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Actionality across (sub)paradigms

Verb classes in Tundra Nenets

  • Sergei Tatevosov EMAIL logo

Abstract

This paper explores the verbal system of Tundra Nenets and offers a partition of the entire set of derivationally minimal verbs into actional classes, which include stative, process, inceptive-stative, ingressive-atelic, durative and punctual telic, durative and punctual ingressive, and bi-telic verbs. This classification is established in a bottom-up manner, starting from the lowest level of actional interpretations of individual subparadigms of a verb. As a result, 18 subparadigmatic classes are established. At the next stage, an actional characteristic is assigned to the entire paradigm and the 18 subparadigmatic classes are reduced to seven actional macroclasses. However, at the paradigmatic level, one discovers that for certain types of verbs actional information available paradigm-internally does not suffice. To recover the missing information, one needs to examine derivationally related lexical items that realize semantic configurations unavailable paradigm-internally. This paradigm-external perspective leads to the recognition of cross-paradigmatic actional characteristics assigned to groups of derivationally related verbs.


Corresponding author: Sergei Tetevosov, Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia, E-mail:

Funding source: Russian Foundation for Basic Research

Award Identifier / Grant number: #19-012-00627

Acknowledgments

Studies of the indigenous languages of Russia are part of the Development Program of the Interdisciplinary Scientific and Educational School of Lomonosov Moscow State University «Preservation of the World Cultural and Historical Heritage». The paper is based on the data from the Malaya Zemlya dialect, one of the Western dialects of Tundra Nenets, as spoken in the Nelmin Nos village (Nenets Autonomous Discrict, Russia). The data were collected during fieldwork expeditions organized by the Department of Theoretical and Applied Linguistics (Lomonosov Moscow State University) in 2003–2005. The observations and generalizations presented below have been made possible by the collective effort and contribution of the entire team, which included Lev Blumenfeld, Philip Dudchuk, Pavel Iosad, Denis Ivanov, Mikhail Ivanov, Daria Kavitskaya, Elena Khanina, Olga Khanina, Ekaterina Lyutikova, Irina Nikolaeva, Anna Pazelskaya, Andrey Shluinsky, Petr Staroverov, Sergei Tatevosov, Maria Tsyurupa, Ekaterina Volovich, Nikolay Vorontsov, Natalia Zevakhina. The author expresses his immensely deep gratitude to the native speakers of Tundra Nenets the expedition was proud and happy to work with: Anna Apitsyna, Ekaterina Ardeeva, Maria Kanyukova, Valentina Maryueva, Clara Taleeva, Ekaterina Taibarei and Mikhail Taibarei. This work and personal interaction will always remain a source of cherished memories, optimism, and hope. The author is grateful to the anonymous STUF reviewers for stimulating comments, suggestions, and criticism. All mistakes, shortcomings, and oversights are mine.

  1. Research funding: This study received financial support from the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (grant #19-012-00627).

Appendix A: Verb sample

ye ‘heard at night, yoq ‘lose’, yeweyøh ‘eat liquid food’, yempøq ‘put on’, yenyer ‘shoot’, yoryem ‘deepen’, yesyeda ‘steel’, yoxo ‘diappear’, yíbyeq ‘be smart’, yilye ‘live, be alive’, yincyelye ‘listen’, ladø ‘hit’, lat°ra ‘compress, pinch’, løxønø ‘talk’, loxom ‘come to a boil’, møly°ye ‘break, tr.’, møly°yo ‘break, intr.’, møyøm ‘be glad’, madør ‘bark’, masø ‘smear, smutch’, masør ‘make dirty’, mo ‘throw’, me ‘take’, menye ‘love’, ngødør ‘tear, tr.’, ngødarø ‘tear, intr.’, nømtø ‘hear’, ngødim ‘show up’, ngødyø ‘bee visible’, ngøm ‘eat’, ngamtø ‘sit down, sit’, ngamtyo ‘be sitting’, ngøtye ‘wait’, nyelye ‘marry’, ngoxølø ‘swim, float’, nger ‘drink’, nyu°cya ‘kiss’, nyøqmø ‘take, receive’, padø ‘write’, paye ‘swell’, panø ‘fill’, pyínø ‘fear, be scared’, pyi ‘boil, cook’, pyísyøh ‘laugh’, peda ‘get tired’, søl ‘return’, sara ‘burst’, sarøq ‘pierce, perforate’, so ‘be audible’, syúr ‘hide’, syakøl ‘bite’, ta ‘give’, tøna ‘rise, climb’, tørpø ‘go out’, tyenyewø ‘know’, tyí ‘fly’, tyím ‘rot, go bad’, to ‘come’, tola ‘read’, tum ‘catch fire’, tira ‘dry’, tebølø ‘be thin’, tyu ‘come in, enter’, xøwø ‘fall, fall down’, xøwønø ‘rain’, xødyeq ‘scratch’, xayo ‘leave’, xøl°ta ‘wash’, xømta ‘spill, tr.’, xømtum ‘spill, intr.’, xønyim ‘get cold, freeze’, xørwa ‘want’, xørye ‘frighten, scare’, xa ‘die’, xo ‘find’, xoy°dø ‘wave’, xoy°sa ‘wave, flap’, xona ‘fall asleep’, xonyo ‘sleep’, ‘go away’, yutø ‘beat’, yadø ‘walk’, yampum ‘lengthen’.

Appendix B: Partial paradigms

The paradigms below come from Salminen (1998: 25).

Table 12:

Partial paradigms of Aorist of me ‘take’ и te ‘flow’.

sg du pl
Subjective conjugation
I person meø-d°m || meø-m°h me°-nyih me°-waq
II person meø-n° me°-dyih me°-daq
III person me°-∅ menga-x°h me°-q
Objective conjugation; singular object
I person meø-w° me°-myih me°-waq
II person meø-r° me°-ryih me°-raq
III person me°-da me°-dyih me°-doh
Objective conjugation; dual object
I person menga-xøyu-n° menga-xøyu-nyih menga-xøyu -naq
II person menga-xøyu-d° menga-xøyu-dyih menga-xøyu -daq
III person menga-xøyu-da menga-xøyu-dyih menga-xøyu-doh
Objective conjugation; plural object
I person meyø-n° mey°-nyih mey°-naq
II person meyø-d° mey°-dyih mey°-daq
III person mey°-da mey°-dyih mey°-doh
Reflexive conjugation
I person teyø-w°q tey°-nyih tey°-naq
II person teyø-n° tey°-dyih tey°-daq
III person tey°-q teyø-x°h teyø-d°q
  1. Light gray shading = special finite stem, Dark gray shading = dual object stem, No shading = general finite stem.

Appendix C: Subparadigmatic classes

(112)
Process ntS intransitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics P
Examples: yadø ‘walk’ (ntS: ‘DP is walking’), myih ‘go, move’ (ntS: ‘DP is going’)
(113)
Stative ntS intransitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics S
Examples: ngødyø ‘be visible’ (ntS: ‘DP is visible’), xonyo ‘sleep’ (ntS: ‘DP is sleeping’), yíbyeq ‘be smart’ (ntS: ‘DP is smart’)
(114)
Telic ntS intransitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics ES
Examples: xa ‘die’ (ntS: ‘DP died’), to ‘come’ (ntS: ‘DP came’), møly°yo ‘break’ (ntS: ‘DP broke’), yoxo ‘get lost’ (ntS: ‘DP got lost’)
(115)
Ingressive ntS intransitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics EP
Examples: loxom ‘come to a boil’ (ntS: ‘DP came to boil’)
(116)
Telic Rfl intransitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics ES
Examples: ngamtø ‘sit down’ (Rfl: ‘DP sat down’), tøna ‘go up, climb’ (Rfl: ‘DP went up’), sara ‘burst’ (Rfl: ‘DP burst’), panø ‘fill’ (Rfl: ‘DP filled’),
(117)
Ingressive Rfl intransitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics EP
Examples: tum ‘catch fire’ (Rfl: ‘DP caught fire’), møyøm ‘get glad, become glad’ (Rfl: ‘DP became glad’)
(118)
Ingressive-atelic ntS-Rfl intransitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics P EP
Examples: yincyelye ‘listen’ (ntS: ‘DP1 is listening to DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP1 started listening to DP2’), yeweyøh ‘eat liquid food’ (ntS: ‘DP is eating liquid food’; Rfl: ‘DP started eating liquid food’), løxønø ‘talk’ (ntS: ‘DP is talking’; Rfl: ‘DP started talking’), ngoxølø ‘swim, float’ (ntS: ‘DP is swimming’; Rfl: ‘DP started swimming).
(119)
Inceptive-stative ntS-Rfl intransitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics S ES
Examples: syúryo ‘hide’ (ntS: ‘DP is hidden’; Rfl: ‘DP hid’), yilye ‘live, be alive’ (ntS: ‘DP is alive’; Rfl: ‘DP came to life’), ngamtyo ‘sit down, sit’ (ntS: ‘DP is sitting’; Rfl: ‘DP sat down’), paye ‘swallow’ (ntS: ‘DP is swallen’; Rfl: ‘DP swelled up’)
(120)
Ingressive-telic ntS-Rfl intransitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics ES EP
Examples: ngødarø ‘tear’ (ntS: ‘DP tore’; Rfl: ‘DP started tearing’), tira ‘dry’ (ntS: ‘DP’ dried; Rfl: ‘DP started drying’), yoryem ‘deepen’ (ntS: ‘DP deepened’; Rfl: ‘DP started deepening’)
(121)
Telic ntS-Rfl intransitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics ES ES
Examples: peda ‘get tired’ (ntS: ‘DP got tired’; Rfl: ‘DP got tired’), xøwø ‘fall, fall down’ (ntS: ‘DP fell down’; Rfl: ‘DP fell down’), ngødim ‘show up’ (ntS: ‘DP showed up’; Rfl: ‘DP showed up’)
(122)
Stative tSO transitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics S
Examples: tyenyewø ‘know, remember’ (tSO: ‘DP1 remembers DP2’); menye ‘love’ (tSO: ‘DP1 loves DP2’)
(123)
Process tSO transitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics P
Examples: ye ‘herd at night’ (tSO: ‘DP1 is herding/watching DP2 at night’), ngøtye ‘wait’ (tSO: ‘DP1 is waiting for DP2’)
(124)
Telic tSO transitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics ES
Examples: nyøqmø ‘take, receive’ (tSO: ‘DP1 took DP2’), xo ‘find’ (tSO: ‘DP1 found DP2’), yutø ‘beat’ (tSO: ‘DP1 beat DP2’), xødyeq ‘scratch’ (tSO: ‘DP1 scratched DP2’),
(125)
Inceptive-stative tSO-Rfl transitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics S ES
Examples: tyenewø ‘know’ (tSO: ‘DP1 knows DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP1 came to know DP2’); xørwa ‘want’ (tSO: ‘DP1 wants DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP1 started wanting DP2’)[17]
(126)
Telic tSO-Rfl transitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics ES ES
Examples: xørye ‘frighten’ (tSO: ‘DP1 frightened DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP2 got frightened’), syúr ‘hide’ (tSO: ‘DP1 hid DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP1/DP2 hid/disappeared’), xømda ‘spill, pour’ (tSO: ‘DP1 spilled DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP2 spilled’), mo ‘throw’ (tSO: ‘DP1 threw DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP1 threw herself (somewhere)’), yempøq ‘dress’ (tSO: ‘DP1 dressed DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP1 dressed’)
(127)
Ingressive-atelic tSO-Rfl transitives
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics ES EP
Examples: nger ‘drink’ (tSO ‘DP1 drank DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP1 started drinking DP2’), tola ‘read’ (tSO ‘DP1 read DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP1 started reading DP2’), nyu°cya ‘kiss’ (tSO ‘DP1 kissed DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP1 started kissing DP2’)
(128)
Bi-telic ntS-tSO-Rfl verbs
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics P ES EP
Examples: madør ‘bark’ (ntS: ‘DP1 is barking’; tSO: ‘DP1 barked at DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP1 sarted barking at DP2’)
(129)
Ingressive-atelic ntS-tSO-Rfl verbs
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics P EP EP
Examples: xøw°nø ‘rain’ (ntS: ‘DP2 is raining’; tSO ‘DP1 is raining DP2’; Rfl: ‘DP1 started raining DP2

Appendix D: Glossary

Actional matrix. The mapping between subparadigms of a verb and actional meanings they manifest.

Example:
Verb yincyelye ‘listen’
Subparadigm ntS tSO Rfl
Actional characteristics P EP

Actional meanings are defined as follows. Let a verb form F represent the main predicate in a clause CF. Then F is associated with the actional interpretation

a.

state, S, iff CF describes a state;

b.

process, P, iff CF describes a process that does not reach a culmination (no matter if it can reach a culmination in some relevant worlds);

c.

entry into a state, ES, iff CF describes an eventuality that reaches a culmination with a subsequent state

d.

entry into a process, EP, iff CF describes an eventuality that reaches a culmination with a subsequent process

Conjugation. A group of inflectional verb forms defined by designated person-number agreement morphology. Reflexive conjugation. Objective conjugation. Subjective conjugation.

Cross-paradigmatic actional class. A set of groups of verbs with identical cross-paradigmatic actional labels.

Cross-paradigmatic actional label. The union of actional meanings represented in paradigmatic actional labels of a group of derivationally related verbs. Meanings that come from different lexical items are separated by the comma. Derivationally related verbs are enclosed in the “‹›” angle brackets.

Example:
Imperfective group of xa ‘die’, ‹xa, xa-nø›: < ES; P >

Non-trivial subjective conjugation. Forms that bear the subjective conjugational morphology and do not fall under the trivial subjective conjugation.

Paradigmatic actional label. The union of actional meanings represented in the actional matrix of a verb.

Example:
Verb yincyelye ‘listen’: {EP P}

Subparadigm. One or more conjugations that show identical argument-structural, temporal and aspectual behavior. Rfl subparadigm (forms of the reflexive conjugation); ntS subparadigm (forms of the non-trivial subjective conjugation); tSO subparadigm (forms of the objective and trivial subjective conjugation).

Subparadigmatic class. A set of verbs with identical actional matrices.

Paradigmatic actional class. A set of verbs with identical paradigmatic actional labels.

Trivial subjective conjugation. Verb forms that bear the subjective conjugational morphology and occur in the same argument-structural, temporal and aspectual environment as the corresponding forms of the objective conjugation.

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Published Online: 2021-09-11
Published in Print: 2021-09-27

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