[Lingtyp] Double marking of the goal argument

Farhad Moezzipour fmp59i at gmail.com
Thu Aug 26 16:05:02 UTC 2021

Dear all,

Thank you very much for your comments and the excellent references.

Now I am trying to get a better understanding of what the combination of TA
and RA does. I'd like to add some more points and examples, hoping to
receive more comments.

First, TA in Persian is not restricted to motion verbs. I read a paper by
John Beavers (2008) entitled *On the nature of goal marking and
delimitation: Evidence from Japanese. *Comparing *ni* and *made* in
Japanese, he concludes:

       The marker -ni is not a goal-marker per se, but is instead a general
argument marker (i.e. a dative case), marking goal arguments of path verbs
and other arguments of other types of verbs. The marker -made, on the
other         hand, is a general limit-marker. It marks endpoints of event
participants, and in the case of motion predicates it is capable of marking
the endpoint of the path of motion. However, it itself encodes no specific
path or motion-         based semantics. (p. 309)

I assume what *made* does in Japanese, *TA* does in Persian. It is a
delimiter. See the following examples:

(1)   a.* Ta    d͡ʒomʔe næteje-ha eʔlam      mi-š-e.*
            until Friday   result-PL  announce IPFV-become-3SG
            ‘The results will come out until Friday.’ (temporal delimiter)

            b. *Ta     poštebum hæftad-ta          pelle=hæst.*
                 until roof          seventy-CLASS stair=be.PRS.3SG
                 ‘There are seventy stairs to the roof/unitl the roof.’
(spatial delimiter)

            c.* In otaq     ta     bist      næfær d͡ʒa    dar-e*.
                this room until twenty person space have.PRS-3SG
               ‘This room holds up to/until twenty people.’ (numeral

            d. Ta    bæčče-ha be-res-æn          mi-tun-im
gæp be-zan-im.
                Until guy-PL     SBJV-arrive-3PL IPFV-can.PRS-1PL talk
                ‘Until the guys arrive, we can talk.’ (propositional

Second, it is a fact that RA can appear on certain spatio-temporal adverbs
(Lazard, 1982; Windfuhr, 1979; Karimi, 1989, 1990, 1996: Dabir-Moghaddam,
1990, 1992; Ghomeshi, 1997; Mahootian, 1997; Dalrymple and Nikolaeva, 2011;
Karimi and Smith, 2020). RA with DOs, left-dislocated oblique and external
possessors has been extensively investigated. However, I have not been able
to find a convincing account of RA when it optionally appears on adverbs.
The following example was taken from Dalrymple and Nikolaeva (2011):

(2) What are your plans for the summer?
      Tabestun=o   esterhæt mi-kon-æm
       summer=RA relax        IPFV-d0.PRS-1SG
       'In summer/as for the summer, I will relax.' (Dalrymple and
Nokolaeva, 2011: 108) (I'd rather the *as for *translation.) (my own
translation would be: Summer, I will relax (in) the whole of it.)

 According to Dalrymple and Nikolaeva (2011), 'summer' in (2) is taken to
be a topic (viz. frame-setting topic, I would say), owing to the prior
mention of it in the preceding discourse. Of course, the version with RA is
preferred, but as a native speaker of Persian, I would not judge (2) as
ungrammatical if 'summer' appeared without RA:

(3) What are your plans for the summer?
      HiČČi, tabestun, esterhæt mi-kon-æm.
      nothing summer relax       IPFV-do.PRS-1SG
      'Nothing, (as for) summer, I will relax.'

There is this implication in (3) that the speaker may want to do other
things as well, e.g. studying, going to the gym, etc. So, the list is not
exhaustive. But the version with RA in (2) implies that the speaker intends
to spend the 'whole' summer relaxing.

Now, please see the one in (4), taken again from Dalrymple and Nikolaeva

(4) When will you finally relax?
      Tabestun    esterhæt mi-kon-æm
       in.summer relax       IPFV-do.PRS-1SG
      'I will relax in summer.'    (Dalrymple and Nikolaeva, 2011: 109)

Here, undoubtedly, 'summer' must appear without RA, as properly mentioned
on p. 109. However, I assume that an adverb to get ra-marked need not be a
topic; it can be a focus, as in (5) where* fæqæt* 'only' signals the
focality of the adverb.

(5) æz  hæfteye ayænde kelas-ha  šoroʔ mi-š-e.                          Mæn
fæqæt in   hæfte=ro  bikar=æm.
     from week    coming   class-PL  begin IPFV-get.PRS=3SG     1SG   only
  this week=RA free=be.PRS.1SG
     'The classes will begin next week.'
        'I am free only this week/it is (in) this week that I am free/I am
free only in this whole week.'

There is another example from Karimi (1990):

(6)* Bæt͡ʃ e=ro  fæqæt in    ye   saæt=o ba=haʃ      bazi kon. *
     child=RA    only    this one hour       with=3SG play do.PRS.2SG
    'As for the child, only this one hour play with him.' (Karimi, 1990:

The examples in (2)-(6) suggest that the optionality of RA with adverbs
cannot be accounted for purely in terms of topicality because a RA-marked
adverb is allowed to be a focus, too, as in (6). Regardless of the
information status of a RA-marked adverb, what appears to explain the
optional RA-marking of adverbs is the concept of 'wholeness', which is
shown in English translations for (3) and (6). To be honest, I am not sure
if 'wholeness' is the same as 'boundedness' or 'delimitedness' here.

Relatedly, Ghomeshi (1997) holds that RA-marked adverbs are delimiters. See
the contrast in the English translation of the example in (7) where Karimi
(1990) translates the RA-marked adverb as a topic while Ghomeshi (1997)
translates it as a delimiter:

(8) Hæfte=ye ayænda=ro esterahæt mi-kon-am.
     week=EZ  coming=RA relax          IPFV-do.PRS-1SG
     'As for next week, I will relax.' (Karimi, 1990: 143)
     'I'll relax the whole week.' (Ghomeshi, 1997: 150)

Now let us turn to this question: what does the combination of TA and RA do
in motion events?

(9) *Ta     xune=ro          tu  20  *dæqiqe* dæv-id-æm*.
      until  house=POSP in  20  minute  run-PST-1SG
     '(the distance) until the house – I ran in 20 minutes.' (Using
Geoffrey's translation)

TA is a delimiter (i.e. the path has an end) and selects for a goal
argument when it appears with motion predicates. The presence of RA, on the
other hand, has to do with the notion of 'wholeness', meaning that the path
is implied to be completely traversed. So, RA does not mark the goal, but
it has a role in the event structure, as Irina and Geoffrey pointed out.
That's why I used* in*-phrase adverb to show that the path is bounded and
the motion description is telic. Otherwise, the sentence without the
is still felicitous. Perhaps, the terms 'spatial boundedness' vs.
'boundary-crossing' (Cappelle and Declerck, 2005* [Spatial and temporal
boundedness in English motion events*]) are what TA and RA can be
associated with, respectively.

With kindest regards,

On Wed, Aug 25, 2021 at 1:13 PM Irina Nikolaeva <in3 at soas.ac.uk> wrote:

> Dear Juergen,
> Yes, this is my point. RA doesn’t express a path. As I mentioned, there is
> a lot of literature on it; it has been described as the marker of
> topicality (Windfuhr 1979), specificity (Karimi 1989, 1990), secondary
> topicality (Dabir-Moghaddam 1990, 1992), combination of definiteness,
> animacy and affectedness (Lazard 1992, 2003), definiteness (Mahootian
> 1997), 'high transitivity' (Ghomeshi 1997), identifiability (Shokouhi &
> Kipka 2003), combination of topicality and definiteness (Darlymple &
> Nikolaeva 2011), etc.
> And yes, there is a well-known relation between definiteness and
> boundedness, but for RA it is only manifested in some cases (which, as you
> said, are worth researching). However, there are many other cases,
> including those where the presence of RA does not appear to make an
> identifiable semantic contribution but rather has to do with the pragmatic
> presupposition of saliency.
> Irina
> Prof. Irina Nikolaeva, FBA, MAE
> https://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff31522.php
> On Wed, 25 Aug 2021 at 04:04, Juergen Bohnemeyer <jb77 at buffalo.edu> wrote:
>> Dear Farhad and Irina — The nexus among definiteness, quantization, and
>> boundedness has been well established since the dissertations of Verkuyl
>> and Krifka, respectively. In that respect, what the two of you are saying
>> does not seem at odds with one another. Except that, if the postposition is
>> more broadly associated with definiteness, quantization, and/or
>> boundedness, then it presumably doesn’t actually express a path function
>> (at least on the most parsimonious analysis, which of course isn’t
>> necessarily the correct one), and so this isn’t really a case of double
>> marking in a narrow sense - I think that’s Irina’s point?
>> Be that as it may, from my point of view, what’s at least as remarkable
>> about this phenomenon is that, assuming the boundedness of the path is
>> contributed by the postposition, the preposition seems to be either
>> polysemous or vague/underspecified regarding the distinction between
>> direction and bounded path, or perhaps all it actually expresses is
>> direction, at least etymologically. This reminds me of Miriam van Staden’s
>> (2000) description of Tidore (North Halmahera), where it appears to be the
>> case that all that is actually ever expressed in the way of path meanings,
>> at least at the morphological level, is directional path (i.e., vectors).
>> Simplifying drastically, it seems as though all you ever say at that level
>> is in which direction somebody or something is moving - whether they
>> actually get there (or where they came from) is left to implicature or
>> possibly expressed compositionally.
>> I would definitely encourage you to investigate this phenomenon further,
>> Farhad!
>> Best — Juergen
>> Van Staden, M. (2000). Tidore: A Linguistic Description of a language of
>> the North Moluccas. Doctoral dissertation, Leiden University.
>> > On Aug 24, 2021, at 10:27 PM, Irina Nikolaeva <in3 at soas.ac.uk> wrote:
>> >
>> > Dear Farhad,
>> >
>> > My point is this: The goal in your example (1) is only marked once, by
>> the preposition ‘until, while RA signals something else. Its general
>> function in Persian has to do with the expression of some sort of
>> topicality/identifiability on various grammatical functions (objects, some
>> obliques, some external possessors and left-dislocated topics including
>> PPs). So (1) is not unlike its English equivalent ‘to the house’, where the
>> preposition ‘to’ marks the goal and ‘the’ marks definiteness.
>> > How the information structural meaning of RA interacts with boundedness
>> is a separate question, but this does not occur in all cases where RA is
>> used.
>> >
>> > Best,
>> > Irina
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > Prof. Irina Nikolaeva, FBA, MAE
>> > https://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff31522.php
>> >
>> >
>> > On Mon, 23 Aug 2021 at 23:29, Farhad Moezzipour <fmp59i at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> > Dear Prof. Nikolaeva and Bohnemeyer (and the other members)
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > Yes, you are absolutely correct. RA has been said to serve different
>> functions when it appears on direct objects and dislocated NPs. In the
>> given TA-RA example (example 1 in my previous email), the referent of xune
>> ‘house’, I assume, should be ‘identifiable’ for the hearer; hence a topic
>> in the information structure of the sentence. It might be the case that in
>> example (2) where xune ‘house’ appears without RA, it plays a focus role as
>> it is an argument-adjunct (using RRG terminology), bearing in mind adjuncts
>> express foci (If I am correct). But this is pragmatics! I believe, as Prof.
>> Bohnemeyer mentioned, that RA in example (1) contributes somehow to the
>> semantics of the sentence in a way that it signals/indicates/marks (I am
>> not sure) the bounded path, which is missing in example (2). The relation
>> of RA with boundedness can be supported by the fact that it appears on
>> quantized direct objects of consumption verbs, as in (3).
>> >
>> > (3) Man sib=o              xord-æm.
>> >
>> >       1SG   apple=POSP eat.PST-1SG
>> >
>> >       ‘I ate the (whole) apple.’
>> >
>> > Intuitively, example (4) is infelicitous because RA entails the entire
>> traversal of the path.
>> >
>> > (4) *mæn kuh=o                     bala ræft-am       væli be qolle-eš
>>          næ-res-id-æm.
>> >
>> >        1SG  mountain=POSP up  go.PST-1SG but to summit=3SG
>> NEG-reach-PST-1SG
>> >
>> >       ‘I climbed the mountain but did not reach the summit.’
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > Regards,
>> >
>> > Farhad
>> >
>> >
>> > On Tue, Aug 24, 2021 at 12:59 AM Irina Nikolaeva <in3 at soas.ac.uk>
>> wrote:
>> > Dear Farhad,
>> >
>> > I am not sure the function or RA here is to mark the goal argument per
>> se (hence no double marking). RA can occur on a variety of grammatical
>> functions, and many people have argued that its function is to mark
>> specificity/topicality/identifiability or the like.
>> >
>> > Best,
>> > Irina
>> >
>> >
>> > Prof. Irina Nikolaeva, FBA, MAE
>> > https://www.soas.ac.uk/staff/staff31522.php
>> >
>> >
>> > On Mon, 23 Aug 2021 at 14:52, Farhad Moezzipour <fmp59i at gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>> > Dear all,
>> >
>> > Is anyone aware of a language where the goal in a motion event is
>> doubly marked? This happens in colloquial Persian:
>> >
>> > (1) Ta     xune=ro          tu  20  dæqiqe dæv-id-æm.
>> >       until  house=POSP in  20  minute  run-PST-1SG
>> >       'I ran the distance to the house in 20 minutes.'
>> >
>> > The goal is marked once by the preposition and once with the
>> postposition RA, which is basically an object maker in Modern Persian. The
>> given example is also possible without RA, as in (2).
>> >
>> > (2) Ta     xune    20  dæqiqe dæv-id-æm.
>> >       until  house  20  minute  run-PST-1SG
>> >       'I ran toward the house for 20 minutes.'
>> >
>> > Regards,
>> > Farhad
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> > Lingtyp mailing list
>> > Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>> > http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
>> --
>> Juergen Bohnemeyer (He/Him)
>> Professor, Department of Linguistics
>> University at Buffalo
>> Office: 642 Baldy Hall, UB North Campus
>> Mailing address: 609 Baldy Hall, Buffalo, NY 14260
>> Phone: (716) 645 0127
>> Fax: (716) 645 3825
>> Email: jb77 at buffalo.edu
>> Web: http://www.acsu.buffalo.edu/~jb77/
>> Email me to schedule a call at any time.
>> There’s A Crack In Everything - That’s How The Light Gets In
>> (Leonard Cohen)
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://listserv.linguistlist.org/pipermail/lingtyp/attachments/20210826/59693766/attachment.htm>

More information about the Lingtyp mailing list