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

Jess Tauber tetrahedralpt at gmail.com
Mon Mar 6 10:42:24 UTC 2023

In Yaghan (a recently extinct genetic isolate from Tierra del Fuego'), the
verb mu:tu: (colon marks tenseness of the vowel preceding it)  for 'sit,
sg.' does double duty to mean 'stay, remain' and has grammaticalized senses
that could be described as durative. The entire set of simple posture and
gait verbs in Yahgan has both lexical and grammaticalized readings, with
the degree of surface contact apparently determining the temporal staying
power of a state. wI;a (combining form -i:a) 'lie sg.' has the greatest
surface contact to the substratum and describes, in grammaticalized form,
extended spatiotemporality, while mvni (v schwa) 'stand sg.' has the least
contact (feet only) and is used grammaticalized as a habitual, or to mean
'on the point of (doing)', where one could easily be distracted by other
matters arising.

Jess Tauber

On Mon, Mar 6, 2023 at 4:45 AM Mark Donohue <mhdonohue at gmail.com> wrote:

> I can't be the only one thinking of Western European auxiliaries with
> unergative verbs, such as
> Dutch
> Ik ben aangekomen.
> 1SG 1SG:be arrived
> 'I have (in the near past) arrived (and the state continues).'
> -Mark
> On Mon, 6 Mar 2023 at 19:04, 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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