Identificational clefts dissociate the assertion of the exclusive identification of a participant in an event from the rest of the information about the event. In all languages, this can be achieved by combining equative predication and participant nominalization, but in the evolution of languages, the routinization of such a construction as the usual way of expressing participant focalization may result in its grammaticalization as a specific type of construction. After proposing to reformulate the usual distinction between ‘pseudo-clefts’ and ‘clefts’ as a distinction between ‘plain clefts’ and ‘grammaticalized clefts’, this article discusses successively the relationship between cleft constructions and the notion of subordination, the changes that may convert plain clefts into grammaticalized clefts, the emergence of focus markers from cleft constructions, semantic aspects of the evolution of clefts, and the trend towards monoclausality in the evolution of clefts.
The Obligatory Coding Principle accounts for the inventories of possible coding frames in languages that, according to the current terminology, can be characterized as consistently accusative or consistently ergative in their system of argument coding. In coding frame inventories fully consistent with the Obligtory Coding principle, every coding frame includes a given type of coding, either A (in obligatory A coding languages) or P (in obligatory P coding languages). However, languages with coding frame inventories violating this principle are not exceptional. This paper examines the questions raised by light verb constructions with respect to the Obligatory Coding Principle, in particular the possible impact of the univerbation of light verb constructions on argument coding systems initially consistent with the principle or obligatory P coding. The discussion is based on an analysis of the role of the univerbation of light verb compounds in the changes that have affected the situation of Basque with respect to the Obligatory Coding Principle, and a comparison of the situation of Basque with that of Andic languages (East Caucasian).