Valency Classes in Eastern Armenian
Our data come from the Eastern Armenian National Corpus (www.eanc.net), an open electronic resource including over 100 million word tokens and covering Eastern Armenian from the moment of its standardization (early 19th century) to the present. Naturalistic examples, however, are often lengthy and contain a lot of irrelevant data. For the sake of simplicity many examples cited below are constructed, based on one of the authors’ native knowledge. For most of these constructed examples, parallel naturalistic examples may be found in the online valency database (valpal.info) to which this volume is a sister project. When naturalistic, examples are marked as EANC, additionally indicating whether they come from translated fiction, newspaper or original fiction (the name of the author is given in the latter case). Examples are given both in the Armenian script and in the transliteration which is close to the traditional Latin transliteration of Armenian (Hübschmann-Meillet) but is slightly modified to better match IPA. The paper is structured as follows. Section 2 provides a general overview of Eastern Armenian morphosyntax. Section 3 is a discussion of transitivity issues and the two transitivity changing derivations, the mediopassive and the causative, the only marked valency alternations existing in Eastern Armenian. The question of whether Eastern Armenian is primarily a transitivizing or detransitivizing language in terms of Nichols et al. (2004) is briefly addressed. Section 4 covers unmarked alternations, including reciprocal, object omission, contentive-locative and the most unusual of all, the proprietive (ablative-genitive) alternation, showing alternative construals of the same inanimate participant as the Source or (retrospective) Possessor. Section 5 introduces the notion of extended valencies: semantic roles that represent identical participants and are marked in the same way with all verbs but that that are optional with some verbs while obligatory with other verbs. Using this notion helps to establish connections between verb classes that are different only in the degree to which the participant is integrated into the respective situation (cf. Beneficiary with ‘build (for)’ vs. ‘send (to)’ vs. ‘give to’). Finally, Section 6, building on the data on case frames (e.g. dative verbs or transitive verbs) and alternations available for specific verbs (first of all availability of marked alternations), groups them into classes of common morphosyntactic behavior to produce a valency-based classification of Eastern Armenian verbs. Section 7 is a brief summary of the paper.