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Correlates to middle marking in Dena'ina iterative verbs

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Title: Correlates to middle marking in Dena'ina iterative verbs
Authors: Berez, Andrea L.
Gries, Stefan Th.
Keywords: Linguistics
Issue Date: Jan 2010
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Citation: Berez, Andrea L. & Stefan Th. Gries. 2010. Correlates to middle marking in Dena’ina iterative verbs. International Journal of American Linguistics 76(1). 145–165.
Abstract: While recent studies have attempted to find a unified motivation for the Athabaskan middle voice, middle marking in iterative verbs, which are sometimes middles, is generally less well understood than in other middle constructions. Scholars have cited syntactic intransitivity, semantics, or some combination thereof as motivation for when iteratives are marked as middles. In this paper, we present a quantitative analysis of iteratives from traditional Dena’ina (Athabaskan, Alaska) narratives. This analysis strongly suggests that while grammatical transitivity plays a role in the triggering of overt morphological marking of middles, verb meaning plays an even more important overall role, and thus supports the assumption of a semantically unified class of middle verbs. More specifically, we show that in Dena’ina iterative verbs, middle marking is more likely to occur when the spatial starting and ending points of the action of the verb are undifferentiated.
Description: While recent studies have attempted to find a unified motivation for the Athabaskan middle voice, middle marking in iterative verbs, which are sometimes middles, is generally less well understood than in other middle constructions. Scholars have cited syntactic intransitivity, semantics, or some combination thereof as motivation for when iteratives are marked as middles. In this paper, we present a quantitative analysis of iteratives from traditional Dena’ina (Athabaskan, Alaska) narratives. This analysis strongly suggests that while grammatical transitivity plays a role in the triggering of overt morphological marking of middles, verb meaning plays an even more important overall role, and thus supports the assumption of a semantically unified class of middle verbs. More specifically, we show that in Dena’ina iterative verbs, middle marking is more likely to occur when the spatial starting and ending points of the action of the verb are undifferentiated.
Pages/Duration: 35 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/50696
DOI: 0020–7071/2010/7601–0005$10.00
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