The Chain of <i>Being</i> and <i>Having</i> in Slavic

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The complex diachronic and synchronic status of the concepts <i>be</i> and <i>have</i> can be understood only with consideration of their full range of constructions and functions. Data from modern Slavic languages (Russian, Czech, Polish, Bulgarian) provides a window into zero copulas, non-verbal <i>have</i> expressions, and verbal constructions. From the perspective of cognitive linguistics, <i>be</i> and <i>have</i> are analyzed in terms of a blended prototype model, wherein existence/copula for <i>be</i> and possession/relationship for <i>have</i> are inseparably combined. These concepts are related to each other in their functions and meanings and serve as organizing principles in a conceptual network of semantic neighbors, including <i>give, take, get, become, make</i>, and verbs of position and motion. Renewal and replacement of <i>be</i> and <i>have</i> occur through processes of polysemization and suppletization involving lexical items in this network. Topics include polysemy, suppletion, tense/mood auxiliaries, modality, causatives, evidentiality, function words, contact phenomena, syntactic calques, and idiomatic constructions.

Subjects: Theoretical linguistics; Historical linguistics; Slavic linguistics; Syntax; Semantics

  • Affiliations: 1: University of Chicago

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