A Grammar of Hinuq

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The language itself was first described in by Russian ethnographer A.


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However, these are only used by the older generation. Hinukh is an ergative-absolutive language and, like most Northeast Caucasian languages, shows a rich case system. The plural suffix is almost unvariably -be. Tenses are marked synthetically on the verbs by means of affixes.

In the future tense, Hinukh distinguishes a "direct future" -n , which is used only in the first person, and an "indirect future" -s used for all other persons. The numeral system is vigesimal , which means that it is a base system, a feature commonly found among the languages of the Caucasus. Language family. Glottolog 2. Northeast Caucasian languages. Maybe in contrast to clauses with past time reference headed by the Perfective converb Section 4.

Evidentiality in Nakh-Daghestanian Languages - Oxford Handbooks

For Akhvakh, another Nakh-Daghestanian language, Creissels has proposed a similar diachronic scenario. In Caucasian linguistics the term Masdar refers to deverbal nouns that have both verbal and nominal properties. It is formed with the suffix -nu. With verbs that can take the Infinitive suffix the Masdar is formed by adding the suffix -nu to the Infinitive.

Verbs that lack the Infinitive add -nu directly to the stem, e. In Hinuq the Masdar behaves quite unusually.

First, it can be used as the only predicate of an independent sentence with a negative semantics, referring to an event that is expected to happen, but has still not happened 21a. In these sentences the copula can be added. If the copula in the Present tense is added the meaning of the sentence does not change. Instead of the copula in the Present tense, the same verb with past time reference can be used 21b.

However, the copula must be affirmative; it can never be used in its negated form. Second, the Masdar can be used in clauses that function and look like relative clauses. Again it has a negative semantics in these clauses Third, the Masdar can take case suffixes.

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For example, it can function as the Genitive modifier of a noun It can also occur in argument position of verbs, e. In the nominal function the Masdar has only affirmative semantics; the case suffixes indicate its role in the clause. As mentioned in Section 1. Instead, a number of categories and constructions have been proposed for the definition of finiteness or have been related to finiteness in one way or another.

I will discuss the following categories and constructions that are relevant for Hinuq:. Other categories that have been used for defining finiteness in other languages, e.

Mouton Grammar Library [MGL]

All simple verb forms occurring in independent clauses express a temporal reference, i. In addition, when used in independent main clauses verbs with the suffixes -s and -n have the evidentiality meanings witnessed and unwitnessed , respectively. In contrast, when these forms are used in dependent clauses they do not have their own temporal value and evidentiality, but get these values from the matrix verb.

Similarly, in 24b the speaker must be a witness of the event described because the main verb has the Simple Witnessed Past suffix. The verb forms used in adverbial clauses, but not in independent clauses i. They express at most relative temporal reference, that is, temporal reference in relation to the situation described by the matrix verb, or no temporal reference at all. For example, the Terminative converb indicates that the action of the dependent clause marks the endpoint of the action of the main clause.

Many mood and aspect values carry over from main clauses to subordinate clauses. Non-indicative moods such as the Imperative and the Optative occur also in indirect speech contexts:.

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Another non-indicative mood, the Irrealis conditional, can be formed from almost all TAM forms that also occur in independent clauses. The aspectual values of many verb forms used in subordinate clauses are unspecified. But there are two participles that clearly have the aspectual values of resultative and habitual, which carry over to the periphrastic TAM forms that are built up from them.

Consequently, main clauses and dependent clauses that contain these participles and converbs express the same aspectual values. These constructions refer to ongoing events which do not have a result or whose results are not important. Similar constructions with the same light verb are available in adverbial subordination, and they have the same aspectual meaning of progressive 27b.

Not all simple verb forms occurring in independent clauses can express negative polarity see Table 3 in Section 2. In addition, three forms contain a negative marker that differs synchronically from the standard negative marker -me. Periphrastic verb forms can be negated by negating the auxiliary. The only exceptions are forms built with the Masdar.

These forms are inherently negative in their semantics and therefore do not allow the use of a negated auxiliary. All participles have a negative counterpart whereas the Infinitive and the majority of the converbs occur only with affirmative meaning. All verb forms follow the same rules for gender and number agreement: they agree with the Absolutive argument of their clause. If the position of the Absolutive argument has been filled by a clause then the matrix verb takes either the agreement prefix r- gender V or they agree with the Absolutive argument of the embedded clause.

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If the Absolutive argument of the matrix clause is realized overtly only in the embedded clause then the matrix verb nevertheless agrees with this argument, independently of the role and the case that the argument has in the embedded clause 29a. Similarly, if the Absolutive argument of the embedded clause is realized overtly only in the main clause then the embedded verb agrees with this argument independently of the role and the case that the argument has in the main clause. This can be observed with relative clauses whose head function as the Absolutive argument of their relative clause, but occur in a different position e.

Verb forms follow the same case assignment patterns in all clause types. In other words, arguments in dependent clauses get the same cases assigned as arguments in independent clauses. If a clause headed by a nominalized verb form occurs in argument position of a verb the entire clause gets the same case assigned that a lexical noun would get. Dependent clauses can have their own overtly expressed subject which is in the case required by the verb, that is, in the Absolutive in case of intransitive verbs, in the Ergative in case of transitive verbs and in the Dative in case of experiencer verbs.

This is true for all verb forms occurring in dependent clauses. Examples are 11a, b , 12b , 18 and the first dependent clause in 24a. In case of identical subjects commonly equi-deletion occurs: only one of the subjects is overtly expressed, mostly the main clause subject 8b , 27b , but occasionally also in the embedded clause 29a.

Tense, Aspect, Evidentiality, Mood and Modality

However, it seems that equi-deletion in complement clauses is not obligatory, not even in case of identity of main clause and embedded clause subject 12b. Converb constructions allow overt identical subjects in the main and the adverbial clause if one of the overt arguments is a reflexive pronoun However, these constructions are marginal and hardly ever attested in texts. In general, coreferential arguments are deleted. To sum up, there is no verb form that obligatorily requires the deletion of an overt subject. Even embedded clauses headed by an Infinitive can have an overtly expressed subject.

In both dependent and independent clauses the preferred order is SOV. Other orders are possible, but dependent clauses are almost exclusively verb-final.


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Relative clauses even prohibit any word order other then verb-final. Case-marking on verbs and special verb forms only used in dependent clauses are properties associated with nonfiniteness. Hinuq has a number of specialized converbs and two participles that are only used in dependent clauses see groups iv and v in Section 4. Synchronically at least the Posterior, the Simple Anterior and the Purposive converb clearly contain case suffixes.

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