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Contact-Induced Usages of Volitional Moods in East Caucasian Languages

Author

Listed:
  • Nina Dobrushina

    () (National Research University Higher School of Economics)

Abstract

• Aims and Objectives/Purpose/Research Questions; The aim of this article is to test the hypothesis that the uses of volitional forms (e.g. optative, imperative, hortative and jussive) in subordinate clauses, in particular in complement clauses of the verbs of ‘wish’ and in purpose clauses, in East Caucasian languages evolves under the influence of Azerbaijanian (Turkic). • Design/Methodology/Approach and Data and Analysis The data of thirteen languages spoken in Daghestan and Azerbaijan are considered in the paper. To prove that shared features are contact-induced rather than co-inherited, two control languages are included in the sample: Archi, which belongs to the same genetic group as the languages which use volitionals in subordinate clauses (Lezgic), but is exposed to Azerbaijanian to a much lesser extent, and Axaxd?r? Akhvakh, which belongs to another group, but whose contacts with Azerbaijani are strong due to recent migration. • Findings/Conclusions A survey shows that volitionals are used in subordinate clauses most extensively in those languages whose speakers show a high level of bilingualism in Azerbaijanian, and where the contact has been longer. I also show that there is a hierarchy of borrowability of subordinate constructions involving volitionals. • Originality Although the consequences of the influence of Turkic languages on the languages of the Caucasus in the domain of syntax have been previously discussed, the usage of volitionals in subordinate clauses was not. • Significance/Implications It is usually acknowledged that social factors play an important role in shaping the linguistic consequences of language contact. However, evidence of the correspondence between social factors and structural outcomes of language contact is still very scarce. The relevance of two social factors is shown in this paper: the ratio of bilingual speakers and the duration of contact. • Limitations The hierarchy of borrowability of the considered constructions remains essentially unexplained. I advance the hypothesis that connects the borrowability of particular constructions to their typological frequency, but the typology of subordinate uses of volitionals is well enough investigated to make final conclusions.

Suggested Citation

  • Nina Dobrushina, 2016. "Contact-Induced Usages of Volitional Moods in East Caucasian Languages," HSE Working papers WP BRP 42/LNG/2016, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hig:wpaper:42/lng/2016
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    Keywords

    language contact; bilingualism; syntactic borrowing; volitionals; imperative; optative; purpose clause; complement clause; East Caucasian languages; Turkic languages;

    JEL classification:

    • Z - Other Special Topics

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