This paper surveys relative clause constructions in West Circassian (Adyghe) and Kabardian.
The paper traces the level of bilingualism in several highland villages of Daghestan (Northeast Caucasus) through the 20th century. We show that historically, men were more multilingual than women, but this was not true to the same extent for all languages. Highlanders’ repertoires suggest a correlation between the social function of the second language and the degree to which its command was gendered. We also explore the dynamics of multilingualism from the generation born at the end of the 19th century to the generation born in the 1990s. We show that during the 20th century local L2s were gradually displaced by Russian, and Daghestanian multilingualism lost its gendered character. We argue that these changes were caused by the introduction of Soviet schooling.
This paper describes the range of patterns used for the expression of ‘other’ in East Caucasian (Nakh-Daghestanian) languages, an indigenous language family of the Eastern Caucasus mainly spoken in the Republics of Daghestan, Chechnya and Ingushetia (Russian Federation), as well as in northern regions of Azerbaijan and eastern parts of Georgia.
This chapter presents an overview of the Northwest Caucasian (West Caucasian, Abkhaz-Adyghe) family.
In polysynthetic West Caucasian languages, the morphological verbal complex amounts to a clause, with all kinds of participants cross-referenced by affixes. Relativization is performed by introducing a relative affix in the cross-reference slot which corresponds to the relativized participant. However, these languages display several cross-linguistically rare features of relativization. Firstly, while under the view of the verbal complex as a clause this affix appears to be a relative pronoun, it is an unusual relative pronoun because it remains in situ. Secondly, relative affixes may appear several times in the same clause. Thirdly, relative pronouns are not expected to occur in languages with prenominal relative clauses. Fourthly, in the Circassian branch, relative pronouns are identical to reflexive pronouns. These features are explained by considering relative prefixes to be resumptive pronouns. This interpretation finds a parallel in the neighboring East Caucasian languages, where reflexive pronouns also show resumptive usages. Finally, since in some West Caucasian languages the relative affix is a morpheme with a dedicated relative function but still shows properties of a resumptive pronoun, our data suggest that the distinction between relative pronouns and resumptive pronouns may not be so clear as is usually assumed.
The Russian Constructicon project currently prioritizes multi-word constructions that are not represented in dictionaries and that are especially useful for learners of Russian. The immediate goal is to identify constructions and determine the semantic constraints on their slots. The Russian Constructicon is being built in parallel with the Swedish Constructicon and will ultimately model the entire Russian language in terms of constructions at all levels from morpheme to discourse. The contents of the Russian Constructicon will serve learners of the language, linguists researching both language-internal and typological phenomena, and will also serve language technology applications such as spell checkers and automated readability assessment tools.
The paper compares two rival word-formation constructions giving rise to compound agent nouns in Russian, i.e., (para)synthetic compounds formed with the agentive suffixes -ec and -tel’, such as basnopisec ‘fable writer’ and bytopisatel’ ‘everyday-life writer’. To understand what makes these constructions different from one another, compounds in -ec and -tel’ are analyzed based on a number of formal and semantic criteria, i.e., the part of speech and semantic role of the non-verbal element of the compound, the transitivity and formal aspect of the verbal base of the compound, the animacy of the compound’s referent, and the semantics of the compound. The study is supported by statistical analyses, i.e., conditional inference trees and random forests, which help discriminate the behavior of rival constructions and determine which parameters are more relevant for the comparison. To understand whether diachronic and/or stylistic factors also affect the survival of rival constructions, the data are checked in the Russian National Corpus, which allows retrieving information about the texts in which compounds occur, such as their creation date and textual genre. Finally, the productivity of rival word-formation constructions in modern Russian is discussed both in terms of diachronic changes and in terms of restrictions that the two constructions are subject to. The analyses carried out demonstrate that the two constructions show significant differences regarding their semantics, but also their diachronic and stylistic distribution, as well as their productivity, which prevents one construction from completely ousting the other in modern Russian.
Ingush (Nakh-Daghestanian, Caucasus) offers a variety of contexts with contrast, variation, or speaker choice between agreement and non-agreement and between overt and null arguments, which provide speakers many opportunities to manipulate agreement and argument marking. Ingush discourse is therefore a good test case for the plausible hypothesis that agreement and overt arguments are in complementary distribution. I survey referential density in a corpus of about 5000 words and find no evidence of either straightforward complementarity or expected incidental effects of such complementarity, and some evidence going against it. Some additional, orthogonal distributions were evident, showing that the corpus is large enough to reveal discourse effects if they were present. Ingush agreement is in gender, not person, and there is an arbitrary and strictly lexical bifurcation of verbs into those that do and those that do not have gender agreement; these typological points raise comparative and theoretical issues of interest.
This paper concerns the converb forms expressing Simultaneity in Izhma Komi, Northern Khanty and Moksha belonging to the Finno-Ugric group of languages. The existing typological classifications of temporal relations and simultaneity relations in particular either are not detailed enough or lack rigorous criteria and thus appear not to be sufficient for understanding the usage and the distribution of temporal converbs. The study attempts to build a more detailed typological classification of Simultaneity relations which accounts for the data of the languages under consideration. The analyzed parameters of variation include the viewpoint aspect of the events, clause modification type, givenness of the conveyed information and the pragmatic type of the predicate. Special attention is paid to the discourse-pragmatic properties of the forms which bring new insights into the discussion.
The morphology of aspect in many East Caucasian languages is usually described in terms of two aspectual stems. One stem, called ‘perfective’, derives perfective forms, including perfective past (i.e. aorist), perfective converb, perfective participle and other forms. The other stem, called ‘imperfective’, derives imperfective forms, including e.g. imperfective past (i.e. imperfect) and imperfective present, imperfective converb, imperfective participle and some others. Some of the imperfective- vs. perfective-based forms may be formally identical in terms of inflection (e.g. aorist and imperfect may be produced by the same suffix), but this is a matter of variation. In addition to the forms with clear aspectual semantics (e.g. aorist vs. imperfect), there is a number of forms that are not obvious in their aspectual quality. Thus, the prohibitive, expressed morphologically, is consistently derived from the imperfective stem. Imperative and infinitive, on the other hand, may be derived from both stems, thus distinguishing between perfective and imperfective, as in Dargwa (including Mehweb), or from separate secondary stems, as in Archi.
The parallels between East Caucasian languages are not absolute. The study of intra-family variation may focus on two different issues – the distribution of the forms lacking a clear aspectual meaning between the two stems (e.g. where do the prohibitive and the imperative or various types of special converbs go) or on the formal correlation between the perfective and the imperfective stem. It is the latter issue that I consider below. I study the mutual relation between the two stems, the ways in which they are formally different, and whether and to what extent one of them may be considered the primary one and the other derived. I will address this issue in three languages belonging to three different branches of the family: Archi (Lezgic), Mehweb (Dargwa) and Khinalug (Khinalug). My main conclusion is that, notwithstanding a plethora of patterns that differs across and within languages, the general tendency is that the imperfective stem is, in various ways, the marked member of the opposition, either straightforwardly derived from the perfective stem (Khinalug) or being structurally marked in the sense of Croft (2002).
I use the same parameters to arrive at conclusions comparable across the three languages, including:
formal asymmetry of the two sets of inflectional forms: if the two sets include comparable functional categories (past, general converb, participle, action nominal), are they produced by the same affixes?
(un)markedness of one of the stems in paradigmatic terms (structural markedness): whether one of the stems shows more irregularities and formal diversity, including especially expression of noun class agreement
relative morphological primacy of the two stems (morphological markedness): whether one of the stems may be shown to derive from the other;
The languages considered in the paper show different degrees of such asymmetry, from clearly asymmetrical Archi through Mehweb whose system seems to be perfectly symmetrical but where the imperfective stem is somewhat more marked to Khinalug where the imperfective stem is almost unequivocally derived from the perfective stem. The data comes from descriptions, including (Kibrik 1977) (also the dictionary (Chumakina et al. 2008) for Archi; (Kibrik et al. 1972) for Khinalug, and (Magometov 1982, Daniel in preparation) for Mehweb.
Sections 2, 3 and 4 treat Archi, Mehweb and Khinalug, respectively. Section 5 is a comparison of the three languages across the relevant parameters. Section 6 is a summary of the results.
Review of the edited volume Boye, K. & P. Kehayov (eds.). 2016. Complementizer Semantics in European Languages. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Mouton. Retrieved 22 Nov. 2017, from https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/455040
This chapter deals with perfect forms of the verb in Avar and Andi, two East Caucasian languages. The presence of an ergative agent is shown to be an important parameter in distinguishing resultative constructions from resultative perfects in these languages. This distinction is relevant to determine whether current relevance meanings of the perfect are at all represented in these languages, alongside resultative proper and evidential usages. Based on elicitation as well as corpus data, this study shows that the Avar perfect represents a highly polysemic verb form that combines resultative proper, current relevance and indirect evidentiality, while its Andi counterpart shows a more advanced stage of grammaticalization of the indirect evidential meaning.
Cross-tagset parsing is based on the substitution of one annotation layer for another while processing data within one language. As often as not, either the native tagger or the dependency parser used in (pre-)annotation of the Gold treebank is not available. The crosstagset approach allows one to annotate new texts using freely available tools or tools optimized to user’s needs. We evaluate the robustness of Russian dependency parsing using different morphological and syntactic tagsets in input and output. A qualitative analysis of errors shows that the cross-substitution of three morphological tagsets and two syntactic tagsets causes only a mild drop in performance.
In this paper we focus on syntactic annotation consistency within Universal Dependencies (UD) treebanks for Russian: UD_Russian-SynTagRus, UD_Russian-GSD, UD\_Russian-Taiga, and UD_Russian-PUD. We describe the four treebanks, their distinctive features and development. In order to test and improve consistency within the treebanks, we reconsidered the experiments by Martinez Alonso and Zeman; our parsing experiments were conducted using a state-of-the-art parser that took part in the CoNLL 2017 Shared Task. We analyze error classes in functional and content relations and discuss a method to separate the errors induced by annotation inconsistency and those caused by syntactic complexity and other factors.