Volume 13, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2210-2116
  • E-ISSN: 2210-2124
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The present study contributes to the description of the coding of anticausatives and causative-anticausative alternation in Classical Armenian based on conventional typologically-oriented questionnaires and a dataset of verbs attested in the Armenian translation of the Bible. The synchronic evidence is then analyzed from a diachronic perspective with an outlook on modern varieties of Armenian and the Proto-Indo-European reconstruction.

It is argued that discriminating between the derivational and inflectional tiers allows for a better explanation of the morphological links between the patterns used to code causative-anticausative alternation in verbs of different semantic types. According to preliminary quantitative estimations, the overall valency orientation of Classical Armenian is dominated by a nondirected equipollent coding strategy. Altogether, when coded by transitivizing pairs, causative-anticausative alternation shows preference for noncausal verbs of the conjugation, the paradigm of which typically combines equipollent perfective forms with labile imperfective ones.

An improved descriptive model enables a better cross-linguistic alignment of coding patterns as illustrated by comparing Classical Armenian to other cognate languages. Classical Armenian provides additional evidence on the typologically common split in the coding of causative-anticausative pairs. Whereas the transitivizing and equipollent (and marginally suppletive) patterns are diachronically stable within the prehistory of Armenian, the labile strategy constitutes a major innovation typical for the imperfective part of the verbal paradigm.


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