MULL-lab will be meeting this Tuesday, February 7th at 3:00 pm. Meetings take place in Rm. 002 of the McGill Linguistics department, with a Zoom room open for those unable to join in person.
This week, Terrance, Katya and Willie will be presenting a talk entitled:’Expressing Present in Kanien’kéha’. The abstract is below.
Kanien’kéha (aka Mohawk, Iroquoian) lacks a dedicated form for expressing the present reading of verbs (often translated as the present progressive in English). Instead, it uses one of two aspectual forms, the Habitual or the Stative, depending on the verb. In past work based on related Seneca and Onondaga, Chafe (1980) suggests that the relevant property determining the distribution of the present reading is the “consequentiality” of the verb. For Chafe, consequential verbs express the present meaning using Habitual forms, while non-consequential verbs use Stative forms. In this talk, we extend the notion of “consequentiality” to Kanien’kéha and formalize within the event structure of the verb. Namely, we suggest that the difference between the two groups of verbs lies in the presence or absence of a transition into a resultant eventuality within the verb’s event structure. We show that besides capturing the main contrast, our proposal also allows us to explain the distribution of the present readings for other subclasses of verbs such as `change-of-state’ stative verbs and verbs with incorporated nouns.
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