Variability in noun classes assignment in Zilo Andi: experimental data
The volume includes chapters devoted to various aspects of Caucasian languages.
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.
Mehweb Dargwa features a particle gwa, a peculiar element which is basically used for emphasizing the assertion. The paper explores some grammatical characteristics of this particle. It is shown that, in both verbal and non-verbal clauses, gwa serves as a predicative marker forming a complete predication and is an equivalent of a copula (even though, unlike the neutral copula in Mehweb, it lacks inflection). Similarly to typical East Caucasian predicative markers, gwa may occur in different positions, though its place is syntactically constrained (e.g., it cannot be embedded within syntactic islands). Still, Mehweb speakers allow gwa not to be adjoined to either the predicate or the focus. This makes the distribution of the particle surprising as compared with similar predicative markers in well-described East Caucasian languages, where they may either occur on the predicate or immediately follow the focused element.
This book is an investigation into the grammar of Mehweb (Dargwa, East Caucasian also known as Nakh-Daghestanian) based on several years of team fieldwork. Mehweb is spoken in one village community in Daghestan, Russia, with a population of some 800 people, In many ways, Mehweb is a typical East Caucasian language: it has a rich inventory of consonants; an extensive system of spatial forms in nouns and converbs and volitional forms in verbs; pervasive gender-number agreement; and ergative alignment in case marking and in gender agreement. It is also a typical language of the Dargwa branch, with symmetrical verb inflection in the imperfective and perfective paradigm and extensive use of spatial encoding for experiencers. Although Mehweb is clearly close to the northern varieties of Dargwa, it has been long isolated from the main body of Dargwa varieties by speakers of Avar and Lak. As a result of both independent internal evolution and contact with its neighbours, Mehweb developed some deviant properties, including accusatively aligned egophoric agreement, a split in the feminine class, and the typologically rare grammatical categories of verificative and apprehensive. But most importantly, Mehweb is where our friends live.
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.
Udi (East Caucasian) possesses several means of expressing the meaning ‘other’, namely (i) the combination of a (usually distal) demonstrative with a numeral (usually ‘one’), arguably calqued from Azerbaijani, (ii) the expression originating from a combination of a demonstrative with the noun ‘arm, side’ and (iii) borrowed adjectives. It is shown that the morphological properties of some of these expressions suggest a kind of grammaticalization. The semantic differences between the expressions mostly fit into the contrast between the types of ‘other’ expressions proposed by Cinque (2015), but also display additional remarkable contrasts.
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.