development of a copula from the verb 'to come'

Wolfgang Schulze W.Schulze at LRZ.UNI-MUENCHEN.DE
Mon Dec 21 20:21:43 UTC 2009

Dear Sebastian,
well, it depends from what you define as being a true copula. 
Nevertheless, think of English /become/ (that is /be-come/), or German 
/bekommen/ used as a process verb (or, in German, as an auxiliary to 
encode the passive diathesis when foregrounding an 'indirect object'). 
Also, in Udi (East Caucasian) there is a verb /baksun /functioning both 
in the sense of 'become' and 'be' (with certain tense forms). /baksun/ 
probably has its parallel in Caucasian Albanian or 'Old-Udi' (~ 600 AD), 
where we have a verb /bAhesown/ (A is some kind of open o) meaning to 
move (/go, come/). I guess that there are many more examples in the 
languages of the world that have the concept of BECOME being derived 
from motion verbs such as go, come etc.  The step then towards a true 
copula is not too problematic, as shown e.g. by the Udi example. 
Best wishes,

Sebastian Nordhoff schrieb:
> Dear colleagues,
> I am looking for languages with a copula where this copula derives 
> from the lexical verb meaning 'to come'. One such language is Sri 
> Lanka Malay where the copula /asàdhaathang/ is clearly related to the 
> verb /dhaathang/ 'to come' (The copula is homonymous with the 
> 'conjunctive participle', to be precise).
> (1)  Se=ppe  naama asàdhaathang  Cintha  Sinthani.     1s=poss name  
> copula        Chintha Sinthani
>    `My name is Chintha Sinthani.'
> This seems to be a rather unusual diachronic source; it is more common 
> for the copula to develop from an existential or a pronoun. I would 
> appreciate if list members could point out languages with similar 
> developments. I would also be happy to hear about less-than-perfect 
> matches, e.g. grammaticalization of 'come' to an auxiliary, or 
> grammaticalization of another motion verb to a copula. I have 
> consulted The World Lexicon of Grammaticalization (Heine & Kuteva 
> 2002), and the closest match I could find was come-->resultative as 
> found in some Creole languages (Seychellois, Guyanese CF, Fa d'Ambu).
> Thanks in advance
> Sebastian


*Prof. Dr. Wolfgang 
Schulze    *                                                               


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