Cases-non-cases: at the margins of the Tsezic case system

Forker, Diana (2016) Cases-non-cases: at the margins of the Tsezic case system. In: Korkmaz, Ramazan, and Gürkan, Doğan, (eds.) Endangered Languages of the Caucasus and Beyond. Languages of Asia, 15 . Brill, Leiden, Netherlands, pp. 60-78.

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[Extract] The Tsezic languages are a group of closely related languages that form one subbranch within the Nakh-Daghestanian (or East-Caucasian) language family. They can be divided into East Tsezic, comprising Hunzib and Bezhta, and West Tsezic, comprising Khwarshi, Tsez and Hinuq. Tsezic languages are spoken in the Republic of Daghestan, which belongs to the Russian Federation. Daghestan is located in the north-eastern part of the Caucasus. Smaller groups of Tsez and Bezhta speakers also live in Turkey, and some Bezhta speakers live in Georgia. The largest Tsezic language is Tsez with about 12000 speakers (according to the Russian census of 2010); the smallest language is Hinuq with around 600 speakers.

Case assignment in the Tsezic languages is largely semantically motivated, and morphosyntactic features play only a marginal role (cf. Kibrik 1997). Due to the dominant role of semantics in the assignment of case it seems that it is relatively simple to extend the case inventory. That is, suffixes and enclitics with an autonomous distinguished form paired with a clear-cut meaning can, in principle, develop into cases. This seems to explain the origin of many spatial cases in Tsezic that most probably go back to spatial postpositions.

The aim of this paper is to explore a number of nominal markers that resemble cases and compare them with genuine case markers with respect to functional and formal similarities and differences. I will adopt the canonical approach as exemplified by Corbett (2008) for the feature of case. Corbett (2008) provides ten criteria for canonical case markers and examines the Russian cases in regard to the criteria. I will use these criteria for investigating whether the respective nominal markers from the Tsezic languages could be analyzed as case markers.

Item ID: 47322
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-90-04-32564-7
ISSN: 2452-2961
Date Deposited: 14 May 2017 23:40
FoR Codes: 47 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 4704 Linguistics > 470409 Linguistic structures (incl. phonology, morphology and syntax) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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