Subordinate Clauses

Subordinate clauses are marked in Songhay by the word kaŋ. Note that kaŋ is also used to mark relative clauses (see ).

       (1) aɪ ga   tam:aha kaŋ  arò:    ɕi  ne
           I  IMPV think   that man.DEF NEG here
           "I think that the man is not here."

       (2) aɪ ga   beɪ  kaŋ  arò:    go: ne
           I  IMPV know that man.DEF ASP here
           "I know that the man is here."

       (3) bimmo   ne  seɪdu  ɕe  kaŋ  a   koɪ bitiɟò:   ra
           Ibrahim say Seydou DAT that 3SG go  store.DEF to
           "Ibrahim told Seydou that s/he went to the store."

If the embedded clause is subjunctive, the marker ma is used. In these situations, kaŋ is not used.

       (4) aɪ ga   ba   (*kaŋ) aɪ ma   takulà:  ŋa
           I  IMPV want  that  I  SBJV cake.DEF eat
           "I want to eat the cake (I want that I eat cake)."

       (5) sara ga  ba   (*kaŋ) bimmo    ma   koɪ bitiɟò:   ra
           Sara ASP want  that  Ibrahim  SBJV go  store.DEF to

Embedded yes-no questions are marked by the usual question marker wala, which occurs on the left edge of the embedded clause. This is in contrast with matrix questions such as (5), in which the question marker wala occurs at the right edge of the clause.


       (6) n   di: haɪlà:  bi        wala?
           you see cat.DEF yesterday Q
           "Did you see a cat yesterday?"

       (7) bimmo   na  seɪdu  ha  wala ŋɡa ma   koɪ bitiɟò:   ra 
           Ibrahim PRF Seydou ask Q    he  SUBJ go  store.DEF to
           "Ibrahim asked Seydou if he (Ibrahim) should go to the store."

Songhay also allows embedded Wh-questions.

       (8) aɪ ga    beɪ  meɪ no  ka  ɟeɪson wi
           I  IMPRV know who FOC PRF Jason  kill
           "I know who killed Jason."
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