LINGUIST List 15.617

Mon Feb 16 2004

Diss: Morphology/Semantics: Mahapatra: 'STAGE...'

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  1. bbm2003, STAGE LEVEL VS INDIVIDUAL LEVEL PREDICATES...

Message 1: STAGE LEVEL VS INDIVIDUAL LEVEL PREDICATES...

Date: Sun, 15 Feb 2004 08:43:42 -0500 (EST)
From: bbm2003 <bbm2003rediffmail.com>
Subject: STAGE LEVEL VS INDIVIDUAL LEVEL PREDICATES...

Institution: Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages
Program: Doctor of Philosophy in English
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2002

Author: Bibhuti Bhusan Mahapatra

Dissertation Title: STAGE LEVEL VS INDIVIDUAL LEVEL PREDICATES AND THE
FOUR COPULAS IN ODIA

Linguistic Field: Morphology, Semantics 

Dissertation Director 1: Prof. K. A. Jayaseelan
Dissertation Director 2: Prof. Tapas S. Ray

Dissertation Abstract:

This dissertation is an attempt to explain the four copular elements
in Odia, namely, ach-, �/aT-, tha:- and he-. In chapter 1 we note that
in the linguistics of Indian languages, a distinction between
'equative' vs.'existential' sentences, and correspondingly between
'equative' vs.'existential' copulas is adopted to explain the copula
system of the languages which are observed to have two
copulas. Looking at the western (classical) semantic tradition, the
gene rative literature distinguishes two types of copular sentences:
'equative' vs. 'predicative'. However, we note that neither the
'quative' vs. 'existential' distinction nor the 'equative'
vs. 'predicative' distinction helps us to explain the nature of Odia
copulas.

In chapter 2 we analyse ach- and aT- on the basis of a 'stage-level'
vs. 'individual-level' predicate distinction proposed by Carlson
(1977). It is shown that ach- occurs with 'stage -level' predicates
and �/aT- occurs with 'individual-level' predicates. Especially, the
ach- copula refers to a temporary state and the aT- copula refers to a
permanent state.

In chapter 3 we deal with the tha:- copula. We show that the tha:-
copula behaves as a 'stage-level' copula when marked with past or
future tense. However, it behaves as an 'individual-level' copula when
it is not marked with any tense feature. We discuss the hierarchical
organisation of ontological entities, 'stage', 'object' and 'kind'
in Carlson's theory.

In Chapter 4 we dwell upon the Odia verb morphology related to the
copulas aT-, ach - and tha: -. We show how the copulas are linked to
the aspect, tense and modal features. We show that only copulas ach-
and tha:- occur as auxiliaries of other verbs and are linked to them
with aspect features.

In chapter 5 we deal with the he- copula. The discussion shows that
the he- copula is a prototypical unaccusative verb. Unlike lexical
unaccusative verbs it has only an unaccusative function. It is
suggested that since 7 unaccusatives basically refer to events but not
to actions the copula he- can be treated as an event functor. We
suggest that modal situations are like alternative event situations
for which the he- copula is acceptable. we suggest that the active be
construction in English can be interpreted as the eventive be
construction from the Odia perspective. The discussion also shows that
when the auxiliary ja:- occurs with he-, he- gets the become sense;
otherwise, it gives the be sense. We discuss the occurrence of the
tha:- and he- copulas in the marked SVO order. We have not been able
to provide any explanation why the SVO order is obligatory for the
equative reading of the he- copula. Further, why only the simple past
form and the present progressive form of he- can function as the
equative copula but its other forms cannot do so still remains a
question.

Chapter 6 discusses some outstanding problems with the analysis of
ach- as a 'stage-level' copula in the context of locative predicate,
existential and have-constructions. We suggest that apart from its be
sense ach- has also the exist sense. We note that a unified analysis
for its 'stage-level' be sense and its exist sense is not available in
terms of the stage-level' vs. 'individual-level' predicate
distinction. Contrary to Lyons' proposal, we find that the reference
to absolute existence in Odia has a strong temporal deictic feature
which is marked by the now feature of the ach-copula.
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