Tid: Torsdag 21 februari 2019, kl 15:00-17:00
Plats: C307, Södra huset, Frescati


In Khalkha Mongolian, the quotative verb ge- functions is arguably the functionally most prolific verb of the language. Based on a set of approx. 4100 examples, this presentation aims at providing a structured preliminary overview over the different types of constructions that it participates in.

Historically, ge- can be traced back to the form keme- in Middle Mongol which is likewise a quotative verb without the ability to properly accommodate direct objects and addressees, though it does not yet exhibit most of its contemporary extended functions, with merely marginal involvement in the marking of topic and reason. Attempts have been made to connect it with ki- ‘do’, and the young pro-verbs teg- ‘do like that’ and ingg- ‘do like this’ as well as the third person imperative suffix -g can probably be connected with ge-.

Synchronically, ge- takes part in a number of constructional networks. In its most basic function, it is used as the clausal main verb to attribute speech and thoughts, be it in finite position (1) or converbal form (2). It retains its original usage as a verb of naming (3). It is frequently used as “complementizer” since other verbs of speech and thought cannot directly accommodate finite sentences (4).

(1) X {...} ge-n.    ‘X says/said {…}.’
(2) X {…} ge-ed V-TAME. ‘Having said {…}, X V-ed.’
(3) X-iig(ACC) Y ge-deg(HAB.PTCP) ‘X is called Y.’
(4) X {…} ge-ž bod-dog.   ‘X thinks that {…}.’




Type-(2) constructions that quote a reason or purpose can be interpreted as expressing such meaning, which requires a clausal, rarely nominal, never sentential quote. Mainly with ideophones, such structures may also function as manner adjuncts. Type-(1) structures developed several unconnected mirative extensions. For quotes ending in the future participle -x, the patterns (1) and (2) have come to express intention and prospectivity.

At another front, ge- combines with a number of converbal suffixes to express concessive and adversative meanings, forming either sentence adverbials or conjunctions. Together with sentence-adverbials derived from teg- ‘do like that’ and bol- ‘become’, these have partially superseded an older network of connectives that was mostly based on converbal suffixes. Most of these forms also take part in topic marking, while other ge-based topic markers are structurally closely related to an attributive version of the naming construction in (3). Ge- is even involved in reinforcing the additive focus clitic =č in spoken language.

Analyzing these forms as a coherent framework is work in progress, so this presentation aims at giving a certain overview of all the areas mentioned. This includes both analytic results, either in terms of structural relatedness or functional description, and many enjoyable details that are still in need of explanation.

About Benjamin Brosig

Benjamin Brosig received his magister in Mongolian studies and linguistics from Bonn University in 2009 and his PhD in linguistics from Stockholm University in 2014. He has since worked as a postdoc at Hongkong Polytechnic University (2015-2017) and Academia Sinica (2018 until now). His research interests include aspect, evidentiality and related categories (such as negation, tense and secondary predicates), quotation, and attitudinally relevant categories (such as preventives, miratives and terms of address and self-reference). He has worked on Middle Mongol and the Central Mongolic varieties Khalkha, Khorchin and Qinghai Oirat.

Hjärtligt välkomna!
Richard Kowalik