Placeholder verbs in Modern Georgian

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Many languages have filler nouns like English <i>thingummy</i>, or German <i>Dingsbums</i> and <i>Dingens</i>, known also as &#8216;oblitive&#8217; nouns. They refer to a person or thing whose name the speaker has forgotten, does not know or does not wish to mention. Modern Georgian has developed filler verbs that substitute for lexical verb forms in discourse, and thus function as placeholder verbs. This paper describes the form of the Georgian placeholder verbs and their use in discourse. Normally, the placeholder verbs are employed as a repair strategy in lexical access failure. However, the present paper deals with another use, namely, when placeholders are inserted in the speech intentionally, in order to make the implicated verb form either difficult or easy for the hearer to guess. Keywords: Placeholder verbs; Georgian; pragmatically motivated substitution; multiple agreement marking


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