Grammatical analysis of embedded clauses has been a central theme of modern theoretical linguistics since Chomsky (1957) used data from complex clauses to gain deeper insight into the formal properties of natural language. Recently, researchers have gained new insight into complementation through close examination of syntactic and semantic properties across a wide range of languages (Aboh 2005; Arsenijević 2009; Bogal-Albritten 2016; Elliott 2017; Jayaseelan 2014; Kastner 2015; Kratzer 2006; Moulton 2015; and others). Our primary empirical interest in this paper is embedding in the Teiwa language (Klamer 2010a). Understanding embedding in Teiwa is of general interest because Teiwa was claimed to lack complementation entirely and to instead use juxtaposition under a single intonational contour (Klamer 2010a). (1) is a Teiwa example of this type of juxtaposition from our own fieldwork:
Example (1) contains both the verb walas ‘tell’ and following it, the verb wa ‘say’. However, in the English translation we provide, the speech report expressed by (1) requires only one verb of speech, told. In other words, the Teiwa (1) seems to correspond to the English sentence Natan told me that he said that … with double embedding, but this interpretation is actually very marginal in Teiwa. Therefore an analysis of (1) as embedding seems initially implausible. Since at the same time, several substrings of (1) can form independent sentences as shown in (2), it seems plausible that (1) consists of more than one sentence. An analysis as a sequence of the two independent sentences (2a) and (2b) is the alternative proposed by Klamer to which we refer in this paper as the bisentential analysis.
We argue here that (1) must be analyzed as a single sentence where the sequence a wa acts as a complementizer agreeing with the matrix clause subject. We refer to our proposal as the monosentential analysis. As far as we know, the way speech and attitude reports are expressed in Teiwa is unique among living languages. The complementizers are related to the verb say in many languages, e.g., Malayalam (Jayaseelan 2014), Matses (Munro et al. 2012), or Usan and other Papuan languages (Reesink 1993), but only a handful of languages link speech complements with the fully inflected verb say. One such language is Nanti, where the complementizer (glossed as QUOT) agrees with the matrix subject (see (12) below). Agreeing complementizers are reported for a number of Bantu languages (Kawasha 2007; Diercks 2013) several Mande languages of West Africa (Idiatov 2010; van Koppen 2017), and in Nilotic (Diercks & Rao 2019). Idiatov (2010) argues that such agreeing complementizers, at least in Mande, appear to be always related to quotative predicators and ultimately verbs, sometimes still present in the same form. As an example, we will discuss Lubukusu (Section 3 below). In Teiwa, the verb say linking speech and attitude reports requires a subject pronoun.2 The language most similar to Teiwa that we are aware of is the extinct Akkadian (Deutscher 2000), a parallel to which we return in Section 3.
The main goal of our paper is to propose a monosentential analysis of Teiwa examples like (1). Under our analysis a wa essentially fulfils the role of a complementizer. We first present background on the relevant aspects of Teiwa in Section 2. In Section 3, we discuss a number of languages with complementizer agreement. In Section 4.1, we address the status of the utterance initial a wa, as in (2b), where a wa does not follow another propositional attitude verb. We argue that in such cases, wa is an independent full verb taking a clausal complement following it. In Section 4.2, we then consider examples like (1), in which a wa is non-initial and prosodically integrated with the preceding propositional attitude verb; we argue that a wa in such occurrences is a complementizer. We present three arguments in favor of the monosentential analysis and argue for an agreement relation between the speech verb (agreement controller) and the complementizer wa (agreement target). Our conclusion is that, despite initial appearances to the contrary, the monosentential analysis is correct based on evidence we present from prosody, syntax, and semantics. We return to the parallel between languages discussed in Section 3 and Teiwa in Section 5 where we state the implications of the Teiwa embedding on our understanding of the evolution of complementizers and complementation.
In 2.1 we provide information about the Teiwa language and its speakers. The treatment of Teiwa complex sentences in Klamer (2010a) is presented in 2.2.
Teiwa is spoken on the island of Pantar, located in the Nusa Tenggara Timur province of Eastern Indonesia, shown in Figure 1. Teiwa has about 4,000 speakers, who reside in two villages, Madar and Lebang. Most of the Teiwa speakers in Madar are male because the society is predominantly patrilocal (Klamer 2010a: 17).
Virtually all Teiwa speakers are at least bilingual, speaking Teiwa and Malay. They are predominantly Christian, received at least a few years of elementary education in Indonesian and virtually everyone is fluent in Alor Malay. Christian worship has been conducted in Indonesian since the 1970s (Klamer 2010a: 3). Teiwa is an endangered language whose speakers are shifting towards Alor Malay. In the coastal village of Madar, children do not acquire Teiwa as their first language while in Lebang, located in the mountains, children still spoke the language and acquired it in most domains at the time of our fieldwork. Given the strong influence of Malay and Indonesian, it is possible that the language may have recently undergone changes in the areas of interest due to the influence of Malay/Indonesian. For this reason, wherever possible, we have made an effort to include speakers of various ages in the experimental studies. Despite our effort we did not detect a significant effect of age and conclude that the phenomena we report on exhibit some stability across native Teiwa speakers of different ages.
Teiwa has a nominative-accusative alignment and limited morphology. Nouns agree with possessors (alienable vs. inalienable); verbs agree with human objects and can combine with realis suffixes. Teiwa is overwhelmingly head-final, the most common constituent order being OV, with negation and conjunctions following the predicate. Verb serialization is common (Klamer 2010a: 30–31).
This section summarizes the analysis of Teiwa clause combinations, following (Klamer 2010a: 361–395), which provides the following description:
Teiwa discourse is characterized by strings of clauses that can be connected by a conjunction or discourse linker, or separated by an intonational break, while there are also clauses that are merely juxtaposed to each other under a single intonation contour (Klamer 2010a: 363).
Specifically, Klamer reports that relative and complement clauses are not attested in Teiwa. Klamer further addresses subordinate adverbial clauses, as well as adnominal purpose clauses, which we will not discuss here. At the same time, Klamer clearly intends her discussion of complement clauses to be a preliminary one, stating that further detailed investigations of Teiwa clause combinations therefore remain necessary (Klamer 2010a: 363).
Serial verb constructions are distinguished from clause combinations by the empty subject position of one of the serialized verbs, as shown in (3).
As for adverbial clauses, Klamer shows that two temporal connectives exist in Teiwa: si ‘SIM’ for temporal simultaneity (4a) and ba ‘SEQ’ for temporal sequentiality (4b). Ba is also used to describe causal relations.
Si ‘SIM’ and ba ‘SEQ’ must occur between two clauses or (for ba ‘SEQ’) two phrases. However, Klamer reports that there is no evidence of an asymmetry between two clauses connected by si ‘SIM’ or ba ‘SEQ’: Both conjunctions function to express a temporal connection between two equivalent clauses (p. 386). So, syntactically, they behave like the coordinating conjunctions ata ‘and’ and le ‘or’ when they are used to connect clauses.
The only evidence Klamer presents for clausal subordination in Teiwa is from an adnominal purpose clause construction illustrated in (5): qar ol-an in (5) must clearly be a subordinate clause because of its clause medial position.3
With speech reports, Klamer finds no evidence of subordination in Teiwa (Klamer 2010a: 364–369) but does make a distinction between speech reports with the verb wa ‘say’ and those with other speech verbs. Consider first the verb wa. Klamer points out that the verb wa can be used to express not only the concepts ‘say’ and ‘think’, but also ‘go’ as a deictic motion verb. However, only the wa ‘go’ combines with the realis suffix.4 Furthermore, when used to report speech or thought, wa can be followed by either direct or indirect speech. One clear example of indirect speech is (6).
Klamer does not commit herself to a specific syntactic structure for the analysis of speech reports with wa, but refers to them as ‘quotative constructions’. One potential reason for a special status of wa may be word order: While complements in Teiwa generally precede the verb, in all of Klamer’s examples with wa, the speech report follows wa, as shown in (6). However, the order of the verb paat and its object in (6) illustrates, the word-order of object and verb exhibits actually some flexibility, as Klamer also reports. We return to the analysis of wa below.
Of the other utterance verbs, Klamer’s discussion of regan ‘ask’, bangan ‘request/ask for something’, and walas ‘tell’ is most relevant for our current purpose, though Klamer also discusses taxani ‘inquire’, soi ‘order’, and liin ‘invite’. Klamer proposes that all of these verbs occur in juxtaposition with the reported utterance itself (p. 364) and describes the structures in which they occur as multi-clause combinations (p. 364). With regan ‘ask’, she provides the two examples in (7) to show that the content of the question reported can either follow regan ‘ask’ and its nominal arguments, as in (7a), or precede them, as in (7b).
In addition, Klamer cites example (8) in which the phrasal verb om ga-regan ‘ask themselves’ is followed by a direct speech complement.
In the case of bangan ‘request/ask for something’, Klamer points out that this verb has unusual word order properties: Object nominals can occur with bangan either in the usual preverbal position, shown in (9a), or postverbally, as in (9b), which she reports as otherwise impossible in Teiwa. Further, Klamer also suggests that the clause following bangan in (9c) serves as an object.
Finally, the most interesting class of utterance verbs for our purpose consists of those followed by wa. Klamer uses walas to illustrate this class, as we do in (1) above, and reports that in most cases walas is followed by the quotative construction consisting of a wa ‘s/he says’ and the speech report (direct or indirect speech), as illustrated in (10a) (indirect speech) and (10b) (direct speech).
Following on Klamer’s investigation of complex clauses in Teiwa, our own inquiry is focused on the speech reports introduced by wa and on the status of examples like (1) and (10) where wa follows another speech verb. Before examining relevant cases in Teiwa in detail, we take a brief look at the typological and historical findings from other languages.
Research on several other languages has described the use of forms related to the verb say to express propositional attitudes. There is ample evidence that complementizers commonly originate in a general verb of speech (Heine & Kuteva 2002; Güldemann 2008). More specifically this has been demonstrated for some Austronesian languages (Klamer 2000), Creoles like Bislama (Crowley 2004: 182), Chadic (Frajzyngier 1996), Dravidian (Jayaseelan 2014), Ewe (Lord 1993), and some Papuan languages (Reesink 1993). In difference to Klamer’s analysis, such uses have often been described as Complementizer forms of the verb say. In this section, we show that Teiwa represents a uniquely interesting case to understand when a verbal form should be analyzed as a complementizer.
For the following, we introduce a descriptive terminology: We write that the verb say occurs (or occurred) as Independent Occurrence expressing the verb of speech if no other propositional attitude verb occurs nearby that say might be construed with. In the Teiwa data we have seen up to now, (2b) and (6) contain such independent occurrences of wa. Furthermore, a form related to the same verb say can also occur as Integrated Occurence where it is construed with another propositional attitude verb. Of the Teiwa examples up to now, (1), (10a), and (10b) contain integrated occurrences of wa. The form of wa used in independent and integrated occurrences is actually identical in Teiwa,5 but more frequently it seems that integrated forms of the verb say are reduced.
We focus on languages where the integrated uses of say exhibit agreement with the subject of the other attitude verb they are construed with. In European languages, complementizers either do not agree at all (as in English) or agree with the subject of the embedded clause, as in some dialects of German and Dutch (Zwart 1997: 137–141). However, the Germanic complementizer agreement is never controlled by the subject of the matrix clause. Complementizer agreement with matrix subjects has been observed only in Nanti (Michael 2008) and in a number of Bantu languages (Kawasha 2007; Diercks 2013), several Mande languages of West Africa (Idiatov 2010; van Koppen 2017), and in Nilotic (Diercks & Rao 2019). One such language is Lubukusu (Bantu, Kenya). Diercks (2013) introduces the notion complementizer agreement using Lubukusu examples such as (11).6 The subject of the speech verb babolela ‘say’ in (11) is babandu ‘people’, a class 2 noun. It is the controller of the subject agreement prefix ba- attached to both the verb and the complementizer li. In (11b), the agreement controller is a class 1 noun Alfredi.
Diercks (2013) shows that the complementizer agreement in Lubukusu is productive: various noun classes control agreement on the complementizer (p. 364–365) and the agreement is not affected by negation (p. 366). Lubukusu has a number of complementizers, among which AGR-li appears to be restricted to verbs of speech/manner of speech, knowledge/belief, and desire; it is incompatible with verbs that presuppose the truth of their complement (Diercks 2013: 397–398). We do not know whether the complementizer li of Lubukusu is related to a verb of saying.
Complementizer agreement is also reported for Nanti (Arawakan, Peru). In Nanti, we find both independent occurrences of kaNt ‘say’ and integrated occurrences thereof as ka, but Michael’s analysis is different from Klamer’s analysis of Teiwa. Michael (2008: 111) analyzes the Nanti ka in (12) as a marker of quotative embedded clauses (a complementizer in our terms) that agrees with the matrix subject. Specifically, ka occurs with first person agreement in (12a) and with third person masculine agreement in (12b). Michael (2008) identifies the verb kaNt ‘say’, shown in (12b), as the diachronic source of the marker ka and reports that similar morphemes are also attested in other Campa languages (Michael 2008: 111–112).
The closest parallel to Teiwa is presented by Akkadian (Semitic, Ancient Mesopotamia), whose long written record captured the development of a general complementizer (Deutscher 2000). Akkadian is the earliest known Semitic language, which was used in writing from around 2500 BC until the beginning of the current epoch in a great variety of genres. Akkadian letters are available from the earliest period and reflect well the development of the colloquial language because they were dictated by illiterate clients to scribes to be read out to the recipient, a property which makes the letters well suited for the investigation of grammaticalization (Deutscher 2000: 23).
As shown in Table 1, Old Akkadian is characterized by (Deutscher 2000) as a language without embedding where enma S(-ma) and later umma S(-ma) encode an independent clause paratactically joined with a speech report attributed to the speker (marked as S here). From Early Old Babylonian umma S-ma is attested with other speech verbs and the S marking disappears in the Middle Babylonian period. During the Neo-Babylonian period, umma appears as a complementizer with verbs such as ‘fear’ or ‘hear’, as shown in Table 1.
|Old Akkadian||enma S(-ma)||independent clause||‘(this is what) S said/says’|
|Late Old Akkadian||umma S(-ma)||idem.||idem.|
|Early Old Babylonian||umma S-ma||independent clause||‘(this is what) S said/says’|
|(2000–1800BC)||or with speech verbs|
|Later Old Babylonian||umma S-ma||still independent clause and almost||‘(this is what) S said/says’|
|(1800–1600BC)||obligatory with speech verbs|
|Middle Babylonian||ummā||only with speech verbs,||‘saying’ or Ø|
|(1500–1000BC)||subject S lost|
|Neo–Babylonian||umma||speech verb complementizer,||‘saying’, Ø, or ‘that’|
|(1000–500BC)||extending to verbs ‘fear’, ‘hear’|
In Early Old Babylonian umma may form an independent clause as in (13).7 The subject pronoun anaku ‘I’ combines with the particle ma and has to follow umma. Deutscher (2000: 70) describes ma as a particle used for emphasis and coordination.
Several examples of integrated uses of Early Old Babylonian umma with speech verbs are given in (14). Deutscher (2000: 72) states that the speech verb and umma are in paratactic relation. Note that the subject pronoun following umma ‘say’ is first person singular in (13a) and (13b) but third person plural in (13c). The subject of umma is the same as the subject of the speech verb, resembling the Lubukusu and Nanti agreement pattern.
As the translations given in (14) indicate, Deutscher (2000) does not consider the Early Old Babylonian data to be instances of embedding, but of two independent paratactically joined sentences (see also Deutscher 2005), i.e. a similar analysis to the one Klamer (2010a) adopts for Teiwa examples like (6). In sum, the previous literature suggests that structures with integrated occurrences of say (or an agreeing complementizer) receive different analysis across languages: a monosentential, complementation structure when the integrated form of say is morphologically distinct from the independent forms as in Nanti and all languages without agreement on integrated say, but a bisentential, paratactic structure when the integrated and independent forms of say are identical as in Early Old Babylonian and Teiwa. Teiwa is the only living language of the latter type as far as we know, and therefore it is important to apply further diagnostics for complementation to it including prosodic and semantic tests. We present our results in the following section.
This section presents new evidence concerning both independent and integrated occurrences of Teiwa wa. In Section 4.1, we argue that independent occurrences of wa are full lexical verbs taking a speech report as the object, and in Section 4.2 we show that integrated occurrences of wa are complementizers that follow another speech verb and agree with its subject in person and number. Both uses are distinguished by a number of features summarized in Table 2 and will be discussed in the remainder of this section.
|feature||independent wa||section||integrated wa||section|
|subject of wa||speaker||4.1.1||agreement||4.2.2|
In our discussion we frequently refer to a number of experiments conducted with the assistance of several young Teiwa men, to whom we refer with their first names as Ben, Bimbo, Lorens, Natan and Orias. All of them are friends and live in the village of Madar. In several experiments they acted out scenarios which included reporting each other’s speech, thoughts, and intentions.
In this section, we discuss uses of wa ‘say’ in contexts lacking another speech verb, such as (15). We show that independent wa is a full lexical verb with the interpretation ‘say, think’. We imply that wa is not an evidential marker, to which speech verbs such as ‘say’ commonly grammaticalize (Heine & Kuteva 2002: 265).
The independent wa is a transitive verb taking a speech report as its object argument and the speaker of the speech report as the subject. In other words, the analysis of wa is exactly that of say in English.
As mentioned in Section 2.1, Teiwa does not exhibit much verbal morphology. The pronoun a immediately preceding wa in (15) is phonologically a clitic. Its occurrence is obligatory, and the form varies with the person and number of the subject, as (16) illustrates.
The pronoun doubling in (16) encodes focus on the third person plural subject. Further details about this form can be found in (Klamer 2010a: 84–85). In Teiwa, subjects are expressed by pronouns, and prefixation is reserved for objects (Klamer 2010a: 31). Verbs that mark their subject with a prefix are rare in Teiwa: Klamer (2010a: 98) reports that there are only three verbs which follow such pattern: -o’on ‘hide’ (17), -ewar ‘return’, and -ufan ‘forget’. All three roots are vowel-initial and encode events with an affected subject. Notably, the S prefix of the vowel-intitial verbs has a reduced form consisting of a single consonant, unlike the subject agreement found with the complementizer wa (see Section 4.2.5).
Furthermore, the independent wa is compatible with negation, as seen in (18), a property expected from a lexical verb but not from an evidential particle or a complementizer.
The speech report verb wa can be a prosodic head, forming a prosodic word with the subject proclitic a and the subject noun Natan. The pitch contour of (19) is shown in Figure 2.
Example (20) shows that the verb wa may be the final constituent in questions targeting the speech report.
The intonation contour indicates that the speaker’s pitch rises at the end of (20), as can be seen in Figure 3. This pattern is common for declarative questions (Van Heuven & Van Zanten 2005: p. 88) and is cross-linguistically widespread (Ohala 1984: p. 5).8
The question may be fragmented because in the following turn, shown in (21), the other participant first supplies a noun phrase, then after 10 seconds reiterates his answer as a full statement.
In sum, the syntactic and prosodic facts univocally demonstrate that wa is a full-fledged lexical verb, marking subject, allowing object ellipsis and compatible with negation. Next, semantic evidence is presented showing that the speech verb wa and its object form a single clause. The speech report is embedded and syntactically subordinate to the verb wa.
We have designed an experiment to probe the truth values of the reported speech in both the non-embedded analysis proposed in (Klamer 2010a) and the embedding analysis proposed here. The non-embedded analysis predicts that the truth of the reported speech is entailed, but the embedding analysis does not make this prediction. The judgements of our primary consultants indicated that the prediction of the embedding analysis is correct. The materials consisted of short dialogues which were recorded by two of our consultants. Each test item consisted of a pair of sentences spoken by Natan and Orias. The first sentence, spoken by Natan, was either clearly correct or incorrect. Examples of both are given in (22), where Madar is the Teiwa settlement where we conducted our research and where Natan lives. Bandar is a nearby village inhabited by a different linguistic group.
Natan was followed by Orias who produced a speech report of Natan’s utterance that was either correct or incorrect. For example, (22) would be followed by either sentence in (23).
Participants in the experiment were presented with 30 such pairs (the first six were practice items) and instructed to report whether what Orias said was accurate. The participants responded either atab (‘yes, true, correct’) or man (‘no’).
The prediction of the non-embedding and embedding analyses for the four types of items are presented in tabular form in Table 3: The non-embedding analysis predicts that (23) should be understood as two sentences. The first, Natan a wa. (‘Natan talked.’), should be judged true in all four scenarios, and therefore the truth of the second, a Bandar/Madar me ‘He lives in Bandar/Madar’ should determine the acceptability of the whole utterance (23). On the other hand, the embedding analysis predicts that (23) should be judged in the same way as the English translation ‘Natan said that he lives in Bandar/Madar’, i.e., only according to whether it is a correct report of the prior utterance.
|truth value predicted by analysis|
|match-correct:||‘A’ - ‘a wa A’||1||1|
|mismatch-incorrect:||‘A’ - ‘a wa B’||0||0|
|match-incorrect:||‘B’ - ‘a wa B’||0||1|
|mismatch-correct:||‘B’ - ‘a wa A’||1||0|
The judgments of the speakers who assisted with the construction of the material corresponded to the embedding analysis and are confirmed in the experiment we conducted (see Supplement 1, Experiment 3). The experiment included 21 participants aged 25 to 81 years (mean age: 46.3). We did not find an effect of age. This indicates that the Teiwa grammar of independent wa has not undergone a recent change.
In sum, we argued in this section that the independent wa should be analyzed along the lines of the English verb say, a verb that takes a (usually clausal) complement. We presented experimental evidence corroborating this conclusion.
In this section, we consider cases where the sequence of a subject pronoun and wa follow another speech verb, such as -walas ‘tell’ in (1), repeated here as (24).
Initially a bisentential analysis of such sequences seems plausible because the integrated wa could receive the same interpretation as the independent wa. Such an analysis would correspond to the English paraphrase Natan talked to me. He said that he’ll go to Kalabahi tomorrow. But we demonstrate that the bisentential analysis cannot be correct, and that instead the monosentential analysis is correct. This entails that integrated wa must receive a different interpretation than the independent wa discussed in 4.1. We argue that wa in uses such as (24) is a complementizer.
In the following examples, integrated wa mostly occur with the speech verb walas ‘tell’. The speech complement of walas ‘tell’ does not have to be always expressed with the complement clause linked with wa. Another possibility is to increase the valency of walas ‘tell’ with the oblique marker ma ‘COME’ adding a nominal phrase describing the information, as shown in (25).9 The basic valency of walas includes the subject (agent = teller) and the object (recipient = tellee).
Note that the question pronoun amidan ‘what’ is not necessarily fronted but may also remain in-situ, as in (26) where it is not focussed.
Integrated wa combines with at least the following five verbs: walas ‘tell’, wulul ‘gossip (trans.), talk about st.’, ultag ‘talk’, yivar ‘dream’ (27), and puan yaxai ‘talk nonsense, lie’.10
When used with the verbs listed above (27) integrated wa is optional (i.e., (28) is also grammatical). But these sentences are perceived to be less clear without wa, and therefore, the use of wa is preferred.
In addition to the five verbs above, we found a single occurrence with ma bi’in ‘praise’ and multiple uses with om ‘think’, as in (29).11
While Klamer (2010a) only reports integrated uses of wa with the pronoun a, we found that integrated wa agrees in person and number with the subject of the main speech verb. The agreement is productive and regular, as shown in (30). Integrated wa agrees with the second person plural subject of walas ‘tell’ in (30). In (30b), integrated agrees with impersonal hala ‘others, unknown people’ (for more details on hala see Klamer (2010a: 30)).
(31) shows that wa cannot be integrated if the subject agreement is not obtained. Instead, (31) is interpreted as omission of na wa; i.e., the verb om followed by a complementizerless complement clause containing the speech verb wa.
Integrated wa cannot be preceded by an aspectual modifier such as the distal continuative un. As shown in (32b), where wa is preceded by the aspectual marker un, its interpretation is that of a speech verb and not a complementizer.
In English, and even more so in some other European languages, the presence of complementizers such as that provide unequivocal morphosyntactic evidence for embedding. In Teiwa, the supporting evidence for embedding comes from prohibitives and long distance extraction.
Klamer (2010a: 301) describes two types of prohibitives in Teiwa. The first type is marked by the clause final gaxai ‘do not’. The second type, shown in (33), contains gaxai and a positive imperative marker: ha-dan ‘your part, your obligation’. The sentence’s final gaxai ‘do not’, however, marks a prohibitive force and (33) is therefore interpreted as a prohibitive overall.
Without gaxai, the imperative remains positive, as shown in (34a), but simple prohibitives with just gaxai are also possible (34b).
The double marking of prohibitives is also possible in examples with the sequence of walas and wa, as shown in (35). The prohibitive gaxai follows walas and precedes integrated wa.
The prohibitive interpretation of (35) is difficult to reconcile with the bisentential analysis, which would give rise to the reading: ‘Do not talk to Ben. Say I hid the tobacco.’ The monosentential analysis, on the other hand, offers a rather straightforward explanation: the clause na tabako ma iga is embedded and therefore under the scope of the prohibitive marker.
Syntactic movement from one clause to another is one of the strongest arguments for a complex monosentential structure, long-distance movement of question words being a classic case. However, it has also been established that not all languages allow long-distance movement from complement clauses – Northern German dialects, in particular, tend to not allow long-distance movement of question words from finite complement clauses (Fanselow & Weskott 2010 and others).
Teiwa, like English, fronts question words in non-polar (or wh-) questions (Klamer 2010a: 280–293). Example (36) shows that question words can move from the complement of independent wa.
Movement from the complement clause of other speech verbs is difficult. In our attempts to elicit long extraction, speakers often produced examples like (37). Note that one of the arguments of ultaq ‘tell’ is marked as oblique with ma. This indicates that amidan ‘what’ in (37) is an argument of ultaq ‘tell’, and therefore (37) is not an example of long extraction.
Example (38), however, is also acceptable. In (38), neither of the arguments of walas ‘tell’ is marked with oblique case. The absence of oblique marking in (38) suggests that yilag ‘who’ is not an argument of walas ‘tell’, but is instead an argument of the verb ua ‘hit’. Example (38) therefore requires the monosentential analysis of integrated wa.
In sum, the syntactic evidence is in favor of the clausal embedding analysis for the integrated wa.
Klamer (2010a: 361) mentions that intonation connects juxtaposed clauses. Prosodic properties, in particular pitch movement (intonation), timing, and intensity signal sentence boundaries (Bolinger 1984; 1989). In particular, a special intonation contour marks the end of the sentence. The question is whether the absence of a sentence final contour can then be taken to indicate subordination. While Klamer herself does not assume that intonation directly indicates sentence boundaries, Mithun (2009) shows that intonation in Mohawk distinguishes between monosentential and bisentential sequences.12 Further, Kastner et al. (2014) argue that prosody alone can mark embedding in the emerging Kafr Qasem Sign Language.
Klamer (2010a: 304) notes that Teiwa clauses are separated from each other by a falling intonation on the final word (usually a verb). We confirmed this in our data. Example (39) consists of two sentences separated by a long pause and shows the sentence final drop. In addition to the sentence final low tone (L%), (39) also shows that Teiwa exhibits pitch declination as well.
In this section, we show that Teiwa speech reports with integrated wa generally exhibit a single intonation contour, as expected by the monosentential analysis. Specifically, we rely on falling intonation as a signal of a sentence boundary. The falling intonation contour, associated with the final unit, is absent before integrated wa; in fact, we see the opposite contour of the pitch rising just before wa, with an optional pause between wa and the rest of the sentence.
Now consider examples of speech reports with walas ‘tell’. For one, the walas a wa sequence is generally followed by a short pause, but there is no pause after walas ‘tell’. The placement of the pause is not expected in the bisentential analysis, but it provides evidence for the monosentential analysis. The second argument related to pitch is based on the absence of sentence-final drops (i.e., intonation units with final L%) in the walas a wa sequence. Instead, we generally find a rise in pitch on wa. This, again, would be unexpected in the bisentential analysis, but it is consistent with the monosentential one.13
The example in (40) from speaker MW exemplifies both of the general patterns we found. MW produced a 0.6s pause that follows a wa. Figure 4 further shows, there is a clear rise targeting the initial pitch level on a wa and the higher pitch is subsequently maintained across the pause.
In rapid speech, such as (41), the pause disappears, but the pitch rise on wa remains, as can also be seen in Figure 5.
The intonation pattern is the same in examples where walas ‘tell’ is negated, as in (42). Figure 6 shows a slight pitch rise at integrated wa ‘say’ that is maintained even in the presence of the negator maan and targets the initial pitch level of about 95Hz.
Examples such as (43) show that the intonational contour may be the only indication of embedding. As shown in Figure 7 JL’s pitch at the beginning of the sentence is roughly 250 Hz. The contour contains only one final fall to roughly 160Hz. Only at the beginning of next sentence is the pitch reset to the original level. In this example, because JL is speaking slowly, the two joined clauses are separated by a pause of roughly 0.7s separating the speech verb from its complement, analogously to (40).
Finally, speaker JL also produced example (44), which consists of three clauses integrated under a single intonational contour. Figure 8 shows the contour starting at roughly 250Hz and closing at about 160Hz. There is no drop at the end of the first and second clause; instead the pitch rises back to about 250Hz each time, signaling that the sentence is not yet finished. Figure 8 also shows that there are almost no pauses between the three clauses. In our analysis, this sentence contains two complement clauses.
Furthermore, we found one speaker, JM, a 45-year-old Teiwa female, to phonologically reduce integrated wa in spontaneous speech in (45). Figure 9 shows that JM produced the na wa sequence as a single syllable [nɑʊ]. In (45b), JM further reduced the na wa into just [nǝ].
Note that even JM’s reduced forms still indicate person-number agreement with the subject of the main verb walas ‘tell’. We found no reduced forms in the speech of other Teiwa speakers and our consultants consistently insisted on the complete a wa sequence. Therefore, JM’s speech seems to represent a minority dialect where grammaticalization may have progressed. It should be noted that phonological reduction of wa does not occur in JM’s speech when wa is the main verb, as shown in Figure 2. We conclude, therefore, that while JM’s speech further supports our analysis of Teiwa as allowing embedding, it leaves intact our conclusion that embedding exists independent of complementizers.
The primary semantic diagnostic for subordination is scope. The reason scope is a good diagnostic is that the way sentence meanings are combined in discourse is generally taken to amount to coordination (Stalnaker 1978; Sauerland 2016). In the following, we investigate four types of scopal phenomena: (i) the scope of negation, (ii) the scope of constituent questions, (iii) the scope of prohibitives, and (iv) the scope of polar question markers.14
The scope of negation, which is used to distinguish between bi- and monosentential sequences, was first employed by Noonan & Bavin (1981) to study Lango. We constructed the example in (46) to investigate the scope of negation with the verb walas ‘tell’. According to our primary consultants, this placement allows an interpretation in which negation takes wide scope over both walas and the following clause with integrated wa. Such interpretation is predicted only by the monosentential analysis.
This judgment is difficult to discern because the pragmatics of negation imposes a requirement on sentences such as (46) and its English translation that the content of the complement clause be salient (Horn 1989, and others). Typically, this requirement leads consultants to suggest a scenario out of the blue in which (46) could be uttered when the complement is actually true. This would correspond to the English paraphrase ‘He is actually buying a small boat, but he did not tell me about it.’ In this case, the complement clause would be salient because it is actually true. However, we found that our consultants also accept (46) in another scenario where the complement is salient, namely in short dialogues like (47), which involves a correction. In (47), the statement that Natan is talking about buying a small boat is made salient by a question.
|(47)||Q:||Did Natan tell you that he is buying a small boat?|
|A:||No, he told me that he is buying a boat, but he did not tell me that he is buying a small boat.|
In Teiwa, one situation we created to detect whether the wide-scope negation interpretation is available was acted out by Natan, Bimbo, and Ben. At first, only Natan and Bimbo are present, and before leaving the room Natan tells Bimbo the following:
Then Ben enters and asks Bimbo about what Natan said. Bimbo does not answer Ben truthfully, but instead says that Natan went to look for cigarettes.
In this scenario, the following exchange between two observers, LT and AM, is felicitous and was actually observed in our fieldwork:
In (50), both LT’s question and AM’s answer contain walas ‘tell’ followed by negation. The truth of (50b) in this scenario argues against the bisentential analysis since it predicts that (50b) will be understood as a conjunction or juxtaposition of two sentences. Only the first of these sentences would be negated, and the meaning of this statement would be roughly Natan did not talk to Bimbo. The second would have the positive meaning Natan said he went to look for cigarettes, which is also predicted to be false in the scenario. Only the monosentential analysis predicts AM’s utterance to be felicitous because negation can then take scope over both clauses in (50b). The same reasoning also applies to the question (50a): Based on the monosentential analysis, the question should be interpreted as Did Natan not talk to Bimbo?, and it would therefore be answered negatively. Furthermore, the putative second sentence that makes up (50b) would be the claim Natan said he went to look for cigarettes, which is false in the scenario. The felicity of the positive response atab in (50b) argues, therefore, that the question is not interpreted as the bisentential theory predicts, but receives a wide-scope negation interpretation that is only consistent with the monosentential analysis. We confirmed these intuitions with informants and in an experiment (reported in the appendix) with 10 additional Teiwa speakers using six different items.
A second diagnostic for a complex monosentential structure which is widely used in language acquisition (e.g., de Villiers 1995) involves long constituent questions. When the interrogative word remains in situ, the distinction between a long monosentential interpretation and a bisentential, short-question interpretation is only semantic. A relevant long question in Teiwa would be (51), where the interrogative ita’a ‘where’ occurs in a sentence with an integrated wa and the attitude verb om.
While the distinction between the two readings in (51) is rather subtle, a clearer distinction arises in (52), which must be interpreted as double embedding. Such interpretation is forced by the second wa: it cannot be integrated because its subject is Natan, not Bimbo. Teiwa speakers prefer the structure in (51) which suggests that the complementizer wa is left out if it is followed by the speech verb wa.
Different answers for question (52) are predicted in the scenario where Bimbo is misinformed about what Natan believes. For example, Bimbo believes that Natan thinks the betelnut is in the basket, but Natan actually thinks it’s in the box. In this scenario, the bisentential analysis predicts the answer in the box, but the monosentential analysis predicts in the basket. According to our primary consultants, the prediction of the monosentential analysis is correct. We successfully confirmed this judgment in an experiment with 6 different items and 10 additional Teiwa speakers reported in the supplement as Experiment 6.
Teiwa prohibitives were introduced in 4.2.4. We argue that prohibitive provides additional evidence for the monosentential analysis of integrated wa. Consider the example in (53). The monosentential analysis predicts (53) to express a prohibition to tell the content following wa as in the English translation provided for (53). But the bisentential analysis predicts that the prohibitive should only take scope over the first verb, and the predicted interpretation should correspond to the paraphrase Do not talk to Ben, but say that I hid his lighter. According to our consultants, only the wide-scope prohibitive interpretation predicted by the monosentential analysis is available. We confirmed this judgment with 10 Teiwa speakers and report it in the appendix as Experiments 7, 8, and 9.
Polar questions provide the last scope diagnostic for distinguishing between the monosentential and bisentential analysis. Klamer (2010a: 277–278) reports that polar questions in Teiwa are not marked by word order or by a special particle. Alternative questions, such as (54a), contain the sentence final le maan ‘or not’ and expect a positive or negative answer. In the following, we use the term polar question to describe this structure and distinguish it from alternative questions formed with le ‘or’, such as (54b).
Polar questions may contain the negator maan. Importantly, the regular negator maan will immediately follow the speech verb, as in (55). The bisentential and monosentential analyses of integrated wa make different predictions for polar questions like (55). The predicted interpretations are shown in (56a) and (56b), respectively. The bisentential analysis predicts no relationship between the negator maan following the speech verb and the sentence final le maan, while the monosentential analysis allows for an interaction.
|(56)||a.||bisentential prediction: ‘Bimbo did not talk to Ben. Did he tell him to wait for Natan?’|
|b.||monosentential prediction: ‘Did Bimbo not tell Ben to wait for Natan?’|
The two accounts predict different responses to (55). In this experiment, Natan had to leave and asked Bimbo to pass a message to Ben to wait for him. In one scenario, after Ben arrived, Bimbo passed him Natan’s message truthfully. In the alternative scenario, Bimbo made up a different message. The experiment participant, who witnessed the exchange, was then quizzed about what happened with sentences such as (55).
The bisentential account predicts (55) to be odd since it consists of a false assertion followed by a question inconsistent with that assertion. The prediction of the monosentential analysis depends on one additional factor: the way negative polar questions are answered in Teiwa. Well-studied languages like English and Japanese differ with respect to this property (Kuno 1973): In response to the question Isn’t John running?, the English positive response yes entails that John is running. But the Japanese positive response hai entails that he is not running, and the negative iie must be used if John is actually running.
Our evidence indicates that Teiwa behaves like Japanese: In response to (55) in the scenario introduced above, the answer maan ‘no’ is the appropriate one. Again, we collected two types of data to corroborate this empirical claim: we constructed sentences that present (55) in the scenario mentioned above and tested them experimentally with 10 subjects (age-range: 16–65 years; mean age: 37). The design and results are reported in the appendix as Experiment 6 and confirmed that, indeed, maan ‘no’ is the felicitous response in the critical scenario and it is predicted by the monosentential analysis.
We established a contrast between the speech verb wa and complementizer occurrences of wa following other speech verbs: the speech verb wa can be combined directly with a finite clause complement, as in (57a). Other speech verbs can also embed finite clauses, but Teiwa speakers prefer them to be linked with the agreeing complementizer wa, as in (57b). In both cases, wa is prosodically integrated with the rest of the sentence, but only the complementizer wa may undergo phonological reduction for some speakers. Unlike the speech verb wa, the complementizer is not compatible with aspect or negation and must agree with the subject of the main verb.
|(57)||a.||S waspeech.verb [speech.report]complement|
|b.||S speech.verb [AGRswacomplementizer [speech.report]]complement|
Semantic integration of the complement clause was demonstrated using a number of tests, including (i) the scope of negation, (ii) the scope of constituent questions, (iii) the scope of prohibitives, and (iv) the scope of polar question markers. The traditional analysis of speech and attitude reports assumes that a speech verb V and a finite clause CP stand in verb-complement relation in the syntax and in predicate-argument relation in the semantics (Hintikka 1962, and others). More recent proposals suggest neither a syntactic verb-complement relation nor a semantic predicate-argument relation have been obtained between V and CP (Aboh 2005; Arsenijević 2009; Kastner 2015; Moulton 2015; Elliott 2017).
Our conclusion is that complementation can exist independently of complementizer morphemes (see also Kastner et al. 2014). Finally, our paper has implications for the discussion of complementizers and complementation in historical linguistics. In Section 3 we compared Teiwa with languages such as Old Babylonian, Nanti, and Lukubusu, and argued that wa may be in an early stage of complementizer development, but complementation precedes this development in Teiwa.
The presence of embedding in the Teiwa cases opens a new perspective on the discussion of structures in Akkadian and also Pirahã (Everett 2005) where parataxis has been proposed. For Akkadian, the types of evidence we discussed in Section 4.2 are likely to never be available (clearly so for prosodic evidence). For Pirahã, Sauerland (2017; 2018) shows using a similar experimental designs that Pirahã speakers treat speech reports as semantically integrated with the speech verb and subordinated. Sauerland (2017) shows that Pirahã clause linker sai shows pitch differentiation of its conditional and nominalizing usage. Pirahã like Mohawk (Mithun 2009) represents a type of sentence integration detectable only at the semantic and prosodic level, which has to precede all subsequent stages of grammaticalization.15
Semantic (SEM) and prosodic (PROS) integration is the necessary condition that allows for other grammatical signals of integration to develop. During the grammaticalization polysemy and marking of subjects (i.e. subject agreement, AGR) gradually disappears. Table 4 schematically represents the attested stages of this process.
|linking type||SEMantics + PROSody||SEM + PROS + AGR||SEM + PROS + no AGR|
|quotative only||Old Akkadian|
|speech verb COMP||Old Babylonian|
|speech verb COMP||Lukubusu||Middle Babylonian|
|and many others|
The additional files for this article can be found as follows:
1Data we collected during our fieldwork are contained in a Toolbox format corpus file appended to this paper. The example IDs refer to the text reference IDs used in the corpus. A short description of the file naming system can be found in Supplement 2.
2One reviewer raised the question of whether forms such as a in (1) should be described as pronoun or clitic. For our main argument this question is irrelevant and it is only important that the same form is used in (1) and in an independent sentence like (2b). We use the term pronoun for two reasons: to follow Klamer (2010a) and because the impersonal pronoun hala can occur in this position (see (30b) below). Hala is bisyllabic, can bear stress, and in object position is followed by agreement, and therefore not a clitic. Note furthermore that other pronouns such as a do not undergo reduction in rapid speech, even when the second syllable of the sequence a wa does for some speakers (further details in Section 4.2.5).
3We did not investigate this construction further because we were not aware of its existence in 2008 when we conducted our fieldwork. It is not used in speech and attitude reports.
4The motion verb wa ‘go’ is compatible with the realis and may be the source of the speech verb wa ‘say’, in the same way as the English go is to a marker of speech reports in colloquial speech (Butters 1980; Cukor-Avila 2002). While there are virtually no cognates for the Teiwa wa ‘say’ in the Alor-Pantar languages, several can be identified for the Teiwa motion verb wa ‘go’: Tubbe wa ‘go (to close places)’ (Holton & Lamma Koly 2008), Abui we ‘go, leave, go away’ (Kratochvíl & Delpada 2008), Kamang we ‘go’ (Schapper & Manimau 2011), and Sawila we ‘leave, depart’ (Kratochvíl et al. 2014). In the cited languages the initial *w correspondence is regular.
5For one exception, see (45) below.
6In the Bantuist tradition the numbers indicate noun classes. Odd numbers indicate singular, even ones plural. The labels S and O mark subject and object.
7Deutscher (2000: 70) gives a number of arguments for umma coming ultimately from the verb ‘say’. However, such etymology is only putative.
8Question melody differs across languages, but researchers have claimed that some element of high pitch, absent from the corresponding statements, is widespread. Perhaps the most common implementation is the terminal high boundary tone (H%) (Van Heuven & Van Zanten 2005: p. 88)
10Klamer (2010a: 369, 386) shows, furthermore, that liin ‘invite’, soi ‘order’, and taxani ‘inquire’ combine with speech report clauses but does not state whether those can be linked with wa.
11Klamer (2010a: 94) discusses om only as a noun within what she describes as phrasal verbs. Other experiencer verbs can be formed with om followed by an adjective or verb (Klamer 2010a: 94–95). But, the adjective in (ia) exhibits no agreement, and the verb in (ib) exhibits third person agreement while (29) shows that the subjects of wa and om agree.
12Both sentence boundaries and intonation have also been found to be relevant in determining turn units in conversation analysis (Sacks et al. 1974).
13In their cross-linguistic work, Hale & Selkirk (1987) point out that languages vary with respect to the prosodic phrasing of function words such as complementizers, and this variation is not fully determined by syntactic structure (see also Truckenbrodt 1999). If the monosentential analysis is correct, phrasing in Teiwa would need to be analyzed in a similar way as Kwakiutl (cf. Boas 1911) and other languages where the functional heads are always phrased with a preceding head.
14Other scopal phenomena, such as the scope of universal quantifiers, provide less conclusive evidence because of the phenomenon of telescoping (Poesio & Zucchi 1992). But telescoping does not challenge the claim that intersentential composition is always dynamic coordination, if Poesio & Zucchi (1992) are correct in their argument that telescoping involves silent universal quantifiers.
15Also English and Teiwa permit such juxtapositional subordination, but also allow other options.
The following glosses diverge from the Leipzig Glossing Rules or from Klamer (2010a) and Deutscher (2000): APPL = applicative, CONT = continuative, DEM = demonstrative, DIST = distal, EXCL = exclusive, FOC = focus marker, INCL = inclusive, IND = Indonesian loan, NEG = negator, NOM = nominative, PART = particle ma in Old Babylonian, PL = plural, PRF = perfective, PRSP = prospective, REAL = realis, SG = singular, SEQ = sequential marker, SIM = simultaneous marker, and SUB = subordinative form of the verb (Old Babylonian).
We are very grateful to Marian Klamer that she so generously supported our effort to test and further explore her results and analysis. We also thank Lorens Titing for his excellent technical support of our fieldwork and the transcription of the Teiwa data, to Barnabas Titing and his family for their hospitality and to Amos Sir for organizational and spiritual help, and Philipp Luczok for help with some transcriptions. For comments at presentations of this material we thank the audience at the CHLaSC final conference in Berlin 2009. Finally, we thank the three reviewers of Glossa as well as Johan Rooryck as our editor for their help in getting this paper into its present shape.
The fieldwork was supported by the European Community under the ‘New and Emerging Science and Technologies’ Programme (NEST-PATH-HUM), grant 028395. The completion of the paper was in part supported by Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) grant 01UG1411, the DFG grants SA 925/1-4 and SA 925/11-1 and the ERDF grant Sinophone Borderlands: Interactions at the Edges (CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_019/0000791).
The authors have no competing interests to declare.
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