Pyramids of spatial relators in Northeastern Turkic and its neighbors
The paper deals with the coding of basic spatial relations in Northeastern Turkic of Siberia-Mongolia and its neighbors. The devices available are taken to represent five successive levels of a “pyramid”, standing for different degrees of semantic accuracy: (A) markerless constructions, (B) simple case suffixes, (C) composite case suffixes, (D) simple postpositions, and (E) composite postpositions. Allegedly simple notions in human spatial cognition, represented by semantic primitives such as ‘in’ and ‘on’ and assumed to be coded directly across languages, are only found at level E. It is suggested that the spatial relators might be dealt with in the framework of an old Transeurasian system, whose devices were eventually replaced by those of more fine-grained contents. Throughout the languages in question, spatial relators tend to get dynamic and non-dynamic interpretations according to the movement character of the predicate verb. This shared pecularity might be explainable in terms of genealogical retention.