By Mark Hanna Watkins

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Additional info for A grammar of Chichewa, a Bantu language of British Central Africa

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For example, in the combinations of umareru ‘to be born’ and the two motion verbs, we are likely to view the birth of an entity from the perspective at which an entity emerges; hence the choice of kuru ‘come’ indicates that a movement toward the speaker is preferred. For verbs of disappearance such as sinu ‘die’, the entity disappearing is viewed from the perspective of existence; hence iku ‘go’ is preferred with such expressions. The following examples from Google indicate that speakers of Japanese can easily reverse these conventional perspectives, however, and allow various combinations that are identified as impossible by Teramura.

B. Ippai non-de ki-ta=no? ’ *Un, non-de. ’ There may be a number of ways of interpreting this phenomenon, but it can be understood as showing that the converb complex arui-te kuru ‘walk come’ is structurally ‘less tight’, hence the converb and the finite verb are morphologically more autonomous than those involved in the other two construction types. This interpretation is corroborated by a pattern of contracting of iku ‘go’ to -ku. According to the Googlebased survey summarized in Table 6 below, iku of the arui-te iku ‘walk go’ type contracts least while that of the non-de iku ‘drink come’ type contracts most frequently.

2 Grammaticalization of converb constructions Cline of grammaticalization While there appear to be both instantaneous and gradual aspects to the grammaticalization process (see Section 4 below), the framework of grammaticalization is especially attuned to the task of capturing gradual patterns of change in the status of lexical items. In particular, the changes to the motion verbs of coming and going in converb constructions within the grammaticalization framework reveal that these verbs do not change their category membership instantaneously, and that a synchronic description of them must recognize a cline of categoriality along a path of change from verb to auxiliary.

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A grammar of Chichewa, a Bantu language of British Central Africa by Mark Hanna Watkins


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