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Journal Articles Studies in Language Year : 2019

Two types of morphologically expressed non-verbal predication

Abstract

The morphological expression of non-verbal predication is a geographically widespread, although not very frequent, typological feature. This paper highlights the existence of two radically contrasting types of non-verbal predicative inflection. Construction A has already been described in the literature. It consists of attaching person-sensitive inflection markers to non-verbal predicates, possibly extending this treatment to adverbs and adverbial phrases (locational and temporal), pronouns and quantifiers. This type is well attested in Uralic, Turkic, and Paleosiberian, as well as in some Amazonian language families (most notably Chicham), but it has also been pointed out for some sparse languages of Oceania and Africa. Such non-verbal person inflections diachronically stem from incorporation of conjugated copula elements. Construction B, by contrast, is much rarer and is described here for the first time. It also consists of a dedicated morphological form of the non-verbal predicate (limited, however, to nouns and adjectives), but such form stands out as morphologically lighter than any other form to be found in nouns or adjectives in argument or attribute position. While the latter forms carry some kind of case marker, the noun/adjective predicate merely consists (or historically did) of the word’s root. This type of construction can be found in the small Zamucoan family and still survives in some Tupí-Guaraní languages. Diachronic inspection of Semitic indicates, however, that this predicative strategy was possibly adopted in some ancient varieties, although at later stages it intertwined with the expression of referential specificity. The paper compares the two construction types, highlighting similarities and differences.
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Dates and versions

hal-02163482 , version 1 (27-11-2023)

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Pier Marco Bertinetto, Luca Ciucci, Margherita Farina. Two types of morphologically expressed non-verbal predication. Studies in Language, 2019, 43 (1), pp.120-194. ⟨10.1075/sl.17013.ber⟩. ⟨hal-02163482⟩
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