Sedyl - Structure et Dynamique des Langues - UMR8202 - CELIA

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Séminaire doctoral - Théories et données linguistiques
Animé par A. Donabédian et A. Mardale
INALCO - S.3.11 - 14h00-18h00

Ilja A. Seržant (University of Leipzig)
Towards Diachronic Typology of Differential O and S marking

In the paper I will discuss the main strategies for how differential marking may emerge in different languages. I will provide a list and the discussion of some cross-linguistically recurrent paths. Although the sources for the differential marking vary across languages certain cross-linguistic properties nevertheless may be established. For example, in most of the cases, differential marking stems from a convergence of historically two distinct constructions one of which is the basic transitive construction. Such is the convergence of the affirmative, basic transitive construction with NOM-ACC and the predicate-negated construction with NOM-GEN in Old Slavic, yielding NOM-ACC/GEN or the convergence of the basic NOM-ACC construction in Romance with the marked-topic “as for” construction, yielding NOM-ACC/as-for-ACC or the convergence of the cleft constructions with the basic transitive constructions in various languages of North Africa. The main motivation behind this convergence is paradigmatic levelling, I suggest. I rely here on Harris & Campell (1995: 257) who say that “the pull towards consistency between subsystems [...] is stronger than that between rules” conditioning the subsystems.
Furthermore, I will illustrate that once the new marker starts acquiring the syntactic function (of coding P or S) it simultaneously acquires new properties related to this function that were not found in its source construction: depending on the source construction, for example, Animacy Scale or disambiguation function may interact with other functions that are residuals of the original construction. I will also illustrate how definiteness and animacy – the very frequent domains affected by differential object marking – may be related diachronically (in line with Dalrymple & Nikolaeva 2010).
Dalrymple, Mary & Irina Nikolaeva. 2011. Objects and information structure: Agreement, casemarking and grammatical function. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Harris, Alice C., and Lyle Campbell. 1995. Historical syntax in cross-linguistic perspective. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.