u̱t-Maꞌin verb research

In this study, I investigated the distribution of verb forms and the discourse function of those verb forms in U̱t-Maꞌin narratives. The primary focus was the use of what I call the “Bare Verb” form for both present/habitual functions and for past time interpretation within the main event line of a narrative discourse. The function of the Bare Verb form is one of interpretive dependence on the discourse context. In this respect the Bare Verb form is similar to some of functions of the null verb form described for Wolof (Atlantic). Due to its textual interpretive dependence, the U̱t-Maꞌin Bare Verb form never occurs as the first verb of a narrative event sequence, though the clauses it occurs in have all other components of finite main clause syntax (and the Bare Verb can clearly occur independently as the single verb form in a stand-alone utterance). The Bare Verb form is not a case of a grammatical form specifically devoted to narrative sequence; but the U̱t-Maꞌin language does use sequenced Bare Verb forms as a strategy to further the narrative without need to reset the temporal, aspectual, or mood scenario for the listener (as well as other functions).

Data for this project was collected in collaboration with local speakers. One text was transcribed, glossed, translated, and annotated. Seven texts were transcribed in the u̱t-Maꞌin orthography, translated, and annotated.

The texts are as indicated below:

Speaker’s Name Text Title Text Reference Code Number of Clauses Year Collected Genre
Ibrahim Tume Ushe Spider, frog, and Chameleon SFC 79 2005 Folk / Proverbial Narrative
Ibrahim Yohanna The Gossip King GK 122 2013 Folk / Proverbial Narrative
Ibrahim Yohanna Posessed Woman PW 100 2013 Personal Narrative
Ibrahim Yohanna Musa and Audu MA 18 2013 Personal Narrative
Ibrahim Yohanna Kambari Man KM 12 2013 Personal Narrative
Ibrahim Yohanna Young man who wants to marry YM 18 2013 Folk / Proverbial Narrative
Sunday John What you sow is what you reap SR 16 2013 Folk / Proverbial Narrative
Sunday John My trip to Minna TM 24 2013 Personal Narrative
Becky working with various speakers on verb paradigms.

Becky working with various speakers on verb paradigms Credit: Hugh Paterson III

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Rebecca Paterson
Rebecca Paterson
Postdoctoral Researcher

My research interests include field linguistics, grammatical description, and translation.

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