The Focus Construction in Early Modern Kolyma Yukaghir

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  • Nagasaki Iku
    National Institute for Japanese Language and Linguistics

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  • 初期現代コリマ・ユカギール語における焦点構文

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Abstract

<p>This paper examines the focus construction in early modern Kolyma Yukaghir. The examination of materials from the end of the nineteenth century suggests that the syntactic restrictions observed in the focus construction in the language as spoken at present did not exist in the earlier period. Unlike the present-day language, which allows only intransitive subjects and objects as targets of focus, early modern Kolyma Yukaghir shows a wider range of focus constituent. The earlier language also allowed transitive subjects and oblique arguments/adjuncts as targets of focus. This provides additional evidence for the hypothesis that the focus construction is related to relative clauses, since the verbal endings used in the focus construction are also used for relativization, and the targets of focus and those of relativization exhibit strong similarities. Another notable distinction between the present-day and earlier stages of the language is in the use of the pseudocleft-like construction, which is observed only in the earlier language. This construction might be the source of the focus construction.*</p>

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