Moving along the grammaticalisation path: locative and allative marking of non-finite clauses and secondary predications in australian languages



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MOVING ALONG THE GRAMMATICALISATION PATH: LOCATIVE AND ALLATIVE MARKING OF NON-FINITE CLAUSES AND SECONDARY PREDICATIONS IN AUSTRALIAN LANGUAGES

Patrick McConvell (Australian National University)

patrick.mcconvell@anu.edu.au

and

Jane Simpson (University of Sydney )

jane.simpson@usyd.edu.au
DRAFT Version #2016 283/12/081

0. Abstract

This paper examines three grammaticalised instances of local case-marking in Indigenous languages of northern Central Australia, coded as follows:

(AN) Allative expressing object control on NP’s - the use of allative instead of locative in the meaning of ‘locative’ in a secondary predication where the subject of that predication has the same reference as an object or oblique in the main predication;

(LS) Locative marked subordination the use of locative case-marking on the verb and other elements to mark types of non-finite subordinate clauses;

(AS) Allative marked subordination expressing object control, combining features of A and LS, usually where LS is also present.
The different distributions of these properties are plotted in a number of Central and northern Australian languages to provide a picture of current distribution and hypotheses about the origin of these constructions. The hypothesis proposed here is that the AN construction arose in a group of Pama-Nyungan languages in a restricted area of North-central Australia and partially overlapped with the presence of the LS construction in a wider grouping of Pama-Nyungan languages. This cooccurrence produced the AS construction, which subsequently diffused to a few neighbouring languages, including some Non-Pama-Nyungan languages. Both AN and AS can be called grammaticalisation since they depart from the semantic functions of the locational cases to mark control phenomena between predications. The marking of subordinate clauses by local cases, and particularly locative case, is relatively common cross-linguistically outside Australia and arguably maintains some cognitive metaphorical link with static location and motion, perhaps primarily through the near-universal ‘space=time’ metaphor. In AN, we see a much rarer development in which the metaphorical link between the concrete local meaning and the grammatical function is attenuated, although the possibility that AN involves ‘fictive motion’ as in Finnic languages is discussed.

1. Grammaticalisation of local case

Local cases are primarily semantic, prototypically expressing the spatial position of an event or entity relative to other entities. In a number of languages around the world, locative and other local cases have also been grammaticalised to express various grammatical functions, with the original semantic locational functions usually retained as well. This is surveyed in section 3.1 below.


Among the grammaticalisations of local cases to be found are those in which subordinate clauses are marked by a local case to express a type of subordination, with different local cases sometimes used to express temporal/aspectual features of the subordinate clause in relation to the main clause. The subordinate clauses are often but not always headed by non-finite forms of verbs. The extension of space expressions to time is a near-universal (Traugott 1978) and this is widely encountered in Australia, e.g. using ablative ‘from’ on nominals for a previous time and locative for the same time, so the use of this extension in subordination is not so surprising.
Another function which is particularly common in Australia is the use of local cases to express control phenomena. In clauses with transitive verbs, there are potentially at least three referents for what the locational phrase is predicated of - the subject, the object and the event itself. Languages vary as to the means used to pick out the referent, and to indicate whether there is vagueness as to the referent. Word order is crucial in many languages - for example in English an initial locational prepositional phrase is commonly used to express the spatial position of the event. But word order is used for information structure purposes rather than grammatical functional purposes in many Australian languages (Hale 1992, Austin and Bresnan 1996, Simpson 2007). And so alternative means are needed for specifying what a spatial location expression is predicated of. We focus here on (LS) Locative marked subordination, the use of locative case-marking on the verb and other elements to mark types of non-finite subordinate clauses, and (AS) Allative marked subordination expressing object control, combining features of A and LS, usually where LS is also present.

As well as the alternation of local cases and other suffixes usually discussed under the heading of ‘switch-reference’ (see section 3.3), there is also the use of double case-marking (discussed in section 3.2) in which the second case agrees with the case of the nominal that the location expression is predicated of.


This paper describes the expression of control phenomena in a set of languages mainly in Central Australia, but also in some northern Non-Pama-Nyungan languages as well as in the Pama-Nyungan outlier group of Yolngu in North-east Arnhem Land, signalling that this may be in part an areal phenomenon, and raising a number of historical questions.
A distinguishing feature of these languages, the AN construction seems typologically very rare and perhaps non-existent outside this area of Australia (although parallels exist in Finnic discussed in 3.2???.) This is the replacement of LOC by ALL in semantic locatives construed as being predicated of a grammatical object. In such languages one can say, as it were, ‘I saw the bird to the tree’ instead of ‘I saw the bird in the tree’ meaning the latter. The ALL case-phrase is a secondary predication with the understood subject of the secondary predication being ‘the bird’. AN is the third focus of our paper - the use of an ALL-marked expression instead of LOC in the meaning of ‘locative’ in a secondary predication where the subject of that predication has the same reference as an object or oblique in the main predication.
This is a clear grammaticalisation with the function of the nominal case-marking moving away from the strictly semantic. The paper discusses how this phenomenon relates to the issue of grammaticalised locational marking on subordinate non-finite clauses raised above (AS and LS).



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