Applying a Construction labeling code to Edo
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Language documentation is important as a tool for preservation of endangered languages and making data available to speakers and researchers of a language. An annotation scheme for verbal constructions shown in this article has been developed in (Hellan and Dakubu 2010), a monograph consisting of the following three parts: The system , Ga Appendix , Norwegian Appendix .
I show below how syntactic, semantic and morphological properties of multi-verb constructions in Èdó (Benue-Congo) can be represented using the scheme. The scheme is extended to multi-verb constructions in the following languages of the Niger-Congo: Igbo and Yoruba (Benue-Congo), Gurenne (Oti-volta), Ga, Baule, Akan and Ewe (Kwa)(Ogie 2010) :
Construction label template:
sv-v1objIDv2su - v1tr-v1suAg-v1obAff-v2-int-v2suAff -CAUSE_RESULT
The construction label template accompanying example 1 (Hellan and Dakubu op. cit.) has the following structure: Area 1 (in bold font for ease of exposition) gives the global labels, the number of verbs in series (ie sv, sv3, sv4 ) as well as argument sharing information and information about thematic relations holding across the verb in series. In the example above sv states that the construction is of type serial verb with 2 verbs, Area 2 (in italics font for ease of exposition) gives the valence information as well as information about grammatical function and thematic roles. This is exemplified by v1objIDv2su-v1tr-v1suAg_v1obAff-v2-int-v2obAff in the example above. Here the object of v1 shares reference (ID) with the subject of v2 v1objIDv2su. Also v1 is transitive and its subject has an agent thematic role and the object an Affected role v1tr-v1suAg-v1obAff while v2 is intransitive with a subject having an Affected role v2-int-v2suAff. Information about the situation type of the construction is provided by Area 3 and this is exemplified by CAUSE_RESULT in the above example. Area 3 is written in capital letters.
In examples where there is token identity between arguments of the verbs in series, thematic relations are represented only in area 1. Area 2 then gives information about valence, arguments that do not share thematic roles and arguments that are not shared. For example, in the consequential svc in the Èdó example below, the template reads as follows: Area 1:sv_suObID_suAg. The serial verb construction consists of two verbs in series and the verbs in series share reference across arguments. The subject argument is token identified and has an agent theta role. Area 2:v1tr-v1obThincrem-v2tr-v2obAff. V1 is transitive and has an incremental theme object. V2 is also transitive with an object bearing an affected theta role. Area 3: The situation type is a TRANSFER relation.
Information about Tense Aspect, Mood and Negation is also provided by area 1 in the construction labels. Sharing of these features across verbs in series is represented as with sharing of arguments. For example in the Akan example (example 2) on covert reference subject sharing in the clause chaining serial construction below , area 1 gives the following information sv_suAspID_suAg_aspCompl. It states that the construction is a serial verb construction with the verbs in series sharing subject and aspect values. The subject has an agent thematic role and the verbs in series have completive aspect.
2. Akan Construction labels: sv_suAspID_suAg_aspCompl-v1tr-v1obAff-v2intr-CAUSE_RESULT
With respect to the global labels in area 1, Hellan and Dakubu 2010 uses the global label ev to represent Extended Verb Complexes and the label pv for preverbs in EVCs. In addition, to the labelling conventions used by Hellan and Dakubu 2009 for SVCs (sv) and EVCs (ev, pv) , the following global labels are introduced to account for the range of multi-verb constructions in Èdó. The background assumptions remains the same (see Annotating Edo Hellan and Ogie 2010, Hellan 2008 and Hellan and Dakubu 2010 and In-depth annotation of multi-verb constructions in Èdó) for discussion on the labelling conventions):
cc – covert co-ordination
mvc- multi-verb construction
mc- modifier construction
Examples 3- 5 exemplify these constructions:
3. Covert co-ordination
4. mvc- V+infinitival multi-verb construction
5. V+modifier construction: V+modifier construction (V2 is reanalyzed as adverb)