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Article

Subject pronoun doubling in Agul: Spoken corpus data on a rare discourse pattern

Studies in Language. 2016. Vol. 40. No. 4. P. 955-987.

The paper describes the doubling of free personal pronouns in Agul, an East Caucasian language spoken in Daghestan, Russia. The doubling construction consists of a subject pronoun in the canonical preverbal position, paired with an identical instance of the same pronoun immediately following the verb. The first pronoun is usually adjacent to the “verb–pronoun” combination, though it can optionally be separated by another constituent. In the oral corpus consulted for the analysis, the construction is found most often with the primary verb of speech in clauses introducing a quote (e.g. ‘I said I, …’). I argue that the doubling pattern originated as the conflation of a preverbal subject with a very frequent “verb–subject” word order used with highly topical referents. The function of the doubling construction is therefore postulated to draw additional attention to the referent. A brief comparison of Agul doubling and related phenomena in other languages (e.g. person agreement and clitic doubling) is also offered.