On the properties of Emai's khi copula construction


  • Ronald P. Schaefer
  • Francis O. Egbokhare


Emai, Edoid, equational identity constructions


This paper examines the equational identity (El) construction in Nigeria's Edoid language Emai. It weighs this construction's grammatical properties against a complex of equational identity patterns developed in the crosslinguistic investigations of Stassen (1997). Although EI properties reveal its functional heritage, they fail to conform fully to Stassen's findings. While EI noun phrases are sensitive to information structure and definiteness values, the construction as a whole fails to exhibit crucial features. It evinces no third person limitation, manifests limited predicational structure, and demonstrates compatibility with a restricted range of temporal categories, although not indicative tense/aspect. It is the last of these that highlights the EI construction's obligatory subjunctive marking and its non-deictic temporal character.