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Hausa Verbal Compounds

Verbal compounds abound in Hausa (a Chadic language).

Joe McIntyre
10 October 2006
Full text in Leiden University Repository

A very broad definition of Hausa verbal compounds (henceforth: VC) is "a compound with a verb". Four types of verbal compound are analysed: V[erb]+X compounds, PAC+V compounds (a PAC is a pronoun complex indicating TAM), VCs with a ma prefix (both singular and, unusually, plural) as well as VCs with a nominalised verb (VNCs).

In chapters 2 and 3 phonological and morphological features of Hausa VCs are discussed. Two such features affect the tone of the verb (Hausa is a tone language), one affects the final vowel of the noun direct object in V+X compounds (under conditions described). Some V+X compounds, all PAC+V compounds as well as VNCs are unmarked.

In chapter 4 the functions of phonological and morphological features are critically analysed.

The discussion in chapter 5 centres on a particular kind of verb (the ‘grade 2’ verb) and an explanation is offered for the idiosyncracies of grade 2 verbs in V+X compounds. Chapter 6 focusses on the literal and lexical meanings of Hausa VCs, i.e. on the generally opaque lexical meanings. The various kinds of relationship between the two meanings are systematically described in terms of metonymy, metaphor and other rhetorical devices.

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