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Auteur: Mira GRUBIC

Co-Auteur(s): Mucha, Anne

If only means must...: Analyzing the modal meanings of the Hausa exclusive particle sai and its use in conditionals

Abstract/Résumé: We discuss a modal construction in Hausa (Chadic), namely the combination of the exclusive operator sai (“only”) and the prospective aspect, and address its use in conditionals. Data: The particle “sai” canonically translates as “only”: (1) Bashir sai ruwa ya kawo Bashir SAI water 3SG.M.PFV.REL fetch “Bashir fetched only water.” When combined with the prospective aspect, it expresses future-oriented modality, e.g. deontic necessity (2). (2) Sai Audu yà tafi fursuna. SAI Audu 3SG.M.PROSP go jail “Audu must/should go to jail.” The same “sai+prosp” combination occurs in the consequent of indicative or counterfactual conditionals. (3) Idan Peter yā isa Kano, sai yà zauna (a) gidan Ibrahim. If Peter 3SG.M.PFV arrive Kano, SAI 3SG.M.PROSP stay at house-of Ibrahim “If Peter already arrived in Kano, he will stay at Ibrahim`s house.” Proposal: We propose a comprehensive analysis of sai as a universal quantifier over ideal contextually accessible situations. The different readings arise from varied contextual restrictions on the domain of “sai”. In (1), “sai” quantifies over the maximal situations exemplifying the focus background (Kratzer 2011, Zimmermann & Onea 2011), in (1) those maximal situations in which Bashir fetched something. With prospective aspect, there is no focus-fronting (Tuller 1986), so sai associates with the whole sentence and quantifies over a set of prospective situations ordered by a contextually given (in (2) deontic) ideal. In conditionals, sai is an overt instantiation of the (covert) operator MUST proposed by Kratzer (1986, 2012) for English. Its domain is restricted by the if-clause. We thus not only provide cross-linguistic evidence for Kratzer’s analysis of conditionals as involving covert modality, but also for Zimmermann & Onea (2011)’s proposal that the focus-background partition imposes an ordering (of salience) on possible worlds which is similar to that imposed by modals (e.g. the deontic ordering source in (2)). These parallels suggest a common source for the mechanisms behind quantifier domain restrictions in each case. References: Kratzer, A. 1986. Conditionals. In Chicago Linguistic Society 22 (2), p. 1–15 Kratzer, A. (2011). Situations in Natural Language Semantics. In Zalta, E. N., editor, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Kratzer, A. 2012. Collected Papers on Modals and Conditionals. OUP Tuller, L. A. 1986. Bijective Relations in Universal Grammar and the Syntax of Hausa. Dissertation, University of California. Zimmermann, M. & E. Onea. 2011. Focus marking and focus interpretation. In Lingua 121, p. 1651–1670.