The Limits of Say Verbs Grammaticalization in Adioukrou

Kaul Guy (Tohoku University)

The data used for this study reveals that Adioukrou say verbs dad ‘say’, εsε ‘say’, and nînὲ ‘he (they) said’ are direct quote markers. Nînὲ‘he (they) said’ and εsε ‘say’ function as complementizers with the verb say, which is lower on the binding hierarchy, in stage I. When the progression of dad ‘say’, εsε ‘say’, and nînὲ ‘he (they) said’ is halted in a lower position on the hierarchy, èké functions as a complementizer in constructions whereby the predicates say, know, believe, and want are main verbs in stage I. I suggest that èké is a case of functional renewal whereby function may change while form is more resistant to change. In Adioukrou and across languages, the progression of say verbs in the implicational hierarchy provides evidence in favor of Heine, Claudi and Hünnemeyer (1991)’s suggestions that the process of grammaticalization involves a combination of discrete stages and continuity.