IIIT Hyderabad Publications
Cognitive Construals underlying grammatical aspects and modalities in Dravidian Languages
Authors: Vigneshwaran Muralidharan, Ganesh,Dipti M Sharma
Conference: The 9th International Conference on Construction Grammar (ICCG9)
Location uiz de Fora, Brazil
Report no: IIIT/TR/2016/30
A curious morpho-syntactic phenomenon observed in Dravidian languages is the presence of alleged tense markers in all non-finite inflections of verbs (Raghavachari Amritavalli & KA Jayaseelan, 2005, R Amritavalli, 2014). Related to this feature are the following facts: In complex sentences of Dravidian languages, events are not expressed by connecting multiple finite clauses through subordinate conjunctions, but by a series of non-finite verbs with one finite verb at the end, being head final languages (Steever, Sanford B, 1988 & 2015, KA Jayaseelan 2004); Finite clauses cannot be coordinated; Relative clauses are non-finite (KA Jayaseelan 2014, McFadden, Thomas & Sandhya Sundaresan. 2014). Consistent with the above syntactic peculiarities, grammatical aspects and modalities are expressed as Main-Aux verb sequence ’V1-V2-V3....’ with non-finite inflections on every verb except the last verb which is finite. Again, the same tense markers figure in this sequence as well. Look at the below examples. (1) rAman va-nd-u irup-p-An Raman come-PST-CONJ AUX1-FUT-3.M.SG ‘Raman would have come’ (2) rAman var-a kUD-um Raman come-INF AUX1-FUT.3.NH.SG ‘Raman may come’ It can be observed from example 1 that the verbal stem ‘vA(come)’ inflects as ‘vandu’ which is a non-finite conjunctive inflection that shows past morpheme ‘nd’. In example 2, the same stem ‘vA(come)’ inflects as ‘vara’ with an infinitive inflection that shows a non-past bare stem ’var’. A sequence without these non-finite inflections produces ungrammatical sentences ’*rAman vA irukkiRAn’ or ’*rAman vA kUDum’. In formal analyses, it is considered that this is just a grammatical scheme (E Annamalai). We suggest that there are four construction schemas behind Verb-Verb interactions in discourse and that grammatical aspects, modalities are just special cases of these construals. The discourse continuance construed from the inception state of an already manifest process verb P1 to another process P2 gives rise to grammatical aspect. Conversely, discourse continuance construed to the inception state of a yet-to-manifest process P1 from another process verb P2 gives rise to modalities. Evidence for this comes from the scope of negation and the syntactic constraints therein. For example, the example 1 can be negated felicitously in two ways ’rAman vandu irukka mATTan’ (Raman would not have come) and ’rAman varAmal irundu iruppAn’(Raman would have been in a state of having not come)’ but ‘*rAmanvarAmal iruppAn’ is an infelicitous negation of example 1. Through linguistic evidences we show that the non-finite participial inflections have systematic mappings to discourse construals which reveals that auxiliary verbs are not just syntactic heads but also semantic heads. Keywords: Construals, Grammatical Aspects, Modalities, Dravidian Languages References E. Annamalai. The variable relation of verbs in sequence in tamil. KA Jayaseelan. (2004). The serial verb construction in malayalam. In Clause structure in South Asian languages 67–91. Springer Netherlands. KA Jayaseelan. (2014). Coordination, relativization and finiteness in Dravidian. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 32(1):191–211. McFadden, Thomas & Sandhya Sundaresan. (2014). Finiteness in south asian languages: an introduction. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 32(1): 1–27. R Amritavalli. (2014). Separating tense and finiteness: anchoring in Dravidian. Natural Language & Linguistic Theory. 32(1): 283-306. Raghavachari Amritavalli & KA Jayaseelan. (2005). Finiteness and negation in Dravidian. The Oxford Handbook of Comparative Syntax 178–220. Raghavachari Amritavalli & Karattuparambil A Jayaseelan. (2004). The genesis of syntactic categories and parametric variation. Proceedings of the 4th Asian GLOW in Seoul. 19:19-41. Steever, Sanford B. (1988). The serial verb formation in the Dravidian languages. (Volume 4) Motilal Banarsidass Publications. Steever, Sanford B. (2015). The Dravidian Languages. Routledge.
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