Lexical and clause-linkage properties of the converbal constructions in Sakha (Yakut)
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This thesis is a comprehensive study of lexical and clause-linkage properties of converbs in an underdescribed language, Sakha (aka Yakut). Following Haspelmath (1995b) a converb is defined as a non-finite verb form which mainly indicates an adverbial subordination. Converbs are attested in diverse languages of the world, but are used extensively in non-European languages. This study focuses on Sakha, a Turkic language spoken by approximately 300,000 speakers in Siberia, Russia. Typologically Sakha is a head-final, suffixing language with a fairly rich case system and a basic SOV word order. The converbal system of Sakha is comprised of nine distinct converbs. They are formed with the help of a verbal stem and the converbal suffix that assigns a semantic specification. There are three temporal converbs: the converb of anteriority (- An ), the converb of simultaneity (- A ), and the converb of immediate-precedence (- A:t ). Two converbs of manner, specifically the converb of purpose (- A:rI ) and the converb of causality (- BIc:A ). Four converbs with inherent meaning of negation formed with the suffixes - BAk:A and -mInA and the converbs of negated immediate-precedence (- ImA:t ) and negated purpose (- ImA:rI ). The converbs are analysed based on the examples compiled by the author, a native speaker of Sakha, as well as the extensive new data retrieved from the Sakha corpus. This corpus with a total of 319,823 words was created based on the website www.ykt.ru/edersaas, which is an electronic archive of the newspaper publications "Eder saas" ("Youth") covering the period of 1998 - 2001. The corpus is a representative collection of the examples demonstrating the contemporary use of the Sakha converbs. Clause-linkage properties of the converbs are analysed based on Bickel’s (2010) typological survey without committing to the universal clause-linkage categories of coordination, subordination, and cosubordination. Some of the syntactic and semantic variables discussed in this study are illocutionary scope, negation scope, extraction possibilities, etc. These and other variables are pointed out by Bickel (2010) as important variables to discuss when evaluating the clause-linkage properties of the constructions. Extending Bickel’s (2010) analysis, this study introduces a new method in analyzing illocutionary scope. The interrogative sentences are tested in a dialogue-like format which helps to accurately recognize the scope of the illocutionary operator. Furthermore, this study proposes new parameters within the categories of illocutionary scope and negation scope, which help to capture the scope over the relationship between clauses. The lexical derivation process of converbs as well as some of the clause-linkage properties including the interaction between illocutionary scope and information-structure are formalized using Head-driven Phrase Structure Grammar (HPSG) (Sag and Pollard 1994). These methods and techniques are novel and have not been employed to analyze Sakha before. The results of the corpus study demonstrate that the constructions with implicit coreferential subjects occur more frequently than the constructions with overt non-coreferential subjects. It also demonstrates that the person-marked converbs are used less frequently than the converbs without person-marking. The most frequently occurring instance of the anteriority converb baran ‘go’ appears to be undergoing the grammaticalization process to be used as a postposition baran ‘after’. The analysis of the clause-linkage properties shows that the converbal constructions behave differently from typical subordinate constructions. The syntactic and semantic variables that help to capture these distinctions are illocutionary scope, tense scope, tense marking, negation scope, and finiteness. A formal HPSG account of the converb derivation process demonstrates that a single lexical rule governs the syntactic realization of all converbs in Sakha, while individual specifications for each converb map each converbal suffix with an appropriate meaning. Additional morphophonological processes are necessary to deal with the assignment of predicative and possessive-accusative person-marking in the Sakha converbs.