The Caucasus is the place with the greatest linguistic variation in Europe. The present volume explores this variation within the tense, aspect, mood, and evidentiality systems in the languages of the North-East Caucasian (or Nakh-Daghestanian) family. The papers of the volume cover the most challenging and typologically interesting features such as aspect and the complicated interaction of aspectual oppositions expressed by stem allomorphy and inflectional paradigms, grammaticalized evidentiality and mirativity, and the semantics of rare verbal categories such as the deliberative (‘May I go?’), the noncurative (‘Let him go, I don’t care’), different types of habituals (gnomic, qualitative, non-generic), and perfective tenses (aorist, perfect, resultative). The book offers an overview of these features in order to gain a broader picture of the verbal semantics covering the whole North-East Caucasian family. At the same time it provides in-depth studies of the most fascinating phenomena.
The volume presents several papers on Mehweb, a one-village language spoken in the central part of Daghestan, a republic of the Russian Federation.
Andi, Botlikh and Avar mostly use native ‘time’ nouns to form temporal subordinate clauses. In Andi and Botlikh the cognate nouns rihi and rihu // riw are morphologising towards temporal converb markers, however in Avar, there is no such development. meχ and other nouns in temporal expressions in Avar more frequently appear in ergative, but only zaman appears more frequently in locative. In temporal subordinate clauses with a participle this difference disappears. Possibly zaman + locative is contact-induced through (Kipchak). Turkic languages spoken in the area though this requires further investigation.
The paper considers the grammatical expression of information source with past tense forms of the verb in the Nakh-Daghestanian languages. These languages are spoken on a relatively compact territory in the North Caucasus and, partly, in the Transcaucasian area. The area is part of a larger area ranging from the Balkan Peninsula to Central Asia, which includes the Caucasus, and where similar verb forms used to express information source are found. It is considered plausible that these forms arose as the result of language contact with Turkic, and for some languages (e.g. Armenian, Georgian), this is confirmed. The paper compares the characteristics of these forms in the Nakh-Daghestanian language family based on descriptive grammars, and illustrates their genetic and areal distribution on a map. I will show that the areal vs. genetic distribution is not trivial. There are three distinct zones within the territory of the Nakh-Daghestanian languages: more grammaticalized forms are attested in the nortwestern region, partly grammaticalized forms are dominant in the central region, and in the southern area the feature is absent. It is currently impossible to establish how these forms appeared in the Nakh-Daghestanian languages, through contact with which Turkic language exactly, and how this process took place. However, the distribution outlined in this article indicates that language contact played a role in their dissemination.
The paper discusses patterns of person agreement in Mehweb Dargwa. The focus of the paper is constructions with dative subjects where person agreement can be controlled by neither the dative subject or absolutive direct object. This constitutes a violation of Bobaljik’s conjecture about the role of morphological case in agreement. The paper shows that person agreement in dative subject constructions is possible only under condition that both the dative and absolutive NPs are first person arguments.
The current paper deals with the grammatical means of sentential actants expression in Mehweb dialect of Dargi (Nakh-Dagestanian language family). The research is also focused on the possibilities for case-marking of logical subject and distant class agreement.
This chapter deals with perfect forms of the verb in Avar and Andi, two East Caucasian languages. The presence of an ergative agent is shown to be an important parameter in distinguishing resultative constructions from resultative perfects in these languages. This distinction is relevant to determine whether current relevance meanings of the perfect are at all represented in these languages, alongside resultative proper and evidential usages. Based on elicitation as well as corpus data, this study shows that the Avar perfect represents a highly polysemic verb form that combines resultative proper, current relevance and indirect evidentiality, while its Andi counterpart shows a more advanced stage of grammaticalization of the indirect evidential meaning.