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Chapitre D'ouvrage Année : 2022

The causal-noncausal alternation in the Northern Tungusic languages of Russia


Languages differ widely in the way they code causal-noncausal alternations, in which a verb event is either presented as happening by itself (the noncausal event) or as being instigated by an external causer (the causal event). Some languages, such as English, tend not to make a morphological distinction; rather, the same form of certain verbs can express both a causal and a noncausal event, depending on the context. Other languages, such as Romanian or Russian, have a strong tendency to mark the noncausal event morphologically, while yet others, such as Turkish, tend to code the causal event with morphological means (Haspelmath 1993). We here investigate the causal-noncausal alternation in Even, Negidal, and Evenki, three Northern Tungusic languages spoken in the Russian Federation, in a crosslinguistic perspective. In these languages, morphological means for decreasing and increasing valency predominate, although equipollence-in which both forms are morphologically marked without one being derivable from the other-is a salient strategy for verbs of destruction. Although we find broadly comparable coding patterns in these and other Tungusic languages that are similar to what is found in other languages of Northern Asia, there are numerous intriguing differences at a fine-grained level.
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hal-03801751 , version 1 (06-10-2022)


  • HAL Id : hal-03801751 , version 1


Natalia Aralova, Brigitte Pakendorf. The causal-noncausal alternation in the Northern Tungusic languages of Russia. In Andreas Hölzl; Thomas E. Payne. Tungusic languages: Past and present, Language Science Press, pp.21-62, 2022. ⟨hal-03801751⟩
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