Argument structure and aspect: The case of two imperfectives in Malayalam

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We look at the two imperfective constructions in Malayalam and show how a rich <i>v </i>tier can account for differences between them. The <i>-ukayaa^6 </i>imperfective is actually a reduced (pseudo)cleft construction (following Mohanan and Mohanan’s 1999 analysis of <i>aa^6 </i>in non-equative constructions). The auxiliary<i>aa^6 </i>is the focus marker. The reduced material is a tier of <i>v </i>, phonetically manifested as the <i>cey </i>‘do’ in transitive/causative constructions and an eventive<i>v </i>‘occur’ in unaccusatives (cf. Marantz 1997). The <i>-unnu^z6 </i>construction (the other imperfective) has neither eventive nor agentive <i>v </i>. The auxiliary <i>u^z6 </i>is an existential operator and it asserts the existence of an event. <i>u^z6 </i>heads the EventP (Harley 1995). Facts from adverb syntax also support the analysis of the<i>-ukayaa^6 </i>construction as focus.


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