Copulas, possession, and the temporary-permanent distinction in Mashi: Evidence for decompositional HAVE


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It is cross-linguistically common to find a distinction between “temporary” vs. “permanent” states in copular verbs, e.g., Spanish estar and ser (see Deo et al. 2017). In Mashi [shr] (Bantu, JD53; Maho 2009), a similar temporary-permanent distinction holds not only of the two copular be-verbs in the language, -li (temporary state) and -ba (permanent state), but also of the two possessive have-verbs, -dwiire and -jira; -dwiire indicates temporary possession, while -jira instead indicates permanent possession. This parallelism provides a novel argument in favor of a decompositional approach to possessive verbs (Freeze 1992, Kayne 1993, Harley 1998). The analysis is further supported through patterns of allomorphy where HAVE is realized in its decomposed form, BE + comitative, in Mashi. I analyze the patterns using a Spanning Insertion analysis (Williams 2003, Svenonius 2012, 2016, Merchant 2015).


syntax, morphology, decomposition, possession, predication, Bantu




Aron Finholt orcid logo (University of Kansas)


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