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Clause Structure in South Asian Languages

PAGE 1. Also, the claim that certain patterns of agreement in Malto are due to Munda influence cannot be readily maintained in the face of evidence from Steever that they represent retentions of a pattern of serial verb formations from earliest Dravidian. Compare this with where it is analyzed as within the subordinate clause. An intermediate summary on page claims that languages with tensed conjunctive participles permit backward control, citing Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam.

However, the previous text did not provide examples of conjunctive participles marking tense. Tamil conjunctive forms do not mark tense at all Steever , but show the same patterns of backward control, so the issue of tense seems to be irrelevant here. In what may be a first, the running head on page has a footnote. Tamil has a so-called adjectival participle, e. Subsequent editions might want to inventory more closely the items covered in the text.

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For example, the list on page indicates that the discussion will consider the Strict OV Constraint SOVC and its adherence in the relative-correlative clauses in Dravidian, but actually fails to take this up. The form Hock ultimately develops is radically different. In neither case, however, is the SOVC amenable to formulation as a Greenberg-style implicational statement or a Chomskyan parameter, so its inclusion in a study of typology is somewhat dubious. I would like to have seen two additions. It would have been helpful to include a map of the languages so the reader can see their geographic distribution throughout the subcontinent.

None of these shortcomings seriously compromises the value of this book for scholars of South Asian languages. SAL is a work in progress in the best sense of the term. KVS, by himself and with colleagues, has undertaken the study of neglected languages in these two families to enhance our understanding of their contribution to the formation of the South Asian linguistic area. Annamalai, E. Adjectival clauses in Tamil. Publication of doctoral dissertation, Adjectival clauses in Dravidian, University of Chicago: Department of Linguistics.

Emeneau, M. India as a linguistic area. Language Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society. The erosion and simplification of case found in Russian Polinsky, , in Spanish Montrul and Bowles, and in Korean heritage speakers Kim et al. In addition to dominant language influence or transfer, the syntactic and semantic composition of morphemes and feature assembly is another likely cause of difficulty in L2 learners and heritage speakers.

Morphological complexity has been linked to the number of elements making up individual morphemes and morphological systems Pallotti, and the morphological computations that need to be performed under communicative pressure Lardiere, Complexity can also be related to the syntactic and discourse distribution of morphemes. Laleko and Polinsky found that L2 learners and heritage speakers of Korean and Japanese found morphological case markers that involve semantic and discourse computation marked with topic more difficult than case markers governed by syntactic constraints nominative case.

Functional and cognitive approaches focus on the critical importance of processing for computing the mappings between concepts and morphemes from the input. Salience refers to acoustic prominence - ing is more prominent and audible than - s ; transparency to the one-to-one relationship between form and meaning, regularity to consistency and predictability in allomorphy involved in paradigms, and frequency to number of instances types and tokens in the input see also Goldschneider and DeKeyser, These mappings require high frequency instantiations in the input, a condition that is not often met in heritage language and L2 learning.

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  8. In sum, both formal and functionalist approaches account for morphological errors and identify potential sources of difficulty related to the complexity of form-meaning mappings, entrenched knowledge of another language, and processing computations. Another common explanation for persistent morphological variability in L2 acquisition concerns age effects. Johnson and Newport argued that the non-native acquisition of morphology in L2 learners was related to biologically-determined maturational effects on input processing mechanisms.

    Children are eventually better at mastering morphology because of their limited processing abilities compared to adults the Less is More Hypothesis. Others contend that ultimate attainment in L2 acquisition, and inability to reach native norms in all linguistic domains, is more readily explained by input and experience Bialystok, Age effects are also relevant to explain the loss and weakening of their L1 in heritage speakers Montrul, : the younger the AoA of the majority language, the more likely the non-native acquisition of the heritage language Yeni-Komshian et al.

    Heritage speakers contribute a different and unique angle on age effects because they illuminate how, despite L1 exposure since birth, restricted input in later childhood and adolescence greatly impacts the ultimate attainment of the heritage language in adulthood, especially at the morphological level. Case marks thematic roles agent, patient, goal linked to syntactic positions subject, object, indirect object , and there is cross-linguistic variation in case systems with respect to how different languages mark overt case.

    Some languages present a nominative-accusative pattern and others an ergative-absolutive pattern, as illustrated in Table 1. Nominative-accusative languages e. Ergative-absolutive languages e. Subjects of intransitive predicates and objects of transitive predicates are marked with absolutive case Butt, Very few studies have investigated the acquisition of languages with ergative-absolutive patterns Bavin and Stoll, and the present study provides new empirical evidence from Hindi.

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    6. As a split ergative language, Hindi behaves morphologically as an ergative language in certain contexts and as a nominative-accusative language in others Dixon, ; Bittner and Hale, The morphological and syntactic status of the ergative case as structural or inherent in Hindi and in other languages compared to other cases continues to be a topic of lively theoretical debate in various frameworks Marantz, ; Davison, ; Anand and Nevins, ; Butt, ; Woolford, ; Keine, ; Coon, Our study is strictly concerned with the morphological expression of these cases and less with their syntactic status structural, non-structural , or the consequences of one particular syntactic analysis over another.

      Specifically, we focus on the acquisition of the syntactic and semantic conditions for the morphological expression of the particle- ne , which marks ergative subject, and the particle - ko , appearing with all indirect objects, some subjects, and some direct objects. Therefore, we adopt a morphological account. The ergative split in Hindi is conditioned by perfectivity.

      The Syntactic Typology of South Asian Languages: Word Order Universals

      Ergative marking can only appear on subjects of transitive-perfective verbs as in 1 , which shows the ergative particle - ne on the subject Nikhil. In addition, the object can be absolutive i. In perfective clauses, ergative subjects tend to be interpreted as agentive, or to have volitional control In all other cases, the subject is zero marked, i. Example 2 has a verb in the imperfective, and the subject carries nominative case because imperfective predicates cannot license ergative marking on the subject.

      Example 3 is ungrammatical because the verb is intransitive and perfective , and intransitive verbs do not license ergative marking - ne on the subject. Case marking in Hindi interacts with verbal agreement.

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      Main verbs and auxiliaries can agree with the subject S-V agreement , with the object O-V agreement , or with neither default agreement. The verb agrees with nominative subjects.


      If the subject and the object are overtly marked with ergative or accusative or dative, the verb shows default, masculine singular agreement. Object agreement marks number and gender, while subject agreement marks number, gender, and person. We do not discuss agreement in this study, but see Montrul et al.

      The other particle we investigate, - ko , appears with some direct objects, with indirect objects and with dative subjects. Human, definite and specific direct objects must be overtly marked with - ko , as in 4 , and are ungrammatical without - ko marking With non-human animates, - ko is optional depending on the animal. Human indefinite specific objects can be optionally -ko marked, as in 5. With inanimate objects, - ko signals specificity. Inanimate, direct objects can be optionally marked with - ko , as in 6.

      If the object is - ko -marked it is interpreted as definite or specific; if it is unmarked it is non-specific. In general, non-specific or indefinite inanimate objects are mostly unacceptable with - ko marking, as in 7 , but the acceptability of - ko in these cases has to be evaluated in context. Additionally, dative - ko can mark indirect objects goals, beneficiaries , as in 8 , and dative subjects experiencers , as in 9.

      SEALS Southeast Asian Linguistics Society

      The marking of indirect objects and dative experiencers with - ko is obligatory, irrespective of animacy, definiteness or specificity. Table 2 summarizes the distribution of the Hindi case particles discussed. Keine presents a morphological analysis of Hindi split ergativity and the particles - ne and - ko within Distributed Morphology Halle and Marantz, to account for why these markers sometimes are realized as zero.

      In Distributed Morphology, there is separation of syntax and morphology such that morphology is added post-syntactically. Affixes carry abstract syntactic and semantic features that can be more or less specified, and compete for lexical insertion post-syntactically depending on how well they match the formal semantic and syntactic features of the stem.