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Working paper

Two-faced subordination marker in West Circassian necessity constructions

Linguistics. WP BRP. НИУ ВШЭ, 2015. No. 38/LNG/2015.
Lander Yu., Bagirokova I.
This paper describes the behavior of a subordination marker ‑n in the modal necessity constructions in West Circassian, a polysynthetic language belonging to the Northwest Caucasian family. We show that ‑n functions as a simple suffix in the non-epistemic construction and as a phrasal affix in the epistemic construction. Hence, this morpheme violates the principle according to which the formal characteristics of a linguistic element should remain the same in different contexts of its use. This violation is explained by the difference in the semantic contribution of the suffix under discussion in different patterns and by the typological specifics of West Circassian, which allows its speakers to operate with the morphemes more freely.