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Abstract

Abstract

This corpus-based study examines the diachrony of differential place marking in Basque. In spatial cases, animate nouns in Basque exhibit heavier morphological forms than inanimate ones, but, under some circumstances, they can also be marked as inanimate. The data for the study comprises 66 sixteenth-to-twentieth-century texts (9,791 examples). A generalised linear mixed-effects model was fitted to analyse factors influencing the choice of marking. It is shown that animate nouns are sensitive to different aspects of the extended Animacy Hierarchy. The strongest effect is that of number (singular nouns prefer animate marking), followed by referentiality (pronouns are more prone to take animate forms than other nominals) and definiteness (definite nouns show animate marking more often than indefinite ones). The analysis also shows that animate marking became more widespread, and that there are dialectal differences. Moreover, more factors were relevant for the alternation in the earliest data (number, referentiality, definiteness, person and case) than in the most recent texts, where number is the most important.

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2022-03-14
2022-05-18
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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keywords: spatial cases ; Basque ; animacy ; diachrony ; morphology
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