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Reconstructing Proto-Indo-European categories

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Abstract

Starting from the analysis of constructions employed to express the category of reflexive in Hittite, encoded both by the verbal ending set of the middle and by the pronominal marker -<i>za</i> with both active and middle verbal forms, we present a typological parallelism with the Baltic languages that has consistently developed, from a pronominal, a verbal strategy to mark reflexivity. It is also shown that a development regarding the ways of encoding reflexivity involve other Indo-European languages as well. <br />The Anatolian languages attest the reflexes of the original set of endings referring to the semantic categories of Reflexive, Middle and &#8220;Resultative&#8221;, while the other Indo-European languages attest an innovated &#8220;mixed morphology&#8221; for the category of Middle and Reflexive as opposed to the proper endings of the historical perfect. Within such a theoretical framework, the development of alternative strategies, using pronominal devices or particles, aims to disambiguate a wide polysemous ending set. A &#8216;Wackernagel&#8217; (2P) particle in Hittite, namely <i>-z</i>, is particularly active in disambiguating reflexivity. Lithuanian <i>-si</i>, an original pronoun that developed at first into a 2P particle and subsequently into a verbal suffix, extends its functional field and takes over the place of the original middle, as in other Baltic and Slavonic languages.

References

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