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Jaggar, Philip J. (2006) 'The Hausa perfective tense-aspect used in wh-/focus constructions and historical narratives: a unified account.' In: Hyman, Larry M. and Newman, Paul, (eds.), West African Linguistics: Descriptive, Comparative, and Historical Studies in Honor of Russell G. Schuh. London: J.M. Dent and Co, pp. 100-133.

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In this paper I revisit and elaborate some of the ideas I outlined in the earlier paper, concentrating on the semantic characteristics of the paired Perfective tense-aspects in a major (universal) discourse context—spontaneously-produced past-time narrative. The main focus is on the role of the paradigm known traditionally (and unfortunately) as the “Relative Perfective”, a set which is in partial complementary distribution with the “General/Neutral Perfective”. This specially inflected tense-aspect form is the one exploited at discourse-level to assert prominent events on the time-axis in foregrounded narrative sequences, but it is also required in classic clause-level wh-constructions, i.e., wh-interrogatives, declarative focus constructions, and relative clauses, operations which often share structural properties across languages. The central claim is that the fronted focus/wh- constructions and pivotal foregrounded portions of past-time narratives utilize the same specialized Perfective tense-aspect morphology because they achieve the same discourse-pragmatic goals—they all supply the most communicatively PROMINENT and focal NEW information.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: Historical narrative, focus constructions, Hausa, wh-constructions, foregrounding
SOAS Departments & Centres: Legacy Departments > Faculty of Languages and Cultures > Department of the Languages and Cultures of Africa
ISBN: 0039-3533
Date Deposited: 08 Jan 2007

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