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Complex predicates and the issue of transitivity: The case of Southern Balochi
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of Linguistics and Philology. (Iranian languages)
2015 (English)In: From Aṣl to Zā’id: Essays in Honour of Éva M. Jeremiás / [ed] Iván Szántó, Piliscsaba: The Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies , 2015, 79-105 p.Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Complex predicates (CPs) are very common in many Iranian languages. However, the source of transitivity of CPs in these languages is, according to previous studies, somewhat uncertain. In some cases the transitivity of the light verb (LV) is found to determine the transitivity of the CP, whereas in other cases it depends on the semantic transitivity of the whole CP. In Southern Balochi (SB), as well as in several other Iranian languages, where ergative alignment is found with transitive (tr.) predicates formed with the past stem, and accusative alignment with intransitive (itr.) predicates formed with the past stem, as well as with all predicates formed with the non-past (present–future) stem, the transitivity of a CP is evident from the alignment.

     The purpose of this article is to investigate the impact of the transitivity of the LV in determining the transitivity of a CP. The investigation is based on a corpus consisting of six texts and on interviews with three speakers of SB. The study shows that the transitivity of CPs is generally determined by the syntactic transitivity of the LV rather than the semantic transitivity of the whole CP. There is, however, one exception to this rule, namely the LV girag ‘to get’, which occurs with accusative alignment in semantically itr. CPs. A reasonable explanation of the fact that this verb appears at first sight to break the alignment rule is that it is an ambitransitive verb. Assuming it is, we can conclude that syntactic transitivity always takes supremacy over semantic transitivity in SB, a rule that applies both to CPs and to periphrastic verb constructions.


Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Piliscsaba: The Avicenna Institute of Middle Eastern Studies , 2015. 79-105 p.
, Acta et Studia, ISSN 1785-0894 ; 13
Keyword [en]
complex predicates, transitivity, ergativity, Iranian languages, Balochi
National Category
Specific Languages
Research subject
Iranian Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-254156ISBN: 978-615-5343-03-2OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-254156DiVA: diva2:849126
Available from: 2015-08-27 Created: 2015-06-04 Last updated: 2015-10-12Bibliographically approved

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