By Haig, Geoffrey L.J.
The Iranian languages, because of their unparalleled time-depth of attestation, represent one of many only a few situations the place a shift from accusative alignment to split-ergativity is basically documented. but remarkably, inside historic syntax, the Iranian case has got in basic terms very superficial insurance. This ebook offers the 1st in-depth remedy of alignment swap in Iranian, from outdated Persian (5 C. BC) to the current. the 1st a part of the booklet examines the declare that ergativity in center Iranian emerged from an outdated Iranian agented passive development. This view is rejected in favour of a concept which hyperlinks the emergence of ergativity to exterior ownership. hence the first mechanisms concerned isn't really reanalysis, however the extension of a pre-existing development. The proposal of Non-Canonical Subjecthood performs a pivotal position, which within the current account is associated with the semantics of what's termed oblique Participation.? within the moment a part of the publication, a comparative examine modern West Iranian is undertaken. it may be proven that during the next advancements within the morphosyntax, designated elements resembling contract, nominal case marking, or the grammar of cliticisation, actually built remarkably independently of each other. It used to be this de-coupling of sub-systems of the morphosyntax that resulted in the infamous multiplicity of alignment forms in Iranian, a indisputable fact that additionally characterises past-tense alignments within the sister department of Indo-European, Indo-Aryan. in addition to facts from greater than 20 Iranian languages, offered in a way that renders them obtainable to the non-specialist, there's broad dialogue of extra common subject matters akin to the adequacy of sensible money owed of adjustments in case platforms, discourse strain and the function of animacy, the concept of float, and the query of alignment in early Indo-European.
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Extra resources for Alignment Change in Iranian Languages: A Construction Grammar Approach
Construction “has all the marks usually associated with [agented] passive structures”. 44 Alignment in Old Iranian However, some scholars nevertheless maintain the view that the participle is the marked member of a voice opposition in Old Persian. These authors consider it to be the passive equivalent of the active Imperfect. For example, a construction widely attested in Old Persian is the following: (30) ima tya adam akunavam this which 1 S do:PST:1 S ‘this is that (which) I did’ (Kent 1953: DB IV,5–6) It will be noted that (30) is largely parallel with (17), both verb forms being inside relative clauses, and both expressing a similar content.
Thus rather than accepting a simple either/or classification of the m. k. construction as passive, it would be more enlightening to investigate it across distinct parameters in order to arrive at a more objective verdict. Finally, the cross-linguistic evidence suggests that, in evaluating a particular construction as passive or not-passive, the optionality of the A weighs less heavily than the systemic status of the verb form (marked vs. unmarked). This fact will have considerable relevance for our evaluation of the Iranian data.
Both accounts merely list the morphological features of the m. k. construction, before invoking an unspecified process (reanalysis, or reinterpretation) 36 Alignment in Old Iranian which somehow effects the necessary changes towards the ergative construction. No attempt is made to spell out the sequence of sub-changes, nor is any evidence provided for the intermediate changes that presumably accompanied such construction-internal shifts. Rather, we are simply provided with examples from the two putative endpoints of the development (the Old Persian m.