Chapter 12. The perfect in Avar and Andi: Cross-linguistic variation among two closely-related East Caucasian languages
This chapter deals with perfect forms of the verb in Avar and Andi, two East Caucasian languages. The presence of an ergative agent is shown to be an important parameter in distinguishing resultative constructions from resultative perfects in these languages. This distinction is relevant to determine whether current relevance meanings of the perfect are at all represented in these languages, alongside resultative proper and evidential usages. Based on elicitation as well as corpus data, this study shows that the Avar perfect represents a highly polysemic verb form that combines resultative proper, current relevance and indirect evidentiality, while its Andi counterpart shows a more advanced stage of grammaticalization of the indirect evidential meaning.
The paper considers the grammatical expression of information source with past tense forms of the verb in the Nakh-Daghestanian languages. These languages are spoken on a relatively compact territory in the North Caucasus and, partly, in the Transcaucasian area. The area is part of a larger area ranging from the Balkan Peninsula to Central Asia, which includes the Caucasus, and where similar verb forms used to express information source are found. It is considered plausible that these forms arose as the result of language contact with Turkic, and for some languages (e.g. Armenian, Georgian), this is confirmed. The paper compares the characteristics of these forms in the Nakh-Daghestanian language family based on descriptive grammars, and illustrates their genetic and areal distribution on a map. I will show that the areal vs. genetic distribution is not trivial. There are three distinct zones within the territory of the Nakh-Daghestanian languages: more grammaticalized forms are attested in the nortwestern region, partly grammaticalized forms are dominant in the central region, and in the southern area the feature is absent. It is currently impossible to establish how these forms appeared in the Nakh-Daghestanian languages, through contact with which Turkic language exactly, and how this process took place. However, the distribution outlined in this article indicates that language contact played a role in their dissemination.
After an introductory chapter that provides an overview to theoretical issues in tense, aspect, modality and evidentiality, this volume presents a variety of original contributions that are firmly empirically-grounded based on elicited or corpus data, while adopting different theoretical frameworks. Thus, some chapters rely on large diachronic corpora and provide new qualitative insight on the evolution of TAM systems through quantitative methods, while others carry out a collostructional analysis of past-tensed verbs using inferential statistics to explore the lexical grammar of verbs. A common goal is to uncover semantic regularities and variation in the TAM systems of the languages under study by taking a close look at context. Such a fine-grained approach contributes to our understanding of the TAM systems from a typological perspective. The focus on well-known Indo-European languages (e.g. French, German, English, Spanish) and also on less commonly studied languages (e.g. Hungarian, Estonian, Avar, Andi, Tagalog) provides a valuable cross-linguistic perspective.
The paper considers the less known aspects in the functioning of Russian lexical “xeno” markers, in particular, of the particle jakoby ‘allegedly, ostensibly’. Traditionally described as expressing the falsity of a proposition contained in somebody’s utterance, in conjunction with a negative assessment of the utterer as aware of its falsity, jakoby displays very different usages in the language of contemporary mass media. Namely, it is frequently used as a mere marker of evidentiality, without an obligatory assessment of the proposition as false or of its source as untruthful. In fact, it can even be used to refer to statements that are treated as true within the very same text, only to indicate that the source of this information is not the writer herself but somebody else (e.g., a different news agency), in what might be termed as “safety” strategy. Besides, jakoby in its mass media usages demonstrates unusual syntactic behaviors, namely shifts in scope, where it is placed before the speech verb rather than before the challenged proposition: jakoby utverzhdat’, chto P ‘jakoby claim that P’ instead of utverzhdat’, chto jakoby P ‘claim that jakoby P’. However, the study of the Russian-English parallel corpus reveals that these usages are not as unusual as they may appear. In Russian translations of English texts jakoby sometimes functions as a translation of the English supposedly, allegedly, ostensibly or other (e.g., verbal) markers of uncertainty, but more frequently occurs with no apparent stimulus in the source, merely to mark indirect quotation. It appears therefore that there is a certain need in the Russian language for a neutral evidentiality marker. It is occasionally filled with jakoby, which in this case displays a tendency for grammaticalization: it expresses that the source of information is other than the speaker herself (but contains no other semantic components), and takes syntactic scope over the speech verb instead of the proposition it challenges.
The paper describes the group of perfective past tenses in Aghul (Lezgic, East Caucasian), focusing on the expression of the perfect meaning. There are four verbal forms which can express the meaning of the perfect ‘family’; at the same time, it is not obvious whether Aghul can be qualified as a language with a dedicated perfect form. All the four forms in question are periphrastic in origin, with the perfective converb or participle of the main verb and the postpositional auxiliary in the present tense. The Aorist is a typical perfective past used in narratives, although it is employed in the immediate (‘hot news’) contexts as well. The “participial” Aorist has an experiential or existential meaning, which is commonly associated with perfects. The Resultative is a polyfunctional form which expresses both perfect and resultative meanings, as well as indirect evidentiality in the past (in the latter function, it is a frequent tense used in ‘second-hand’ narratives). Finally, the “participial” Resultative has a narrower perfect meaning and introduces a currently relevant situation as already “known”, the function of the corresponding clause being explanatory or confirmatory. Thus, Aghul can be said to possess two perfect-like forms, one with a wide distribution, and another with a more narrow distribution than expected of a ‘classical’ current-relevance perfect.
Each of the four forms has a counterpart with the ‘pluperfect’ structure, including the perfective converb or participle and the auxiliary in the past. These forms express the meanings that are typical of pluperfects cross-linguistically, including the resultant state in the past, the anteriority in the past, ‘discontinuous’ past etc.
The paper is devoted to the marginal construction that appears to be a kind of hybrid of an imperative and the future perfect: the auxiliary verb has the form of the imperative mood and is used with an l-participle. The construction is semantically and structurally similar to the Slavic perfect and the Slavic future perfect, however it is attested only in some archaic translated Church Slavonic monuments represented by East Slavic copies from the 11th through the 15th centuries of South Slavic translations (these include the Catechetical Lectures of Cyril of Jerusalem and the Homily to the Entombment and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by Gregory of Antioch, as a part of the Uspensky Sbornik of the 12th–13th century) or by East Slavic translations of the Story of Ahikar. The author of the article suggests different interpretations of the grammatical state of the construction in question and describes the advantages and disadvantages of each. The following interpretations are offered: 1) regarding the construction as a tracing of the original structure, 2) regarding it as an artificial rhetorical construction, and 3) regarding it as an analytical construction with an auxiliary verb in the imperative mood and the main verb in the form of an l-participle. It seems preferable not to regard the construction as a simple calque of the original structure but rather as a particular archaic perfect imperative periphrasis. It remains unclear, however, whether it was an exclusively literary structure and was used as a possible means of translating Greek constructions with éstō or if it could be used independently.
The Caucasus is the place with the greatest linguistic variation in Europe. The present volume explores this variation within the tense, aspect, mood, and evidentiality systems in the languages of the North-East Caucasian (or Nakh-Daghestanian) family. The papers of the volume cover the most challenging and typologically interesting features such as aspect and the complicated interaction of aspectual oppositions expressed by stem allomorphy and inflectional paradigms, grammaticalized evidentiality and mirativity, and the semantics of rare verbal categories such as the deliberative (‘May I go?’), the noncurative (‘Let him go, I don’t care’), different types of habituals (gnomic, qualitative, non-generic), and perfective tenses (aorist, perfect, resultative). The book offers an overview of these features in order to gain a broader picture of the verbal semantics covering the whole North-East Caucasian family. At the same time it provides in-depth studies of the most fascinating phenomena.
The article analyzes instances of verbal l-forms used without auxiliary in Old Russian Hypatian Chronicle (13th–15th c.). Special emphasis is on the contexts where l-forms do not convey the meaning of the perfect tense. One part consists of contexts that are typical for participle predications. The other part consists of examples where the l-forms appear in typical participle contexts of the vstavъ (i) reče type. All examples where l-forms do not have the meaning of the perfect tense can be attributed either to the first or to the second group. Taking this into account, as well as the material from the dialects and other Slavic languages that include, to varying extent, adjectives going back to l-participles, it seems reasonable to assume that l-forms could function not only as a part of the compound verbal predicate, but also as a past participle -ъš-/-vъš-.
The paper focuses on the two most important perfective forms expressing past time reference in the Nizh dialect of Udi, a language of the Lezgic group of East Caucasian family. The form with the suffix -i is the most frequent in narrative texts, and can be properly characterized as the Aorist (perfective past). The form with the suffix -e is less frequent, but has a wide range of uses, including the expression of current relevance of past situations and the experiential meaning, as well as the resultative meaning (present state); on the whole, this form fits the crosslinguistic category of the perfect. There is also the Pluperfect, which is derived from the Perfect by means of the “retrospective switch” enclitic, and is semantically a “perfect in the past”. Apart from the functional differences between the Aorist and the Perfect, there is a number of morphosyntactic ones. In particular, the default position of person markers on the verb is enclitic in case of the Perfect, but endoclitic (intraclitic) in case of the Aorist. Also, there is a special negation strategy available only for the Perfect, which includes the perfective participle and the postpositional negative complex. According to the hypothesis put forward in the paper, this negation structure may at least partly disclose the origin of the Perfect form, which seems to be based on the participle. The diachronic scenarios of the Aorist and the Perfect origin and evolution are discussed in the paper, as well as the perspectives for future research of the system of past tenses in Udi.