A Functional Analysis Atĩ And Its Variants (Atĩrĩrĩ And Atĩrĩ) As Complementisers And Various Discourse Markers
Complementisers are important categories for linguistic theories in description of syntactic structures. In generative grammar theories, the complementiser phrase is an indispensable functional category. Gĩkũyũ, a Bantu language of Kenya, has a ubiquitous complementiser, atĩ /ate/ ‘that’, and its variants atĩrĩrĩ /aterere/ and atĩrĩ /atere/. This paper demonstrates that besides having a complementiser function, atĩ is an evidential and dubitative marker, a hearsay marker and a discourse filler. It also has an echoic usage. Its related discourse particles, atĩrĩrĩ and atĩrĩ are quotative markers; they have information-structuring and deictic functions. This paper bases its analysis on Role and Reference Grammar. It shows that investigating atĩ beyond its syntactic complementiser function reveals a holistic view of its other functions and those of its related particles. It also brings to light the interaction of linguistic domains involved in its occurrence in Gĩkũyũ grammar.
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