Linguistics Department

Colloquium - Ashwini Deo (Yale University) "The particular–characterizing contrast in Indo-Aryan copulas and the diachronic emergence of overt tense marking"

Fri, February 22, 2013 | CBA 4.348

3:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Several Indo-Aryan languages  are characterized by (at least) two distinct  copular expressions in both the present and the past tenses  (e.g. hai and hota hai in Hindi or ahe/asato in  Marathi). The distribution  of these copulas in non-verbal predicational  clauses (e.g. John is hungry/intelligent/on Mars/a war veteran/a collie) is constrained by   two factors: (a) whether the predicate is stage-level or individual-level; and (b) whether the argument is interpreted as individual-denoting or kind-denoting.  I propose that the two-copula systems of Indo-Aryan  allow for the morphosyntactic realization  of the semantic contrast  between particular and characterizing sentences (in the sense of Krifka et al 1995). 

In this talk, I will investigate  non-verbal predications in Late Middle Indo-Aryan (Apabhramsa) and Early New Indo-Aryan (Old Marathi and Old Gujarati) in order to understand the evolution  of this morphosyntactically realized contrast  in Indo-Aryan diachrony.   Specifically, I  explore the idea that although there is some evidence  of a grammaticalized  particular-characterizing contrast   in the older systems   (e.g. Epic Sanskrit and Early Prakrit),  it is only  firmly established  concomitant with the emergence of overtly marked tense distinctions  in the Proto New Indo-Aryan system.

Bookmark and Share