been used as a testbed for the qualitative and quantitative analysis, and the data were examined using the electronic corpus manager Sketch Engine (Kilgarriff & Rychl 2003). The grammatically salient subjunctive mood mek introduces directives as functional units (Freudinger 2013) to express “deontic” modality such as commands, obligation, permission, and the speaker’s opinion towards a proposition. Furthermore, directives operate within six functional domains, such as subordinate complement clauses of strong “deontic” and weak “deontic” CTVs (Yakpo 2021). The subjunctive complementizer mek is instantiated in the “purposive”-type (Song 2013) of periphrastic causative constructions and is used to introduce purpose clauses and result clauses. The cross-linguistic analysis with Naijá’s major substrate and adstrates Yoruba, Igbo and Ijo shows that Naijá shares the most pertinent formal and functional commonalities with the subjunctive complementizer ki in Yoruba. Even though much less investigated, evidence for similiarities with the subjunctive mood ka in Igbo and mịẹ in Ijo will be presented. Semantic features such as the subjunctive complementizer mek are often areal (Yakpo 2021) and might indicate an areal transfer (Yakpo 2017; Yakpo & Smith 2020). However, such vague implications can be just confirmed if further research and language documentation are pushed forward.

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