On the development of the verb infinitive phrase in Yoruba


  • Yiwola Awoyale


complementation, Yoruba, Kwa, HTS construction


This paper will concentrate on a type of verb complement structure referred to as the HTS construction in Yoruba, essentially to show four points: a. that it is an older form of the verb-infinitive phrase in Yoruba, out of which the infinitival gerunds, the a-ti complements, and (by a historical change) the serial verbal constructions originate; b. that the HTS construction is different from (and should not be confused with) the infinitival gerunds, since they are demonstrably distinct constructions; the infinitival gerunds which do not have HTS equivalents number in the hundreds, far too many to be exceptions; c. that the HTS constructions show Yoruba to be related to neighboring Kwa languages like Igbo, Itsekiri and Efik. Furthermore, the serial verb constructions will be shown to be far more productive and economical than the HTS constructions, the infinitival gerunds, and the a-ti complements; hence the former's gradual replacement of the latter, probably to suggest a direction of change (from relative complexity to relative simplicity and productivity); and lastly d. that it will become necessary to modify a portion of the orthography of the language to accomodate these new facts.