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Academic Paper


Title: Versatile cases
Author: Chia-jung Pan
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: https://plone.jcu.edu.au/researchatjcu/research/lcrc
Institution: James Cook University
Linguistic Field: Morphology; Syntax
Abstract: Case markers are thought of primarily as nominal morphemes, indicating the function of a noun phrase in a clause. In a few languages of the world case markers also appear on verbal forms. Such ‘versatile’ cases can express (i) temporal, causal and other relationships between clauses, and (ii) aspectual and modal meanings within a clause. Core cases tend to express aspectual and modal meanings, while oblique cases tend to be used as clause-linkers. The recurrent semantic differences between case morphemes as nominal markers, as clause-linking devices, and as exponents of clausal categories are rooted in the inherent polyfunctionality of these ‘chameleon’ morphemes: the specific meaning of any instance is affected by the morphosyntactic context in which it occurs. The conclusions are corroborated by a case study of Manambu, a Papuan language with extensive use of cases on nouns and on verbs, as exponents of aspectual and modal meanings and as clause-linking devices.

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This article appears IN Journal of Linguistics Vol. 44, Issue 3.

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