[Lingtyp] Grammaticalization of past/resultative meaning from "stay"

David Gil gil at shh.mpg.de
Mon Mar 6 08:27:13 UTC 2023

Somewhere in the semantic space between "continuative" and 
"past/resultative", Papuan Malay uses /tinggal/ 'stay' as the first term 
in a serial verb construction with a *durative* (or maybe habitual) 

(I have not encountered this in any other Malay dialect, suggesting that 
this might perhaps be due to influence from local languages of Papua.)


On 06/03/2023 07:38, Wesley Jones wrote:
> Hello all,
> There is a construction in Horokoi (a.k.a. Wasembo, [gsp], part of the 
> Madang branch of TNG) in which a clause chain with the final verb 
> "stay/exist" can have various past/resultative-like meanings. I am 
> wondering where else such a construction has been found.
> The form is: [V-SR stay-TAM], where SR means switch reference marking 
> (same-subject or different-subject). With same-subject marking, it 
> literally says "I [V] and I stay"; with different-subject, it says "I 
> [V] and it (impersonal) stays".
> So far I have found the following meanings for the construction. The 
> different-subject marking tends to be associated with more distal 
> meanings (past, far past, anterior).
>   * literal (he _built_ a house and it _stayed_ [didn't fall down])
>   * stative (the food _is dry_, lit. it dries and it stays)
>   * copula/stative (you _are_ like me, lit. you become and you stay)
>       o Note that this meaning only occurs when the first verb is
>         "become". It does not mean "you became like me" (eventive).
>   * resultative/stative ([you hit it and] it _is broken_, lit. it
>     breaks and it stays)
>   * past (I _went_, lit. I go and I stay)
>   * far past (they [ancestors] _got_ salt from trees, lit. they take
>     and it stays)
>   * anterior (I _had said_ it to you, [then something else happened],
>     lit. I say and it stays)
> I have been thinking that this is unusual because "stay" as an 
> auxiliary usually grammaticalizes into continuative rather than 
> past/resultative. Heine & Kuteva (2002) mention "sit" > copula, but 
> not this path of "become and stay" > "become-past" > copula, nor any 
> cases of "stay" (or similar) to these past-like meanings.
> I've been attributing this pathway to the sequential semantics of the 
> clause chaining construction (Horokoi does not mark simultaneous vs 
> sequential in medial verbs, as far as I know). Thus, the sequence "I 
> [V] and (then) I stay" implies that V is no longer happening and I am 
> staying in whatever state endures at the end of V's action. But 
> perhaps this is not right, and I received a comment that this 
> implicature need not hold for the literal meaning.
> I have received comments that similar constructions are found in Dani 
> languages, Malay, and some others. I found mention of something very 
> similar in Mian by Fedden (2020). I have found no cognate 
> constructions or comparative evidence to shed light on this for 
> Horokoi (presumably Mian constitutes a parallel innovation because of 
> the vast time depth separating Madang from Ok).
> Please let me know if you have seen something like this or if you know 
> of references about this grammaticalization pathway, thank you!
> Wesley Kuhron Jones
> Ph.D. student, University of Oregon
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David Gil

Senior Scientist (Associate)
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6, Leipzig, 04103, Germany

Email:gil at shh.mpg.de
Mobile Phone (Israel): +972-526117713
Mobile Phone (Indonesia): +62-082113720302
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