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Two types of copulas in Dargwa: functions and syntax Most dialects  of  Dargwa  (Nakh-­‐Daghestanian)  have  two  types  of  copulas:  an  identificational  copula  and   a   group   of   existential   copulas.   Both   types   are   primarily   used   in   nominal   predicate   sentences:   identificational   copulas   express   identity   or   characterization   (1),   whereas   existential   copulas   express   existence  (2).   (1)

murad tuχtur=sa꞊j Murad doctor=COP꞊M     ‘Murad  is  a  doctor.’  


allah čʼe꞊w Allah EXST꞊M   ‘Allah  exists.’  

There are  two  more  aspects  of  the  semantics  of  the  existential  copulas  that  should  be  taken  into   account.   First,   they   express   orientation   of   their   only   argument   with   respect   to   the   speech   act   participants   (čʼe꞊b   ‘exist   above’,   χe꞊b   ‘exist   below’,   le꞊b   ‘exist   here’,   te꞊b   ‘exist   there’).   Second,   in   the   nominal  predicate  sentences  with  existential  copulas,  both  the  copula  and  its  argument  belong  to  the   focused   part   of   the   sentence,   so   that   the   whole   sentence   has   a   thetic   structure   (with   a   possible   exception  of  scene-­‐setting  adverbials).     In  all  dialects  of  Dargwa,  one  or  both  types  of  copulas  are  also  used  in  verbal  constructions  as   the   auxiliary   part   of   periphrastic   forms,   but   the   distribution   of   the   two   copula   types   varies   across   dialects.  In  the  simplest  case  (for  example,  in  the  dialect  of  Itsari),  it  is  only  the  identificational  copula   that  is  possible  in  verbal  constructions.  In  some  other  dialects,  the  existential  copulas  spread  on  verbal   sentences,  which  is  accompanied  by  important  functional  and  structural  changes.   In  the  dialect  of  Tanti,  the  existential  copulas  (4)  can  be  used  in  periphrastic  verbal  constructions   along  with  the  identificational  copula  (3).   (3)  

umra herkʼ˳-li-šːu qʼ˳-aˁn-ne=sa꞊j neighbour river-­‐OBL-­‐AD   go:IPF-­‐PRS-­‐CONV=COP꞊M   ‘The  neighbour  is  walking  to  the  river.’  


umra herkʼ˳-li-šːu qʼ˳-aˁn-ne neighbour river-­‐OBL-­‐AD   go:IPF-­‐PRS-­‐CONV   ‘There  is  the  neighbour  walking  to  the  river.’  

χe-w EXST꞊M

When used  in  verbal  constructions,  the  existential  copulas  retain  at  least  some  of  the  features  of   their   prototypical   usage   in   nominal   predicate   sentences.   Thus,   in   the   presentative   sentences   (4),   we   observe  all  the  three  aspects  of  their  functioning  (existence,  localization,  theticity).  One  more  group  of   sentences  retains  the  existential  meaning  only:   (5)      

ucːi-li sun-na brother-­‐ERG self-­‐GEN  

telefon telephone

dam I:DAT

b꞊at-ur-le N꞊leave:PF-­‐PRET-­‐CONV

le=b EXST꞊N

‘My brother  left  me  his  telephone’  (and  I  have  it  now).   Existential   copulas   can   also   mark   verbal   sentences   as   having   no   topic/focus   opposition;   this   is   the  case  with  thetic  (6)  and  exclamative  (7)  sentences  (cf.  [Michaelis  2001],  [Sasse  1995],  etc.).   (6)      

beri sun

ha-b꞊ulq-un-ne te꞊b! UP-­‐N꞊move:IPF-­‐PRS-­‐CONV EXST꞊N  

‘THE SUN  is  rising!’  


hiž dewga-le qːuʁa-se le꞊r! this strong-­‐ADV   beautiful-­‐ATR   EXST꞊F   ‘How  beautiful  she  is!’  

Tanti has  verbal  sentences  that  have  no  copula  at  all.  They  are  normal  when  the  speaker  is  just   verbalizing  a  situation  that  he  observes,  without  addressing  other  people  (8):   (8)  

umra herkʼ˳-li-šːu qʼ˳-aˁn-ne neighbour river-­‐OBL-­‐AD   go:IPF-­‐PRS-­‐CONV   ‘(I  see  how)  The  neighbour  is  walking  to  the  river.’  

The functional  expansion  of  the  existential  copulas  in  Tanti  is  accompanied  by  essential  syntactic   changes:  in  the  verbal  constructions,  the  existential  copulas  are  borrowing  their  syntactic  features  (word   order   restrictions,   options   of   agreement   control)   from   the   identificational   copula   [Sumbatova   2010;   2013].         NUMBER  OF  WORDS  =  496    

20 two types of copulas in dargwa functions and syntax  
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