Dependent vs. independent verb forms

paoram at UNIPV.IT paoram at UNIPV.IT
Thu Apr 15 15:46:54 UTC 2004

> Q3: a case exactly similar to Armenian is Hindi/Urdu, where the to-day
> subjunctive is the old Sanskrit present (used in middle Indian for non
> past
> and up to the XIXth century optionnally for indicative
> present/subjunctive/future, while new forms were in the process of
> grammaticizing for present and future): kare do-3s < Scrt karasi,
> do-3s-prest. The to-day future is formed by suffixation of a go-aux to
> this
> tense (person marked): kare-ga, do-3s-go-ms "he will do", and the to-day
> general present is of the "is doing" type (karta hai "doing-ms is", he
> does), a form previously used with a specific and general meaning (XIXth
> c.), now only in the general meaning since a new periphrastic present with
> "stay" aux. developped for the specific progressive meaning.
> Q2: an example in the same family of languages of a deverbal adj
> integrated
> in the verbal paradigm is the Eastern Indo-Aryan future (Bengali,
> Maithili,
> Eastern dialectal Hindi speeches such as Bhojpuri): the Sanscrit verbal
> adjective in -tavya (meaning close to Latine -endus form. Kartavya: whis
> has
> to be done > duty, with still the meaning "duty" in standard Hindi) gave
> a -b- future with now personal endings added: Bengali karbo do-b-1s, "I
> will
> do", Old Eastern Hindi had forms without personal endings (karab, will
> do).
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Maria Koptjevskaja Tamm" <tamm at LING.SU.SE>
> Sent: Saturday, April 10, 2004 11:15 AM
> Subject: Dependent vs. independent verb forms
>> 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?

The traditional theory is that in many IE languages infinitives are
remnants of verbal nouns with case endings. Lat -ere would be a Locat. The
same would hold for OInd. infinitive forms, etc.As a matter of fact, it is
not possible to reconstruct a common IE infin. form. Every IE linguistic
tradition had to 'invent' its own infinitive.
Best, Paolo

>> 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

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