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Indirect Transitives in Georgian (Tuite)

Indirect Transitives in Georgian (Tuite)

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Indirect transitives in GeorgianKevin Tuite
<revised version of paper published in BLS 13 (1987), pp 296-309>
Georgian, the major language of the South Caucasian (Kartvelian) family, has received a degree of notoriety for its complex pattern of case assignment, a paradigm example of split ergativity [in fact,all three varieties of split ergativity recognized by Dixon 1979; see Boeder 1979 for an excellentand concise presentation]. Georgian indicates grammatical relations by means of both nominal caseand crossreferencing verb morphology, with somewhat different patterns of marking in the twosystems. Kartvelian verb stems divide into two primary lexical classes commonly labelled
active
and
passive
[Shanidze 1953:289-90]. The labels are rather misleading — many verbs in thepassive class are agentive (e.g. verbs of directed motion), while a few formally active verbs aresemantically stative (
arsebobs
“s/he,it exists”;
q’vavilobs
“it blooms”) [Harris 1981:268-74].Also, while many active verbs are transitive, a sizeable subclass of them is not [Holisky 1981a].What does distinguish the two classes is case and agreement patterning. Active verbs undergo
caseshift
in certain tense/mood paradigms, while passives do not. The correlation between typicalsemantic roles and formal markers for verbs of the two classes in each of the three tense-moodseries is laid out in {1}.
1
The Kartvelian languages employ two sets of agreement affixes, termedSet V (“subject”) and Set M (“object” — which, in the 3rd person, distinguishes Md “direct”and Mi “indirect object” affixes).{1}
ACTIVE STEMPASSIVE STEM
AGENTPATIENTIP (rec/ben)THEMEIP
Series I
agr.VMdMiVMicaseNOMDATDATNOMDAT
Series II
agr.VMdMiVMicaseERGNOMDATNOMDAT
Series III
agr.MiVVMicaseDATNOM[+ postp]NOMDAT
 
1
The Georgian verb, of whichever stem class, takes further markings indicating its membership inone of three series of tense-mood paradigms:SERIES I: present, future, imperfect, conditional, present & future conjunctives.SERIES II: aorist, optative, (non-negative) imperativeSERIES III: present perfect (evidential), pluperfectIn glossing Georgian verbs I will indicate series (by roman numeral), and person, in the orderV/Mi/Md.Georgian declension comprises six cases: NOMinative, ERGative, DATive, GENitive,INStrumental, ADVerbial. The semantic roles given in {1} are only the most typical — manyformally passive verbs have agent subjects (e.g. verbs of directed motion). 'IP' stands for
interestedparty
, a catchall rubric for addressees, recipients, benefactives, experiencers, and similar semanticwallflowers.
 
 Indirect transitives in Georgian (K. Tuite, BLS 13 [1987]) — page 2
A sample conjugation of the active and passive stems derived from the root
gzavn-
”send” is givenin {2} and {3}.{2a} ACTIVESeries I
£
vil
-
eb
-
ic
eril
-
sga
-
u
-
gzavni
-
anmama
-
s
[child-PL-NOMletter-DATwill.send.I.3pl/3/3father-DAT]Series II
 
£
vil
-
eb
-
mac
eril
-
iga
-
u
-
gzavn
-
esmama
-
s
[child-PL-ERGletter-NOMsent.II.3pl/3/3father-DAT]Series III
£
vil
-
eb
-
sc
eril
-
iga
-
u
-
gzavni
-
a
-
tmam
-
isa
-
tvis
[child-PL-DATletter-NOMhave.sent.III.3/3plfather-GEN-for]“The children will send/sent/have sent their father a letter.{2b}PASSIVESeries I,II,III
ga
-
e
-
gzavneb
-
ac
eril
-
iga
-
e
-
gzavn
-
a
£
vil
-
sga
-
h
-
gzavnebi
-
a
[letter-NOMwill.be/was/has.been.sent.3/3child-DAT]“The letter will be sent/was sent/has been sent to the child.”The shift in case patterning for active verbs between series I and II is of a type seen in many of theworld's languages [Dixon 1979, DeLancey 1981]. Active verbs in series III undergo what Harris[1981: ch 8] terms
inversion
— essentially conversion into the moral equivalent of a passive with adativus auctoris indirect object. This phenomenon occurs in the other Kartvelian languages as well[Harris 1985: 271-327]. Many Georgian and Western European linguists, confronting the complexrelation between case, agreement and semantic role just illustrated, have resorted to a terminologicaldistinction between “real” and “grammatical” subject and object [Schuchardt 1896; Chikobava1967, 1968; cp Shanidze 1963]. Grammatical subjecthood is usually defined in terms of personagreement: that argument crossreferenced by Set V person affixes is the grammatical subject (GS).So, for the sentences in {2a}, the GS would be
bav
£
veb
-
for the Series I and II examples, and
c
 eril
-
for the Series III example. For the passive verbs in {2b},
c
 eril
-
is the GS in all threeseries. The correspondence of GS to RS for the verbs in {2} is shown in {3}.{3}
ACTIVE STEMPASSIVE STEMagentpatientIPthemeIP
Series I,II 
GS/RSGDO/RDOGIO/RIOGS/RSGIO/RIO
Series III 
GIO/RSGS/RDO/RIO
GS/RSGIO/RIOThe notion of “realsubject (RS) was defined in terms of agentivity, with the most agentive coreargument in the clause designated RS. While the category is clearly an import from the west, it is infact the case that the RS is more likely to come first in the sentence [Apridonidze 1986:17-21], berepresented by a zero anaphor [Enukidze 1978:74], bind reflexive and reciprocal pronominals[Harris 1981:24], and be the coreferential argument in control con-structions [Harris 1981:154-6].
 
 Indirect transitives in Georgian (K. Tuite, BLS 13 [1987]) — page 3
While any 1st or 2nd person NOM, DAT or ERG argument, that is, any 1st or 2nd person
term
,can govern number agreement in modern Georgian, regardless of syntactic role, only 3rd personRSs have this privilege [Harris 1978; Aronson 1976]. Series III inversion is not the only case of non-overlap between GS and RS. In Georgian, as well as in the other Kartvelian languages, there isa large subclass of passive verbs of perception, emotion and sensation (e.g.
u
-
 q
 var
-
 s
“s/he<DAT> loves her/him<NOM>;
e
-
 smi
-
 s
“s/he <DAT> hears/understands it<NOM>;
e
-
 mc
 areb
-
 a
“s/he-<DAT> finds it<NOM> bitter-tasting” [Merlan 1982]. The DAT argumentassociated with these verbs denotes the experiencer of some physical or psychologicalphenomenon, and the NOM argument denotes the object of the experience.
2
In such cases, note, theDAT experiencer outranks the NOM theme on the agentivity hierarchy and serves as RS. I willterm these
indirect passive
verbs, following the usage of K.Tschenkeli 1958:490]. Thesignificance of the indirect passive subclass should not be underestimated. Its existence indicatesthat neither formal verb-stem criteria nor case and person-agreement patterning are sufficient toindicate RS status, the only morphological characteristic of which, as mentioned above, is ability togovern number agreement in all three persons. While the direct/indirect distinction has long beenrecognized for passive verbs, it is only very recently that descriptions of what we might call indirectactive, more precisely,
indirect transitive
verbs appear in the Georgian linguistics literature[Jorbenadze 1983:82-83; K’iziria 1985]. All Georgian transitives, save for a handful which areformally passive [Harris 1981:268-74] manifest the pattern of case marking and person agreementin {1}. Included in this class are transitive verb stems of the sort shown in {4} and {5}:{4}
Indirect transitives:RS = GDO
a.
da
-
a
-
elmeb 
-
sthg makes sb crosseyedb.
da
-
a
-
ut 
eb 
-
sthg makes sb crippledc.
ga
-
a
-
 p 
irku 
£ 
eb 
-
sthg puts sb in a bad moodd.
ga
-
a
-
rindeb 
-
sthg makes sb mutee.
aƒ 
-
a
-
ineb 
-
sthg makes sb ecstaticf.
a
-
a
-
 pikrianeb 
-
sthg makes sb pensiveg.
aƒ 
-
a
-
 prtovaneb 
-
sthg thrills sbh.
a
-
a
-
caXcaXeb 
-
sthg makes sb tremble{5}
Indirect transitives:RS = GIO
a.
a
-
-
ank 
aleb 
-
sthg makes sb's sthg[e.g.hands]shakeb.
da
-
-
man 
™ 
av 
-
sthg [e.g.pain] distorts sb's facec.
a
-
-
msuq 
eb 
-
sthg [rich food] sates sb's heartd.
£ 
-
-
ruZ&av 
-
sthg [flame] singes sb's sthg[e.g.hair]e.
a
-
a
-
iveb 
-
sthg makes sb's sthg [body part] hurt
 
2
A not inconsiderable number of verba sentiendi do not subcategorize for a NOM argument[Tschenkeli 1958:594-7;Shanidze 1961:223]. Since the morphotactics of the Kartvelian languagesrequire the presence of a Set V affix on every finite verb [Oniani 1978:40], these verbs are formallyspeaking bipersonal, with a Set Mi affix crossreferencing the experiencer, and a 3sg Set V affixcrossreferencing, if you will, a NOM case dummy. Some examples are:
mas
 
h
-
ƒviZav
-
s
 
[s/he-DAT is-awake.I.3/3];
mas
 
e
-
mtknareb
-
a
 
[s/he-DAT feels-like-yawning.I.3/3].

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