The article discusses gender agreement alternation in Aqusha Dargwa (Nakh-Daghestanian, the Caucasus, Russian Federation). The phenomenon is observed in periphrastic verbal forms with transitive verbs where gender agreement on the auxiliary can show the gender features of either the ergative subject or the absolutive direct object. Considering existing analyses of the phenomenon in terms of information structure, I argue that agreement alternation cannot be captured by sentence-topic-oriented accounts. I also discuss a structural proposal developed by Sumbatova and Lander (2014) and show that their analysis cannot be maintained in full. Instead, I propose a modified analysis according to which only subject agreement, but not object agreement, results from a cross-clausal referential dependency between the ergative subject of the lexical verb and the absolutive subject of the matrix restructuring verb. On this view, agreement alternation may be assimilated to the familiar distinction between ergative and biabsolutive constructions found elsewhere in Nakh-Daghestanian.
This paper describes the semantic and morphosyntactic properties of general converb constructions in Andi, a language of the Avar-Andic group of the East Caucasian language family. There are two general converbs in Andi, both of which are homophonous with a finite verb form (the aorist and the perfect, respectively). Each converb has a particular contextual meaning (manner and cause for the perfect converb, and means in the case of the aorist converb), while both can be used interchangeably to indicate the first stage of a complex event. The two constructions seem to be diachronically related, the aorist converbial construction being secondary and morphosyntactically more constrained. The aim of this paper is to describe and compare these two partially competing constructions in view of how similar forms are used in closely related languages.
The paper presents a description and an analysis of the nominal complex, a peculiar construction which includes a noun and its modifiers, in West Circassian, a polysynthetic language of the Northwest Caucasian family. The nominal complex shows properties of a single word and tends to follow the template proposed for the word in West Circassian. However, its parts may themselves have a complex structure based on a similar template. This is argued to result from a principle that requires these subparts to be interpreted without appealing to a broader morphological context. In addition, the nominal complex may contain complex syntactic constituents as its proper parts. It is shown that the nominal complex in West Circassian is currently undergoing demorphologization and syntacticization.
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.
This paper provides evidence for Evans’ (2007) insubordination hypothesis w.r.t. wh-exclamatives. It investigates word order in matrix wh-exclamatives and their subordinate correlates and tests matrix-subordinate asymmetry (the felicitousness of wh-words in matrix and subordinate contexts). It establishes distinctions among three groups of wh-exclamatives. Group 1 comprises qualitative and quantitative wh-exclamatives, which together seem to be a basic cross-linguistic wh-exclamative pattern. The qualitative variety demonstrates several strategies of using wh-words, some of which are exclamative-only and/or are sensitive to ellipsis of a gradable adjective/adverb. Group 2 implies the semantic hierarchy w.r.t. the felicitousness of wh-words in matrix exclamatives: ‘what’/‘who’/‘where’>‘when’>‘why’. Group 3 includes ‘which’, ‘what kind’, ‘how’ (manner) exclamatives. Unlike Groups 1 and 3, Group 2 is subject to cross-linguistic variation w.r.t. matrix-subordinate asymmetry. The paper suggests partial overlap between the established classification of wh-exclamatives and the classification developed by Nouwen and Chernilovskaya (2015) and have implications for an exclamative sentence type.