Hdi dictionary

by Zygmunt Frajzyngier, Paul Eguchi, Roger Prafé, and Megan Schwabauer, with assistance from Erin Shay and Henry Tourneux

Introduction

Geographical location and speakers

Hdi (gwáɗ-á xdí ‘language of Hdi’ or simply xdí in Hdi) is a Central Chadic language spoken in the Far North Province of Cameroon. The name hidé has been used in administrative documents in reference to the people who speak the language. The main town where the language is spoken is Tourou, located at 10° 55' 25" N latitude and 13° 44' 05" E longitude, right on the border between Cameroon and Nigeria, about one hour’s drive north from Mokolo. The estimates of the number of speakers of Hdi range between 10,000 and 25,000. Some speakers of Hdi have migrated to Nigeria, specifically to Mubi and Yola, where the Hdi communities may number several thousand speakers.

Some Hdi speakers (the number is not available) are bilingual or trilingual, with French and Hausa being the second and third languages. As of 2014, a substantial number of speakers have received primary education, as there are five elementary schools in Tourou. The great majority of Hdi are farmers.

At the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, the town of Tourou was under considerable social stress, as it was the object of frequent raids by the infamous slave trader Hamman Yaji (Vaughan and Kirk-Greene 1995). The men he captured were forced to build the road between Mokolo and Tourou. The remnants of Hamman Yaji’s outpost can still be seen in Tourou. His raids had long-lasting effects on the Hdi community, as speakers were reluctant for a long time to send their children to school for fear that this was another way of depriving them of their sons and daughters.

The town is a tourist attraction, mainly because of the market it holds on Thursdays and the characteristic painted calabashes that women wear as hats. Photographs from the marketplace in Tourou are widely available on the internet.

The purpose of the grammatical sketch that follows is to present, in an abbreviated form, the main formal coding means and functions encoded in the grammatical system of the language.

For a fuller description the reader is referred to Frajzyngier with Shay 2002.

A number of modifications that incorporate the results of the more recent fieldwork and research are accompanied by minimal supporting evidence.

In the present introduction, Hdi words in the text are in italics, their translations are in inverted commas.

Organization and representation in the dictionary

All Hdi material in the dictionary is marked by bold font. The usual entry consists of the lexical item followed by the indicator of its categoriality, translation into English, translation into French, and examples of its use.

For verbs, the main entries are forms ending in a vowel, so that the tone(s) of the verb can be represented. Within the entry, forms are cited in the perfective aspect, often in the third-person singular; these forms are sometimes translated into English and French as the infinitive form and sometimes as the third-person singular perfective form. No significance should be attached to whether the verb entry is translated as the third-person singular or as the infinitive in English or French. For a number of verbs, examples containing extensions are added mainly in order to attest to the possibility of such additions. Occasionally the entries include examples from natural discourse, as represented in Frajzyngier with Shay 2002. The verbs with extensions are grouped under the main entry and are also listed in their alphabetical order.

Entries for nouns indicate the ontological class of nouns, e.g. whether the term refers to fauna or flora, and even narrower specifications within the two classes. These classifications have no grammatical consequences. The botanical forms in Fula come from two sources. The first one is Roger Prafé’s identification of names of Hdi plants in Fula, obtained through a series of interviews with a Fula Bororo speaker. The second source consists of terms included in Tourneux and Daïrou 1998 and Noye 1989. The forms obtained through the interviews with the Bororo speaker are more numerous, because they include plants that are not necessarily part of agricultural practice. The identification of insects was done with the help of Boorman 1981, and the identification of birds with the help of Serle and Morel 1993. The identification of mammals was done with the help of Halternorth and Diller 1985.

Nominal and verbal entries occasionally include an explanation of customs, ceremonies, and practices in which a given activity, as represented by a verb, or a given entity, as represented by a noun, plays a role. These descriptions derive entirely from information provided by Roger Prafé and do not necessarily carry the expected accuracy of anthropological field research.

Phonology

Phonetic and phonological inventories

The consonantal system is characterized by the presence of voiced, voiceless, and glottalized stops. The palatal articulation is represented only by the glide y. Underlying consonants do not include palatal continuants, affricates, and nasals.


Table 1: Underlying consonants
Bilabial Labio-Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar
Stops
Voiced b d g
Voiceless p t k
Prenasalized mb md, nd ng
Glottalized ɓ ɗ
Affricates
Voiced dz, ndz
Voiceless ts
Continuants
Voiced v z gh
Voiceless f s x
Lateral Continuants
Voiced ɮ
Voiceless ɬ
Nasals m n ŋ
Liquids r
l
Glides w y

Phonetic consonants include all of the underlying consonants plus a series of palatal continuants, the bilabial voiceless fricative, palatal nasals, the glottal stop, and glottalized glides. The following chart represents phonetic consonants:


Table 2: Inventory of phonetic consonants
Bilabial Labio-Dental Alveolar Palatal Velar
Stops
Voiced b d g
Voiceless p t k, kw
Prenasalized mb md, nd, ndz ng
Glottalized ɓ 'w ɗ 'y
Affricates
Voiced dz i
Voiceless ts c
Continuants
Voiced ß v z ɣ
Voiceless f f s x
Lateral Continuants
Voiced ɮ
Voiceless ɬ
Nasals m n ŋ
Liquids r
l
Glides w y

In the dictionary proper, the lateral voiceless continuant ɬ is represented as hl, and the lateral voiced continuant ɮ is represented as zl.

Labiodental fricatives become bilabial voiceless fricatives according to the rule:

Rule 1: f → ƒ/ ___ [+round], e.g. [ƒwáɗ] ‘four’

The bilabial voiced continuant is a product of the change of v to ß between high round vowels:

Rule 2: v → ß/u___u, e.g. dzvú after optional vowel insertion → [jùßú] ‘hand’

The palatal continuants are products of palatalization rules:

Rule 3: [+alveolar] [+cont] → [+pal]/V[+front], e.g. tsí → [cí] ‘third-person singular subject’

The glottalized glides ‘w and ‘y have been recorded only when in intervocalic position, preceded by a high front or back vowel and followed by low vowel.

The alveolar nasal becomes velar in syllable-final position and may be realized as the sequence velar nasal-velar voiced stop when followed by a vowel in another word. Consider the noun /zwán/ ‘child’. The evidence that it has the underlying alveolar nasal is provided by the plural form [zwánì]. In word-final position it undergoes velarization:

Rule 4: n → ŋ/ ___ #:

(1)
zwáŋ á krì → [zwáŋ.gá.krì]
zwáŋ
child
á
GEN
krì
dog
'puppy'

A high back vowel becomes a glide after a velar, labial, or liquid consonant and before a, according to the following rule:

Rule 5: u → w/C[+velar, labial, liquid] ___ (C)a:

(2)
gù á wà → [gwà á wà]
goat
á
NEG
NEG
'it is not a goat'

The glottal stop occurs only between identical vowels or between a vowel and a glide that shares with the vowel the features for height or roundness. Because its presence is predictable it is not an underlying segment:

  • zì’yá: ‘smell’
  • mì’í: ‘wives’
  • ù’wà: ‘milk’
  • dzà’á: ‘go’, future tense marker

Table 3: Distribution of stops within the word and at phrase boundaries
Word-initial Intervocalic Word-final Phrase-final
Voiced b, d, g b, d, g b, d, g
Voiceless p, t, k p, t, k p, k, kw p, k, kw
Prenasalized mb, nd, ŋg mb, ng
Nasal n, m n, m, ŋ m, ŋ m, ŋ
Glottalized ɓ, ɗ ɓ, ɗ ɓ, ɗ

Table 4: Distribution of affricates and continuants
Word-initial Intervocalic Word-final Phrase-final
Voiced z, gh, ɮ, dz z, gh, ɮ, dz z
Voiceless s, x, ɬ, ts s, x, ɬ, ts s, x, ɬ s, x

A voiced consonant becomes voiceless when not followed by a sonorant in the next syllable:

Rule 6: C [+voice] → [-voice]/___[-son]

Compare the behavior of the extension , which codes inner and downward movement:

(3)
vrà-gá-vr-í dzághà
vrà-gá-vr-í
return-INN-return-1SG
dzághà
home
'I returned home' (from a higher elevation)

When the extension is not followed by a vowel, the velar consonant is voiceless even when following a vowel and preceding a voiced consonant:

(4)
vrà-k-vr-í dzághà
vrà-k-vr-í
return-INN-return-1SG
dzághà
home
'I returned home' (from an equal elevation, said at the place to which the subject has returned)

There are more clusters allowed in the syllabic onset than in the syllabic coda. Two-consonant clusters are common in both word-initial and intervocalic position, but there are no clusters in word-final or phrase-final position. The general principle for consonant cluster formation is that the consonants in a cluster should differ maximally, i.e., they should differ in place of articulation, manner of articulation, and syllabicity properties. The two charts that follow list allowed and disallowed consonant clusters. The first chart takes into consideration the manner of articulation, the second chart the place of articulation.


Table 5: Consonantal clusters and manner of articulation
Stops Continuants Nasals Liquids
Stops + + + +
Continuants + + + +
Nasals + + + +
Liquids + + + (V_V) -

Table 6:Consonantal clusters and place of articulation
Bilabial Labial Alveolar Velar
Bilabial - - + +
Labial - - - +
Alveolar - stop-cont. + +
Velar - - + -

The following chart represents underlying vocalic segments:

Table 7: Inventory of underlying vowels
Front Central Back
i ə u
e a

Sporadic vowel lowering takes place when a high vowel is followed by a low vowel. The high vowel may be lowered one step:

Rule 7: V[+high] → [-high] / ___CV[+low]

The high vowel becomes round when followed by the round glide within the same morpheme or across a morpheme boundary within the same phrase:

Rule 8: V[+high] → [+round] /___w

(5)
ghùzú-á kwálábá → [ghòzá kwálábá]
ghùzú-á
beer-GEN
kwálábá
bottle
'bottled beer'

The morpheme-final vowel is replaced by the initial vowel of the following morpheme if the two belong to the same phrase:

Rule 9: V1 → V2/ ___ #V2

(6)
tá ìmí → [tímí]
OBJ
ìmí
water
'water' (in non-subject function)

Syllable structure

A syllable in Hdi has the following properties: The onset and the coda may be absent and the syllable may consist only of the nucleus, which may be a vowel or a sonorant. The onset may consist of a consonant or a cluster of consonants, CC. The coda may consist of one consonant, which may be a sonorant (including liquids and nasals), a stop, or a fricative. The alveolar nasal becomes velar in word-final position. The only phonetic consonant cluster in coda position consists of a stop followed by a glide, a result of the labialization of the final u following a velar consonant. If a disallowed syllabic onset or coda would emerge, an epenthetic vowel must be inserted. In addition, if the absence of the tone would affect the grammatical coding realized by the tone, an epenthetic vowel is inserted. The vowel is inserted into the first position where the violation of the syllabic structure occurs. The vowel from the next syllable is copied into the disallowed position or into the first position that requires a tone realization:

(7)
kl-g-ì-xà ìmí → [klígìxà ìmí]
kl-g-ì-xà
take-INN-1SG-DOWN
ìmí
water
'bring me down some water!'
(8)
mà kl-d-á-f-ká → [mà klàdáfká]
PROH
kl-d-á-f-ká
take-ALL-PVG-UP-2SG
'do not take it up there'

Tone

The language has two tones, high and low. Tone plays an important role in both the lexicon and the syntax of the language. In the lexicon, tone distinguishes between lexical items whose segmental structure is identical. Tone also plays an important role in the coding of the semantic roles of arguments, in the reference and nominal system, in modality coding, and in virtually all constructions in the language. All high tones in phrase-final position are lowered.

Lexical Categories

Lexical categories in Hdi include: nouns (marked in the dictionary as n), verbs (v), a small class of adjectives (adj), a small class of adverbs (adv), quantifiers (quant), numerals (num) and the following classes of freestanding grammatical morphemes: prepositions (prep), complementizers and subordinators (comp), deictics and determiners (det) and copulas (cop), identical in form with determiners.

The category ‘noun’ in Hdi is defined by its inherent ability to serve as an argument of a verbal predication and as the predicate of a nominal predication. Nouns can also receive inflectional markers coding number. Among nouns there is a distinct class of proper names marked in the dictionary as npm, for names used for males, and npf, for names used for females. Since there is no grammatical gender distinction in Hdi, the distinction between names used for males and names used for females has no grammatical consequences. In the dictionary, information about the category noun is often followed in italics by information about the ontological category, such as bot (botanical), ornit (ornithological), etc. The ontological categories have no grammatical consequences of any kind. The language has also a set of independent pronouns which function as noun phrases; these are listed in the section on reference.

The category ‘verb’ is defined by its inherent ability to serve as a predicate and not as an argument. Morphologically, verbs are characterized by the ability to occur with subject and object pronouns, with verbal extensions, and with verbal plural markers that are distinct from the nominal plural markers. There are four classes of verbs, based on the number and types of arguments that can occur in the verbal clause and how these arguments are marked (‘transitivity’). These are described in the section on verbs below.

The category ‘adjective’ is defined by its inherent ability to occur as a modifier of a noun. The category ‘adverb’ is defined by its inherent ability to occur as a modifier of clause.

Hdi has the category ‘ideophone’, i.e., lexical items with a very limited distribution that usually characterize an auditory, visual, tactile, olfactory, or other sensory aspect of the event. There are very few ideophones in the dictionary, but it is likely that there are more members of this class that have not been recorded.

Many nouns and verbs, and some adjectives, have been borrowed from languages with which Hdi speakers have direct or indirect contact. The most frequent are borrowings from Fula, marked F, and Hausa, marked H, followed by Arabic, marked Ar. Arabic borrowings came into Hdi indirectly, either through Fula or Hausa. There are also a number of borrowings from French, marked Fr or left unmarked, if obvious.

The structure of the noun phrase

A noun phrase is a phrase whose head is a noun. In many cases a noun phrase can be replaced by the head alone. The modifier within the noun phrase may precede or follow the head. Quantifiers precede the head. Determiners may precede the head, follow the head, or precede and follow the head within the same phrase. Some nouns are derived from verbs.

Nominal number

Nouns can take a number of suffixes. The unmarked form of the noun has no number value. There are three plural suffixes: -xà, the less frequent , and the rare suffix , which is combined with the infix -a-. The plural suffix does not have to be used if plurality is marked by some other means, e.g. by the quantifier ‘many’. This provides evidence that the unmarked form of the noun has no number value. The language has an associative plural construction consisting of the form ì preceding a noun:

(9)
ì krì ndá pákáw-á ghúvì
ì
ASSC.PL
krì
dog
ndá
ASSC
pákáw-á
leopard-GEN
ghúvì
feces
'Dog and Hyena (lit. leopard feces)'

Hdi also has a collective marker , which precedes the noun and codes the group of people designated by the noun:

(10)
lá də́blə́m
COLL
də́blə́m
proper name
'the Diblim people'
(11)
lá m̀ndə́ rxá
COLL
m̀ndə́
man
́rxá
wise
'wise people'
(12)
lá rvèrì
COLL
rvèrì
king
'kings' (the term rvèrì also means ‘lion’, but the form with indicates ‘kings’)

Modification of the noun

Modification through the genitive marker á

A modifying construction in which another noun or pronoun modifies the head noun (‘genitive construction’) has the form Noun-á Noun/Pro, where the form á, glossed as GEN, is identical with one of the deictic-demonstrative markers:

(13)
vú-á m̀ták → [vwám̀ták]
vú-á
fire-GEN
m̀ták
bush
'bush fire'

Color terms belong to the class of nouns, and modification by a color term has the same form as modification by another noun:

(14)
gù-á ngrá
gù-á
goat-GEN
ngrá
black
'a black goat'

Modifying pronouns (‘possessive pronouns’) follow the genitive marker:

(15)
zwán-á-ní [zwángání]
zwán-á-ní
child-GEN-3SG
'his child'

Table 8: Possessive pronouns
Person Singular Dual Plural
First ɗá úú mú (incl); ŋní (excl)
Second ghá Ghúní
Third tán/tàn

Some kinship terms, e.g. ‘mother’, ‘wife’, and ‘husband’, require the use of plural rather than singular possessive pronouns even if the intended possessor is singular. The use of plural rather than singular possessive pronouns is motivated by the roles the referents of these terms play within the family.

The modifying construction can have the order modifier-head, with the genitive marker á following the modifier. The modifiers in this construction all belong to the class of property concepts (concepts expressed by adjectives in many languages):

(16)
lfíd-á lgùt
lfíd-á
new-GEN
lgùt
cloth
'new clothes'
(17)
índà ghwáɗàk-á skwì mà xgá yà
índà
all
ghwáɗàk-á
bad-GEN
skwì
thing
PREP
xgá
home
COP
'that is all bad things at home'

Modification through the preposition

The construction Noun Noun is used only in a few fixed expressions referring to domestic animals. The form is related to the proximate demonstrative :

(18)
má nà gù
mother
DEM
goat
'a female goat' (not 'mother of a goat')

Modification through the preposition ngá

The modification relationship between two nominal expressions may also be coded through the preposition ngá (glossed as FOR) in the construction Noun ngá Noun. In most cases, this construction is used where the modifier is the intended owner or destination of the head:

(19)
ùvá ngá-ɗá
ùvá
cat
ngá-ɗá
FOR-1SG
'the cat for me'

Nouns followed by the preposition ngá must have high tone, regardless of their underlying tones. Thus hlà ‘cow’, ‘goat’, and krì ‘dog’ all have high tone before ngá:

(20)
hlá ngá-ní
hlá
cow
ngá-ní
FOR-3SG
'the cow is for him'

Modification through the comment marker

The modifying construction Noun Noun codes an attribute of the head. The form functions as the comment marker in a variety of constructions, hence it is glossed COM for ‘comment marker’:

(21)
mtá tá dá-ní mà m̀ndú
mtá
death
COM
dá-ní
father-3SG
PREP
m̀ndú
man
'death of the man's father'
(22)
glá tá zwán tà kúm-ày tá màrà-n-tà . . .
glá
grow
COM
zwán
child
IMPF
kúm-ày
want-PO
OBJ
màrà-n-tà
show-3-REF
'the child's growth will show . . .'

The construction Noun Noun can be used for ethnonyms when the head of the construction, the first noun, refers to a female. Forms with can be replaced in many cases by forms with the genitive :

(23)
mákwà tá xdí
mákwà
girl
COM
xdí
Hdi
'a Hdi girl'
(24)
mákw-á xdí
mákw-á
girl-GEN
xdí
Hdi
'a Hdi girl'

Coding the notion of belonging

There exists a construction having the form Possessum-Genitive-Pronoun Possessor, where the pronoun codes the features of person and number of the possessor. The form is identical with the preposition meaning ‘within’. The construction is used only when both components, the possessor and the possessum, are nominal. The function of the construction is different from the one involving genitive modification and different from modification through the preposition :

(25)
kr-à-ní mà m̀ndú/mbítsá
kr-à-ní
dog-GEN-3SG
PREP
m̀ndú/mbítsá
man/Mbitsa
'a dog belonging to a man/Mbitsa'

The construction is used for coding the parent-child relationship, but not the child-parent relationship or a spousal relationship:

(26)
dá-ní mà mbítsá
dá-ní
father-3SG
PREP
mbítsá
Mbitsa
'Mbitsa's father'
(27)
dá-tán mà zwán-ì
dá-tán
father-3PL
PREP
zwán-ì
child-PL
'children's father'

For the child-parent relationship or spousal relationship the genitive marker is used:

(28)
zwán-á m̀ndú
zwán-á
child-GEN
m̀ndú
man
'man's child'
(29)
màrkw-á m̀ndú
màrkw-á
woman-GEN
m̀ndú
man
'man's wife'

Modification of nouns by adjectives

A lexical item is an adjective in Hdi if (1) it modifies nouns and (2) it cannot be used as an argument. Terms for size, shape, and quality are adjectives in Hdi; color terms are not.

The group of adjectives includes the following (an exhaustive list of items found in our data): dágálá ‘large’, kítìkw ‘small’, kì’yá ‘small’, xɓùzá ‘big-bellied’, slùxá ‘oval’, tùmbùzlá ‘round’, tə̀ntə̀ngá ‘hard’, ìná ‘good’, ‘beautiful’, ‘pretty’. The modifying construction with adjectives has the form Noun Adjective, without any intervening marker. Inherent adjectives in the attributive function occur after the noun they modify:

(30)
vú kì’yá
fire
kì’yá
small
'small fire'
(31)
xvá kwítìk
xvá
work
kwítìk
little
'small work'

Numerals behave like adjectives in that the modifying construction has the form Head Numeral, without any additional markers:

(32)
skwì tùrtúkw
skwì
thing
tùrtúkw
one
'one thing'

The comparative form of the modifying construction

Modifying constructions with adjectives code only two degrees: the unmarked and the comparative, where the latter corresponds in scope to the English comparative and superlative. A comparative modifying construction is formed by the use of the copula following the head noun and preceding the adjective:

(33)
m̀ndú yà dágálá
m̀ndú
man
COP
dágálá
important
'the most important man'

Cf.:

(34)
m̀ndú dágálá
m̀ndú
man
dágálá
important
'an important man'
(35)
m̀ndú yà kítìkw
m̀ndú
man
COP
kítìkw
small
'the smallest man'
(36)
m̀ndú yà ndáxíɗá
m̀ndú
man
COP
ndáxíɗá
wisdom
'the wisest man'

Modification through ordinal numerals

Modification through ordinal numerals has the form Numeral-Genitive Noun:

(37)
má xìs-á màrkwá-tán
PREP
xìs-á
second-GEN
màrkwá-tán
wife-3PL
'their second wife'

Noun modified by a quantifier

Quantifiers include the same lexical items that function as adjectives: tùrtúkw ‘one, alone’, dágálá ‘many’, kítìkw ‘a little’, kí’yá ‘some, little’, dímdím or démdém ‘a lot’, and possibly several others. Modification by quantifiers has the form Noun Quantifier. Other material, such as a possessive pronoun, may intervene between the noun and the quantifier. Quantifiers do not occur with deictics:

(38)
skw-í-p-skwà tá ù’wà kì’yá
skw-í-p-skwà
buy-1SG-OUT-buy
second-OBJ
ù’wà
milk
kì’yá
little
'she sold me some milk'
(39)
s-ù-sà tá ghzú démdém
s-ù-sà
drink-SO-drink
second-OBJ
ghzú
beer
démdém
all
'she drank all of the beer'

The associative phrase

The term ‘associative phrase’ refers to the structure Noun Phrase ndá Noun Phrase. These structures encompass the functions of associative and coordinating conjunctions, corresponding to “Noun and Noun” and “Noun with Noun” in English.

Nouns in associative phrases

Nouns are conjoined in associative phrases by the associative preposition ndá. If the components of an associative phrase are human, the associative phrase must be preceded by the associative plural ì:

(40)
kà zə̀ ì kɗérì ndá zwànànì tá m̀ghám
SEQ
live
ì
ASSC:PL
kɗérì
Kderi
ndá
ASSC
zwànànì
child:PL-GEN-3SG
COM
m̀ghám
chief
'And Kderi and his children lived happily (lit. 'royally')'
(41)
áyà tá ì gùlú ndá zírí ndá . . .
àyá
give.birth
OBJ
ì
ASSC:PL
gùlú
Gulu
ndá
ASSC
zírí
Ziri
ndá
ASSC
'and he begot Gulu and Ziri and...'

In a list of two or more nouns, the associative marker occurs only before the last noun:

(42)
zívr-á xdí zàmàn-à gà xdí ndá m̀ghám-á wúyá skwì gà xdí
zívr-á
origing-GEN
xdí
Hdi
zàmàn-à
civilization-GEN
PREP
xdí
Hdi
ndá
ASSC
m̀ghám-á
chief-GEN
wúyá
festical
skwì
thing
PREP
xdí
Hdi
'origin of Hdi, civilization of Hdi, and the main festival of Hdi'

Pronouns in associative phrases

If the first member of the associative phrase is represented by a pronoun, the pronoun is plural even if the first participant is singular. Thus, instead of the third person singular pronoun, the third-person plural must be used, and instead of the first-person singular, the first-person plural must be used.

(43)
mbàɗ ká máyá kà rwá-xə̀n ndá zwànà-ní
mbàɗ
then
COMP
máyá
hunger
SEQ
rwá-xə̀n
threaten-3PL
ndá
ASSC
zwànà-ní
child:PL:GEN-3SG
'then hunger threatened him and his children (lit. 'them and his children')'
(44)
áŋní ndá zwàn-à-ɗá tà rwá-kú dà máyá
áŋní
1PL.INCL
ndá
ASSC
zwàn-à-ɗá
child:PL-GEN-1SG
IMPF
rwá-kú
threat-ABS
PREP
máyá
hunger
'I and my children are suffering from hunger (lit. 'we and my children')'

Reference Systems

The coding means

The coding means within the reference system are: overt mention of the noun; subject and object independent and suffixed pronouns; deictics; the anaphor tsá, which is glossed in Frajzyngier with Shay 2002 as DEF but which refers to previously mentioned nouns; and several determiners which can precede, follow, or both precede and follow the noun. The following chart lists the independent pronouns:


Table 9: Independent pronouns
Person Singular Dual Plural
First ɗá úú ámú (incl); áŋní (excl)
Second kághá kághúní
Third tsátsí xáxə̀n

The unspecified human object is marked by the noun m̀ndú ‘man’ preceded by the comment marker :

(45)
hlìglá-hlìglá xwáyá tá mndú
hlìglá-hlìglá
stab-stab
xwáyá
Hoya
COM
mndú
man
'Hoya stabbed somebody'

The complete range of functions of the combinations of various coding means within the system of reference has yet to be discovered.

Deixis

There is a three-way distinction within the deictic system, coding three degrees of distance with respect to the speaker: á ‘remote’, ‘middle distance’, and ‘proximate’. The reduplicated deictic form can be used as an independent noun in a clause:

(46)
bà-f-b-í tá yá-yá
bà-f-b-í
build-UP-build-1SG
OBJ
yá-yá
DEM-DEM
'I built that'
(47)
bà-f-b-í tá ná-ná
bà-f-b-í
build-UP-build-1SG
OBJ
ná-ná
DEM-DEM
'I built this'
(48)
bà-f-b-í tá á-á
bà-f-b-í
build-UP-build-1SG
OBJ
á-á
DEM-DEM
'I built that thing over there'

When deictics function as determiners they can precede and/or follow the head noun. Moreover, they can be reduplicated in the position before and/or after the noun:

(49)
yà yá mákwà yá
DEM
DEM
mákwà
girl
DEM
'this girl' (the girl must be visible)

If there is only one demonstrative before the noun, the distance seems to be closer than if there are two demonstratives before the noun:

(50)
yá mákwà yá
DEM
mákwà
girl
DEM
'this girl' (closer distance; must be visible)
(51)
à á mákwà á
à
DEM
á
DEM
mákwà
girl
á
DEM
'that girl'

Neither demonstratives nor deictic markers code a number distinction.

Anaphora

Previous mention is marked by the form tsá, glossed in Frajzyngier with Shay as DEF, alone or with any combination of deictic markers. The anaphor tsá can be the only component of the noun phrase:

(52)
tà xúlá tsá ngá xgà-f-tá xgà ghúní . . .
PREP
xúlá
back
tsá
DEF
ngá
NORM
xgà-f-tá
call-UP-REF
xgà
call
ghúní
2PL
'afterwards, they would call you up . . .'

The anaphor can also co-occur with a deictic marker that functions as the sole component of the noun phrase, or it can occur as the determiner of the noun. Both cases are illustrated in the next example:

(53)
dàgà bàɗ tsá yá dzà’á ghlrá-f-tà tsá m̀ndú yá tá wúyá
dàgà
from
bàɗ
day
tsá
DEF
DEM
dzà’á
FUT
ghlrá-f-tà
perform-UP-REF
tsá
DEF
m̀ndú
man
DEM
OBJ
wúyá
rites
'from that day on the man will perform the rites'

Referentiality of event

Hdi has the functional domain of referentiality of the event, where the distinction is between referential (marked) and non-referential (unmarked) events. Referentiality of the event is marked by the suffix -ta with high or low tone, glossed as REF, added to the verb.

The marker -ta indicates that the proposition refers to real-world phenomena. The event is made referential if it affects a referential object or a referential predicate. Compare the unspecified object versus the previously mentioned object:

(54)
xìyá (ná) xàɗ-ká tà dzáw-áy wà
xìyá
guinea corn
(ná)
COMP
xàɗ-ká
lack-2SG
IMPF
dzáw-áy
trade:PL-PO
NEG
'Guinea corn, you do not sell!'

If the object is referential due to previous mention in discourse or presence in the environment of speech, the verb has the suffix -tá:

(55)
tsá xìyá yá ná xàɗ-ká tà dzáwá-tà wà
tsá
DEF
xìyá
guinea corn
DEM
COMP
xàɗ-ká
lack-2SG
IMPF
dzáwá-tà
trade:PL-REF
NEG
'the guinea corn [previously mentioned], you do not sell'

Verbless Clauses

The term ‘verbless clause’ refers to the formal property of not having a verbal predicate. The verbless clauses include: equational predication; identificational predication; attributive predication; possessive predication; existential predication; locative stative predication; and presentative predication.

Equational clauses

Equational clauses identify one noun phrase by another. Equational clauses in Hdi have no copula. The distinction between subject and predicate is marked through word order. The predicate is the first noun phrase and the subject is the noun phrase that follows:

(56)
m̀nd-á ráyá mbítsá
m̀nd-á
man-GEN
ráyá
hunt
mbítsá
Mbitsa
'Mbitsa is a hunter'

Identificational clauses

An identificational clause is a clause whose subject has been mentioned in the previous discourse or has been present in the discourse environment but is not overtly marked in the clause. Such clauses have the form Noun phrase Copula, where the noun phrase is the predicate. The subject is not overtly marked. The copula could be any of the series of demonstratives, but with low rather than high tone: à, , or . The last tone of the noun must be high before the copula, regardless of the underlying tone of the noun. This is the same rule as the one that operates before subjects in verbal clauses. Thus, the low-tone hlà ‘cow’ has high tone before a copula:

(57)
hlá yà
hlá
cow
COP
'it is a cow'
(58)
twák yà/nà/à
twàk
sheep
yà/nà/à
COP
'it is a sheep' (twàk 'sheep')

Attributive predication

Attributive predication defines the attribute of the noun. Property-concept words, like noun phrases, are marked for the predicative function by the clause-initial position. There are two types of property concept expressions: inherent adjectives and expressions derived from other lexical categories.

The order Predicate Noun is the pragmatically unmarked order. Thus the adjective kítìkw ‘small’ ends in high tone before the subject:

(59)
kítíkw mbítsá
kítíkw
small
mbítsá
Mbitsa
'Mbitsa is small'
(60)
dágálá yá m̀ndú yá
dágálá
big
DEM
m̀ndú
man
DEM
'that man is big'

Possessive predication

The term ‘possessive predication’ refers to predications where the subject owns an entity. The possessive clause has the structure ngá-Possessor (Copula) Possessum:

(61)
ngá-ghá à hlà á
ngá-ghá
FOR-2SG
à
COP
hlà
cow
á
DEM
'that cow over there is yours'

Existential predication

Existential predications are formed with the clause-initial predicate màmú ‘exist’ followed by the subject of the clause and complements, if any:

(62)
màmú sàn m̀ghám tá kl-áf-tá màràk xìs
màmú
exist
sàn
certain
m̀ghám
chief
COM
kl-áf-tá
take-UP-REF
màràk
wife
xìs
two
'there was a chief who married to wives'

The form màmú may be reduced to màá:

(63)
màá skwì
màá
exist
skwì
thing
'there is a thing'

Locative predications of the type: X is located at Y

In locative predicative expressions, the locative phrase precedes the subject of the clause. The locative predication has the form Preposition Noun Noun. Prepositions may include ‘at’, ‘in’; ‘inside’; and ‘in’; as well as the prepositional complex mìstá ‘under’, ‘together’:

(64)
tà zlə́ŋ dèrí
PREP
zlə́ŋ
bed
dèrí
hat
'the hat is on the bed'
(65)
mà zlə́ŋ dèrí
PREP
zlə́ŋ
bed
dèrí
hat
'the hat is inside the bed'

Presentative predication

The presentative predication is formed with the clause-initial deictic particle (PRES) followed by deictics coding the distance between the speaker and the referent. The form with the remote deictic á may be used only when the subject is not in the same location as the speaker:

(66)
wá á gà mókóló
PRES
á
DEM
PREP
mókóló
Mokolo
'he is in Mokolo'(The speaker is not in Mokolo.)

The form with ná may be used only if the speaker is in the same location as the subject:

(67)
wá ná gà mókóló
PRES
DEM
PREP
mókóló
Mokolo
'he is in Mokolo'(The speaker is in Mokolo.)

Verbal Clauses

The formal means deployed in verbal clauses include: the verb with its complex inflec¬tional system; the position before and after the verb; and prepositions. The pragmatically neutral clause begins with the verb, which may be followed by a noun phrase. The posi¬tion after the verb in non-sequential clauses is the coding means for the subject role of the noun phrase. The position before the verb is one of the coding means for topicalization and focus. The categories encoded in the verbal clauses are different for pronominal and nominal constituents. For pronominal constituents, the language distinguishes between the subject, direct object, and indirect object. For nominal constituents, the language distinguishes between the subject; the non-subject (which is not the same as object); and a variety of semantic relations that include the benefactive but not the indirect object. Given the richness of semantic information coded on the verb, the description of verbal clauses has to begin with the description of the morphology of the verb.

The morphology of the verb

Verbs, unlike nouns, cannot begin with a vowel. It is necessary to postulate for verbs the category ‘root’, consisting of one or more underlying consonants, a tone (or tones, for polysyllabic verbs), and the first vowel. Other vowels code specific syntactic or semantic functions of the subject, the point of view from which the event is presented, the type of clause, and the aspect. Many polysyllabic verbs with the vowel i code movement away from or separation from a source or a previously mentioned location of either the subject or the object: ɗífà ‘hide’, tsíhlà ‘husk’, xídà ‘bite’, gìgɗá ‘sift’, fìɗá ‘plane [wood]’. A verb may be simple or reduplicated. Different reduplicated forms code perfective and progressive aspects, and verbal plurality. Subject pronouns are suffixed to the simple and reduplicated forms. Object pronouns are infixed in the reduplicated forms. Both simple and reduplicated verb may have a variety of verbal extensions suffixed to the simple verb and infixed in the reduplicated verb.

Verbal nouns

There are two types of verbal nouns. One type ends in the vowel u or i. The conditions determining whether the high vowel is front rather than back are not phonological, because some verbs can have both types of nouns, one with a front vowel and the other with a back vowel. For most verbal nouns, substituting the front vowel for the back, or the back vowel for the front, results in nonsense words. The tonal pattern of the verbal noun is the same as that of the verb.


Table 10: Verbal nouns ending in 'u'
Verb Verbal noun
kátá 'to help kátú 'help'
'to light a fire' 'fire'
skálá 'to dance' skálú 'dance'
ghálá 'to steal' ghálú 'thief/theft'

Polyconsonantal verbs that have the initial vowel i have the nominal form ending in i:


Table 11: Verbal nouns ending in 'i'
vníxá 'to vomit' vníxí 'vomit'
xí'ídá 'to bite' xí'ídí 'bite'
fìdá 'to plane (wood)' fìfí 'planing'

Verbal plurality

Verbs in Hdi display the distinction of number. The unmarked form does not code number; the marked form codes verbal plurality, which implies plurality of the event, plurality of the subject of an intransitive verb, or plurality of the object of a transitive verb. There are three means to code the plurality of the verb: the suffix á, reduplication, and lexical suppletion. The plural marker á is used only with polyconsonantal verbs. The marker á is inserted after the first consonant of the verb. Thus the plural form of the verb xná ‘slaughter’ is x-á-ná:

(68)
kà x-á-ná-tá gù-xà
SEQ
x-á-ná-tá
slaugher-PL-DEM-REF
gù-xà
goat-PL
'he slaughtered goats'

Formation of the plural through reduplication for monosyllabic verbs involves leftward reduplication of the consonant and the insertion of the vowel á after the reduplicated consonant. The product of such reduplication can be reduplicated further to code the perfective aspect:

(69)
d-á-ɗà-gá-d-á-ɗà
d-á-ɗà-gá-d-á-ɗà
fall-PL-INN-fall
'they fell down'

Compare the verb unmarked for number:

(70)
dɗà-gá-dɗà
dɗà-gá-dɗà
fall-INN-fall
'he fell down'

When the verb is transitive, the plural marker codes plurality of the object or plurality of the action. The object does not have to be marked for plural:

(71)
bá-bà-f-bá-bà
bá-bà-f-bá-bà
build-build-build-build
'he built many things' (not 'rebuilt the same things many times')
(72)
snà-n-sn-íyù tá x-á-n-áy-tán tá hlà
snà-n-sn-íyù
hear-3-hear-1SG
OBJ
x-á-n-áy-tán
cut-PL-PO-3PL
OBJ
hlà
cow
'I heard them slaughter cows' (note that the object is not marked for plurality)

Cf.:

(73)
snà-n-sn-íyù tá xn-áy-tán tá hlà
snà-n-sn-íyù
hear-3-hear-1SG
OBJ
xn-áy-tán
cut-PO-3PL
OBJ
hlà
cow
'I heard them slaughter a cow'

For bisyllabic verbs, the plural is formed by leftward repetition of the first syllable. In the perfective aspect the reduplicated theme of the verb is repeated twice:

(74)
ɗá-ɗáxá-ná-f-ɗá-ɗáxá tá lgùt-á zwán-ì
ɗá-ɗáxá-ná-f-ɗá-ɗáxá
PL-sew-DEM-UP-PL-sew
OBJ
lgùt-á
dress-GEN
zwán-ì
child-PL
'he sewed the children's clothing'

Coding relationships between the predicate and noun phrases

The coding means for the relationship between the predicate and noun phrases include: the position directly after the verb; inherent properties of the verb; preposition ; other prepositions; and verbal extensions. Several of these means may co-occur within the same clause.

The noun phrase (but not the prepositional phrase) directly following the verb in clauses other than sequential clauses is interpreted as subject:

(75)
dzà’á skwá-p-skwá nàsàrá-ngrá
dzà’á
FUT-sew-DEM-UP-PL-sew
skwá-p-skwá
buy-OUT-buy
nàsàrá-ngrá
boss-black
'the black boss is going to sell . . .'

In sequential clauses, there is no formal distinction between the nominal subject and the nominal object. In sentences containing sequential clauses, one usually expects the first clause to mention the subject, while subsequent clauses will not overtly mention the subject.. In the following example, the first clause has the subject following the verb. In the sequential clauses within the same sentence, the noun phrase that follows the verb is interpreted as object:

(76)
kà hlí’yá-f-tá zvàxw kà ɗáwá-f-tá ntfàn ɗáwá-f-xà-tá dàwrà
SEQ-sew-DEM-UP-PL-sew
hlí’yá-f-tá
leave-UP-REF
zvàxw
bat
SEQ-sew-DEM-UP-PL-sew
ɗáwá-f-tá
ask-UP-REF
ntfàn
glue
ɗáwá-f-xà-tá
ask-UP-ALSO-REF
dàwrà
cloth
'the bat left and asked for glue and also for clothing'

Preposition

This section presents analyses different from the ones in Frajzyngier with Shay 2002 and includes some argumentation to support the new analyses. The form , qua preposition, indicates that the noun phrase that follows it is not the subject. As demonstrated throughout examples in the dictionary, this noun is very frequently the object of the clause:

(77)
tsghà-k-tsghà tá ceedì
tsghà-k-tsghà
send-INN-send
COM
ceedì
money
'he sent money in'
(78)
xúxúrà-f-xúxúrà tá ghrùm tá sú
xúxúrà-f-xúxúrà
drill-UP-drill
COM
ghrùm
hole
COM
tree
'he made a hole in a tree'
(79)
zà-ná-ghú-zá ɗwàk tá dzúmá
zà-ná-ghú-zá
eat-DEM-SO-eat
ɗwàk
termite
COM
dzúmá
hay
'the termites have eaten part of the hay'

Not every complement of the preposition , however, is the direct object. Consider the verb hlíná ‘warm up’. The verb is intransitive, as the entity that gets warmed up is always the subject. This verb cannot be used transitively, and yet this verb can have a complement marked by the preposition . The preposition indicates the source of heat:

(80)
hlíná-f-hlíná tá fìtík
hlíná-f-hlíná
warm-UP-warm
COM
fìtík
fire
'he warmed up with the sun'
(81)
hlíná-f-hlíná tá vúvú
hlíná-f-hlíná
warm-UP-warm
COM
vúvú
fire
'he warmed up with the fire'

One cannot say ‘the Sun warmed him up’ where the Sun is the subject and the third-person argument is the object. Similarly with the verb búkwá ‘cover’: When it occurs with the affectedness of the subject extension, the verb means that the subject is being covered:

(82)
búkwá-vá-búkw-í tá lgùt
búkwá-vá-búkw-í
cover-AS-cover-1SG
COM
lgùt
cloth
'I covered myself with a cloth'

The role of the noun phrase marked by the preposition must be deduced from the inherent properties of the verb and/or from the extensions added to the verb. Thus, if the verb has the associative extension ndá, this extension forces the interpretation of the noun marked by as an entity about which one thinks or remembers. With the verb dúkwá ‘realize, become aware’ the associative extension marks the existence of the object of awareness:

(83)
dúkwá-f-ndá-dúkwá mbítsá tá pìtsákw-á-ní
dúkwá-f-ndá-dúkwá
realize-UP-ASSC-realize
mbítsá
Mbítsá
COM
pìtsákw-á-ní
hoe-GEN-3SG
'Mbitsa has found about his hoe'
(84)
dúkwá-f-ndá-dúkw-ì tá sá-ghá-nì
dúkwá-f-ndá-dúkw-ì
realize-UP-ASSC-realize-1SG
COM
sá-ghá-nì
come-D:GO-GEN-3SG
'I became unexpectedly aware of his arrival'

When the particle precedes a verb or a clause, it marks the verb or clause as a comment on the preceding constituent, which may be clausal or nominal. Here is an example where the form marks the comment on the element in focus:

(85)
tíngìl vàzák tá lá-ghà tántán
tíngìl
first
vàzák
rooster
COM
lá-ghà
go-D:PVG
tántán
first
'It is Rooster that arrived first'

In the following sentence, three noun phrases following the verb are preceded by the marker . In the first phrase the marker precedes the object, in the second it precedes the attribute of the object, and in the third it precedes the relative clause, i.e. the comment on the head of the relative clause:

(86)
ɓàràká-f-ɓàràkú-lú tá tsá xàlá tá mndú tá mtútà yá
ɓàràká-f-ɓàràkú-lú
celebrate-UP-celebrate-HUM
COM
tsá
DEF
xàlá
advanced age
COM
mndú
man
COM
mtútà
dead
DEM
'One celebrated [through a trotting dance] the advanced age of the deceased (lit. 'of the person who died')'

Point of view of the subject and goal orientation

Both the point of view of the subject/source and goal orientation, i.e. indication that the event has a goal, are marked by verbal extensions.

The point of view of the subject/source is marked in the perfective aspect by the extension u, which assumes the tone of the verb:

(87)
z-ú-zà
abwilyep
eat-SO-eat
this man is a sorcerer

Some intransitive verbs must occur with the marker u:

(88)
kà mt-ú-tá dá-nì
SEQ
mt-ú-tá
die-SO-REF
dá-nì
father-3SG
'and his father died'

In the imperfective aspect, the point of view of the subject is marked by the suffix , glossed as ABS (for ‘absolutive’) in Frajzyngier with Shay 2002:

(89)
xàɗ-áŋni tà mtà-kú ndá mtà wà
xàɗ-áŋni
lack-1PL:EXCL
IMPF
mtà-kú
die-ABS
ndá
ASSC
mtà
death
NEG
'we do not die [when we are old]'

When the noun that follows the verb is not preceded by a preposition, it is interpreted as the subject:

(90)
dr-ú-drá xàsúù
dr-ú-drá
burn-SO-burn
xàsúù
wood
'the wood burned'

Coding the point of view of the subject is not a means of intransitivizing the verb. A verb coding the point of view of the subject can co-occur with an object marked by the preposition :

(91)
hlr-ú-hlrà tá pìtsákw
hlr-ú-hlrà
forge-SO-forge
COM
pìtsákw
hoe
'he forged himself a hoe'
(92)
nd-ù-ndà tá ghwánì
nd-ù-ndà
swallow-SO-swallow
COM
ghwánì
medicine
'he swallowed the medicine'
(93)
b-ù-bá tá xgà yà
b-ù-bá
build-SO-build
COM
xgà
house
DEM
'he built himself a house'

The goal-orientation suffix -a can be added either directly to the verbal root or to the point of view of subject marker u. In the sequence /C[labial or velar] u a/, the vowel u is reduced to the feature [round], realized as labialization of the preceding consonant. The goal-oriented marker codes the event as directed toward a goal and thereby implies that the subject is controlling:

(94)
fw-á-fwà tá ìmí
fw-á-fwà
heat-PVG-heat
OBJ
ìmí
water
'he heated water'

Cf.:

(95)
fú-fwà ìmí
fú-fwà
heat up-heat up
ìmí
water
'water heated up'

Consider the verb ɗvà ‘like’. If the vowel u is added to the stem ending in á, the meaning of the verb involves control on the part of the subject, resulting in meanings corresponding to ‘choose’, ‘select’, ‘prefer’:

(96)
kà ɗvá-úgh-tá mákwà tá zvàxw
SEQ
ɗvá-úgh-tá
like-SO-REF
mákwà
girl
OBJ
zvàxw
bat
'the girl chose the bat [for herself]'

If the vowel u is added directly to the verbal root, the verbal stem means ‘to love’, a process that does not involve control:

(97)
kà ɗv-ú-tá mákwà tá zvàxw
SEQ
ɗv-ú-tá
like-SO-REF
mákwà
girl
OBJ
zvàxw
bat
'the girl liked the bat'

Classes of verbs

There are four classes of verbs, based on the inclusion or exclusion of a second nominal argument (‘transitivity’): unspecified; inherently transitive; inherently intransitive; and labile, i.e. both transitive and intransitive.

Unspecified class

An unspecified verb is a verb that does not inherently imply the presence or absence of an object. As a result, the presence of the third-person object must be overtly marked, and the absence of the object must also be overtly marked. With these verbs, the affectedness of the subject must also be overtly marked. The affectedness of the subject is marked by the point of view of subject extension -u or the affectedness of the subject extension va. Consider the verb ɗífà ‘hide’. To indicate that the subject is the participant that hides himself, the point of view of subject marker u must be used:

(98)
ɗífà-u-ɗífà vàzák
ɗífà-u-ɗífà
hide-SO-hide
vàzák
rooster
'the rooster hid himself'

To indicate that the event has two participants, one controlling and the other undergoing the event, the verb must have the additional-argument marker (glossed as DEM). The evidence that the marker is not a third-person singular object pronoun is provided by the fact that it can co-occur with the verb in the plural form, implying the presence of multiple objects:

(99)
ɗíf-ɗífà-ná-tà
ɗíf-ɗífà-ná-tà
PL-hide-DEM-REF
'hide many things'

The nominal argument that follows the verb is interpreted as the subject of the transitive predication:

(100)
ɗífà-ná-tà vàzák
ɗífà-ná-tà
hide-DEM-REF
vàzák
rooster
'it is the Rooster that hid him'

Consider now the verb ghúyá ‘get drunk’. To indicate that the subject got drunk, the verb must have the point of view of the subject extension u:

(101)
ghúy-ú-ghúyá
ghúy-ú-ghúyá
drink-SO-drink
'he got drunk'

To indicate that there is a participant who drank as a result of the action of somebody else, the marker must be suffixed to the verb:

(102)
ghúy-ná-f-ghúy-ì
ghúy-ná-f-ghúy-ì
drink-DEM-UP-drink-1SG
'I made him drink'

Here is an example of the use of the extension , which allows the deployment of the second argument. The verb is gúná ‘open’:

(103)
gún-iŋ-gúná tá sígà
gún-iŋ-gúná
open-AWAY-open
COM
sígà
pot
'he opened the pot'
(104)
gún-ú-gúná sígà
gún-ú-gúná
open-SO-open
sígà
pot
'the pot opened'
(105)
tsá sígà tá gún-ú-tà yá
tsá
DEF
sígà
pot
COM
gún-ú-tà
open-SO-REF
DEM
'the pot that opened'

And here is an example with the verb làɓ ‘mix’:

(106)
làɓ-ú-làɓá ɓìdá ndá vàrà
làɓ-ú-làɓá
mix-SO-mix
ɓìdá
millet
ndá
ASSC
vàrà
beans
'millet and beans got mixed up'

Compare with the additional-argument marker :

(107)
làɓà-ná-f-làɓá zwáŋà-ɗà tá ɓìdá ndá vàrà
làɓà-ná-f-làɓá
mix-DEM-mix
zwáŋà-ɗà
child:GEN-1SG
COM
ɓìdá
millet
ndá
ASSC
vàrà
bean
'my child mixed up millet with beans'
(108)
ngá làɓà-ná-f-tà ndá ghúvà gù
ngá
NORM
làɓà-ná-f-tà
mix-DEM-UP-mixREF
ndá
ASSC
ghúvà
excrement
goat
'one should mix it with goat excrement'

Consider now the verb dvà ‘threaten’. Without any morphological marking, the verb does not imply the presence of the second argument:

(109)
dvà-dvà
dvà-dvà
threaten-threaten
'he reprimanded, threatened' (no specific object or addressee is implied or can be inferred)

The addition of the second nominal argument requires the insertion of the additional argument marker :

(110)
dvà-ná-ghá-dvá mbítsá tá zwànì
dvà-ná-ghá-dvá
threaten-DEM-D:GO-threaten
mbítsá
Mbítsá
COM
zwànì
children
'Mbitsa threatened children' (ná cannot be omitted)

Inherently transitive verbs

An inherently transitive verb takes a second argument, marked by the comment marker , without any changes to the verb. The third-person object is not overtly marked on the verb. Consider the verb drà ‘burn’:

(111)
drá-drà tá xàsú’ú
drá-drà
burn-burn
COM
xàsú’ú
wood
'he burned wood [in order to get charcoal]'

To code the point of view of the subject, and to indicate that the single noun phrase has undergone the event, the verb has the subject-oriented extension u and the noun phrase follows the verb without a preposition:

(112)
dr-ú-drá xàsú’ù
dr-ú-drá
burn-SO-burn
xàsú’ú
wood
'the wood burned'

The fact that the subject is undergoing the action can also be marked by the affectedness of the subject extension. The verb gìgìɗà ‘shake a tree’ is inherently transitive, as evidenced by its use with the object marked by the preposition (with tentative extension n):

(113)
gìgìɗà-n-gìgìɗá tá fú
gìgìɗà-n-gìgìɗá
shake-TENT-shake
COM
tree
'he shook the tree'
(114)
gìgìɗà-vá-gìgìɗá fú
gìgìɗà-vá-gìgìɗá
shake-AS-shake
tree
'the tree shook'

or:

(115)
gìgìɗ-ú-gìgìɗá fú
gìgìɗ-ú-gìgìɗá
shake-SO-shake
tree
'the tree shook'

The additional-argument marker with an inherently transitive verb usually codes the presence of an indirect object in the proposition:

(116)
drá-ná-drà (ngá-ní)
drá-ná-drà
burn-DEM-burn
(ngá-ní)
FOR-3SG
'he burned it (for him)'
(117)
dr-íŋ-drá tá xàsú’ú
dr-íŋ-drá
burn-AWAY-burn
COM
xàsú’ú
wood
'he burned wood'

To code coreferentiality of the subject and object, the verb must have the affectedness of the subject extension v and the object must be marked by the preposition , whose complement is the noun vghá ‘body’ followed by a possessive pronoun:

(118)
dr-ú-v-drà tá vghá-ní
dr-ú-v-drà
burn-SO-AS-burn
COM
vghá-ní
vghá-3SG
'he burned himself'

Here is an example with the verb ‘build’. The nominal object is marked by the comment marker :

(119)
b-í-dí-ɗí-f-bà tá xgá
b-í-dí-ɗí-f-bà
build-1SG-UP-build
COM
xgá
house
'he built me a house'

The addition of the marker with an inherently transitive verb indicates the presence of an indirect object:

(120)
bà-ná-f-bà
bà-ná-f-bà
build-DEM-UP-build
'build for someone'

Inherently intransitive verbs

An intransitive verb is a verb that requires the additional-argument marker to indicate that there are two arguments in the proposition. Without such a marker, the noun phrase that follows the verb is interpreted as the subject. This is the case with the verb hànà ‘lie down’, ‘sleep’, ‘pass the night’:

(121)
hànà-hànà
hànà-hànà
sleep-sleep
'he lay down/slept'
(122)
hànà-ná-hànà
hànà-ná-hànà
sleep-DEM-sleep
'he made somebody lie down'

The presence of the additional-argument marker in the verb does not necessarily indicate the presence of either a direct or indirect object. It may indicate a presence of what in some Indo-European languages would correspond to adjunct:

(123)
hànà-ná-ghá-hànà
hànà-ná-ghá-hànà
sleep-DEM-D:GO-sleep
'to lie on top of something'

An inherently intransitive verb does not require any markers when it occurs with only one argument. Consider the verb gə̀má ‘meet’:

(124)
gə̀má-f-gə̀má-xə̀n
gə̀má-f-gə̀má-xə̀n
meet-UP-meet-3PL
'they met'

One can add an object to inherently intransitive verbs if the verb has the additional-argument marker :

(125)
gə̀mà-ná-f-gə̀m-í tá xə̀n
gə̀mà-ná-f-gə̀m
meet-DEM-UP-meet-1SG
COM
xə̀n
3PL
'I got them together'

Cognate object

A number of verbs are followed by cognate objects, i.e. objects linked semantically and phonologically with a specific verb. Such objects are marked by the comment marker . Cognate objects are often derived from the same root as the verb:

(126)
ɗg-áy-tán tá ɗgú yá
ɗg-áy-tán
thresh-PO-3PL
OBJ
ɗgú̀
threshing(N)
yá̀
DEM
'While they were threshing'

Some intransitive verbs may be followed by an object marked by the preposition . These are, however, cognate objects. The cognate object may be followed by another object also marked by the comment marker :

(127)
mbàzá-ná-mbàz-í tá mbàzá tá mbítsá
mbàzá-ná-mbàz-í
wash-DEM-wash-1SG
COM
mbàzá̀
washing(N)
COM
mbítsá
Mbitsa
'I washed Mbitsa'

An example of such a verb is tsúhà ‘cough’:

(128)
tsúhà-tsúhà
tsúhà-tsúhà
cough-cough
'he coughed'
(129)
tsúh-ín-tsúhà tá másáɓì/màgàsàr
tsúh-ín-tsúhà
cough-AWAY-cough
COM
másáɓì/màgàsàr̀
flu/tuberculosis
'he coughed the flu/tuberculosis' (the only objects allowed with this verb)'

Hence, the presence of the cognate object does not make the verb transitive.

Labile verbs

There is a class of verbs (‘labile’ verbs) that are both intransitive and transitive, as evidenced by the fact that the presence of the third-person object is not overtly marked on the verb and the affectedness of the subject is not marked by the source-oriented marker u. One such verb is ‘close’. Here is an example of a clause with two arguments. The object is marked only by the preposition :

(130)
hà-f-hà tá txà
hà-f-hà
close-UP-close
COM
txà
door
'he closed the door'
(131)
hà-f-hà mbítsá tá txà
hà-f-hà
close-UP-close
mbítsá
Mbitsa
COM
txà
door
'Mbitsa closed the door'

Here is an example of the clause with one argument, the subject. The affectedness of the subject is not marked by the source-orientation marker u:

(132)
hà-f-hà txà
hà-f-hà
close-UP-close
txà
door
'the door closed'

The function of the object pronouns

The following chart represents object pronouns:


Table 12: Object suffixes
Person Singular Dual Plural
First í; ɗ; í-xà úú mú (incl); ŋní (excl)
Second ghá ghúní
Third Ø; ná xə̀n

First- and second-person object pronouns can code the direct or indirect object, regardless of the verbs to which they are added. The form with an inherently transitive verb codes the third-person singular indirect object:

(133)
fáɗá-ná-fáɗá tá vwàx
fáɗá-ná-fáɗá
clean-DEM-clean
COM
vwàx
field
'clean the field for him'

With other verbs, the form suffixed to the verb indicates the presence of an additional participant, which may be a direct object. The form ná is used even if the direct object is plural, which is the evidence that ná is not the third-person singular object marker:

(134)
dzrà-ná-f-dzrù-lù tá xǝ̀n
dzrà-ná-f-dzrù-lù
agree-2SG-UP-agree-HUM
COM
xǝ̀n
3PL
'one has made them agree'

Compare the intransitive:

(135)
dzrà-p-dzrá-xǝ̀n
dzrà-p-dzrá-xǝ̀n
agree-OUT-agree-3PL
'they agreed with each other'

The first-person singular object affixes are i, i-xà, and ɗa. The form ɗa is a cognate of the first-person possessive marker ɗá. The pronoun i replaces the vowel of the preceding verb and assumes its grammatical tone, i.e. the tone that the verb has before the direct object:

(136)
ks-ì-ksà
ks-ì-ksà
touch-1SG-touch
'he touched me' or 'he wounded me' (ksá 'catch him/it!' has underlying high tone)
(137)
kzl-ì-kzlà
kzl-ì-kzlà
wait-1SG-wait
'he waited for me' (kzlà has underlying low tone)

The form ixà is equivalent to the form i. The form ixa occurs optionally when there are no other extensions to the verb:

(138)
kzl-ìxà-kzlà
kzl-ìxà-kzlà
wait-1SG-wait
'he waited for me' (kzlà has underlying low tone)
(139)
ks-ìxà-ksà
ks-ìxà-ksà
touch-1SG-touch
'he touched me' or 'he wounded me'

The form ɗ is used if the verb has the stem-formative movement-away marker í, the point-of view of the subject marker ú, or some other extension(s):

(140)
hl-ì-ɗ-á-ghá-hlà [hl-ì-ɗáa-hlà]
hl-ì-ɗ-á-ghá-hlà
fall-AWAY-1SG-PVG-D:PVG-fall
'he found me' (The verb hlà 'fall' is intransitive, and the marker i has a transitivizing function here.)
(141)
mántsá yá ká-xə̀n mb-ì-ɗí-f-tà
mántsá
like that
DEM
ká-xə̀n
COMP-3PL
mb-ì-ɗí-f-tà
cure-AWAY-1SG-UP-REF
'that is how they cured me'

Reciprocal

The reciprocal function is coded by the plural subject pronoun on the verb and the noun vghá ‘body’ preceded by the preposition . The difference between the reciprocal and the marking of coreferentiality is that in the reciprocal the noun vghá ‘body’ is not followed by a possessive pronoun coding the person and number of the subject:

(142)
tskáy, tà tsk-áy-lú tá vghá
tskáy,
gathering
IMPF
tsk-áy-lú
gather:POT-HUM
COM
vghá
body
'do people gather as they used to?'
(143)
gúyá-f-gúyà xə̀n tá vghá ndá zwánì
gúyá-f-gúyà
meet-UP-meet
xə̀n
3PL
COM
vghá
body
ndá
ASSC
zwánì
children
'they met with children'

Indirect object

Hdi has the category ‘indirect object’ which represents an entity C, often animate, such that when A acts on B it affects C or when the event has only one participant A, but the non-participant in the event C is affected. The nature of the affectedness is not indicated, and it may be benefactive, malefactive, or have no value in the moral domain. The way the indirect object is marked depends on the type of verb and the person of the indirect object. With verbs that do not inherently imply the presence of an indirect object, the pronoun is marked for the indirect object function through high tone on the last syllable of the verb:

(144)
pɗ-íxà-pɗá
pɗ-íxà-pɗá
leave-1SG-leave
'he left it for me'

Cf.:

(145)
pɗ-ìxà-pɗà
pɗ-ìxà-pɗà
leave-1SG-leave
'I was abandoned/he left me'
(146)
kl-í-g-í-ɗá-ghà wá kɗìx-á-ɗá, ká-’á kà wàxú
kl-í-g-í-ɗá-ghà
take-EP-INN-AWAY-1SG-D:PVG
NEG
kɗìx-á-ɗá
donkey-GEN-1SG
ká-’á
COMP-3SG
like
wàxú
cry
'"Bring me back my donkey", he said, crying'
(147)
ɓlá-ghà-p-ɓlá tá ùdzú
ɓlá-ghà-p-ɓlá
break-2SG-OUT-break
OBJ
ùdzú
stick
'he broke your stick' (to your cetriment)

Direct affectedness is coded by low tone on the verb and high tone on the pronoun:

(148)
ɓlà-ghá-p-ɓlà
ɓlà-ghá-p-ɓlà
break-2SG-OUT-break
'he broke you'

Verbs that inherently involve an indirect object, which in Hdi include vlá ‘give’ and mná ‘tell’, require the indirect object marker. The unspecified indirect object is marked by the suffix n, glossed as 3 (third person) in Frajzyngier with Shay 2002:

(149)
vlá-n-vl-í tá kóɓù
vlá-n-vl-í
give-3-give-1SG
OBJ
kóɓù
money
'I gave money'

The marker n also occurs with such verbs if the indirect object is an independent pronoun, e.g. the third-person plural pronoun xə̀n or a noun. The independent pronoun and the nouns are marked by the preposition :

(150)
vlá-n-vl-íyù tá xə̀n tá kóɓù
vlá-n-vl-íyù
give-3-give-1SG
OBJ
xə̀n
3PL
OBJ
kóɓù
money
'I gave him money'

or:

(151)
vlá-n-vl-í tá kóɓù tá xə̀n
vlá-n-vl-í
give-3-give-1SG
OBJ
kóɓù
money
OBJ
xə̀n
3PL
'I gave them money'
(152)
vlá-n-vlá mbítsá tá kóɓù tá mbáká
vlá-n-vlá
give-3-give
mbítsá
Mbitsa
OBJ
kóɓù
money
OBJ
mbáká
Mbaka
'Mbitsa gave money to Baka'

If there is a specific indirect object in the proposition, the indirect object is coded by an object pronoun. For the third person, the marker is :

(153)
vlá-ná-vl-í tá kóɓù
vlá-ná-vl-í
give-DEM-give-1
OBJ
kóɓù
money
'I gave him (specific person) money'

With all other verbs, the third-person indirect object is marked by the additional-argument marker . The benefactive function of the indirect object is marked by the preposition ngá preceding a noun or a pronoun:

(154)
drá-ná-drà (ngá-ní)
drá-ná-drà
burn-DEM-burn
(ngá-ní)
FOR-3SG
'I burned it (for him)'

Adjuncts

The term ‘adjuncts’ refers to semantic roles that can be added to any predicate. Moreover, adjuncts can be added to clauses that already have either a subject or object or both. The roles of all adjuncts are marked by prepositions. As we have seen with the preposition , not every prepositional phrase marks an adjunct.

The preposition marks a semantic role that represents the result of the transformation of one entity into another:

(155)
kà d-ù-tà kà ghzú
SEQ
d-ù-tà
cook-SO-REF
AS/INTO
ghzú
beer
'and she transformed it into beer'

The associative preposition ndà ‘with, by’ marks a co-participant in the event, the instrumental argument, and time:

(156)
mbù’á-vá-mbù’á tá ɗáfà ndá hlìhlík
mbù’á-vá-mbù’á
eat.without.the.sauce-AS-eat.without.the.sauce
COM
ɗáfà
mush
ndá
with
hlìhlík
eggs
'he ate mush with eggs but without the sauce'
(157)
kàp-á-n-kàpá xdí tá ghǝ̀ŋ ndá hàmanyàjì
kàp-á-n-kàpá
raise-GO-TENT-raise
xdí
Hdi
COM
ghǝ̀ŋ
head
ndá
ASSC
hàmanyàjì
Hamman Yaji
'Hdi tried to make an uprising against Hamman Yaji'

The prepositions and mark locative arguments of the verbs of movement. The preposition with the high tone, , is used when the complement is a place name or an inherently locative adverb:

(158)
vàlà-dá-p-vàl-í dá xàdà á
vàlà-dá-p-vàl-í
jump-ALL-OUT-jump-1SG
TO
xàdà
here
á
DEM
'I jumped all the way there'

The form with the low tone, , is used when the following noun is not a place name or an inherent locative:

(158)
tsìɗà-dá-m-tsìɗà mdú-xà dà dzùgùví
tsìɗà-dá-m-tsìɗà
enter-ALL-IN-enter
mdú-xà
people-PL
TO
dzùgùví
room
'a crowd entered the room'

The preposition marks the locative stative complement:

(160)
ndá ǹgh-í tà ptà
ndá
STAT
ǹgh-í
see-1SG
PREP
ptà
mat
'I saw it on the mat'

The preposition is a spatial specifier indicating the location of an object or event within the space of the locative complement:

(161)
mà tàbá tsá zẁanà kɗéri
PREP
tàbá
center
tsá
DEF
zẁanà
child:PL-GEN
kɗéri
Kderi
'among these children of Kderi'

The preposition ‘inner space’ locates the event or object within the deictic center or as directed toward or from inside the deictic center:

(162)
xáɗ ìm gà xdí wù kó
xáɗ
NEG
ìm
water
in
xdí
Hdi
NEG
Q (H)
'So, there are no rains in Hdi?'

The benefactive adjunct is marked by the preposition ngá ‘for’:

(163)
mbàɗ ká pákáwá ghúvì kày kà klà-á-tà ngá zwàn-à-ní
mbàɗ
then
COMP
pákáwá ghúvì
hyena
kày
INTERJ
SEQ
klà-á-tà
take-PART-REF
ngá
for
zwàn-à-ní
child:PL-GEN-3SG
'Hyena took some of it for his children.'
(164)
skwá-skw-í tá kwà tá ghə́n ngá múk má-ghá
skwá-skw-í
buy-buy-1SG
OBJ
kwà
calabash
PREP
SEQ
ghə́n
head
ngá
for
múk
girl
má-ghá
mother-2SG
'I bought a head calabash for your sister'

Verbal Extensions

Introduction

The term ‘verbal extensions’ designates suffixes to the verb that are not subject, object, or TAM markers. The full description of the functions of various extensions is to be found in Frajzyngier with Shay 2002. Verbal extensions are suffixed to the simple form of the verb or infixed between the reduplicated forms of the verb. Verbal extensions constitute the principal formal means to code the following: point of view; the affectedness of the subject function; the semantic relation of the subject; the semantic relation of the second argument marked by the preposition ; the directionality of the event; the manner in which the event is performed; and the spatial relations with respect to the locative target. The extensions coding directionality and spatial orientation are segmentally similar to locative prepositions. There is a strict ordering of extensions: Extensions modifying the manner of event are followed by extensions coding the semantic roles of arguments, and these are followed by extensions coding the directionality of the event and spatial orientation with respect to the locative center.

Manner extensions

Three extensions code the manner of the event: gl, the ‘do again’ extension; n or ŋ, the ‘tentative’ extension; and ndá, the ‘associative’ extension. The extension gl indicates repetition of the action after some time, as opposed to plurality of the action, which is coded by the infix á or by reduplication of the verb:

(165)
sə̀-gl-s-í
sə̀-gl-s-í
drink-AGAIN-drink-1SG
'I drank again'
(166)
kà másə́-gl-tá-tsí
SEQ
másə́-gl-tá-tsí
apply.ointment-AGAIN-REF-3SG
'and he was again applying the ointment'

The tentative extension indicates an attempt to perform an action or partial execution of an action:

(167)
ghùɓàsá-n-ghùɓàsá
ghùɓàsá-n-ghùɓàsá
laugh-TENT-laugh
'he laughed a bit'
(168)
tà-n-tà tá sígà
tà-n-tà
burst-TENT-burst
COM
sígà
pot
'he tried to burst the pot'

The affectedness of the subject extension v indicates that the event applies to the subject and that the subject is affected. It is different from the subject-oriented extension, as illustrated by the following examples with the transitive verb nù’á ‘fatten’:

(169)
nù’ú-v-nù’à tá hlà
nù’ú-v-nù’à
fatten-AS-fatten
COM
hlà
cow
'he fattened a cow for himself'
(170)
nù’-ú-nù’á hlà
nù’-ú-nù’á
fatten-SO-fatten
hlà
cow
'the cow is fattened'

Compare the same verb with the extension f ‘up’:

(171)
nù’á-f-nù’á tá hlà
nù’á-f-nù’á
fatten-UP-fatten
COM
hlà
cow
'he fattened the cow(s)'

The associative extension ndá codes the presence of the associative participant in the proposition, whether the participant is present in the clause or not. When overtly present, such a participant is marked by the preposition :

(172)
dúkwá-f-ndá-dúkwá mbítsá tá pìtsákw-á-ní
dúkwá-f-ndá-dúkwá
find-UP-ASSC-find
mbítsá
Mbitsa
COM
pìtsákw-á-ní
hoe-GEN-3SG
'Mbitsa has found out about his hoe'
(173)
dúkwá-f-ndá-dúkw-ì tá sá-ghá-nì
dúkwá-f-ndá-dúkw-ì
find-UP-ASSC-find-1SG
COM
sá-ghá-nì
hoe-GEN-3SG
'I became unexpectedly aware of his arrival'

Locative extensions

Locative extensions consist of the following groups, arranged in the order they occupy after the verb and the way in which they can be combined. Members within a given group cannot be combined with one another. With the verb being the leftmost component, the extensions are organized as follows:


Table 13: Locative extensions
Group 1 Group 2 Group 3
g ‘inner space’ gh ‘distal’ f ‘movement up’
dá ‘allative’ p ‘movement out’
xà ‘movement down’
m ‘movement in’

The goal-oriented marker á (GO) must follow the verb whenever one of the spatial extensions from the set comprising f ‘movement up’, p ‘movement out’, ‘movement down’, ‘allative’, m ‘movement in’ and g ‘inner space orientation’ is added.

The distal extension gh, which indicates an event outside of the place of speech, can be combined with the source-oriented marker u or with the goal marker á. Compare the following examples, all in the prohibitive mood. The first one has no extension, and the remaining have various locative extensions:

(174)
mà kə́l-ká
PROH
kə́l-ká
take-2SG
'do not take it'
(175)
mà kl-á-ghá-ká
PROH
kl-á-ghá-ká
take-GO-D:GO-2SG
'do not take it there'
(176)
drá-ghú-drá tá nìvì
drá-ghú-drá
burn-D:SO-burn
COM
nìvì
firewood
'he burned firewood only'

Locative extensions can be combined with extensions from other domains as well:

(177)
drà-ná-ghú-drà
drà-ná-ghú-drà
burn-TENT-D:SO-burn
'he burned a part [of the firewood]'
(178)
kà ghùɓàsá-p-tá lá jíjì
SEQ
ghùɓàsá-p-tá
laugh-OUT-REF
people
jíjì
in-laws
'the in-laws burst out laughing mocking him'

One of the most important properties of locative spatial extensions is that, in addition to coding the relationship to the locative target or source, they also code the associated event, most frequently the movement associated with the event represented by the verb to which the extensions have been added. Thus the distal extension gh codes movement of the subject and or object toward the locative target. The example below contains only two verbs, ‘go’ and ksà ‘catch’, the latter with three extensions. The extension g indicates spatial orientation (INN), and the extension gh indicates the associated movement. As a result, the translation has three rather than two propositions:

(179)
ngá lá-bà m̀ndú-xà ksà-gá-ghà-tà
ngá
NORM
lá-bà
go-OUT
m̀ndú-xà
man-PL
ksà-gá-ghà-tà
catch-INN-D:PVG-REF:SUBJ
'people should go out, catch him, and bring him back'

Compare also two propositions with one verb in the following example:

(180)
kà là-gá-ghà-tá-tsí tá hlrə́ŋ-á fú
SEQ
là-gá-ghà-tá-tsí
dig-INN-D:PVG-REF-3SG
OBJ
hlrə́ŋ-á
root-GEN
tree
'she dug and brought a root of a certain tree'

The following example illustrates the functions of some locative extensions with the verb ɓlà ‘break’:

  • ɓl-íŋ-ɓlà ‘break and leave’
  • ɓlà-gá-ghà-ɓlà ‘break and bring here’
  • ɓlá-ná-ghá-ɓlá ‘break and add’

The associated-event characteristic of verbal extensions removes, to a large degree, the motivation for the existence of coordinating clausal conjunction equivalent to ‘and’, whose function would be to indicate that the two clauses are part of a single sentence.

Modality

The speaker’s assertion is the unmarked modality in Hdi. Hypothetical modality may be coded by the clause-initial particle and clause-final particle ɓà:

(181)
ká ùvá mántsá bá tà dzà-í ɓá
COMP
ùvá
cat
mántsá
COMP
HYP
IMPF
dzà-í
go-1SG
ɓá
HYP
'Cat said:" I might go but . . ."'

Hypothetical modality may also be marked by the form followed by the referential past tense marker :

(182)
ká ùvá mántsá má sí tà dzá-í mndán . . .
COMP
ùvá
cat
mántsá
COMP
HYP
PAST
IMPF
dzà-í
go-1SG
mndán
but
'Cat answered:" I might go but . . ."'

There is a class of epistemic adverbs all occurring in clause-initial position, e.g.:

(183)
pàtə̀k ndá mà ghwà tá bgàhlà,
pàtə̀k
perhaps
ndá
ASSC
IN
ghwà
river
PREP
bgàhlà
Bgahla
'perhaps in the direction of the river Bgahla'

The imperative verb stem is identical with the indicative stem. The language makes a morphological distinction between singular (unmarked) and plural addressees, marked by the suffix in the imperative:

(184)
kl-í-g-í-ɗá-ghà-wá kɗìx-á-ɗà, ká-’á
kl-í-g-í-ɗá-ghà-wá
take-EP-INN-AWAY-1SG-GO-PL
kɗìx-á-ɗà
donkey-GEN-1SG
ká-’á
COMP-3SG
'"Bring me the donkey", he said'

The reduplicated form of the verb is used in the imperative to code bounded events. In the imperative mood with a non-reduplicated verb, the second argument is coded only by the position following the verb, rather than by the preposition :

(185)
mbsá-f sígà
mbsá-f
cover-UP
sígà
pot
'cover the pot!'

There is a distinct subjunctive mood in Hdi, marked by the sequential marker and the verb ending in the vowel a:

(186)
kà zá Pghìntà
SEQ
eat
Pghìntà
Phinta
'Phinta should eat'

The subjunctive mood contrasts with the indicative mood, where the verb is represented only by the consonant(s), plus epenthetic vowel as required by syllable structure conditions. The subject is overtly coded in the subjunctive mood:

(187)
kà zə́ Pghìntà
SEQ
eat
Pghìntà
Phinta
'and Phinta ate'

The second argument is preceded by the preposition in the subjunctive mood, just as in the indicative mood:

(188)
kà wùdá-xə̀n tá wùdá ká-’á
SEQ
wùdá-xə̀n
fight-3PL
OBJ
wùdá
fight
ká-’á
COMP-3SG
'he said that they should fight'
(189)
kà wùdə́-xə̀n tá wùdá ká-’á
SEQ
wùdə́-xə̀n
fight-3PL
OBJ
wùdá
fight
ká-’á
COMP-3SG
'and he said that they fight'

There are distinct forms to code the subjunctive in perfective aspect ( cf. Frajzyngier with Shay 2002, Chapter 11, section 6).

Hdi has the prohibitive mood, marked by the particle preceding the verb, to which subject pronouns are suffixed:

(190)
mà tágh-ká tá skál-á m̀ndú
PROH
tágh-ká
learn-2SG
OBJ
skál-á
dance-GEN
m̀ndú
man
'do not learn the dance of others' (i.e. go your own way)

Aspect

The language makes a distinction between the perfective, imperfective, and stative aspect. With respect to the perfective and imperfective aspect, there are two systems. One occurs in affirmative indicative clauses, in yes/no questions, and in comments on topicalized constituents. These types of clauses do not require any specific presupposition for their proper semantic interpretation and are therefore pragmatically independent clauses.

The other aspectual system occurs in comment-on-focus constructions, relative clauses, content questions, and presentative constructions. All of these clauses are comments on a proposition that has been previously mentioned in discourse or require a specific discourse presupposition for their interpretation. These are pragmatically dependent clauses (Frajzyngier 2004). Table 14 shows the means of coding aspect in the two types of clauses:


Table 14: Aspectual system
Independent Dependent
Perfective reduplication verb-a
Imperfective tà nominalized verb tà verbal root
Stative ndá verb-a

Hdi also has the progressive aspect, marked by the form followed by the reduplicated form of the verb with the potential suffix -a:

(191)
tà z-áy-z-áy tá ɗàfá kùl xàɗ(ú) ɗàlí
IMPF
z-áy-z-áy
eat-PO-eat-PO
OBJ
ɗàfá
mush
kùl
without
xàɗ(ú)
lack
ɗàlí
sauce
'he is eating mush without the sauce' (action going on right now)

Tense

There are only two tense categories: the referential past and the future. The referential past is marked by the particle at the beginning of the clause. The form designates events that happened at some well-determined point in time that is included in the clause or that can be recovered from the previous discourse:

(192)
ká-xə̀n mántsá, sí ndá gá ká ndá rvíɗìk
ká-xə̀n
COMP-3PL
mántsá
like.that
PAST
ndá
ASSC
where
2SG
ndá
ASSC
rvíɗìk
night
'and they said:"Where were you last night?"'

Three constructions code future tense. In one, the verb dzà’á ‘go’ is used with the perfective aspect:

(193)
dzà’á phlá-phlá-xə̀ŋ tá m̀ndú
dzà’á
FUT
phlá-phlá-xə̀ŋ
kill.PL-kill.PL-3PL
OBJ
m̀ndú
man
'they will kill [all of us] . . .'

In another future tense construction, the form dzà’á ‘go’ is used with the imperfective aspect:

(194)
dzà’á hlə̀v-áy tá índà m̀ndú-xà
dzà’á
FUT
hlə̀v-áy
hit-PO
OBJ
índà
all
m̀ndú
man-PL
'he will hit everybody'

In the third future tense construction, the simple verb stem is used without the auxiliary verb. This construction is deployed in negative clauses:

(195)
ks-ú-tà á krì tá ùvá wà
ks-ú-tà
devour-SO-REF
á
NEG
krì
dog
OBJ
ùvá
cat
NEG
'the dog will not devour the cat'

Compare the affirmative future:

(196)
kà dzà’á krì ks-ú-tá ùvá
SEQ
dzà’á
FUT
krì
dog
ks-ú-tà
devour-SO-REF
ùvá
cat
'and the dog will devour the cat'

Question Formation

Polar questions

The interrogative mood is coded by (further) raising the last tone of the clause:

(197)
vlá-ghá-vlá-xə̀n tá kób-à-ɗá
vlá-ghá-vlá-xə̀n
give-2SG-give-3PL
OBJ
kób-à-ɗá
money-GEN-1SG
'did they give you my money?'

Another means of forming polar questions is through the clause-final particles , , , or r-kè. The markers and are interchangeable and do not imply the speaker’s assumptions about the truth of the proposition:

(198)
xànà-xàná-ká rà
vlá-ghá-vlá-xə̀n
spend.night-spend.night-2SG
Q
'did you spend the night well?' (greeting in the morning)

A rhetorical question about the truth may be marked by the interjection or added to the general interrogative marker :

(199)
xd-íyù r-ké
xd-íyù
Hdi-1SG
r-ké
Q-INTERJ
'am I Hdi?'

Cf.:

(200)
xd-íyù rà
xd-íyù
Hdi-1SG
Q
'am I Hdi?'

Content questions

Content questions differ from polar questions in the aspectual system used, the question words used, and the clause-final interrogative marker, which is rather than . The clause-final question marker is not obligatory. Content questions are characterized by use of the dependent perfective and imperfective aspects. The following semantic categories are coded in content questions: human participant, coded by the question word ; non-human participant, coded by the question words nə́ in the de dicto domain and in the de re domain; questions about place, coded by the question word ; questions about time coded by the question word, ; questions about manner, coded by the question word ; and reason, marked by the form nə́ ‘what’ followed by the copula , realized as ní-yà. The language also codes the grammatical role of the argument that the question is about, specifically the categories subject, object, indirect object, and associative, and questions about the heads of the modifying construction. Content questions about a non-human participant also code, through different forms of the question word, whether the event is referential or not.

In questions about the subject of equational clause, the subject precedes the predicate and the interrogative modality is marked by the clause-final particle :

(201)
wá ɗghá nà
who
ɗghá
blacksmith
Q
'who is a blacksmith?'

The role of the interrogative word as subject or object of the clause is computed from the absence or presence of other subjects and objects in the clause. Thus if the verb contains information about the subject, e.g. a subject pronoun, the clause-initial question word is interpreted as the object. This is illustrated on question words about an inanimate object from the domain de dicto, marked by the form nə́, and from the domain de re, marked by the form :

(202)
nə́ bà-f-tsí
what
bà-f-tsí
buildUP-3SG
'what did he build?' (The set of potential objects is wide open.)
(203)
nú bà-f-tsí
which thing
bà-f-tsí
buildUP-3SG
'which one did he build?' (The set of potential objects is known to the speaker.)

If the verb does not contain the subject marker, the clause-initial question word is interpreted as the subject:

(204)
nə́ tá klà-gá-ghá-f-tà tà ná fú ná nà ká-’á
what
COM
klà-gá-ghá-f-tà
takeINN-2SG-UP-REF
PREP
DEM
tree
DEM
Q
ká-’á
COMP-3SG
'"What brought you here to this tree?", he asked'

There is a special form for questions about human plural subjects, marked by the question word preceded by the associative pluralmarker ì:

(205)
ì wá tá phlà-ná-p-tà
ì
ASSC.PL
who
COM
phlà-ná-p-tà
break-DEM-UP-REF
'who were the people who broke it?'

Questions about the indirect object have the marker in the verb, followed by the form if the indirect object is human:

(206)
dà-ná-tá wá-ká tá ɗàfá
dà-ná-tá
cook-DEM-REF
wá-ká
who-2SG
OBJ
ɗàfá
food
'for whom did you cook?'

The form also serves as a question word for questions about manner. The interpretation that the manner is in the scope of the question word is ensured by the presence of the overt marker of the subject in the clause:

(207)
wá ká Mbitsa lá-ghú-í dá Nigeria
how
COMP
Mbitsa
Mbitsa
lá-ghú-í
go-D:SO-REF
PREP
Nigeria
Nigeria
'how did Mbitsa go to Nigeria from here?'

The question about reason is marked by the clause-initial particle ngú:

(208)
ngú tà zá ká
ngú
why
IMPF
eat
2SG
'why do you eat?' (if you were told not to eat)

Negation of pragmatically independent clauses

Negation of pragmatically independent clauses has the form a . . . wà, with the marker a following the predicate and preceding the subject, and the marker following the object and adjuncts, if any. The final vowel à on the negative marker may be deleted in clause-medial position and replaced by an epenthetic vowel for the syllabification purposes:

(209)
ɗvà ‘á xdí-xà tá l’école wù, ká-’á
ɗvà
like
‘á
NEG
xdí-xà
Hdi-PL
OBJ
l’école
school (fr.)
NEG
ká-’á
COMP-3SG
'"Hdi do not like school", he said'
(210)
xámáyádzì á wà
xámáyádzì
Hamayadzi
á
NEG
NEG
'it is not Haman Yaji'

Negation in the pragmatically dependent clause is marked by the form xàɗú at the beginning of the clause and the clause-final marker :

(211)
xàɗ áŋni tà mtà-kú ndá mtà wà
xàɗ
lack
áŋni
1PL:EXCL
IMPF
mtà-kú
die-ABS
ndá
ASSC
mtà
die
NEG
'we do not die [when we are old]'

Negation of possessive clauses has the form of negation of locative clauses, with the form xàɗú at the beginning of the clause and the clause-final marker :

(212)
xàɗ kóɓ dà tsí wà
xàɗ
lack
kóɓ
money
PREP
tsí
3SG
NEG
'he/she does not have any money'

Topicalization

There are different means of topicalization for different grammatical roles and different lexical categories.

The pronominal subject in the imperfective clause is topicalized through the use of an independent pronoun rather than a subject pronoun after the verb:

(213)
tà xwáyá í’í
IMPF
xwáyá
run
í’í
1SG
'I run'
(214)
tà xàní kàghá
IMPF
xàní
sleep
kàghá
2SG
'you sleep'

Topicalization of nominal subject in verbless clauses is marked through a variety of determiners before and after the subject:

(215)
yà yá gwì’yán yá dágálá
DEM
DEM
gwì’yán
elephant
DEM
dágálá
large
'that elephant is large'
(216)
à á gwì’yán á dágálá
à
DEM
á
DEM
gwì’yán
elephant
á
DEM
dágálá
large
'that elephant over there is large'

Fronting is a coding means for topicalization of noun phrases. The fronted noun phrase is separated from the comment clause by the complementizer ná, identical with one of the demonstratives:

Topicalization of subject:

(217)
tsá Gulu yá ná yà-yà tá zwànì ndá ndghà
tsá
DEF
Gulu
Gulu
DEM
DEM
yà-yà
give.birth-give.birth
OBJ
zwànì
child:PL
ndá
ASSC
ndghà
many
'that Gulu begot many children'

Topicalization of object:

(218)
xìyá xìyá skwì txàf-í tà ná ɗèlèwèr ná ná skwì 3 nghá-nà-ghá-tsí
xìyá
corn
xìyá
corn
skwì
thing
txàf-í
expel-1SG
PREP
DEM
ɗèlèwèr
notebook
DEM
COMP
skwì
thing
3
three
nghá-nà-ghá-tsí
look-DEM-D:GO-3SG
'what I have written about in this notebook regards three things' (cited from written sources where the numeral three was rendered by a digit 3)

Topicalization of adjunct:

(219)
índà dimanche ná màmú marriage ndánà
índà
every
dimanche
sunday (fr.)
COMP
màmú
exist
marriage
marriage
ndánà
now
'every sunday there is a marriage now'

Focus

Focus is marked by placing the element to be focused at the beginning of the clause and following it with the copula, most often :

(220)
kà m̀ndú yà dágálá
SEQ
m̀ndú
man
COP
dágálá
important
'and the man is the most important person'

Focus may also be marked by the comment marker preceding the comment clause:

(221)
tíkvá gàvlì tá mn-áy kà-zlày ná sí m̀ndú dzì’í rà tá krì dzì’í
tíkvá
Tikva
gàvlì
Gavli
COM
mn-áy
say-PO
kà-zlày
SEQ-COMP
COMP
PAST
m̀ndú
man
dzì’í
kill-1SG
Q
OBJ
krì
dog
dzì’í
kill-1SG
'it is Tikva Gali who said, "Is it a man that I killed? I killed a dog."'

The fronted noun phrase is interpreted as an object if the comment clause has an overtly marked subject. In the example below, the subject is marked by the unspecified human marker :

(222)
tsá yá skwì tà xgù-lù kà zə̀gláftà
tsá
DEF
DEM
skwì
thing
IMPF
xgù-lù
call-UH
as
zə̀gláftà
zə̀gláftà
'this is the thing that one calls zə̀gláftà'

Relative clause

In the relative clause, the head precedes the comment clause. The head may be marked by a variety of determiners, depending on whether it is present in the environment of speech and whether it was mentioned in the previous discourse.

Relativization of the subject of verbal clauses obeys the same rules that apply in focus constructions. In the perfective aspect the relativized subject is followed by the comment-clause marker :

(223)
màmú sàn m̀ghám tá kl-áf-tá màràkw xìs
màmú
exist
sàn
certain
m̀ghám
chief
COM
kl-áf-tá
take-UP-REF
màràkw
wife
xìs
two
'there was once a chief who married two wives'

The relativized noun phrase is interpreted as object when the relative clause has an overt subject. In the example below, the overt subject is the suffix ì (1SG) on the verb txá-f-ì ‘I wrote’:

(224)
xìyá-xìyá skwì txá-f-ì tà ná ɗélèwèr ná ná...
xìyá-xìyá
corn-corn
skwì
thing
txá-f-ì
expel-UP-1SG
PREP
DEM
ɗélèwèr
book
DEM
DEM
'the general themes that I have written about in this book . . . '

Focus and relative clause constructions share a number of similarities, but there are also some differences. Both focus and relativization interact with the system of reference, with the aspectual system (only the dependent aspects can be used in comment-on-focus and relative clauses), and with polarity. For the full treatment of this topic, the reader is referred to chapter 19 of Frajzyngier with Shay 2002.

Simultanious and sequential propositions

Hdi does not have a coordinated clausal conjunction ( cf. the section on locative extensions). Simultaneous propositions do not have a conjunction, and simultaneity is marked by clauses following each other. The presence of sequential clauses within the same sentence is indicated by the fact that the subject (if any) occurs only once, in the first clause:

(225)
bàɗú xú’ú-á tsá zíndíŋ yá ngá dà tá mbízà ngá làɓà-ná-f-tà ndá ghúv-à gù ngá vlá-n tá zwàn-ì
bàɗú
day
xú’ú-á
pound-GEN
tsá
DEF
zíndíŋ
germinated corn
DEM
ngá
NORM
cook
OBJ
mbízà
bean dish
ngá
NORM
làɓà-ná-f-tà
mix-DEM-UP-REF
ndá
ASSC
ghúv-à
excrement-GEN
goat
ngá
NORM
vlá-n
give-3
OBJ
zwàn-ì
child-PL
'on the day of pounding the corn, one would cook a bean dish, mix it with goat excrement, and give it to children'

The sequential interpretation of events can be overtly marked by the conjunction mbàɗ ká ‘then’ followed by the sequential marker , or it may be marked only by the sequential marker :

(226)
tsghà-dá-f xáxə̀n tá sànì lá-ghà-ní mbàɗ ká kà tsghà-dá-f-tá sànì zlíbí
tsghà-dá-f
put.up-ALL-UP
xáxə̀n
3PL
OBJ
sànì
one
lá-ghà-ní
go-D:PVG-3SG
mbàɗ
then
COMP
SEQ
tsghà-dá-f-tá
send-ALL-UP-REF
sànì
one
zlíbí
bag
'they sent up one bag, then they sent another bag'

The sequential marker is often followed by the verb ‘go’, which has been grammaticalized as the marker of the sequential (Frajzyngier 2005):

(227)
lá-ghà pákáw ghúvì kày kà lá-b díngá-f-tá tsá mbízà yà
lá-ghà
go-D:PVG
pákáẁ ghúvì
hyena
kày
thus
SEQ
lá-b
go-OUT
díngá-f-tá
put.on.fire-UP-REF
tsá
DEF
mbízà
bean dish
DEM
'after Hyena went, he put the bean dish on the fire'

Disjoint clauses

Clausal disjunction is coded by the form á nà. The form is probably identical with the interrogative marker :

(228)
twák rí gù á nà
twák
sheep
Q
goat
á nà
or
'is it a sheep or a goat?'
(229)
mágá-mágá rí mágà à wà á nà
mágá-mágá
do-do
Q
mágá
do
à
NEG
NEG
á nà
or
'did he do it or did he not?'

Counter-expectation clauses

Counter-expectation is marked by the conjunction , àmmá or àmá ‘but’ (borrowed from either Hausa or Fula but originally coming from Arabic):

(230)
ksá-f-tà dángwà t-íì kày mántsá wà lá-x-à-ɗá tà lòpitál má xàɗú kwóbù
ksá-f-tà
catch-UP-REF:SUBJ
dángwà
illness
t-íì
OBJ-1SG
kày
then
mántsá
then
NEG
lá-x-à-ɗá
go-DOWN-1SG-GO
PREP
lòpitál
hospital (fr.)
but
xàɗú
lack
kwóbù
money
'when I became ill, I went to a hospital, but there was no money then' ('When the illness caught me . . .')

Complementation

Formal means of marking

The formal means used in complements of verbs of saying are used in complementation of other verbs. The verbs of saying include ‘say’, lmá ‘forbid’, ɗáwá ‘ask’, txá ‘expel’ [words], gwàɗá ‘talk’, and zlày ‘talk’. The complementizers occurring with these verbs are , ká mántsá both meaning ‘like that’, and kà zlày, consisting most probably of the sequential marker and the citation form of the verb zlày ‘talk’.

The complement clause of a verb of saying can precede or follow the matrix clause:

(231)
lá ká-xə̀n mná-ná-tà
go
ká-xə̀n
COMP-3PL
mná-ná-tà
tell-3SG-REF
'they told him to go'

The complementizer precedes the matrix clause or may precede and follow the matrix clause:

(232)
ká yàgh mántsá ɗífà-úgh-ɗífà xád yà ká yàghí
COMP
yàgh
squirrel
mántsá
COMP
ɗífà-úgh-ɗífà
hide-SO-hide
xád
here
DEM
COMP
yàgh
squirrel
'squirrel said:"Hide yourself here"'

The important characteristics of the complement of verbs of saying is that the verb of the matrix clause does not have to be present:

(233)
sá-ghá-sá ká-xə̀n ndá í’í
sá-ghá-sá
arrive-D:PVG-arrive
ká-xə̀n
COMP-3PL
ndá
ASSC
í’í
1SG
'they told me to come'
(234)
wá-ná-f-wá ná máhláká-ɗá ná, ká-’á ndá dùxwál-xà-ní
wá-ná-f-wá
walk.around-DEM-UP-walk.around
DEM
máhláká-ɗá
wall-1SG
DEM
ká-’á
COMP-3SG
ndá
ASSC
dùxwál-xà-ní
youngster-PL-3SG
'"surround [my house] with a wall", he told his people'

Interrogative complements of verbs of saying precede the matrix clause:

(235)
ìr-á-w ná nà dá ká’-á ɗáwà-n-tà dà tsí
ìr-á-w
eye-GEN-who
DEM
Q
father
ká-’á
COMP-3SG
ɗáwà-n-tà
ask-3-REF
PREP
tsí
3SG
'"whose eye is it?", he asked him'

Complements of cognitive verbs

The complement of the verb sná ‘know’, ‘hear’ may be marked by the complementizer ká-’á or zlày following the complement clause and the background marker following the matrix clause. In the following example the complement clause is marked by the complementizer zlày preceding the complement clause and the complementizer ká-’á following the complement clause:

(236)
kà yàwú ndzà-kw-à-gá-p-tà xdí màndá ghàlíyá ndá sná-xə̀ŋ kà zlày ná índà m̀ndú-xà tá mtú-tà ná ngá ɗékɗék á wù ká-’á
SEQ
yàwú
when
ndzà-kw-à-gá-p-tà
settle-ABS-GO-INN-OUT-REF
xdí
Hdi
màndá
since
ghàlíyá
old.time
ndá
STAT
sná-xə̀ŋ
know-3PL
SEQ
zlày
COMP
DEM
índà
all
m̀ndú-xà
man-PL
COM
mtú-tà
die-REF
DEM
ngá
FOR
ɗékɗék
finish
á
NEG
NEG
ká-’á
COMP
'ever since the Hdi exist, they know that when people die, it is not forever' (i.e. the spirits of the ancestors do not die)

Direct perception in the complement of a verb of perception is marked by the complementizer ná mbàɗ ká or ná kà:

(237)
ndzɗà-vá-tà pákáwá ghúvì tá xvá tà ǹghə́-tsə́ ná mbàɗ ká zíngá kà sá-ghà
ndzɗà-vá-tà
last-AS-REF
pákáwá ghúvì
hyena
PREP
xvá
work
IMPF
ǹghə́-tsə́
see-3SG
DEM
mbàɗ
then
COMP
zíngá
Zinga
SEQ
sá-ghà
arrive-D:PVG
'having worked for some time, he sees that Zinga is coming'
(238)
kà lá-ghá vàzák ndzɗà-vá-tà vàzák tà xvá tà ǹghə́-tsí ná kà sá-ghá ùvá
SEQ
lá-ghá
go-D:GO
vàzák
rooster
ndzɗà-vá-tà
remain-AS-REF:SUBJ
vàzák
rooster
PREP
xvá
work
IMPF
ǹghə́-tsí
see-3SG
DEM
SEQ
sá-ghá
arrive-D:GO
ùvá
cat
'Rooster came. After having done some work, he sees Cat coming.'

Complements of volitional verbs are marked by the marker , which otherwise is a comment and an object marker. The complement follows the matrix verb:

(239)
kabgà tà kúm-ày-ì tá wàná-f-tá ná máhláká-ɗá ná
kabgà
because
IMPF
kúm-ày-ì
want-PO-1SG
OBJ
wàná-f-tá
build-UP-REF
DEM
máhláká-ɗá
wall-1SG
DEM
'because I want to build my wall here'

Adjunct clauses

Temporal protasis clauses are marked by tone lowering on the verb-final morpheme before the subject:

(240)
ndzdà-vá-tà ùvá tà xvá tà ǹghə́-l ná kà sá-ghá krì
ndzdà-vá-tà
last-AS-REF
ùvá
cat
PREP
xvá
work
IMPF
ǹghə́-l
see-UH
DEM
SEQ
sá-ghá
arrive-D:PVG
krì
dog
'when Cat had spent some time working on the field, one sees Dog coming'

Cf.:

(241)
kà ndzɗà-vá-tá ùvá tà xvá
SEQ
ndzɗà-vá-tá
stay-AS-REF
ùvá
cat
PREP
xvá
work
'and the cat spent some time working'

Another means of coding the temporal protasis is through the nominalization of a clause. In such clauses, the subject is coded by possessive rather than verbal subject pronouns. Nominal subjects are also coded as possessors. The protasis clause has the form Verb(-Extensions) Possessive subject. The verb occurs in the simple, i.e. non-reduplicated, form. No temporal particles of any kind have to be used. The temporal apodosis clause can be marked by the sequential marker :

(242)
lá-mà krì dá xàd-à kà hlà-ná-ghá-tá-tsí t-úvá
lá-mà
go-IN
krì
dog
PREP
xàd-à
here-DEM
SEQ
hlà-ná-ghá-tá-tsí
find-DEM-D:PVG-REF-3SG
t-úvá
OBJ-cat
'when Dog entered there, he found Cat'

The temporal protasis clause may also be marked by a variety of markers coding anteriority, simultaneity, and posteriority of the protasis clause.

Purpose clauses are marked by the preposition ngá:

(243)
xàɗú kóɓù ngá mágà lèkól wà
xàɗú
lack
kóɓù
money
ngá
FOR
mágà
do
lèkól
school
NEG
'there was no money to go to school'

Reason clauses are marked by the subordinator kàbgà:

(244)
dzà’á phlá-phlá-xə̀n tá m̀ndú, kàbgà xáxə̀ŋ tá dzà-tá dá-ɗá ká gawa
dzà’á
FUT
phlá-phlá-xə̀n
kill-kill-3PL
OBJ
m̀ndú
man
kàbgà
because
xáxə̀ŋ
3PL
COM
dzà-tá
kill-REF
dá-ɗá
father-1SG
COMP
gawa
Gawa
'"They will kill us all, because they killed my father", said Gawa'

In realis conditionals, the protasis clause is marked by the sequential marker in clause-initial position:

(245)
kà tà ɗv-áy lázgláftà
SEQ
IMPF
ɗv-áy
like-PO
lázgláftà
god
'if god allows'

Cf.:

(246)
tà ɗv-áy lázgláftà
IMPF
ɗv-áy
like-PO
lázgláftà
god
'god allows'
(247)
kà dz-ú-dzá kághá ná xgà-n-tà-ì tá gwì’yán wà ká-’á
COND
dz-ú-dzá
go-SO-go
kághá
2SG
DEM
xgà-n-tà-ì
call-3-REF-1SG
OBJ
gwì’yán
elephant
NEG
ká-’á
COMP-3SG
'"If you show up, I will not invite Elephant", he said'

Irrealis conditionals are marked by the hypothetical marker má preceding the clause:

(248)
má tà kúm-tá-ká tá nzà-kú mà túrú . . .
HYP
IMPF
kúm-tá-ká
want-REF-2SG
OBJ
nzà-kú
stay-ABS
PREP
túrú
Tourou
'if you wanted to live in Tourou . . .'

Abbreviations


Table 15: Abbreviations of part-of-speech
adj adjective
adv adverb
conj conjunction
dem demonstrative
gram grammatical
ideo ideophone
interj interjection
n noun
np personal name
num numeral
prep preposition
prep phrase prepositional phrase
pron pronoun
q question word
quant quantifier
subord subordinator
v verb
v.tr transitive verb
v.unsp unspecified verb
v.intr intransitive verb
v.intr/tr intransitive and transitive verb
v.tr.pl transitive verb plural
vn verbal noun

Table 16: Abbreviations used in glosses
1 first person
2 second person
3 third person
ABS Absolutive extension
AGAIN Verbal extension coding repetition of action
ALL Allative
ALSO Verbal extension coding the truth of the proposition compared to a previous proposition
APPL Applicative
AS Affected subject
AS/INTO result of transformation
ASSC Associative
AWAY Verbal extension indicating movement away
COLL Collective
COM Comment on the focus marker
COMP Complementizer
COMPL Completive
COP Copula
D:PVG Distal extension: point of view of goal
D:SO Distal extension: point of view of goal
DEF Definite
DEM Demonstrative
EP Epenthetic
EXCL Exclusive
FOR preposition coding benefactive/dative
FUT Future
GEN Genitive
GO goal-orientation
HUM Human
HYP Hypothetical
IMPF Imperfective
IN Verbal extension coding movement inside
INCL Inclusive
INN Verbal extension coding movement to or from an inner space
INTERJ Interjection
NEG Negation
NORM Normative
OBJ Object
OUT Verbal extension indicating movement from inside out
PO Potential object extension '-ay'
POT Potential
PREP Preposition
PROH Prohibitive
PVG Point of view of goal
Q Interrogative
REF Referential
SEQ Sequential marker
SG Singular
SO Point of view of source
STAT Stative
TENT Tentative
UP Verbal extension coding movement upward

Acknowledgments

This dictionary is based on fieldwork that started in 1991. A number of Hdi speakers have shared their knowledge of the language: Romain Siloa Mbaka, the late Patrice Douka Prafé, Abel Ndjidda Kassie, Francis Barassoua Baigoua, Sikoa Sinowa, Benjamin Ngasnou, and Roger Prafé. Without their knowledge of Hdi this dictionary would not have been possible.

The dictionary incorporates data from Paul Eguchi’s (1971) “Matériaux pour servir à l’étude de la langue hidé: Vocabulaire.” Eguchi’s entries have been checked with respect to pronunciation and translation. In an email dated May 8, 2007, the late Paul Eguchi expressed his agreement to this incorporation and to being a co-author of the dictionary, as follows: “Yes, I’m interested in your project. If you can incorporate my material into the dictionary, it will be fine. It should be used in the right way, productive way. No dictionary can be perfect. Anyway, please go ahead with my material. I’m very happy to be a co-author of the new dictionary.” The co-authors express their sadness that, because of his premature passing, Paul Eguchi was not able to see the present work.

Roger Prafé has been the principal language assistant for the grammar of Hdi (Frajzyngier with Shay 2002) and for this dictionary. He took most of the photographs accompanying the dictionary, and he recorded all of the entries and examples.

Henry Tourneux has edited the French entries, translated many examples, and, most importantly, has pointed out erroneous translations of some flora and fauna terms. His help was extremely valuable.

Erin Shay has read through the introduction to the dictionary and made many valuable editorial suggestions. Megan Schwabauer has entered all the data into the Lexus database and introduced numerous corrections. She has also compiled the first versions of the English-Hdi-French and French-Hdi-English indexes. Several students at the University of Colorado participated in the work on this dictionary, including Thea Hongdoxmai. One summer Kristin Weis, who wasn’t a student, joined in the project just for intellectual satisfaction.

Will Styler helped with separating sound recordings into individual entries.

The work on this dictionary was supported by grants from the Humboldt Research Award, National Science Foundation, the University of Colorado, and more recently, by the CorTypo project funded by the Agence National de la Recherche.

We would like to thank Mrs Susanne Remmel M.A. for her careful proofreading of the manuscript and for numerous suggestions concerning the lay-out, glosses, and terms.

We are most grateful to Martin Haspelmath for the invitation to make the Dictionary available in the Dictionary journal, and to Iren Hartmann and her team for making it possible. It was not an easy task and it has been accomplished in a very short time. Without Iren’s effort, this dictionary would not have been made available with the sound recordings and the accompanying photographs.

While we are most grateful to all who helped with this work in so many ways, I alone am responsible for any errors and infelicities.

References

  • Boorman, John. 1981. West African Insects. Burnt Hill, Harlow:Longman.
  • Eguchi, Paul Kazuhisa. 1971. Matériaux pour servir à l’étude de la langue hidé: Vocabulaire. In Tadao Umesao (ed.), Kyoto University African Studies 6 pp. 195-283.
  • Frajzyngier, Zygmunt. 2004. Tense and aspect as coding means. Journal of West African Languages, 30, 2: 53-67. Special issue, edited by Bernard Comrie and Ekkehard Wolff.
  • Frajzyngier, Zygmunt. 2005. Grammaticalization of phrasal and clausal relators. Afrika und Übersee 88, 79-102.
  • Frajzyngier Zygmunt, with Erin Shay. 2002. A Grammar of Hdi. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
  • Halternorth, Theodore, and Helmuth Diller. 1985. Mammifères d’Afrique et de Madagascar. Neuchatel-Paris: Delachaux and Niestlé.
  • Noye, Dominique. 1989. Dictionnaire foulfouldé-français. Maroua: Mission Catholique, and Paris: Paul Geuthner.
  • Serle, William, and Gérard J. Morel. 1993. Les oiseaux de l’Ouest africain. Lausanne/Paris: Delachaux and Niestlé.
  • Tourneux, Henry, and Yaya Daïrou. 1998. Dictionnaire peul de l’agriculture et de la nature. Cameroun. Paris/Wageningen/Montpellier: Karthala, CTA and CIRAD.
  • Vaughan, James H. and Anthony H. M. Kirk-Greene (eds.). 1995. The Diary of Hamman Yaji. Chronicle of a West African Muslim Ruler. Bloomington/Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.
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