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On the semantics of transformativizing postverbial constructions in Kazakh

Birsel Karakoç, Uldanay Jumabay

Pages 162 - 185

The paper investigates the semantics of postverbial constructions marking transformativity in Kazakh. Postverbial constructions consist of a lexical verb with the converb marker in {-(Ị)p} or {-A//-y} and an auxiliary verb. These constructions function as actionality markers, recategorizing the inherent phase structures of their lexical verbs. The transformativizing constructions highlight the initial or the final phase of an action, such as otïr-ïp̣ bol- ‛to sit down’ ← otïr- ‛to sit down and to sit’, žaz-ïp̣ bol- ‛to write down’ ← žaz- ‛to write’. Besides phase specification, they can convey various semantic values, such as that the action is performed consciously or unconsciously, easily or with effort and difficulty, expectedly or unexpectedly, intentionally or unintentionally, coercively or instinctively, slowly or swiftly, and the like. The transformativizers have not previously been studied from a comparative perspective, and thus we do not know much about the correlations between their semantic values. The overarching question concerns the ways in which the postverbial constructions differ from each other semantically. The analysis is developed in multiple stages, and suggests thirteen semantic ideas that are expressed by the transformativizers found in our data. Each semantic idea appears with two contrary semantic values, value [a] or value [b]. The results suggest among other things a strong correlation between the type of the converb suffix, {-(Ị)p} or {-A//-y}, and the semantic values, [a] or [b], of a given semantic idea.

Keywords: Kazakh, postverbial construction, actionality, transformativization


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