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LINGUIST List 18.1973

Sun Jul 01 2007

Qs: Double Finite Forms in One Predication?

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        1.    Lilit Vardanyan, Double Finite Forms in One Predication?

Message 1: Double Finite Forms in One Predication?
Date: 28-Jun-2007
From: Lilit Vardanyan <lila_vardanyanyahoo.com>
Subject: Double Finite Forms in One Predication?

Dear list members,

I wonder if in a language’s grammar single predicate could include more
than one finite verb form. Currently I am doing studies on the Armenian
syntax from the formal dependency structure perspective. In traditional
grammars we come across with so-called ‘necessitive, obligative’ mood which
forms its tense forms compounding three lexemes - a noun meaning
‘necessity, must’, the auxiliary ‘be’ in the 3rd person singular and a
finite verb formally standing in subjunctive mood and agreeing with its
number and person with the subject of the sentence. Example:

(Es) / petk / e / gnam
(I) / NECESSITY / IS / GO+subj+sg+1st pers. (Armenian is also pro-drop)
Translation - ''I must go.''

Traditionally such sentences have been treated to be simple, as far as
semantically (the form ‘petq e’ is more perceived as a particle rather than
a constituent with auxiliary verb) and due to its specific syntactic
structure it is more coherent to tell so. Whereas I am more inclined to
believe that there are actually two clauses, where the main clause is
embedded inside the subordinate one, in case the subject of the latter is
proceeding. Although, to this argument I find a nice counterpart example in
the language that syntactically corresponds to the description I would
suggest, yet semantically differs:

Petk e vor gnam
NECESSITY IS THAT GO+subj+sg+1st pers (in general the conjunction in
subordinate clause may be dropped )
''It is necessary that I go.'' (Italian translation would go better
''Bisogna che vada'')

''It is probable that I’ll go. I must be going.''

Actually whatever semantic ambiguity or difference is encoded in the above
sentences, I am more interested in structural representation, thus I would
appreciate much any help and hints you may kindly give regarding such
phenomenon in other languages and its analysis and description.

Linguistic Field(s): Syntax

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