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The Semantics of Verbal Categories in Nakh-Daghestanian Languages

Tense, Aspect, Evidentiality, Mood and Modality


Edited by Diana Forker and Timur Maisak

The Caucasus is the place with the greatest linguistic variation in Europe. The present volume explores this variation within the tense, aspect, mood, and evidentiality systems in the languages of the North-East Caucasian (or Nakh-Daghestanian) family. The papers of the volume cover the most challenging and typologically interesting features such as aspect and the complicated interaction of aspectual oppositions expressed by stem allomorphy and inflectional paradigms, grammaticalized evidentiality and mirativity, and the semantics of rare verbal categories such as the deliberative (‘May I go?’), the noncurative (‘Let him go, I don’t care’), different types of habituals (gnomic, qualitative, non-generic), and perfective tenses (aorist, perfect, resultative). The book offers an overview of these features in order to gain a broader picture of the verbal semantics covering the whole North-East Caucasian family. At the same time it provides in-depth studies of the most fascinating phenomena.

Ten Lectures on Language, Culture and Mind

Cultural, Developmental and Evolutionary Perspectives in Cognitive Linguistics


Chris Sinha

In this interdisciplinary collection of lectures, Chris Sinha presents an overview of topics ranging from language in children’s play, through cultural conceptualizations of time, to philosophical and linguistic relativism. The intertwining of the evolutionary and individual time scales of human development is a key theme unifying the lectures, as is the fundamentally cultural nature of language and cognition.
Familiar topics in cognitive linguistics, such as spatial semantics and conceptual blending, are addressed from these cultural, comparative and developmental perspectives. Chris Sinha also discusses the psychological roots of key concepts in cognitive linguistics, and sets out a biocultural approach to language evolution.


Edited by Emmanuelle Labeau and Qiaochao Zhang

This volume on TAME systems (Tense-aspect-mood-evidentiality) stems from the 10th Chronos conference that took place in Aston University (Birmingham, UK) on 18th-20th April 2011. The papers collated here are therefore a chosen selection from a stringent peer-review process. They also witness to the width and breadth of the interests pursued within the Chronos community. Besides the traditional Western European languages, this volume explores languages from Eastern Europe (Greek, Romanian, Russian) and much further afield such as Brazilian Portuguese, Korean or Mandarin Chinese. Little known languages from the Amazonian forest (Amondawa, Baure) or the Andes (Aymara) also come under scrutiny.

Innovation in Tradition

Tönnies Fonne’s Russian-German Phrasebook (Pskov, 1607)


Pepijn Hendriks

This study explores the history of the language of a manuscript known as Tönnies Fonne’s Russian-German phrasebook (Pskov, 1607). The phrasebook is not, as many scholars have assumed, the result of the efforts of a 19-year-old German merchant, who came to Russia to learn the language and who recorded the everyday vernacular in the town of Pskov from the mouths of his informants. Nor is it, as other claim, a mere compilation by him of existing material. Instead, the phrasebook must be regarded as the product of a copying, innovative, meticulous, German-speaking professional scribe who was acutely aware of regional, stylistic and other differences and nuances in the Russian language around him, and who wanted to deliver an up-to-date phrasebook firmly rooted in an established tradition. By careful textological analysis and by comparing the text with the earlier phrasebook of Thomas Schroue, this study lays bare the modus operandi of the scribe and shows how the scribe acted as an agent of change when a phrasebook was handed down from one generation to the other.


Götz Keydana

Infinitive im R̥gveda is an in-depth study of infinitives in Early Vedic, the language of the R̥gveda. Infinitives in Vedic have been studied from various perspectives. This book, however, is the first to give a detailed account of the full range of the attested morphological, syntactic, and semantic types. Based on insights from formal semantics and syntactic theory, the author gives explicit analyses for each type, paying special attention to the grammatical functions involved and to the control relations which govern the reference of subjects in infinitive phrases. On a more general level, the book provides a framework for historical syntax and heuristics for studying syntactic categories in ancient languages.

Infinitive im R̥gveda wirft einen frischen Blick auf die umstrittene Kategorie Infinitiv im frühen Vedisch, der Sprache des R̥gveda. Unter Berücksichtigung von Methoden und Erkenntnissen der Syntaxtheorie und der formalen Semantik wird die gesamte Bandbreite der belegten morphologischen Kodierungen, der syntaktischen Verwendungen und ihrer Semantik herausgearbeitet und ausführlich dokumentiert.

Sabellian Demonstratives

Forms and Functions


Emmanuel Dupraz

Past research on the Sabellian languages has been devoted mainly to the phonetic and morphological features of these languages as elements for the reconstruction of the prehistoric stages of Latin. The present book aims at analysing the semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic features of a subset of grammatical terms, the demonstratives. It contains a thorough description of their synchronic behaviour, which permits both a comparison to the Latin data with new hypotheses on the epigraphic genres in Republican Italy and a reconstruction of the Italic origins of these terms based on typological principles. Neither the grammar of Sabellian nor the pragmatic scope of the Sabellian inscriptions should be considered a priori identical to their Latin comparanda.

Time, Tense and Aspect in Early Vedic Grammar

Exploring Inflectional Semantics in the Rigveda


Eystein Dahl

This book takes a fresh look at the relationship between aspect, tense and mood in Early Vedic, the language of the Rigveda. Although numerous studies have examined the functional range of individual verbal categories in this language, this work is the first attempt to approach this problem from an overall, systemic perspective. With insights from formal semantics and linguistic typology, the author demonstrates that aspect represents a grammatically relevant semantic dimension on a par with tense in the Early Vedic verbal system, thereby indicating that the language has preserved an aspectual opposition similar to the one found in Homeric Greek. Apart from these general findings, the book provides a theoretical framework designed for exploring inflectional semantics in dead languages.


Edited by Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen and Jacqueline Visconti

The focus of this volume is on semantic and pragmatic change, its causes and mechanisms. The papers gathered here offer both theoretical proposals of more general scope and in-depth studies of language-specific cases of meaning change in particular notional domains. The analyses include data from English, several Romance languages, German, Scandinavian languages, and Oceanic languages. Detailed case-studies covering central semantic domains, such as concession, evidentiality, intensification, modality, negation, scalarity, subjectivity, and temporality, allow the authors to test and refine current models of semantic change, by focusing, for instance, on the respective roles of speakers and hearers in the process and on the relationship between semantic and syntactic reanalysis. Key theoretical notions, such as presuppositions, paradigms, word order, and discourse status are revisited in a diachronic perspective to provide innovative accounts of causes and motivations for linguistic changes. A prominent theme is the evolution of procedural meanings of various kinds. Thus, several papers feature different types of pragmatic markers as their object of study, while others are concerned with items and constructions expressing modality, evidentiality, negation, and relational meanings. Closely related themes are: the interface between semantics and pragmatics/discourse, with figurative uses of language, rhetorical-argumentational strategies, discourse traditions, information structure, and the importance of dialogic contexts in change playing a salient role in several papers; the relationship between meaning change and processes such as grammaticalization, subjectification and pragmaticalization; and, the thorny issue of the categorization of linguistic items such as discourse markers or modal particles, evidentials or epistemic modals, to which the diachronic data are shown to contribute substantially. The volume will be of interest to graduate students and researchers in the fields of semantics, pragmatics, discourse analysis, grammaticalization, and historical linguistics.


Maj-Britt Mosegaard Hansen

The central aim of this study is to elucidate the nature of the semantics / pragmatics distinction in both synchrony and diachrony. The author proposes a definition of semantics and pragmatics that is orthogonal to the question of truth-conditionality, and discusses the status of various types of meaning with respect to this definition. A corollary aim of the study is to propose an account of how and why erstwhile pragmatically-determined elements of meaning may, in the course of time, become semanticized. The nature, paths, and mechanisms of diachronic sense changes of the relevant type, as well as the motivations for them, are discussed in some detail. The author combines insights from different sources, prominently frame-based semantics, historical pragmatics, and Peircean semiotics, to arrive at a model of linguistic meaning that is both synchronically and diachronically dynamic, hence capable of integrating structure and usage. As a case study, the synchronic uses and diachronic evolution of the exceptionally polyfunctional French phasal adverbs deja ('already'), encore ('still/yet'), toujours ('still'), and enfin ('finally') are analyzed in some detail, with particular attention being paid to the semantic vs pragmatic nature of the various uses of these items. The book will be of interest to lexical semanticists, pragmaticians, historical linguists, functional/cognitive linguists, discourse analysts, and semioticians.


Edited by Emmanuelle Labeau, Carl Vetters and Patrick Caudal

Le système verbal du français contemporain résulte d’une évolution séculaire et l’examen diachronique des valeurs de chacune des formes contribue à la compréhension de la sémantique verbale contemporaine. Parallèlement, l’étude diachronique du système verbal français ne peut se dispenser d’examiner la répartition des valeurs sémantiques sur les formes (avec la diversité d’interprétations contextuelles qu’elles engendrent) au cours de leur évolution. Toutefois, bien que complémentaires, sémantique et diachronie sont rarement conjointes dans la recherche.
Par sa conjonction entre études sémantiques et diachroniques, ce volume présente une meilleure idée des tendances qui caractérisent l’évolution des formes verbales du français, et de l’impact que l’observation de ces tendances peut avoir sur notre compréhension de la sémantique de ces formes en synchronie.