• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Working paper

Inflectional rules differentiation and its discourse function

The Differential grammatical marking is a widely discussed topic in linguistic typology. Following works of Comrie [Comrie, 1981], Silverstein [Silverstein, 1976], Aissen [Aissen, 2003] and others there is a general assumption that the differential encoding can be accounting for by the markedness principles and that it is affected by pragmatic/discourse scales reflecting the degree of a NP/DP’s “salience”. In present work, the phenomenon of differential encoding is viewed in terms of a paradigm choice. The main question is what pragmatic factors trigger differentiation vs. assimilation of paradigms. There is a typological evidence for the following tendency: the high position of an argument on the referential scale leads to the differentiation of intransitive vs. transitive verbs encoding, while the focus position of an argument leads to the assimilation of paradigms. The Moksha (Mordvin, Finno-Ugric) data can serve as an additional evidence for such approach. There are two conjugation types for verbs in Moksha. One is for intransitive verbs and the other is for transitive verbs. However, the choice of paradigm for transitive verbs depends on certain pragmatic conditions. The referential scale in general goes in hand with the information status scale. We can reformulate the tendency as follows: topicality affects the differentiation of paradigms (a separate encoding for a transitive verb in contrast to an intransitive one is chosen) while focus position of an NP/DP often leads to paradigm assimilation (the transitive verbs are marked with the same set of affixes as intransitive ones). Thus, the main claim of present work is that the paradigm choice can be a device for information status encoding.