Datapoint Coptic / Order of Person Markers on the Verb

Discuss WALS Datapoint Coptic / Order of Person Markers on the Verb.

3 Responses to “Datapoint Coptic / Order of Person Markers on the Verb”

  1. Eitan Grossman Says:

    Both A and P can be marked simultaneously on the verb, e.g.,

    a-f-sepsôp-ou
    pst-3sgm-comfort-3pl
    ‘He comforted them.’

    The order is consistently A-P.

  2. Martin Haspelmath Says:

    Another view of forms like Coptic \a-f sepsôp-ou\ is that they consist of an auxiliary plus a main verb, because the position of the subject pro-index can also be occupied by a full nominal (a-p-rôme sepsôp-ou = the man comforted them). On this view, only the P is marked on the verb proper.

  3. Eitan Grossman Says:

    Sure, in such cases only P is indexed. But there is a morphosyntactic difference between afsepsou and a-prôme seps-ou, in that the former is totally uninterruptible (enclitic particles follow the whole ‘bound group’) and in the latter, enclitics occur after the a-prôme group and before the lexical verb. More generally, it’s true that a- could be seen as an auxiliary, since it was grammaticalized from one (or more) auxiliary verbs, but it’s rather on the affix end of the cline than the lexical verb end.

    Another view, which is also coherent, is that a- is a portmanteau TAM/nominative case marker that occurs on lexical nouns, along the lines of ‘nominal TAM’ as presented by Nordlinger & Sadler (2004).

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