In Bagvalal (East Caucasian), native place names show strongly reduced morphological inflection. They combine with spatial suffixes identical to those used on nouns and spatial adverbs and with attributive and plural suffixes identical to those of nominal genitive and plural and thus have mixed adverbial nominal morphology. Place names are unmarked in spatial function but marked in argument position. To occur in the latter, they require a nominal head with an abstract meaning such as ‘village’ or ‘place’. Bagvalal place names are syntactically adverbs rather than nouns. Considering syntax and morphology together, they constitute a morphosyntactic class intermediate between nouns and adverbs. Mixed properties of Bagvalal place names are functionally motivated. Place names are, first of all, locations (hence spatial inflection), but also territories associated with specific ethnic and sub-ethnic groups (hence attributive and plural inflection). I conclude by briefly reviewing evidence from some other East Caucasian languages, to show that Bagvalal is not an exception.
The paper focuses on a two aspectual morphemes in Moksha Mordvin (< Mordvin < Finno-Ugric). The first of them, the Frequentative, has four phonologically conditioned allomorphs, -ənd-, -n’ə-, -s’ə-, and -kšn’ə-. These affixes used to be sepa-rate morphemes in Proto-Finno-Ugric, but ended up as having the same meaning and being complementarily distributed. A remnant of a more archaic stage of lan-guage evolution is the Avertive marker, -əkšn’ə-, only different from one of the Fre-quentative allomorphs by one phoneme, which can hardly be a coincidence. A dia-chronic hypothesis about how iterative-avertive polyfunctionality could have arisen is suggested.