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Title:Going to Surprise: the grammaticalization of itive as mirative
Author(s):Ross, Daniel
Associated Motion
Cognitive Linguistics
Abstract:Morphemes indicating direction away from the deictic center can signal an unexpected event, without necessarily indicating motion in space: Look what he went and did this time! These surprise readings have puzzled researchers working on several European languages, especially English and Swedish (Stefanowitsch 1999; Josefsson 2014). In this paper it is proposed that mirative usage like this can be explained as metaphorical movement away from an expected outcome: the way an individual or the world is supposed to behave according to the speaker. Just as motion verbs can grammaticalize from the spatial domain to the temporal domain as aspect markers, they can also extend into the domain of eventualities. Specifically, go and related forms can grammaticalize as miratives, marking unexpected information (DeLancey 1997). It is first important to recognize a category of deictic modification for verbs. Various forms are attested cross-linguistically, from verb-verb combinations (such as serial verb constructions) to inflectional morphology in some languages. These morphemes may either add a motion sub-event to the verbal predicate (Associated Motion: Guillaume 2016), or encode only the direction of an existing motion event (Directionals). In both cases, the two most common types are action directed toward the deictic center (usually the speaker) and action directed away from the deictic center. The former corresponds to come and is known variously as ventive, venitive, cislocative and centripetal. The latter, corresponding to go, is the focus of this paper, and is known variously as itive, andative, translocative and centrifugal. In a large sample of languages with verbal deixis of this type, although not as common as grammaticalization into tense and aspect markers, itives of various forms were found to express mirativity, from Abkhaz (Caucasian) to Kera (Chadic) to Mizo (Sino-Tibetan) to Turkish, supporting an analysis of these constructions as a unified category. Semantically, several factors play into this grammaticalization pattern. One is that go is often associated with negative actions (go crazy), and come with positive ones (come to your senses). Another is that go often carries a sense of intentionality or inchoativity even in tense and aspect (Fleischman 1982). Sudden or surprising action is encoded by the speaker as deviation from an expected course of action. Interestingly, though less often, expected or desirable outcomes can be expressed by ventives as, for example, hortatives or solidarity imperatives (semantically like English c’mon; cf. Heine & Kuteva 2002).
Issue Date:2016-12
Publisher:Polish Cognitive Linguistics Association & University of Wrocław
Citation Info:Ross, Daniel. 2016. Going to Surprise: the grammaticalization of itive as mirative. In Jacek Woźny (ed.), Online proceedings of Cognitive Linguistics in Wrocław Web Conference 2016. Wrocław: Polish Cognitive Linguistics Association & University of Wrocław. Published at (site now offline): / Archived version:
Genre:Conference Paper / Presentation
Rights Information:© Daniel Ross 2016
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-11-02

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