[Lingtyp] Additional functions of connectives

Hajime Senuma hajime.senuma at gmail.com
Sun Mar 14 16:05:16 UTC 2021

Hi Jesús,

The Ainu language uses several temporal conjunctions (combined with
basic verbs) as aspectual markers (cf. Kirsten Refsing 1986, section
14.9 and Suzuko Tamura 2000, chapter 4), functioning like auxiliary
verbs in English.

Most forms are related to "wa"/"híne". "wa" is mainly a coordinator
("and") but sometimes used as a subordinator denoting temporal
successive relations (A wa B = "A, and then B" or "After A, then B").
On the other hand, the use of "híne" is strictly limited to a temporal
successive subordinator. Both words are interchangeably used for
aspectual constructions ("híne" tends to be used in formal and poetic
contexts). Though less flexible, some other temporal or non-temporal
conjunctions (such as "while" and "because") have similar

Several examples of "wa"/"híne" as aspectual markers
1. Perfect (or imperfective, according to Refsing): Pon katketmat ek
wa an. (The young lady comes and-then she-exists. = The young lady has
2. Perfective: Cep ku=e wa isam. (Fish I-eat and-then it-unexists. = I
ate up the fish.)
3. Completed: e wa okere (You-eat and-then you-finish. = Finish to eat!)
4. Exaggeration(?): poro wa okere (It-is-big and-then it-finishes. =
It's enormous.)
5. Gnomic: Pánanpe an, Pénanpe an, híne sír-an (Pánanpe exists,
Pénanpe exists, and-then the-world-exists. = As famous legends say,
once upon a time, there were two men called Pánanpe and Pénanpe.)

As Bernard Comrie (1976) says, using temporal prepositions (combined
with basic verbs) as aspectual markers is commonly found in Celtic
languages. For example, in Irish, "I-am after coming in" means "I have
just come in" (Comrie 1976, p. 106). An interesting property
(vis-à-vis Celtic) is that because these Ainu words are not
prepositions but conjunctions, the subjects of two clauses need not be
formally the same. For instance,
A=saha an híne oka=an. (My-old-sister exists and-then I-exist. = I
have been living with my old sister.)

Since Comrie (1976) does not mention any languages that use temporal
clause-linkers as aspectual markers, I'd be glad to know if there are
such languages other than Ainu.


Hajime Senuma
PhD student in Computational Linguistics,
Aizawa Lab, University of Tokyo & National Institute of Informatics, Japan

On Sun, Mar 14, 2021 at 3:40 AM Jesus Francisco Olguin Martinez
<olguinmartinez at ucsb.edu> wrote:
> Dear all,
> As you know, adverbial clause-linking devices (e.g. ‘when’, ‘after’, ‘until’) are primarily used to establish a semantic relation between two or more situations. However, adverbial clause-linking devices may bear additional functions beside the specific relation they encode (e.g. they may function as switch-reference markers, information structure markers, etc.). To the best of my knowledge, Mauri & Giacalone Ramat (2015) and Mauri (2016) have explored the range of additional functions of devices expressing ‘or’. However, the additional functions of adverbial clause-linking devices are unexplored territory. In the languages of my sample, I have noticed that temporal adverbial clause-linking devices may bear additional functions beside the specific relation they encode. A case in point comes from ‘and then’ devices. They may function as pause-fillers, they may indicate same-subject and different-subject, they may indicate a change of scene, they may express whether a situation is expected or unexpected, and they may express different amounts of time between situations, among others.
> I was wondering if you are aware of any research that has explored the additional function of temporal adverbial clause-linking devices. I was also wondering if you are aware of any languages in which devices expressing when-relations, while-relations, before-relations, after-relations, and until-relations have developed additional functions beside the specific relation they encode.
> Thank you very much in advance.
> Best,
> --
> Jesús Olguín Martínez
> Ph.D. Candidate, Dept. of Linguistics
> University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
> http://www.linguistics.ucsb.edu/people/jesús-olguín-martínez
> References
> Mauri, Caterina. 2016. Connectives beyond connecting: converging evidence in the analysis of disjunction. Paper presented at the 2nd Usage-Based Linguistics Conference, Tel Aviv University .
> Mauri, Caterina & Anna Giacalone Ramat. 2015. Piuttosto che: dalla preferenza all’esemplificazione di alternative. Cuadernos de Filología Italiana 20: 49-72.
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