In this paper, I consider double causatives in Mehweb, a one village language spoken in Daghestan, Russia, and belonging to the Dargwa branch of East Caucasian. The capability of stacking two causative suffixes seems to be lexically restricted, and mapping onto verbal meanings that are typically P-labile in the languages of the family. Interestingly, the verbs allowing double causatives are not morphosyntactically labile in Mehweb, which is generally poor in labile verbs as compared to sister languages. I conclude that the ability to form double causatives is not a consequence of the morphosyntactic property of being labile; rather, both morphosyntactic properties follow from the same component of the lexical semantics of these verbs and ultimately from the properties of the situational concepts they convey. As a tentative functional explanation I suggest that the relevant property is the weakened status of the agentive participant.
Bjorkman & Zeijlstra (2018) claim that agreement with the absolutive argument in ergative-absolutive languages follows naturally in an Upwards-Agree (UA) system supplemented by the relation of Accessibility if 𝜙-agreement is parasitic on structural case assigned to the absolutive noun phrase either by T or by v. By drawing evidence from two distantly related East Caucasian languages, Mehweb and Avar, this article shows this view to be erroneous while also fine-tuning the consensus view, due to Legate 2008, of the nature of the absolutive case. I then show that the problematic facts are trivially analyzable with standard Agree (Chomsky 2000 et seq.).
The paper provides evidence for the existence of endoclitics in Andi, a Nakh-Daghestanian language of the Avar-Andic branch spoken in the Republic of Daghestan, Russia. In Andi, the additive marker (‘also’) and the intensifying marker (‘even, at all’) behave as enclitics on various types of hosts and as endoclitics when they occur on negative verb forms. In the latter case, the additive and intensifying markers break up the word form and appear before the negation marker. I argue that both the additive and the intensifier are clitics, especially in view of their highly promiscuous attachment. I also show that negative verb forms are morphologically synthetic, so the additive and the intensifier are genuine endoclitics, i.e. clitics that occur inside morphological words. In addition I provide a few parallels for the unusual morphosyntactic behaviour of additive and intensifying clitics in some other Nakh-Daghestanian languages as well as in some languages of Northern Eurasia. Although in these cases the corresponding markers do not qualify as endoclitics proper, the available data hint at a cross-linguistic tendency towards word-internal placement of morphemes with meanings like ‘also’, ‘even’ or ‘only’.
Head/dependent marking is a typological parameter based on whether syntactic relations, or dependencies, are marked on the head of the relation, on the non-head, on both, on neither, or elsewhere in the constituent. It has been visible in description and comparison for some thirty years, during which time advances in analysis of phrase structure and descriptions of previously unnoticed patterns have revealed some imprecisions and gaps in the typology. That approach has figured in descriptive and theoretical work of various kinds and has proven quite useful as far as it goes, but the expansion of descriptive and theoretical work on morphosyntax in the subsequent decades has revealed some gaps and inconsistencies in the original formulation. These can be removed by allowing markers to be assigned not to words but to entire phrases, a move that also allows detached and neutral marking to be more comfortably accommodated in locus theory.
This chapter provides a sociolinguistic account of the languages of the Caucasus, including figures for speakers and their geographical distribution, language vitality, the official status of the languages, orthography, and writing practices. The chapter discusses language repertoires typical of different areas in the Caucasus, and their change over the 20th century. As a showcase, it provides an overview of traditional multilingualism in Daghestan, the most linguistically dense are in the Caucasus. It discusses various patterns of interethnic communication, including lingua franca and asymmetrical bilingualism. We show that bilingualism was gendered, and how Russian was spreading in the area as a new lingua franca. The chapter surveys the outcomes of language contact, covering both lexical borrowing (including main references to etymological research) and providing examples of structural convergence, with a special focus on the area of the highest language density in the Caucasus, Dagestan. Data in the chapter are based both on official sources (censuses), on information provided by experts and on the authors’ own work in the field.
This short remark documents exceptions to the main strategy of expressing sentential negation in Russian Sign Language (RSL). The postverbal sentential negation particle in RSL inverts the basic SVO order characteristic of the language turning it into SOV (Pasalskaya 2018a). We show that this reversal requirement under negation is not absolute and does not apply to prosodically heavy object NPs. The resulting picture accords well with the view of RSL word order layed out by Kimmelman (2012) and supports a model of grammar where syntactic computation has access to phonological information (Kremers 2014; Bruening 2019).
This article presents a survey of the morphology of highly polysynthetic Northwest Caucasian languages.
Planning to speak is a challenge for the brain, and the challenge varies between and within languages. Yet, little is known about how neural processes react to these variable challenges beyond the planning of individual words. Here, we examine how fundamental differences in syntax shape the time course of sentence planning. Most languages treat alike (i.e., align with each other) the 2 uses of a word like “gardener” in “the gardener crouched” and in “the gardener planted trees.” A minority keeps these formally distinct by adding special marking in 1 case, and some languages display both aligned and nonaligned expressions. Exploiting such a contrast in Hindi, we used electroencephalography (EEG) and eye tracking to suggest that this difference is associated with distinct patterns of neural processing and gaze behavior during early planning stages, preceding phonological word form preparation. Planning sentences with aligned expressions induces larger synchronization in the theta frequency band, suggesting higher working memory engagement, and more visual attention to agents than planning nonaligned sentences, suggesting delayed commitment to the relational details of the event. Furthermore, plain, unmarked expressions are associated with larger desynchronization in the alpha band than expressions with special markers, suggesting more engagement in information processing to keep overlapping structures distinct during planning. Our findings contrast with the observation that the form of aligned expressions is simpler, and they suggest that the global preference for alignment is driven not by its neurophysiological effect on sentence planning but by other sources, possibly by aspects of production flexibility and fluency or by sentence comprehension. This challenges current theories on how production and comprehension may affect the evolution and distribution of syntactic variants in the world’s languages.
The volume is devoted to the typology of the category of number in the world's languages.
The chapter provides a detailed description of the expression of number in West Circassian.
Following Stilo’s (2018) study of small-inventory classifier systems in a number of Indo-European, Turkic, Kartvelian and Semitic languages of the Araxes-Iran Linguistic Area, the paper presents an account of numeral classifiers in Udi, a Nakh-Daghestanian (Lezgic) language spoken in northern Azerbaijan. Being a pripheral member of the linguistic area in question, Udi possesses an even more reduced version of a small-classifier system, comprising one optional classifier dänä (Iranian borrowing, most likely via Azerbaijani) used with both human and inanimate nouns. A dedicated classifier for humans is lacking, although there is a word tan (also of Iranian origin) only used after numerals or quantifiers, but predominantly as a noun phrase head. The behaviour of dänä and tan is scrutinized, according to a set of parameters, in both spoken and written textual corpora of the Nizh dialect of Udi. Drawing in the data from the related Nakh-Daghestanian languages, the paper shows that among the languages of the family Udi may be unique in possessing classifiers (albeit as a result of contact), Khinalug possibly being the only other exception.
Udi (East Caucasian) possesses several means of expressing the meaning ‘other’, namely (i) the combination of a (usually distal) demonstrative with a numeral (usually ‘one’), arguably calqued from Azerbaijani, (ii) the expression originating from a combination of a demonstrative with the noun ‘arm, side’ and (iii) borrowed adjectives. It is shown that the morphological properties of some of these expressions suggest a kind of grammaticalization. The semantic differences between the expressions mostly fit into the contrast between the types of ‘other’ expressions proposed by Cinque (2015), but also display additional remarkable contrasts.
The paper describes expressions with the meaning ‘other’ in East Caucasian (Nakh-Daghestanian) languages. It is shown that four main strategies can be distinguished: i) the ‘one’-based strategy: ‘other’ includes the numeral ‘one’; ii) the demonstrative-based strategy: ‘other’ includes a demonstrative pronoun; iii) the mixed demonstrative-based + ‘one’-based strategy: ‘other’ includes both a demonstrative and the numeral ‘one’; and iv) the lexical strategy: ‘other’ is a dedicated adjective (pronoun), not necessarily derived from any other clearly discernable source.
This paper presents experimental evidence for overspecification of small cardinalities in refer-ence production. The idea is that when presented with a small set of unique objects (2, 3 or 4), the speaker includes a small cardinality while describing given objects, although it is overin-formative for the hearer (e.g., “three stars”). On the contrary, when presented with a large set of unique objects, the speaker does not include cardinality in their description – so she produces a bare plural (e.g. “stars”). The effect of overspecifying small cardinalities resembles the effect of overspecifying color in reference production which has been extensively studied in recent years (cf. Rubio-Fernandez 2016, Tarenskeen et al. 2015). When slides are flashed on the screen one by one, highlighted objects are still overspecified. We argue that one of the main reasons lies in subitizing effect, which is a human capacity to instantaneously grasp small cardinalities.
The category of person is a linguistic expression of reference to a role in a speech act, including the speaker, the addressee, or a combination thereof. The values of the person category commonly, if not universally, include the opposition of first person (reference to the speaker) versus second person (reference to the addressee). Reference to neither the speaker nor the addressee is commonly—though not always—considered to be the third value of the category, third person. This article is an overview of person indexation on the verb and in possessive constructions, interaction of the category of person with other categories such as number and moods, the issue of person hierarchies as reflected in the categories of clusivity and direct-inverse systems, and some topics in the pragmatics of person. The discussion includes some topics disregarded or less touched upon in other surveys of the category of person, such as a discussion of the person relationship to commands (imperative paradigms) or logophoricity. The main focus is on the morphology of person, and other aspects of personal reference are discussed with respect to how they are expressed or differentiated by morphological material. On the other hand, personal reference in grammar and lexicon show strong affinity, making it both difficult and unnecessary to separate independent personal pronouns from person affixes in a typological perspective. In this sense, person-related lexicon and inflectional morphology are treated together.
Recent progress in comparative linguistics, distributional typology, and linguistic geography allows a unified model of Uralic prehistory to take shape. Proto-Uralic first introduced an eastern grammatical profile to central and western Eurasia, where it has remained quite stable. Proto-Indo-European and Proto-Uralic had no connection, either genealogical or areal, until the spreading Indo-Iranian branch of Indo-European came into contact with the already-diverged branches of Uralic about 4,000 years ago. A severe and widespread drought beginning about 4,200 years ago cleared the way for a rapid spread of Uralic-speaking people along the Volga and across south-western Siberia. It also contributed to the sudden rise of the Seima-Turbino bronze-trading complex, one component of the Uralic spread mechanism. After the initial spread, the Uralic daughter languages retained their Volga homelands remarkably stably while also extending far to the north in a recurrent Eurasian pattern.
Aims and objectives:
In Dagestan, Russian is the language of education, urban way of life, and upward social mobility, and the means of communication between speakers of different languages. This is a result of a quick and drastic change. At the end of the 19th century, Russian was spoken by less than 1% of the population. The aim of this paper is to understand how such rapid spread of Russian as an L2 became possible.
The study uses quantitative data on Dagestanians’ language repertoires. We relate the command of Russian to certain facts from people’s biographies, such as the level of education, migration, warfare and military service, and other professional experience, and run regression analysis.
Data and analysis:
The data were collected by the method of retrospective family interviews during numerous field trips to highland Dagestan. We use information on 3519 individuals collected in 27 villages.
We conclude that the compulsory school education introduced in Dagestan in the 1930s is the social mechanism that resulted in the spread of Russian and its later development into a lingua franca. Russian was imposed from above and supported by the ideology that associated it with future and progress.
This is the first attempt to apply quantitative methods to a large collection of field data to reveal social mechanisms underlying the spread of a single L2 instead of local bilingualism.
The spread of one lingua franca across a large territory is attested in many areas. We suppose that lingua francas of different origin result from different constellations of social factors and show that in Dagestan lingua franca was imposed by the authorities via a systematic educational campaign. We also suggest it was the extreme linguistic diversity of Dagestan that brought Russian from a widely known L2 to a lingua franca.
This paper develops the claim that head properties arise (at least) due to one of the three factors: (i) the higher position of an element in a compositional structure, (ii) the informational prominence, and (iii) the development of a construction from an appositive(-like) structure. These factors are logically independent and may lead to the assignment of head properties to different elements of a construction. As a result, it is more accurate to speak not of the heads but rather of head effects, which may – but need not – concentrate around a single component of a construction.
In this chapter, Transliteration tables is provided for major written languages of Caucasus using Cyrillic.
Here we use computational Bayesian phylogenetic methods to generate a phylogeny of Tungusic languages and estimate the time-depth of the family. Our analysis is based on a dataset of 254 basic vocabulary items collected for 21 Tungusic doculects. Our results are consistent with two previously proposed basic classifications: variants of the Manchu-Tungusic and the North-South classification. We infer a time-depth between the 8th century BC and the 12th century AD. The application of Bayesian phylogenetic methods to Tungusic languages is unprecedented and provides a reliable quantitative basis for previous estimates based on classical historical linguistic and lexicostatistic approaches.