From Preverbal Focus to Preverbal "Left Periphery": The Ossetic Clause Architecture in Areal and Diachronic Perspective

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7 Scopus citations

Abstract

I show that a focus position may serve as a source of grammaticalization for the "left periphery" , i.e. the locus of wh-phrases and complementizers. In Ossetic, wh-phrases and certain complementizers are obligatorily placed immediately to the left of the verb, with only a specific class of lexemes being able to intervene between them. Other complementizers may occur anywhere between the left edge of the clause and the verb. I propose a scenario whereby this unusual clause architecture came into existence. The key step is that the wh-position got split from the focus. I argue that this change occurred under influences from South Caucasian languages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)673-699
Number of pages27
JournalLingua
Volume122
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 May 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Contact influences
  • Iranian
  • Language change
  • Left periphery
  • Ossetic
  • South Caucasian

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

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