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From body to space and time: Hausa gaba and baya

Abstract : It is common in languages of the world to have grammatical words deriving from lexical words, and more precisely adverbs and prepositions deriving from names of body parts. Hausa is no exception. If we have a look at prepositions, Hausa has few " true " prepositions: à('in, at on'), ì/yì/wà, 'relatively to', gà 'at', dà 'with', dàgà 'from', bìsà'on' Pseudo-prepositions are then derived from names of body parts, like gàban 'in front of', baayan 'behind', cikin inside',(à) gindin 'at the bottom of', derived respectively from gàbaa 'the chest'; baayaa 'the back'; cikìì 'the inside, the stomach' and gindìì, 'the buttocks'. In this paper, we study the semantic variations that characterize and account for the use of two lexical notions: baayaa, 'the back' and gàbaa, (i) 'the chest, the front of body of person or animal', or (ii) (euphemism) 'male or female genital organs' in different parts of Hausa grammar, and link those observations with cognitive considerations. From baayaa (m.) are derived baaya (adv.) : 'behind, backwards'; baayan (prép. & conj.) (i) : 'after' ; (ii) (euphemism) 'female or male sexual organs'. From gàbaa (m.) are derived : gàba (adv.) : 'in front, forward, ahead' ; gàban (prép.) : (i) 'in front of, before' (ii) 'beyond, on the other side of'.
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Contributor : Bernard Caron <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, November 30, 2011 - 2:47:18 PM
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Bernard Caron. From body to space and time: Hausa gaba and baya. Petr Zima et Veronika Tax. Language and Location in Space and Time, Lincom Europa, Münich, pp.36-44, 1998. ⟨halshs-00644910⟩



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