Agreement and definiteness (Abkhaz)

Wolfgang Schulze W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Mon Nov 22 13:09:19 UTC 1999

Edith mentioned Lindsay Whaley's remark on 'definiteness' in Abkhaz. To
my knowledge, the claim that "the verb carries a marker when it has
a definite object and is unmarked when the object is indefinite" does
not hold for this language. A 'direct object' (better 'objective' in
Abkhaz) is
always indicated by a cross-referencing element on the verb, which,
however, is
lost when a non-animate third person objective immediately precedes the
This happens both if the objective role is exerted by a definite or
indefinite referent, cf.

a-pHwe/s a-xarp 0-le/-dz:wa-yt'
ART-woman ART-shirt 3:O:inam-3:A:hum:f-wash-AOR:IND
'The woman washed the shirt"

a-pHwe/s xarp-ak' 0-le/-dz:wa-yt'
ART-woman shirt-INDEF/SG 3:O:inam-3:A:hum:f-wash-AOR:IND
'The woman washed a shirt"

Unfortunately, I don't have Whaley's book at hands right now, so I
cannot judge the example. Anyway, the presence or absence of an 'object'
clitic is determined in Abkhaz by the position of the antecedent, not by


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Schulze
Institut fuer Allgemeine und Indogermanische Sprachwissenschaft
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet München
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz 1
D-80539 München
Tel.: +89-21805343 / Fax: +89-21805345
Email: W.Schulze at

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