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Specific Features of Persian Syntax: The Ezâfe Construction, Differential Object Marking and Complex Predictaes

Abstract : Three main aspects of Persian syntax have received a great deal of attention for more than 30 years: the Ezâfe construction, differential object marking with the enclitic =râ, and complex predicates. Why such enduring interest? Each of these phenomena involves language-specific challenging facts which need to be accurately described and accounted for. At the same time, each constitutes a topic of cross-linguistic investigation for which the Persian data can be of crucial interest. The Ezâfe construction, a specific feature of the noun phrase in many Western Iranian languages, sheds a new light on the way dependency relationships, that is, complementation vs. modification, are realized within the noun phrase and the morphological correlates of these relationships with respect to head vs. dependent marking patterns. It also contributes to the debate on the nature of linkers in a variety of languages. Differential object marking (DOM) with the enclitic =r¯a displays a complex interaction between various semantic and discourse parameters such as referentiality, topicality, and high transitivity. Modeling the interaction between these parameters in order to account for the occurrence of =râ has been, and still is, an interesting challenge for formal and theoretical studies on Persian. Cross-linguistically, r¯a-marking is of great interest for typological studies on DOM in the languages of the world, because of the way =râ has been grammaticalized to realize not only DOM but also topicalization, the range of grammatical functions that can be r¯a-marked, and the role of discourse parameters. Finally, complex predicate formation, which is the main device for enriching the verbal lexicon in Persian, provides another theoretical and typological domain of investigation in order to highlight differences and resemblances between syntactic and morphological processes of lexeme formation and the way different syntactic components contribute to the makeup of a complex lexical unit. Persian complex predicates constitute an interesting case study for theories of predicate decomposition which postulate the same underlying structure for simplex and complex predicates. This article is devoted to these three phenomena and is divided into three sections. Each section provides an overview of empirical facts and the way various studies have tried to account for them. While it was impossible to do justice to all influential studies because of the impressive amount of work on each topic, the article is nevertheless intended to be as exhaustive as possible and to maintain the balance between different theoretical approaches.
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Contributor : Pollet Samvelian <>
Submitted on : Saturday, June 27, 2020 - 7:42:08 AM
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Pollet Samvelian. Specific Features of Persian Syntax: The Ezâfe Construction, Differential Object Marking and Complex Predictaes. Anousha Sedighi; Pouneh Shabani-Jadidi. Oxford Handbook of Persian Linguistics, pp.226-269, In press, 9780198736745. ⟨halshs-01614243⟩



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