Colloquium - Ashwini Deo (Yale University) "The particular–characterizing contrast in Indo-Aryan copulas and the diachronic emergence of overt tense marking"
Fri, February 22, 2013 • 3:00 PM - 4:30 PM • CBA 4.348
Several Indo-Aryan languages are characterized by (at least) two distinct copular expressions in both the present and the past tenses (e.g. hai and hota hai in Hindi or ahe/asato in Marathi). The distribution of these copulas in non-verbal predicational clauses (e.g. John is hungry/intelligent/on Mars/a war veteran/a collie) is constrained by two factors: (a) whether the predicate is stage-level or individual-level; and (b) whether the argument is interpreted as individual-denoting or kind-denoting. I propose that the two-copula systems of Indo-Aryan allow for the morphosyntactic realization of the semantic contrast between particular and characterizing sentences (in the sense of Krifka et al 1995).
In this talk, I will investigate non-verbal predications in Late Middle Indo-Aryan (Apabhramsa) and Early New Indo-Aryan (Old Marathi and Old Gujarati) in order to understand the evolution of this morphosyntactically realized contrast in Indo-Aryan diachrony. Specifically, I explore the idea that although there is some evidence of a grammaticalized particular-characterizing contrast in the older systems (e.g. Epic Sanskrit and Early Prakrit), it is only firmly established concomitant with the emergence of overtly marked tense distinctions in the Proto New Indo-Aryan system.