The role of the Berber deictic and TAM markers in dependent clauses in Zenaga

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The deictic <i>ad</i> fulfills many functions in Mauritanian Berber (demonstrative, copula, connector, injunctive particle, etc.). Most of these uses are found more or less in all Berber languages. However, Zenaga differs markedly on several points: <i>ad</i> is not used as a preverb to express future; on the contrary, it is used as a conditional and quotative particle. The author analyses these divergent evolutions and proposes explanations for the various grammaticalization phenomena involved by conjointly studying the TAM (tense-aspect-mood) markers and sentence structure. The polygrammaticalization of the deictic is partly linked to the semantic indetermination of the Aorist and to some specific conditions which bear on fronted verbs.


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