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Keywords: finiteness ; indirect insubordination ; genealogical relationship ; Transeurasian ; Japanese ; Korean ; Tungusic languages ; Mongolic languages ; Turkic languages. On the morphological side, finite forms typically carry the maximum marking for such categories as tense, aspect, modality, and agreement permitted in the language.

On the syntactic side, finite forms have the capacity to function as the only predicate of an independent clause. In contrast, verbal nouns, participles, and converbs are nonfinite verb forms that generally display less marking of inflectional categories and whose prototypical function is to mark argument, adnominal and adverbial subordination respectively. Such developments can follow various pathways with various results.

One common strategy is to reduce the matrix predicate to an affix or a particle on the former nonfinite verb form. As, the matrix verb is contracted but not deleted, it contributes to the resultant finite form. Alternatively, a construction consisting of a nonfinite verb form plus finite copula can be reanalyzed as a verbal predicate, whereby the copula may be subsequently lost. Although the copula is entirely lost in the contemporary Russian example in 2b , the ending - l-a reflects predicate material from the finite verb form because the former nonfinite verb form was reanalyzed as a periphrastic perfect verbal predicate before the copula was dropped.

The loss of the copula may pass through an intermediate stage in which the former copula grammaticalizes to a sentence-final particle, as is often seen in the Tibeto-Burman languages DeLancey The Sizang Northern Chin finite clause in 3b , for instance, can be derived from a nominalized construction because the clitic used for verb agreement is a possessive proclitic, also used with nouns as in Example 3a. The equational copula hi of the original construction has left a trace in the homophonous final particle.

According to Mithun, the prefix al - began as a derivational nominalizer applied to verb stems to create noun stems, e.


As illustrated in 5b , it was then extended to the clause level to create participant nominalizations, used to refer to persons, animals, objects, locations, times an manners, e. This relative clause with al - has been extended on step further, to mark full, syntactically independent sentences which add supplementary information in discourse such as background, setting, commentary, general principles, asides, explanation, evaluation, etc.

Mithun argues that markers of dependency are simply extended from the level of syntax to the level of discourse and that ellipsis was not involved in the process. The general statement about marihuana in 5d , for instance, opened a story about a Mexican worker who smoked marihuana. The subsequent narrative was mainly in finite sentences without al - marking. Although the statement can be interpreted as subordinated to the rest of the discourse, the pitch contour reflects its status as a syntactically independent sentence.

The al - construction has thus been extended in scope from marking syntactically dependent clauses that contribute supplementary information to the sentence, to marking independent sentences that contribute supplementary information to the discourse. Comparisons with other languages in the family confirm that the direction of development was indeed in this direction, from the lexical to the syntactic to the discourse level. Indeed, in the Ket example in 1b the original finite verb is contracted but not deleted, in the Russian example in 2b the original copula was lost only after reanalysis as a verbal predicate and in the Sizang example in 3b the original copula is preserved as a final particle.

In the present approach, however, a distinction is made between nominalized forms that are directly reanalyzed as finite forms as in 5 and nominalized forms that are reanalyzed as verbal predicates through the use of a copula as in 2 and 3. The former are separated as a special subpart of insubordination, i. This distinction is highly relevant for the present discussion because it is exactly the mechanism of direct reanalysis illustrated in 5 that is one of the driving forces of morphosyntactic change in the Transeurasian languages.

Although the purpose of this article is to present a historical reconstruction of finitization processes in the Transeurasian languages, this does not preclude paying attention to syntactic developments, since finiteness is not a matter of mere morphology.

In this article, I will argue that these languages show a recurrent tendency for deverbal noun suffixes to grammaticalize, first, to markers of syntactically dependent complement or relative clauses and then, directly to markers of fully independent sentences. This is illustrated by the Old Japanese complement clause in 6b and the relative clause in 6c. Although the standard use of this suffix is adnominal, it can be used as a finite form marking independent sentences in both Old Japanese see 6d and the Ryukyuan languages.

In Old Japanese — as in most Transeurasian languages — noun stems could be juxtaposed to other nominals to add supplementary information, thus functioning as property nouns, i.

Review of Bjarke Frellesvig and John Whitman (2008). Proto-Japanese: Issues and Prospects

The relative clauses with - uru developed one step further to mark syntactically independent sentences which added supplementary information in discourse such as question, exclamation, confirmation, explanation. In case the modified noun is semantically the object of the adnominalized verb, as in Example 7d , the modulator is always added; otherwise, the modulator is not obligatory. Whereas the subjunctive attentive is morphologically segmentable into the imperfective adnominalizer and the vocative particle a , which usually follows nouns e.

Noun stems expressing properties could be juxtaposed to other nominals to add supplementary information. The suffix is also used for clausal ad nominalization, as illustrated by the Manchu complement clause in 8b and the relative clause in 8c. The ad nominalizers were then extended to the clause level to mark clausal ad nominalization in complement and relative clauses. The relative clauses developed one step further to mark syntactically independent sentences. Initially, these constructions may have added supplementary information, but gradually they generalized into the default indicative ending.

Examples of finite use in Mongolic are lacking, but I think that the past tense suffix - r in 9c in Khitan, a sister language of proto-Mongolic, is related here.

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The ad nominalizers were then extended to the clause level to mark clausal ad nominalization. There is no evidence that these dependent clauses developed one step further to mark syntactically independent sentences in Mongolic proper, but they probably did in the para-Mongolic language of the Khitan. Table 1: Comparison of the development of finiteness on common deverbal noun suffixes in the Transeurasian languages.

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It is formed with - Ar after most simple consonant stems, - Ur or - Ir after diathetic consonants stems and - yUr or - r after vowel stems. For a discussion of the Chuvash and Yakut cognates of this suffix, see Robbeets — Relative clauses developed one step further to mark syntactically independent sentences with a present continuous meaning.

The evidence comes from the accent class 2.

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These clausal ad nominalization ultimately developed to mark syntactically independent sentences. This distinction is illustrated in Example 12a , but it already showed instability in the fifteenth century and fell into disuse in the sixteenth century, yielding many exceptions to this rule such as 12b. In the documentary style of written contemporary Korean K - u m appears in main clauses without the vocative, often expressing an impersonal proposition as in 12d.

It is particularly frequent in the derivation of colour nouns and adjectives, such as Evk. In Sibe, a contemporary descendant of Manchu, the corresponding suffix - m is still productive as the citation form of verbs and is used for deriving infinitives as in 13a as well as for marking independent clauses as in 13d. As illustrated in 13c , most Tungusic languages use a converb suffix with distinct singular and plural forms, e.

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The presence of the possessive-reflexive marker gives the converb an inherently co-referential function, which means that it can only be used in same-subject constructions. The suffix was extended to the clause level, leaving a trace in clausal adverbialization, which can be derived from original nominalization. Similar to the Tungusic converb in Section 3. As such, clausal adverbialization can be derived from clausal nominalization. In Middle Mongolian texts of the thirteenth and fourteenth century, - m is the common ending for the imperfective present indicative Poppe : ; Weiers : — ; see 14b.

This suffix is used less in Written Mongolian, where it has been replaced by - mUi or - mU. The suffix was extended to the clause level, the original clausal nominalization leaving a trace in converbial sentences in the Central Mongolic languages. Ultimately, the suffix developed into an imperfective present marker in independent clauses. Erdal : —, — Since OTk. There are no indications that this suffix has developed finite function.

Derived nouns expressing properties were juxtaposed to other nominals, thus functioning as nominally encoded adjectives. The deverbal noun suffixes were then extended to the clause level to mark clausal nominalization in complement clauses. Relative clauses developed from cases in which a nominalized complement clause stood in apposition to a head noun.

Relative clauses then developed one step further to mark syntactically independent sentences. Because the Japanese and Korean independent constructions still clearly mark supplementary information in discourse, their development seems to be relatively late in the course of individual linguistic history. In this way, the development of finiteness on common deverbal noun suffixes in the Transeurasian languages seems to support the branching of the Transeurasian family proposed in Figure 1 on the basis of other shared innovations see Robbeets , Figure 1: Assumed branching of the Transeurasian family.

The comparative evidence above thus indicates that the nominalization construction began as a derivational process at the lexical level, was then extended to dependent clauses at the syntactic level, and was eventually — through a pragmatic role in discourse — extended still further to independent clauses. On the basis of classical definitions such as Kurylowicz 52 or Heine and Reh 15 that describe grammaticalization in terms of an increase of grammatical status and a loss of semantic content, phonetic substance, categorial properties, and syntactic freedom, the processes of insubordination explored above can be characterized as grammaticalization.

First, the gradual transition from derivation to inflection reflects an increase of grammatical status, whereby the cline is from deverbal noun affixes over participial affixes to finite affixes. Second, semantic content is gradually lost as one moves on the insubordination cline since nonfinite suffixes may change the meaning of the base, as opposed to finite markers. Finally, syntactic freedom is lost because the use of a deverbal noun suffix is optional in a sentence, while the use of a finite marker is obligatory.

This can be deduced from the observation that the examples above show virtually no trace of an eroding copula such as the final particle in 3b. The Manchu finite imperfective - mbi illustrated in 16a , for instance, corresponds to the Sibe - m marking independent clauses without copula intervention in 13c Gorelova : , —, — The Manchu imperfective in - mbi has a parallel in the finite past in - hAbi , which alternates with the simplex finite past in - hA and is derivable from the perfective adnominalizer Ma.

These forms are illustrated in 20a to 20c. It can be argued that the Manchu alternant in - hA reflects the original construction, which developed through direct insubordination from the perfective adnominalizer because in Northern Tungusic languages such as Even and Southern Tungusic languages such as Nanai and Udehe the corresponding finite perfect suffix is not accompanied by a copula; see 20c.

Parallelly, the Sibe - m marking independent clauses without copula intervention probably reflects the original construction. It is not unlikely that the copula constructions in Manchu, a highly siniticized language, developed under Chinese influence. The addition of the copula enables the speaker to mark the insubordinated form with the maximum of inflectional categories, such as the addition of tense marking in 19b. There are other instances across the Transeurasian languages, such as in Mongolian and Japanese, where historical evidence suggests that copula are added to nominalized forms, only after these forms have directly developed into markers of finiteness.

Although in Khalkha and other Central Mongolic languages the temporal-aspectual nominalizers - e x future, - deg habitual and -g. AA continuative occur either obligatorily or optionally with a copula yum in independent clauses, the use of a copula following the temporal-aspectual nominalizers seems to be rather rare in Middle Mongolian. Even though the future nominalizer - e x in 21c obligatorily takes a copula in finite position, the Middle Mongolian imperfective nominalizer - KU from which it descends appeared more often than not without a copula in independent clauses; see 21b.

Having made a rough count, Rybatzki p. He therefore assumes that the use of a copula is a secondary development in Mongolic, which might be influenced by Turkic languages where a similar structure of adnominalizer plus copula e.

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It has also been argued that the use of nominalizers as finite forms in Japanese derives from finite copula constructions, in which the copula has been lost Yap et al. There are, for instance, no examples of a finite copula following ko 2 to 2 in Old Japanese; only examples of the type illustrated in 21b are found. Copula constructions as in the contemporary Japanese example in 21c emerged later in Japanese history, perhaps under Chinese influence.

In sum, direct insubordination is a recurrent development across the Transeurasian languages. A serious number of insubordinated nominalizations in these languages have never been embedded by a copula and even if they have been, historical and comparative evidence frequently suggests that the copula represents a secondary addition.


In other parts of Asia clausal nominalization in constructions with a copula is, nevertheless, a major source for developing new finite constructions. Many Sinitic languages use focus constructions consisting of a nominalizer plus a copula verb and dropping the copula then paves the way for finite stance constructions. The Mandarin shi … de focus constructions, for instance, consist of a copula shi and a nominalizer de , whereas the finite stance construction appears without the copula Yap and Matthews : Similar processes are found in the Siberian area, for instance in Yukaghir Malchukov : — In Kolyma Yukaghir, the suffix - l is used to derive action nouns, anterior participles and indicative finite forms in subject focus constructions, as illustrated in As demonstrated by several scholars e.

Finite verb forms in Modern Tibetan such as - pa yin, -pa red , for instance, transparently reflect a copula construction, consisting of a nominalizer - pa followed by an equational copula. As such, constructions become more opaque, the copula may develop into a semantically empty final particle as in Example 3b. As opposed to the situation in the Transeurasian languages, final particles and focus markers leaving a trace of an eroding copula prevail in languages that develop finiteness from nominalization in construction with a copula.

As such, the inherent mechanism for developing finiteness in the Transeurasian family is demonstrably distinct from that used in the Sinitic, Yukaghir or Tibeto-Burman languages. Mithun finds that processes of direct insubordination are undoubtedly more common crosslinguistically than has hitherto been recognized, partly because traditional studies have focused on isolated sentences rather than on longer stretches of discourse.