Abstract

Abstract:

This article argues that morpheme syncretism can arise as a result of structural and functional changes that display features of a grammaticalization process. Our claim is based on a case study analyzing the functional evolution of -jez, the third singular possessive agreement morpheme of Udmurt, which appears to function as a nominalizer, to mark contrast, to function as a kind of definite determiner, and to mark accusative case. We argue that these seemingly different roles are instantiations of three major functions: cross-referencing a possessor, encoding partitivity, and marking specific objects, which, in turn, represent subsequent stages of a grammaticalization path. Evidence for the hypothesized changes is provided by parallel developments in the sister languages, primarily Hungarian, the sister language with the longest-documented history.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 733-757
Launched on MUSE
2018-12-19
Open Access
No
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