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

Jesse P. Gates stauskad at gmail.com
Mon Mar 6 09:14:19 UTC 2023

Hi Wesley,

In Stau (Sino-Tibetan) the verb for ‘sit' (ndzu) has also come to mean
‘stay' and has also been grammaticalized as a durative marker (or

On Mon, Mar 6, 2023 at 4:04 PM Wesley Jones <wkj at uoregon.edu> 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)
>       - 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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> Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
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Best regards,

*Jesse P. Gates, PhD*Nankai University, School of Literature 南开大学文学院
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