SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Munkaila, Muhammed M. (1990) Indirect Object Constructions in Hausa. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (10MB)


This is a study of the semantics and morpho-syntax of indirect object constructions in Hausa. Hausa is a Chadic language belonging to the Afroasiatic phylum. The phenomena are investigated from both descriptive and theoretical perspectives. The theory within which this investigation is developed is the Government and Binding framework (Chomsky 1981) and subsequent works. The study looks at the two different indirect object constructions in Hausa, 'Internal' and 'External' indirect object constructions. The properties of indirect object constructions and that of the indirect object markers are examined. It is shown that the indirect object markers used in the External indirect object constructions are independent prepositions capable of assigning Case and Theta-role to their NP complements, whereas the indirect object markers used in the Internal indirect object constructions are considered to be part of the verb. In this latter case the verb and the indirect object marker together are involved in determining the ultimate Theta-role of the indirect object NP. Internal indirect object constructions are most interesting and in which I focus my investigation. The properties of constructions are then considered with respect to two major approaches recently proposed within the theory, the Syntactic Incorporation approach of Baker (1985a, 1988a) and the Lexical Incorporation approach of Di Sciullo and Williams (1987). In this thesis it will be argued that the evidence from Hausa data favour the Lexical Incorporation approach. The behaviour of both the indirect object and direct object NPs with respect to Wh-movement, NP-movement and word order facts are discussed. It is shown that in Hausa Internal indirect object constructions, the indirect object NP is freely allowed to undergo Wh-movement. In contrast, the indirect object NP cannot undergo Wh- movement in English Internal indirect object constructions and Chichewa dative applicative constructions. However, the indirect object NP in Hausa cannot undergo NP- movement. I will argue that the syntactic behaviour of the direct object end indirect object NPs is assumed to be derived through the notion Head and Feature Percolation Convention as proposed in Di Sciullo and Williams (1987) and Lieber (1980) respectively. With regard to the kind of Case parameters that the indirect object constructions employ to satisfy the Case Filter requirement, I argue that, contrary to the standard view, the direct object NP in Hausa Internal indirect object constructions is not assigned am (inherent) accusative Case. Instead, using evidence from the pronominal systems of the language, I argue that the direct object NP receives a default nominative Case. The study also presents a general overview of the morpho-syntactic behaviour and semantic interpretation associated with certain Hausa verbs when they occur before indirect object constructions. Based on semantic and syntactic evidence, it will be argued that the pre-datival suffix /-r/ used by certain verb grades is not related to the causative morpheme /-r/, contrary to both Parsons (1971/72) and Frajzyngier (1985). Finally, the study compares the syntactic behaviour of NP complements in indirect object constructions with similar NP complements in Hausa morphological causative constructions. It will be argued that both the Internal Indirect object markers and the causative affix /-r/ are lexically incorporated to the verb. However, the two affixes differ with respect to the kind of argument they introduce.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:05

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item