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A multidimensional cline of post-verbal arguments in Balochi and Bashkardi

Abstract : This paper builds on HAIG 2015, who shows that the post-verbal position of “goal” arguments (goals of verbs of motion; recipients of “give”-verbs; addressees of speech verbs) is very common in Kurdish, and regular in varieties in the sphere of contact with Semitic. I will contrast these findings with those from two other Western Ir. languages to assess to which extent post-verbal arguments are triggered by language contact, confirming the main point of HAIG’s argument and contributing precisions on some part of it. As noted by (Haig 2015: 408), languages that share the combination of // (1) OV word order, prepositions and noun-genitive order // are very rare cross-linguistically. Only eight among the 1142 languages in the sample of (Dryer 2013) show this configuration, of which three belong to the Western Iranian group (viz. Persian, Tajik and Central Kurdish), and one is an Aramaic variety under strong Iranian influence. HAIG concludes that Western Iranian is an “outlier” of an (otherwise) “OV/postposition/GN block” and the configuration in (1) is likely to be due to language contact (Haig 2015:410), Kurdish and NENA (Northeastern Neo-Aramaic) being the cases in point that he studies. Haig proceeds to argue that Kurdish (and some more closely related Ir. varieties) and NENA developed the combination of OV and post-verbal goals under strong mutual influence, yielding a pattern that is unusual for both (otherwise head-initial) Semitic and (head-final) Iranian. I argue that Bashkardi (a group of dialects spoken in the province of Hormozgan) and Balochi (spoken in the far south-east of the Ir. sphere) represent cases of contrast that might shed some light on Haig’s results. Differently from Kurmanji or NENA, both are not in an area of strong contact with Semitic and Turkic languages. Crucially, Bashkardi shares the features in (1). Balochi, on the other hand, is largely a member of the “OV/postposition/GN block”, although the dialects of Sistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan have moved towards the Persian model. Differently from what Haig observes for Kurmanji, the post-verbal position is not grammaticalised for goals in these two languages, but it is the most frequent position for goals of verbs of motion and occurs with and without adpositions. Lower on the frequency scale are other post-verbal goals, viz. indirect objects. These overlap with direct objects that, contrary to Haig’s findings, are likewise not infrequently found in this position. Another type of arguments that is frequently postposed are other types of movements (e.g. coming from somewhere) and other types of location (non-directional) and related metaphoric expressions, suggesting that goal-related patterns might not be the only types of argument for which there is maybe a cognitive reason to be placed post-verbally. While the post-verbal position of goal arguments “could be seen as an iconic reflection of Goals as natural endpoints of events” (Haig 2015:414), it seems difficult to accommodate other arguments likewise occurring post-verbally into this perspective. I will therefore suggest a multidimensional cline of “post-verbality” that could be seen as operating in Balochi and Bashkardi.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 13, 2020 - 10:37:11 PM
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Agnes Korn. A multidimensional cline of post-verbal arguments in Balochi and Bashkardi. Ninth European Conference of Iranian Studies (ECIS 9), Sep 2019, Berlin, Germany. ⟨halshs-02300755⟩



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