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Laz positional verbs: semantics and use with inanimate Figures

Silvia Kutscher / N. Sevim Genç
Published Online: 2007-12-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LING.2007.031


In this article, we discuss the meaning and use of positional verbs in the South-Caucasian language Laz. Positional verbs are defined as those verbs which — in combination with one of several locational verbal prefixes (preverbs) — may appear in the basic construction that functions as an answer to a “where” question, the so-called basic locative construction (BLC). Within this class of verbs, we pay particular attention to those positionals which are used regularly in our data to describe the configuration of inanimate movable objects. Laz is shown to be a multiverb language, i.e., a language that uses a comparatively large set of verbs in the BLC. The fourteen verbs in question are PRV-dgun ‘stand’, PRV-ren ‘stand’, PRV-zun ‘lie’, PRV-xen ‘sit, stay’, PRV-bɣun ‘be located as mass’, PRV-mpiy ‘be spread’, PRV-sun ‘be smeared’, PRV-tun ‘cover’, PRV-bun ‘hang’, PRV-nʒoy ‘stick, be stuck’, PRV-n un ‘be dipped’, PRV- abun ‘stick to, be sticky’, PRV- orun ‘be bound’, PRV-gzun ‘burn’. The semantics and the use of these verbs are described in some detail including nontypical configurations, which trigger variation among speakers due to alternative categorizations and prototype effects.

About the article

*Correspondence address: Silvia Kutscher, Institut für Deutsche Sprache und Literatur, Universität Köln, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, 50923 Köln, Germany.

Received: 2005-06-08

Revised: 2007-01-22

Published Online: 2007-12-04

Published in Print: 2007-10-19

Citation Information: Linguistics, Volume 45, Issue 5part6, Pages 1029–1064, ISSN (Online) 1613-396X, ISSN (Print) 0024-3949, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/LING.2007.031.

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