Volume 37, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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The use of generic verbs of speech in functions not related to their primary meaning, such as to introduce complements or adjuncts, is cross-linguistically widespread; it is also characteristic of some languages of Siberia. However, the distribution of non-canonical functions of generic verbs of speech among the languages of Siberia is very uneven, with striking differences even between dialects of one language. In this paper we attempt to elucidate whether shared inheritance, parallel independent developments, or areal convergence are the factors determining this distribution, using fine-scaled investigations of narrative data from a large number of Siberian languages and dialects. This enables us to uncover a wide range of non-canonical functions that the generic verb of speech has acquired in some of the languages investigated, as well as to highlight the very complex historical processes at play.


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