Dependent vs. independent verb forms

Michael Noonan noonan at CSD.UWM.EDU
Tue Apr 13 20:21:40 UTC 2004

Old Irish had evolved some dedicated relative verbal forms which
contrasted with non-relative forms in some TAMs and person/numbers.  For
example, 3s present indicative _berid_ 's/he bears' constrasts with 3s
present indicative relative _beres_ 'which s/he bears'.  It's my
impression that these forms derived from verbal stem + secondary endings +
relative pronoun:  a Celticist or Indo-Europeanist might be able provide
information on more recent thinking about the origin of these verbs.

If the scenario above or something similar is in fact responsible for
these relative verb, then they would exemplify a fourth source for
dependent verbs forms, namely the affixation of independent verb forms. 

Mickey Noonan

On Sat, 10 Apr 2004, Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm wrote:

> Dear colleagues, I am interested in the different ways languages can
> acquire their distinctions between finite vs. non-finite or
> independent vs. dependent verb forms, i.e. distinctions between those
> verb forms that can be used as the main predicate in independent
> clauses and those that cannot (at least, not in the normal case). So
> far I know of the three following main sources for such splits:
> S1. In some cases, dependent verb forms originate as words belonging
> to other word classes, but gradually join the verbal paradigm - e.g.,
> participles from deverbal adjectives and nominalizations from
> deverbal nouns.
> S2. In other cases, dependent forms are leftovers, residues or
> fossilized forms of older dependent verb forms that, in one or
> another way, have been trapped in various syntactic environments ­
> e.g., infinitives as locative / directional cases of nominalizations,
> and converbs as locative cases of nominalizations or some particular
> forms of participles.
> S3. Sometimes the original forms are older independent forms ­ when
> splits between independent and dependent verb forms arise as a result
> of gradual spreading of new grammatical phenomena (primarily
> tense-aspect-mood) across different types of constructions involving
> verbs. Bybee, Perkins & Pagliuca (1994) mention the cases of
> Armenian, Cairene Arabic and Spanish, in which subjunctives (i.e.,
> forms typically used in subordinate clauses) have originated from
> older indicatives.
> In this connection I would need your help with the following questions:
> Q1: Do you know of any other ways by which languages can acquire
> distinctions between independent and dependent verb forms?
> Q2: Do you know of any sources which would trace the history of
> "non-verbal" words (such as deverbal adjectives and nouns, apart from
> English gerunds) being gradually incorporated into the verbal
> paradigm, or at least suggesting a plausible scenario?
> Q3: Do you know of any other S3-cases apart from Armenian, Cairene
> Arabic and Spanish mentioned above? Can gradual spreading of other
> grammatical phenomena apart from tense-aspect-mood lead to
> asymmetries between verb forms used in independent / main clauses and
> in dependent ones ­ e.g., agreement?
> Needless to say, I would be extremely grateful for any advices!!!
> All the best to all of you,
> --
> Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm
> Office: Dept. of linguistics, Stockholm university
> 106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
> Tel.: +46-8-16 26 20
> Home: Vaesterled 166
> 167 72, Bromma, Sweden
> Tel.: +46-8-26 90 91

Michael Noonan			Professor of Linguistics
Dept. of English		Office:   414-229-4539
University of Wisconsin		Fax:	  414-229-2643
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