Volume 33, Issue 1
  • ISSN 0176-4225
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9714
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It has been widely assumed that the primary adpositions of modern Indo-European languages constitute a historically identical category, descending from the Proto-Indo-European ‘local particles’. I argue that this assumption needs to be revised, because a major branch of the language family, Indo-Aryan, possesses adpositions of unrelated origin. This is not only a question of different etyma, but the New Indo-Aryan adpositions descend from structurally different sources. The ancient local particles, as attested in early Indo-Aryan varieties, combine with local case forms and show a preference for the prenominal position. By contrast, the New Indo-Aryan adpositions descend from nominal and verbal forms heading genitives, and show a propensity for the postnominal slot. Thus, we are dealing with elements unrelated not only etymologically, but also with regard to their morphosyntactic distribution.


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