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Between noun incorporation and lexical affixation in Northwest Caucasian (with focus on Abaza).


Northwest Caucasian (NWC) languages have usually been considered to lack noun incorporation (NI). Indeed, they do not feature structures considered prototypical NI as familiar from such languages as Iroquoian or Chukotkan, i.e. optional productive compounding of the verb with the root of its P or S argument under specific discourse conditions with consequences for transitivity. However, I argue that NWC still shows phenomena amenable to an NI analysis, i.e. the so-called spatial preverbs, many of which not only historically go back to incorporated nouns, but may be analysed as such synchronically as well, albeit under a broad understanding of NI. In my talk, I shall focus on two types of incorporated nouns in Abaza, a member of the Abkhaz-Abaza branch of NWC, i.e. body-part nouns and non-relational nouns, discussing similarities and differences in their semantics and morphosyntactic behaviour, drawing parallels from other languages of the family. I shall argue that Abaza and, more broadly, NWC spatial preverbs form a cline from incorporated nouns to fully grammaticalised lexical affixes, suggesting several successive stages of incorporation and ensuing affixalisation.


Peter Arkadiev, PhD Habil., is a seniour researcher at the Institute of Slavic Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences and professor at the Institute of Linguistics of the Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow. His main research interests are linguistic typology and language contact with a focus on morphology, tense-aspect systems, and case marking in relation with other grammatical domains. He has worked extensively on Northwest Caucasian languages and on Lithuanian. He has authored more than 200 publications, including a book “Areal Typology of Prefixal Perfectivisation” (in Russian, 2015) and numerous articles in edited volumes and leading journals, and has co-edited volumes published by Mouton de Gruyter and Oxford University Press.