Article

INTRODUCTION TO GEORGIAN MORPHOLOGY AND SIMPLE SENTENCE STRUCTURES

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

The aim of this sketch is to provide the reader who is not familiar with Georgian with a brief introduction to Georgian grammatical structures and to illustrate some of the specific features of Georgian that are dealt with in some of the articles in this volume.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

Chapter
The chapter is a study of the system of olfactory expressions in Georgian, Megrelian, and other Kartvelian languages, including questions of etymology and semantic extensions. Olfactory expressions in the Kartvelian languages are explored with Viberg (1984) as a point of departure, making a division into activity, experience and copulative (source-based) expressions. The study largely relies on data from text corpora of Standard Georgian as well as Georgian dialects. The Kartvelian languages are shown to exhibit specific olfactory terminology, but show numerous examples of expressions being used in several perception modalities. Keywords: olfactory perception, etymology, Georgian, Megrelian
Article
Full-text available
In the preceding sections, we have developed the principal components of an analysis of verbal agreement, case-marking, inversion, and related phenomena in Georgian. The most important aspect of this treatment throughout has been the extent to which it is a description of the morphology of the language, employing mechanisms necessary for the description of inflectional morphology rather than the mechanisms of syntax. In particular, no alterations of syntactic structure are posited to account for the inversion construction (or for the difference between Series I and Series II tenses). To the extent to which this account is well-motivated, it establishes our basic descriptive points: Inversion in Georgian is a fact about morphology, not a rule of the syntax.While the morphological analysis of this paper differs in fundamental ways from the syntactic treatment of Harris (1981, 1982, 1983), there are also many obvious similarities. For example, both analyses make use of a rule of Unaccusative, with somewhat similar functions. Both differentiate the subjects of class II and class III verbs by treating the former as having similarities to direct objects of other verbs, where the subjects of class III verbs are similar to transitive subjects. Other parallels could be added; the major difference remains the fact that the present analysis locates these parts of the grammar of Georgian in the inflectional morphology of the language, while Harris locates them in syntactic rules and structures.This difference is hardly surprising. The theory of Relational Grammar, within which her analysis is formulated, cannot be said to contain an explicit theory of morphology, in the sense of a set of systematic mechanisms for relating the inflectional properties of words and their role in a syntactic structure to their surface form. Once we provide a morphological framework in which to discuss these issues we see that Harris' insights about the structure of the language are fundamentally correct, and can be maintained in larger part, but that they pertain to the morphology rather than to the syntax.Beyond the basic descriptive issue of how to treat inversion, however, the analysis above justifies a certain number of broader conclusions, not limited to Georgian. We take up some of these below, in increasing order of their generality.Class markersIn the analysis defended here, the several classes of Georgian verbs are differentiated lexically in terms of independently motivated morphosyntactic (or inflectional) representations, rather than by arbitrary conjugation-class markers. For example, a class IV diacritic is no longer necessary, since such verbs are uniquely identified by the combination of subcategorization requirements and inflectional properties for which they are lexically specified. In fact, all of the various Georgian verb classes are now uniquely specified in this way, and no separate arbitrary markers of conjugation class membership are necessary at all in the lexicon.On Harris' analysis, she argues (1981, pp. 228ff.) that conjugation class markers are similarly unnecessary, though they are used throughout her description as a purely expository convenience. The inflectional pattern of a given verb is supposed to follow from the set of arguments it takes, together with the locations of these in (underlying the surface) syntactic structure. While this is surely true (given her syntactic assumptions) for membership in classes 1, 2, and 3, the fact that a verb belongs to class 4 is not similarly deducible from the pattern of its arguments: rather, this is related to the fact that it undergoes inversion. The morphological property of class 4 inflection must thus be accessible to the syntactic rule of Inversion, or else the specific derivational history of the structure in which a verb appears must be accessible to the rules of inflection. Either of these is a variety of interaction between word formation processes and syntactic structure which a restrictive theory would like to exclude; they are unnecessary on an analysis like the present one, in which the locality of reference of inflectional properties is preserved.Naturally, the elimination of arbitrary markers of inflectional class membership (other than structurally motivated aspects of the form of words belonging to such classes) is defended here only for Georgian; but it remains to be seen whether, in other languages where arbitrary partitions of the lexicon are generally posited to account for differences in inflectional properties, it may not be possible to reduce this arbitrariness in light of independently motivated properties of lexical entries. For example, in those Romance languages where verbs are traditionally organized into arbitrary classes (first conjugation, second conjugation, etc.), it seems quite likely that representations of verb stems provided with a thematic vowel in the lexicon could eliminate the need for such an unilluminating division (cf. Platt 1981 for one such attempt).The point is a moderately subtle one, since it could be maintained that the theme vowels simply act as diacritics on such an analysis of Romance verb classes. It can be argued, however, that the morphology must contain some principle to insert these vowels in any event, and that prohibiting any subdivision of verb stems other than one which is substantively motivated in such a way yields a more restrictive theory than one which allows explicit diacritics unrelated to any unitary structural characteristic of the forms they categorize. Naturally, the validity of this suggestion is impossible to assess clearly until it has been explored in more concrete detail in actual analyses.The nature of agreementThe rules above make crucial use not only of agreement in inflectional features between a verb and its arguments, but also of (some sort of) co-indexing relation between the morpho-syntactic representations in INFL, which eventually determine agreement in verbs, and the NPs they agree with. Such co-indexing is familiar in the case of subject agreement, and in fact plays a crucial role in the Government/Binding theory in governing the subject position in finite clauses; it is less obvious for non-subjects. Stowell (1981), however, has proposed that verbs are co-indexed with all of their subcategorized arguments in order to yield a unified definition of proper government. In the case of Georgian, one prediction which results from this is that all positions reflected in agreement are automatically properly governed, from which it follows (correctly) that such positions may be unfilled phonetically. One could express this in current idiom by saying that Georgian is a generalized Pro-drop language.A further instance in which coindexing between non-subjects and agreement is necessary is cited in Anderson (1974). In the Abkhaz-Abaza languages, a verb-initial agreement marker /y/ (marking third person plural or neuter singular intransitive subjects or transitive objects) is deleted if and only if the verb is immediately preceded in linear order by the NP with which it is co-indexed. In fact, when one considers inflectional systems of even moderate complexity, the plausibility of the position that all agreeing arguments (and not only the subject) are co-indexed in the verb is considerable.The relation of co-indexing that is involved, however, is clearly different from that obtaining between freely occurring NPs. In sentences containing a reflexive phrase, it is clear that the agreement element related to the subject must be kept separate from that relating to the object, despite the fact that the reference of the two is the same. If the subject is first or second person, for example, the reflexive will have different agreement features (namely, third person singular) from those of its antecedent, and the two must be kept separated in the morpho-syntactic representation of the verb. It is for such reasons that we have referred to co-superscripting rather than co-indexing as the relation obtaining between an argument and the morphosyntactic representation of agreement in the clause.The nature of morphosyntactic representationsFinally, we conclude that analyses such as that presented here validate the notion of a morphosyntactic representation with significant internal structure, and of rules which create and manipulate such representations without effecting other syntactic structure. As long as one confines one's attention to languages with relatively simple inflection, it is possible to sweep inflectional morphology under the rug to a considerable extent, assuming that the formal categories of inflected words bear a rather straightforward relation to the syntactic structures in which they appear. Just as it would be extremely dangerous to generalize about the theory of segmental phonology on the basis solely of analyses of Chinese (however extensive), though, it is unlikely that an adequate picture of inflectional morphology can be derived from the study of languages like English, German, and French in which this aspect of grammatical structure is relatively impoverished. A closer study of a language like Georgian suggests richer possibilities for the apparatus describing the traditional domain of inflection — possibilities which might be productively explored even in languages like English, where the data are not rich enough to motivate them by themselves.
1. 1982. Georgian. A reading grammar
  • H Aronson
  • Slavica
  • W Boeder
ARONSON, H. 1. 1982. Georgian. A reading grammar. Chicago: Slavica. BOEDER, W. 1968. Uber die Versionen des Georgischen Verbs. Folia linguis-tics 2: 82-152.
A contribution to the semantics of aspect. Georgian medial verbs
  • D A Holisky
Studia Caucasologica I. Proceedings of the Third Caucasian Colloquium
  • K. Vamling
Grammaire de la langue géorgienne
  • H. Vogt
Jazyki narodov SSSR. Vol. 4: Iberijsko-kavkazskie jazyki
  • A. S. ĈIkobava
Kurze Grammatik der georgischen Sprache
  • H. Fähnrich
Einführung in die Georgische Sprache. Band 1: Teoretischer Teil
  • K. Tschenkéli