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Chapter 10. A Yakut copy of a Tungusic viewpoint 
aspect paradigm

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Abstract

The North Siberian Turkic language Yakut has two imperfect paradigms. One is &#8220;analytic&#8221;, composed of a so-called aorist and the past tense of a copula inflected for person, e.g. <i>Min bar-ar &#228;-ti-m</i> [I go-aor be-pret-agr.poss.1sg] &#8216;I was going away&#8217;. The other is a &#8220;synthetic&#8221; imperfect based on the aorist and with person markers of the so-called possessive type, e.g. <i>Min bar-ar-&#239;m</i> [I go-aor-agr.poss.1sg] &#8216;I was going away&#8217;. The basic element, the aorist, is a formal verbal category which seems to be common to the Transeurasian (Altaic) languages. In both cases studied here, the aorist has an intraterminal viewpoint aspect meaning. The &#8220;synthetic&#8221; paradigm lacks a past marker, which is highly remarkable for a Turkic language. It cannot have emerged through contraction of the &#8220;analytic&#8221; one. The paper discusses possible explanations of this phenomenon and suggests that the &#8220;synthetic&#8221; paradigm has been selectively copied in its entirety from a Tungusic language, probably Even. The paradigm would thus be the result of copying a Tungusic combinational pattern consisting of an aorist + possessive suffixes, which is a viewpoint aspect construction unparalleled in other Turkic languages. This would be an example of &#8220;carry-over influence&#8221;, which means that speakers of Tungusic have copied the paradigm into their own variety of the superstrate language Yakut. The paper also raises the question why the pattern was copied at all, given the possibility to express the imperfect meaning &#8220;analytically&#8221;.

References

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