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Ėven converbs and the syntax of switch-reference

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Abstract

This paper provides a description of the switch-reference system based on converbs in the North Tungusic language Ėven. It is argued that Ėven converbal clauses are adjunct clauses and that their properties are derived from the ways in which adjunct subordinate clauses are structured and interpreted in this language. Similar to other adjuncts, converbs can be adjoined at clausal and predicate levels, and they can be attached to different elements of the clause. This accounts for their syntactic peculiarities. At a different level of description, switch-reference in Ėven is shown to be a part of the broader system of reference tracking based on the contrast between reflexive and non-reflexive elements. This explains the interpretive and semantic idiosyncrasies of converbal clauses.

References

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