Like most (all?) Songhay languages, Kwarandzie has two sets of 3rd person pronouns: in this case, they are a (sg.) / i (pl.) vs. ana / ini. In southern Songhay (eg Koyra Chiini, the longer set are used as logophors - that is, used to refer back to the speaker in reported speech. This is not the case in Kwarandzie, though.
ana/ini are obligatory in pre-sentential topic and focus position (including when followed by a preposition), while a/i are obligatory for possessors:
ana (*a) a e-kka. ghi "it's him that hit me."
ini (*i) i-bbey ibbagen "them, they know tales."
an (*anan) kembi "his hand"
But in normal object position, either set can occur:
e-ggwa / e-ggwana "he saw him"
After much checking, I still have no idea what factors drive the selection of one or the other in this position. These are not used, Algonquian-style, for tracking two distinct referents: ²e-gga.r.ana ²e-kka.r.a "I found him and hit him" can as easily refer to hitting the same person as to two different objects.
So it's not logophoricity (much less reflexives), it's not an obviative or a switch-reference system, it's not related to politeness or gender... can anyone think of another possibility for me to check before I leave?
Still in China
7 hours ago