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Regular version of the site

Article

Verb classes in Adyghe: Derivational vs. nonderivational criteria

Linguistics. 2013. Vol. 51. No. 4. P. 729-766.

In my paper, two approaches to verb classification in Adyghe, a language of the West Caucasian family, are discussed. The first approach is a purely morphological classification based on the choice of person cross-referencing prefixes. The second one is a derivational classification which builds on the morphological mechanisms of reciprocalization and reflexivization. The main research question which lies behind the classification study is whether verbs derived by means of the reciprocal or reflexive marker  behave in the course of further valency-changing operations differently from nonderived verbs.

I show that verb classification in Adyghe has some typologically peculiar properties, the main one being that the derivational classification distinguishes more specific classes than the purely morphological one. In other words, the fact that a verb is derived is crucial for its behavior. The language-specific properties of Adyghe are also typologically relevant. They show that derived verbs and derivational mechanisms are of particular relevance in verb classification and should be given more attention in linguistic work on verb classification than is currently done.