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The origin and development of the Old Indo-Aryan predicated -<i>tá</i> construction

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Abstract

This paper pursues the development of the predicated -tá construction through the different stages of Vedic. In the earliest stage of the language, this construction represents a predicated, p-oriented verbal adjective, which subsequently develops into a passive, that in turn evolves into an inverse category. The data from the different periods of Vedic clearly shows that this construction, which ultimately has given rise to the ergative construction in New Indo-Aryan, has undergone significant typological changes through its attested history. Its development is in line with a well-established grammaticalization cline found in other languages, whereby predicated verbal adjectives develop via passives and inverse categories into ergatives (cf. Gildea 1997). The paper makes a strong case for the claim that the construction never developed into a full ergative in the Vedic period, implying that it reached the last stage of the grammaticalization path in the Early Middle Indo-Aryan period.

References

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