In this paper, we address the issue of reliability of quantitative data on multilingualism of the past obtained as recall data. More specifically, we investigate whether the interviewees’ assessments of the language repertoires of their late relatives (indirect data) provide results that are quantitatively similar to those obtained from the people of the same age range themselves (direct data). The empirical data we use come from an ongoing field study of traditional multilingualism in Daghestan (Russia). We trained machine learning models to see whether they can detect differences in indirect and direct data. We conclude that our indirect quantitative data on L2 other than Russian are essentially similar to direct, while there may be a small but systematic underestimation when reporting other’s knowledge of Russian.
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.
We outlined in chapter 1 the goals of this survey of number across a diverse sample of languages: investigate the properties of number systems in some depth, while at the same time guaranteeing direct comparability between the analyses of systems that can be very different from each other. At the conclusion of this survey, it is appropriate to consider what picture emerges from it. We will structure our answer in three steps. First, in section 2, we briefly review the main results arising from the chapters in this volume, and we organize the typology of number values that emerge from them. Most of these considerations broadly confirm what is generally known (or assumed) about the expression, content, and variation space of number systems across natural languages. The next sections, from 3 to 7, discuss in greater depth and in a more analytical perspective some important themes, especially focusing on issues that can shed new light or contribute to current understanding of number systems. Finally, section 8 offers a wrap-up discussion and points to desiderata that arise from these studies.
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.
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.
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 aims at providing an exhaustive overview of studies of small-scale multilingualism, a type of language ecology typical of—but not exclusive to—indigenous communities with small numbers of speakers. We identify the similarities and differences among situations of such multilingualism, which lay the foundations for a future typology of this kind of language ecology.
Approach and data:
We outline the importance of language ideologies for multilingualism in small-scale societies, highlight the sources of this type of language ecology, with a special focus on the impact of marriage patterns, discuss to what extent situations of small-scale multilingualism are truly egalitarian and symmetric, and survey the different methods used in the study of this domain. In order to do so, we survey studies devoted to multilingualism in indigenous communities of all continents: the New World (especially South America), Australia, Melanesia, Africa, Europe and Asia.
The multilingual ecologies of the pre- and postcolonial world are extremely diverse, with many factors playing a role in their constitution. They are also highly endangered, and thus their study is of the utmost urgency.
The domain of small-scale multilingualism is still novel for sociolinguistics and linguistic anthropology. Although the researchers working with indigenous groups have been describing the peculiarities of multilingual repertoires, language acquisition and language attitudes in various parts of the world, the domain lacks the kind of comparison and generalizations that we provide here.
The increased interest in small-scale multilingualism has been boosted by the realization of its significance for reconstructing the social conditions that favoured linguistic diversity in the precolonial world. Furthermore, insights into this type of multilingualism—which differs considerably from the better-studied situations of bi- and multilingualism in urban contexts and large nation states—are of prime importance for a better understanding of the human language faculty.
Most current knowledge about dogs’ understanding of, and reacting to, their environment is limited to the visual or auditory modality, but it remains unclear how olfaction and cognition are linked together. Here we investigate how domestic dogs search for their owners using their excellent olfactory sense. We raise the question whether dogs have a representation of someone when they smell their track. The question is what they expect when they follow a trail or whether they perceive an odour as a relevant or non-relevant stimulus. We adopted a classical violation-of-expectation paradigm—and as targets we used two persons that were both important to the dog, usually the owners. In the critical condition subjects could track the odour trail of one target, but at the end of the trail they find another target. Dogs showed an increased activity when the person did not correspond with the trail compared to a control condition. Moreover, we found huge individual differences in searching behaviour supporting the assumption that dogs are only able to smell when they really sniff, and that the temperature has an influence on dogs performance. Results are discussed in the light of how cognitive abilities, motivation and odour perception influence each other.
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’.
Culture evolves in ways that are analogous to, but distinct from, genomes. Previous studies examined similarities between cultural variation and genetic variation (population history) at small scales within language families, but few studies have empirically investigated these parallels across language families using diverse cultural data. We report an analysis comparing culture and genomes from in and around northeast Asia spanning 11 language families. We extract and summarize the variation in language (grammar, phonology, lexicon), music (song structure, performance style), and genomes (genome-wide SNPs) and test for correlations. We find that grammatical structure correlates with population history (genetic history). Recent contact and shared descent fail to explain the signal, suggesting relationships that arose before the formation of current families. Our results suggest that grammar might be a cultural indicator of population history while also demonstrating differences among cultural and genetic relationships that highlight the complex nature of human history.
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.
Abstract: This paper deals with contact-induced change in Izhma Komi subdialects spoken in the Western Siberia. We mostly focus on the interaction of Izhma Komi with Nenets, but also provide some case studies of Khanty and Russian borrowings. The main emphasis is put on the phenomena of pattern borrowing at various language levels, which mostly remained beyond the previous studies.
In this article I present a connection between frequency and length of person-number indexes via two independent researches: token frequency obtained from the Universal Dependencies’ treebanks and type frequency gathered within a typological study. After introducing the results of those two studies, I will present East Caucasian data. I show that the unusual history of person-number indexes in these languages leads to violations of the tendencies.
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 paper looks at the correlation between the use of an L2 in a speech community and the amount of lexical material borrowed from it into the L1 of this speech community. Our data comes from the traditional highlands of Daghestan, an area of high language density. As in Epps (2017), to measure and compare lexical borrowing, we collected one short list of presumably more borrowable concepts at different locations, similarly to how a short list of less borrowable concepts is used in historical comparative research. Based on field elicitations, the list is shown to detect areal differences in lexical contact between locations. We match our counts with the data on multilingualism from the same locations, and find that the two types of data are mutually supportive. Based on this combined evidence, we isolate two zones of lexical influence, the South, heavily influenced by Azerbaijani, and the North, dominated by Avar. This is likely to reflect the historical role of the two languages as lingua francas. The study supports the observation by Brown (1996, 2011) and Epps (2017) that lexical influence from a lingua franca is higher than from other languages in a multilingual repertoire. In line with the argument that the amount of borrowing from a language is proportional to intensity of bilingualism (Thomason & Kaufman 1988), Brown hypothesizes that the importance of lingua francas as lexical donors must be linked to the high rate of bilingualism. Indeed, the bilingualism in Azerbaijani and Avar respectively in the south and the north of Daghestan is evident from the available data. On the other hand, the knowledge of Chechen and especially Georgian was high at some locations in the north but did not lead to substantial lexical transfer. This leads us to conclude that it is the social condition of a lingua franca that makes it a likely donor of lexical material. Among other possible reasons, we discuss the possibility that a lingua franca is not as strongly associated with a specific ethnic identity as languages spoken only by their L1 speakers, and lexical borrowing from a lingua franca does not threaten the identity of its users as much as borrowing from another language that is only used in communication with its L1 speakers. Similar suggestions of the global lingua franca viewed as neutral grounds are by Epps (2018) with respect to lexical borrowing and code-mixing in Amazonia and by Vaughan (2019) for Australia, though only with respect to code-mixing. By fine-tuning the list to different linguistic settings, the methodology of field probing for lexical contact may be extended to other geographical areas of high language density and intense language contact and become a tool for reconstructing multilingual patterns of the past.
This article presents a survey of the morphology of highly polysynthetic Northwest Caucasian languages.
Complement clauses of verbs of fear often contain expletive negation, which is negative marking without negative meaning. Expletive negation in fear-complements regularly co-occurs with non-indicative moods, such as subjunctive, conjunctive, or conditional. The aim of this paper is to provide a diachronic explanation for the phenomenon of expletive negation in complement clauses of fear-verbs. Based on data from various languages, I will show that cases of expletive negation after verbs of fear can be divided into several groups, each with a different origin. Fear complement clauses can derive from embedded polar questions, paratactic constructions expressing a wish, or from negative purpose clauses. Complement clauses with polar questions usually contain an indicative verb form, while clauses based on the expression of a wish often have non-indicative verb forms. The paper also discusses cases in which expletive negation is lost.
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.
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.
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.