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Impersonal constructions in Ket

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Abstract

Agreement in Ket involves multiple techniques of verb-internal subject-object marking with intransitive subject (S) markers aligning in various ways with the transitive subject (A) or transitive object (P) markers. This article examines verbs where the S appears in slots normally reserved for P marking, while the slot normally reserved for A marking contains the invariant prefix <i>da</i>-. Many impersonal verbs with this <i>da</i>- prefix turn out to be versions of regular transitives that allow for substitution of <i>da</i>- by other personal subject markers. Interestingly, some intransitive verbs previously recorded as lacking <i>da</i>- in fact allow this prefix optionally. This suggests that the range of da- intransitives was originally broader, and that more, if not all, verbs in this class derive historically from regular transitives, Accordingly, this Ket pattern is analyzable as a &#8216;transimpersonal construction&#8217;, whereby a transitive verb takes an indefinite subject and experiencer object, although the transimpersonal in ket has not spread consistently across the lexicon. Keywords: subject-object marking; transimpersonal construction

References

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