LINGUIST List 25.3166

Mon Aug 04 2014

Diss: Indo-Aryan; Historical Linguistics: Reinöhl: 'Grammaticization and Configurationality...'

Editor for this issue: Danuta Allen <>

Date: 03-Aug-2014
From: Uta Reinöhl <>
Subject: Grammaticization and Configurationality - The Emergence of Postpositional Phrases in Indo-Aryan
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Institution: Universität zu Köln
Program: Department of General Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2013

Author: Uta Reinöhl

Dissertation Title: Grammaticization and Configurationality - The Emergence of Postpositional Phrases in Indo-Aryan

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
                            Historical Linguistics
Language Family(ies): Indo-Aryan

Dissertation Director:
Hans Henrich Hock
Nikolaus Himmelmann

Dissertation Abstract:

In my dissertation, I study the change from a largely non-configurational language (Vedic Sanskrit) to a part-
configurational one (Hindi, representing New Indo-Aryan languages). While it is a long-standing fact of Indo-
Aryan studies that the morphological case system eroded in the course of Old and Middle Indo-Aryan and
was functionally in part replaced by postpositional phrases in New Indo-Aryan, the precise mechanisms
behind this overhaul have not been studied. This dissertation presents the first detailed corpus study of the
gradual emergence of postpositional phrases through the Old, Middle, and Early New Indic periods. It is
shown, contrary to what has been claimed, that the Indo-Aryan postpositional phrases arise along paths
altogether different from those of prepositional phrases attested in other branches of Indo-European. In
particular, it is not groups of adverbs and local case forms that are reanalyzed as phrasal units, but
relational nouns, participles and other denominal and deverbal forms in conjunction with their morphological
dependents are revamped as postpositional phrases. The emergence of the very first configurational
structures in this branch of languages - postpositional phrases - is shown to be intimately tied to the
grammaticization of this broad assortment of lexical items, recruited as grammatical items at different points
in the history of Indo-Aryan.

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