Vol. 34:4 (2010) ► pp.832–868
Person–number agreement on clause linking markers in Mande
Several Mande languages, viz. Jula of Samatiguila, Ko Mende, Jowulu, Yaba Southern San, and Tura, have person–number agreement on clause linking markers whose primary function, etymologically and often also synchronically, is to introduce reported discourse. Interestingly, in some of these languages the controller is not necessarily the subject of the main clause. This kind of agreement, which as such is already typologically unusual, is even more remarkable in Mande, since Mande languages have very little morphosyntactic agreement of any kind. I argue that agreement on clause linking markers in Mande is due to the fusion of originally predicative quotatives with their pronominal subjects. The agreement with non-subject controllers is semantic in origin in that a non-subject controller is necessarily also the source of the reported discourse.
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