Talk by Ophélie Gandon on 16.11 at 3 p.m., "Relative clauses in an areal perspective: The Caucasus - Eastern Anatolia - Western Iran area"

Thursday 16th Nov. 2017, 3.00 p.m., in JF 321

 

Abstract

This talk deals with relative clauses in an areal perspective, focusing on languages of Caucasus – Eastern Anatolia – Western Iran area. This area is known to display an important linguistic diversity (genetic as well as typological) with about fifty languages belonging to six distinct families: North-East Caucasian, North-West Caucasian, South-Caucasian, Turkic, Indo-European and Semitic. Most of these languages are in contact and may influence each other. Besides, relative clauses constitute an interesting field to investigate in an areal perspective, given that the constructions used as relative clauses may vary according to numerous parameters, cross-linguistically or within the same language (*e.g*., position of the relative clause, finiteness of the verbal form, kind of relativizer if any, etc.); each value for a given parameter is a feature that may possibly diffuse across languages.

First, I will present the various relativization strategies identified in the area: beside those usually mentioned in literature, typologically less common strategies are encountered as well. I will then highlight various geographical areas where the same strategy or the same value for a given parameter is shared by languages that are not necessarily genetically related. For some of these areas, it seems that a convergence phenomena is involved given that languages may diverge with this respect from their respective genealogical families and/or the shared feature or strategy is typologically uncommon.

Keywords: areal linguistic, typological linguistic, relative clauses, North-East Caucasian languages, North-West Caucasian languages, South Caucasian languages, Turkic languages, Indo-European languages, Semitic languages