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.
In this paper, I consider double causatives in Mehweb, a one village language spoken in Daghestan, Russia, and belonging to the Dargwa branch of East Caucasian. The capability of stacking two causative suffixes seems to be lexically restricted, and mapping onto verbal meanings that are typically P-labile in the languages of the family. Interestingly, the verbs allowing double causatives are not morphosyntactically labile in Mehweb, which is generally poor in labile verbs as compared to sister languages. I conclude that the ability to form double causatives is not a consequence of the morphosyntactic property of being labile; rather, both morphosyntactic properties follow from the same component of the lexical semantics of these verbs and ultimately from the properties of the situational concepts they convey. As a tentative functional explanation I suggest that the relevant property is the weakened status of the agentive participant.
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.