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Two approaches to destinative in North Samoyedic
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Two approaches to destinative in North Samoyedic

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  1. Two approaches to destinative in North Samoyedic A comparative evaluation

  2. Data background • The presentation would be impossible without Valentin Goussev and Maria Brykina, who provided access to the Electronic Corpus of Nganasan, helped with the morphological analysis and corrected mistakes

  3. Language background • The construction in question is attested in North Samoyedic languages: Enets, Nenets and Nganasan (but not in South Samoyedic language Selkup) • A functionally similar construction is also attested in some Tungusic languages As we will see, more distant typological parallels depend on the interpretation of the construction

  4. Terminological background • The marker is called “предназначительный” in Russian and has been translated alternatively as destinative, predestinative or designative in English • Disambiguation: “предназначительный”is functionally different from the Samoyedic / Tungusic category Note however some functional overlap

  5. Typical contexts ‘Give me some food’ (=‘Give food-for-my’) ‘I will make you a house’ (=‘I will make a house-for-your’)

  6. Problem setting Two approaches to destinative • Prospective Possessor perspective • Tensed noun perspective This paper is an attempt of a comparative evaluation of the two approaches…

  7. Prospective possessor perspective

  8. Prospective possessor perspective • Recipient / Beneficiary marking ‘give food-for-me’ • Typological parallels: monotransitive give constructions Creissels 1979; Croft 1985; Margetts 2002 • Typological parallels: possessive ~ benefactive connection Oceanic languages: Song 1997, 2002; Lichtenberk 2002 • Application to Samoyedic: Creissels 1979, Daniel 2005, Creissels, Daniel 2006

  9. Prospective possessor perspective give / make Recipient / Beneficiary Theme Typical ‘give’ situation

  10. Prospective possessor perspective + Indirect object Double object Secondary object give give give T T R R (morpho)syntactic status T R Dryer 1986, Haspelmath 2009 Syntactic variation: competition for P -

  11. Prospective possessor perspective How does Nganasan fit? • In most ditransitive contexts, the R/B is expressed as a possessive suffix • More rarely, it is expressed as a genitive noun • The single-NP status is contestable, but it certainly is structurally similar to a possessive expression

  12. Prospective possessor perspective predicate patientive benefactive object human prospective possessive Situation of transfer / creation

  13. Prospective possessor perspective predicate patientive experiencive object human possessive A parallel: external possession

  14. Prospective possessor perspective Why external Possessors are frequent, and internal Recipients so rare? • Actual possession is stronger than prospective possession, while Experiencer vs. Beneficiary roles are comparably strong

  15. Prospective possessor perspective + give give give give R T R T T syntactic status T R R Syntactic variation: placing Nganasan -

  16. Tensed noun perspective

  17. Tensed noun perspective • Future temporal reference ‘give what-is-going-to-be-my-food’ • Typological parallels: Nordlinger, Sadler 2004 • Application to Samoyedic: Helimski 1994, Leisiö 2009

  18. Tense noun perspective • Nordlinger and Sadler’s survey centers on meanings ‘what is going / used to be ice’ • However, it also includes possessive contexts • According to them, nominal tense primarily distinguishes past vs. non-past This seems to be in contradiction with Nganasan data, but…

  19. Tensed noun perspective • Counterfactual (irreal) destinative: ‘what could have been my food’ (finds a parallel in nominal tense typology in Jate, Macro-Je – Nordlinger, Sadler 2004) • Counterfactual destinative optionally includes a true verbal suffix of irrealis (Goussev 2005) • Past nominals: ‘what used to be a sledge’

  20. Tensed noun perspective The paradigm of nominal tense in Nganasan (Leisiö) marker

  21. Tensed noun perspective The paradigm of nominal tense in Nganasan

  22. Tensed noun perspective The paradigm of nominal tense in Nganasan

  23. Tensed noun prespective Advantages • Explains elements of verbal morphology • Builds a full paradigm Disadvantages • The resulting paradigm is asymmetrical in various ways

  24. A comparison

  25. Do nominal past and destinatives form one paradigm? • Can destinatives be treated as instances of nominal tense?

  26. What is tensed? what is going to be my house or what is going to be my house

  27. What is tensed? IF the destinative is about nominal tense: • it means ‘what used to/could/will be an X’ • possessive relation is a colateral THEN • there should be many examples of unpossessed tensed nouns

  28. What is tensed? IF the destinative is about prospective possession: • it means ‘what used to/could/will be Y’s X’ THEN • all destinatives should be somehow possessed

  29. What is tensed? If the nominal past is also connected to possession: • that would keep the paradigm intact – it would be tensed possession instead of tensed nouns THEN • all nouns marked as ‘pst’ should be somehow possessed

  30. What is tensed? • IF the category is about nominal tense, then it is about future objects (objects which do not exist yet) • If the category is about prospective possession, it is about future relations (relations that do not yet hold)

  31. Paradigmatic structure Nominal tense? future Nominal tense? irreal past Possessive tense? Possessive tense?

  32. Usage • Statistically, nominal past is independent from possessiveness, although often co-occurs with it • Destinative (both actual and counterfactual) is bound with possessiveness and only rarely occurs without Possessors • The two categories thus do not form an obvious paradigm

  33. Typology • Nordlinger and Sadler 2004’s nominal tense is sometimes combined with possessiveness (e.g. Carib languages) • Even more often, it is ambiguous between tensed possession and ‘absolute’ nominal tense

  34. Discussion of Nordlinger and Sadler 2004 • If possible, it would be preferable to treat possessive TAM and absolute nominal TAM separately • As Nordlinger and Sadler mention, however, the form often has both interpretations; so that these two categories may be conceptually correlated • It remains to be seen whether it would be viable, typologically, to keep them as separate categories Similarly to how Nordlinger and Sadler themselves distinguish between independent nominal tense and propositional nominal tense – different elements are being tensed… When considering absolute nominal tense, we should pay attention to relational and inalienably possessed nouns with covert possessive relations: ‘house’, ‘wife’, ‘skin’

  35. Usage future relation past relation future object past object NOMINAL PAST attested unpossessed past objects DESTINATIVES very few nonpossessed future objects, if any It seems that both categories oscillate between tensing nouns and relations (to different extents), thus supporting the typological vagueness of the distinction But, statistics apart, note that the destinative construction is the basic ‘give’ construction in the language

  36. Conclusions • Samoyedic destinative is not incompatible with the typology of nominal tense proposed in Nordlinger / Sadler 2004 • But maybe this typology has to be reconsidered? It is not the noun but the possessive relation which is tensed • Or it may be that the category is vague in the end, similarly to the impression one gets from Nodlinger / Sadler…

  37. Conclusions • Destinative fits at least equally well into prospective possessor discussion, and should be a topic in a typology of beneficiaries • It is unclear whether we should really choose – maybe destinative lies at the intersection of the prospective Possessor typology and nominal tense

  38. Conclusions • To support Leisiö’s interpretation and put the destinatives and anterior forms together, we need to disregard their heterogeneity both in terms of Nordlinger/Sadler’s nominal tense typology (but consider the probable ambiguity) and in terms of formal morphology

  39. Hommage to speakers