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LINGUIST List 23.1408

Tue Mar 20 2012

Diss: Historical Ling/Semantics/Syntax/Sanskrit: Lowe: 'The Syntax and Semantics of Tense-Aspect Stem Participles in Early Rgvedic Sanskrit'

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Date: 20-Mar-2012
From: John Lowe <johnjlowegmail.com>
Subject: The Syntax and Semantics of Tense-Aspect Stem Participles in Early Rgvedic Sanskrit
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Institution: University of Oxford
Program: D.Phil. in Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2012

Author: John Jeffrey Lowe

Dissertation Title: The Syntax and Semantics of Tense-Aspect Stem Participles in Early Rgvedic Sanskrit

Linguistic Field(s): Historical Linguistics

Subject Language(s): Sanskrit (san)
Language Family(ies): Indo-European

Dissertation Director:
Elizabeth Tucker
Andreas Willi

Dissertation Abstract:

In this thesis I investigate the syntax and semantics of tense-aspect stem
participles in the Rgveda, focusing primarily on the data from the earlier
books II-VII and IX, seeking to establish a comprehensive and coherent
analysis of this category within the linguistic system of Rgvedic Sanskrit.
In recent literature tense-aspect stem participles are usually treated as
semantically equivalent to finite verbs wherever possible, but
contradictorily where they differ from finite verbs their adjectival nature
is emphasized. I argue that tense-aspect stem participles are a
fundamentally verbal formation and can be treated as inflectional verb
forms: they are adjectival verbs rather than verbal adjectives. At the same
time, however, they constitute an independent sub-category of verb form
which is not necessarily semantically dependent on corresponding finite stems.

I examine the syntactic and semantic properties of tense-aspect stem
participles both in relation to finite verbal forms and their wider
syntactic context, formalizing the evidence in the framework of
Lexical-Functional Grammar. Consequently I am able to categorize the
syntactic and semantic deviations which many participles exhibit in
comparison to finite verbal forms. I contend that many such forms cannot be
treated synchronically (and sometimes diachronically) as participles, but
form distinct synchronic categories. My analysis permits a considerably
more refined definition of the category of tense-aspect stem participles,
dependent on clear morphological, syntactic and semantic criteria, as
opposed to the usual, purely morphological, definition.

From a diachronic perspective I argue that the category of tense-aspect
stem participles as found in the Rgveda more closely reflects an inherited
Proto Indo-European category of tense-aspect stem participles than is
usually assumed. I also reconsider theoretical treatments of participial
syntax and semantics, and develop a more precise typology of non-finite
verb systems which adequately accounts for Sanskrit participles.

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