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Language Sciences Vol. 20, No. 3, pp.

289±311, 1998
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In the cases of grammaticalization where areal factors are taken into account, linguists
usually speak of large linguistic areas such as Mesoamerica, The Amazon, the Paci®c
North-West. Particular parts of Europe have enjoyed a special privilege in the studies
of areal linguistics since in no other geographical region in the world have natural
languages so richly documented histories as the languages in Europe. Hence, it is by
no accident that the notion of a Sprachbund, as contrasted to the notion of a family of
genetically closely related languages, was ®rst applied to refer to languages in Europe,
namely the Balkan Sprachbund languages.
While Europe is the region where the Sprachbund phenomenon was ®rst recognized,
most of the comparative linguistic work on European languages has been focused on
the historical and genetic relationships between these languages. Therefore, the
Romance half of Europe, the Germanic group of languages, the Slavic languages, etc.
have been recurrent topics in the work of students of European languages.
Taking a panchronic (i.e. both synchronic and diachronic) point of view, and not
restricting ourselves to factors of genetic aliation alone, in this study we will argue in
favour of the notion of a European Sprachbund. More precisely, we will argue that
with regard to an important part of verbal morphosyntax, namely Tense-Aspect-Mood
(TAM), it is possible to speak of Standard Average European.
Our object of investigation will be the genesis and evolution of TAM-markers, or
TAM-auxiliation, in Europe. The main claims that we will make in this study are:
(i) with regard to auxiliation, Europe is a convergent linguistic area. As such, it is
characterized by employing particular verb structures as the conceptual sources for
(ii) there emerges an areal con®guration pattern with regard to the genesis of the aux-
iliation process: core vs periphery.

Correspondence relating to this paper should be addressed to T. Kuteva, InstituÈt fuÈr Afrikanistik,
UniversitaÈt zu KoÈln, Meister-Ekkehart-Straûe 7, D-50923, KoÈln, Germany.
Abbreviations: ACC, accusative; act., active; adj., adjective; AOR, aorist; cond., conditional; CONJ, conjunc-
tive; DEF, de®nite; DIM, diminutive; D.O., direct object; fut, future; GER/ger., gerund; HAB/hab., habit-
ual; IMP/imper., imperative; IMPF, imperfect; INCH, inchoative; INF/inf., in®nitive; LOC/loc., locative; M,
masculine; neg., negative; NEUT, neuter; NOMIN, nominalizer; PART/part., participle; PASS/pass., passive;
PERF/perf., perfect; PFV, perfective; PL, plural; PREP, preposition; PRES, present; PRET, preterite;
PROG, progressive; ptcl., particle; Q, question particle; SG, singular; SUBJ, subjunctive; TOP, topic; vb,
verb; VOC, vocative


The paper is structurally organized in the following way. Section II states explicitly
our theoretical assumptions and describes the operational tools that we will be using
in dealing with the data; section III presents the empirical results of the study; in sec-
tion IV we argue in favour of uniformity in European auxiliation, and in section V an
attempt is made to explain the regularities that we observe in auxiliation processes in
the languages of Europe.

Theoretical preliminaries
The methodological commitments underlying the present approach to auxiliaries
and auxiliation involve an interpretation of language as an open-ended structure con-
stantly interacting with external factors whereby cognitive forces play a crucial role in
shaping it. Moreover, it is an interpretation of language as a dynamic process rather
than a static product (Heine et al., 1991).
Following Heine, 1993, crucial to our understanding of auxiliaries is that they are
inseparable from the process out of which they arise, i.e. auxiliation. What is meant
by auxiliation is the process whereby lexical verb combinations undergo, over time,
various degrees of grammaticalization into auxiliary verb structures and eventually
into axes. In other words, auxiliation relates to a continuum towards an axal
form. In identifying a particular auxiliary structure in a particular language it is not
crucial exactly which part, strictly speaking, of that continuum is being dealt with. The
verb shifts from clitic to ax status and while an auxiliary is, in the typical case, a sep-
arate word form, there are also cases where grammarians may disagree whether it
should be described as a clitic/particle or as an ax.
In analyzing the auxiliary structures in European languages we will be making use
of the notions auxiliation developments and Basic Event Schemas.
We will be using the term auxiliation developments in order to refer to each and
every individual development of a particular structure into a particular TAM-marker
in a particular language. As follows from the present understanding of auxiliaries as
inseparable part of the process they arise from, namely auxiliation, the auxiliation
developments that we will be analyzing involve not only canonical auxiliaries, i.e.
TAMÐmarkers of the type ``will come'' or ``has come'', but also axes which have
resulted from the process of auxiliation. At this point it has to be noted that in some
cases we have historically attested developments of particular lexical morphemes turn-
ing over time into particular TAMÐaxes, whereas in others we have no reliable in-
formation about the historical sources of present-day TAMÐaxes. An example of
the former type of case is the future in¯exion in Romance languages, cf. the sux -oÁ
in the synthetic future form in
(1) Italian (Lausberg, 1962, p. 215)
`I will sing.'
where canter- is derived from the in®nitival form and -oÁ is a sux derived from the
Latin verb habeo `I have'. An example of an ax whose origin `is buried in the depths
of Proto-Germanic or even Proto-Indo-European' (Vincent, 1987, p. 238) is the
English in¯exion for the past -ed.

For purposes of the present study, which lays a special emphasis on the genesis of
auxiliation, along with the verbal periphrastic constructions we have considered all
cases of axes which can be reconstructed as deriving from a particular lexical struc-
It goes without saying that approaching auxiliaries as an inseparable part of the
process out of which they arise entails, as a natural consequence, considering linguistic
expressions which show varying degrees of grammaticalization. The di€erence of
degree of grammaticalization involves not only the distinction between axes and peri-
phrastic structures, i.e. canonical auxiliary constructions. The periphrastic structures
themselves may exhibit a varying degree of auxiliation inasmuch as they may accord
with a varying cluster of characteristic features of canonical auxiliary constructions
such as (i) change of semantics of the non-main verb, (ii) whether or not the construc-
tion is used with all verbs in the language, (iii) the integration of the structure into the
system of paradigmatic distinctions of the language, (iv) the possibility/impossibility of
using adverbials between the auxiliary and the main verb, (v) particular facts about
gender/number agreement between subject/object and the components of the auxiliary
structure, etc. (for a full description of the properties of auxiliaries understood as part
of the auxiliation process itself, cf. Heine, 1993). Even closely related languages such
as French and Spanish can make di€erent choices with regard to the above features.
Thus the Spanish perfect construction with the auxiliary haber `have' di€ers from the
French perfect with the auxiliary avoir `have' inasmuch as the former but not the lat-
Ðis used with all verbs in the language. (Note that unlike Spanish, a small number
of French verbs take eÃtre `to be' rather than avoir `to have'.);
Ðshows absence of agreement between the past participle and any noun, whether
subject or object. (Again, note that unlike Spanish, in French there still exists agree-
ment, even though not always respected in the spoken language).
Finally, we will be making extensive use of the notion of Basic Event Schemas.
Basic Event Schemas are de®ned in Heine, 1993, p. 30 as conceptual structures which
`relate to stereotyped contents describing situations that appear to be basic to human
experience and communication and are encoded linguistically by means of predications
typically involving one predicate and two participants'.
Heine identi®es a de®nite set of Basic Event Schemas /BES/ functioning as sources
for TAM-categories across languages: Location /X is at Y/, Motion /X moves to/from
Y/, Action /X does Y/, Volition /X wants Y/, Change-of-state /X becomes Y/, Equation
/X is (like) a Y/, Accompaniment /X is with Y/, Possession /X has Y/, Manner /X stays
in a Y manner/. Three further schemas have been identi®ed as complex since in ad-
dition to some of the basic schemas they contain either another schema or another
concept, namely Serial /X does Y (and) does Z/, Evaluative /It is X to/that Y/,
Purpose /X acts (in order) to Y/. Each of these BES are illustrated in Heine, 1993, pp.
27±44, therefore here we will not deal in detail with the way they serve for shaping the
auxiliary structures observed in the languages of the world. We will only exemplify the
role of one of the BES, namely the Location Schema, as the underlying conceptual
pattern for the progressive in Ewe (Kwa, Niger-Congo). Thus in one of the progressive
constructions in Ewe a discontinuous morpheme le . . .m is used to express a single
grammatical function, cf.

(2) Ewe (Heine, 1993, p. 121)

Kof|¨ le x& tu- mÂ.
Kof|¨ PROG house build PROG
`Ko® is building a house.''
Here le is a locative copula `be at', m a morpheme formally similar to the locative
postposition *me `inside', and the high ¯oating tone  over mÂ, i.e. . . .m indicates a
nominalized verbal category. (In Ewe the main verb can be encoded in a nominalized
form via reduplicating the verb stem and suxing a high ¯oating tone to the redupli-
cated form.) The above progressive structure can be derived from a construction
roughly sketched as in (3):
(3) Ewe (Heine, 1993, p. 122)
*KofõÂ le x& tu- tu- Â me.
KofõÂ house build build NOMIN inside
which in turn is structurally based on a spatial construction containing the locative
copula le and the postposition me (a typical way of expressing spatial inclusion) as in
(4) Ewe (Heine, 1993, p. 121)
KofõÂ le x& me.
`KofõÂ house inside
`Ko® is in the house'
The latter construction is the linguistic instantiation of the Location Schema /X is
at Y/. In other words, the conceptual structure X is at Y can be regarded as ``showing
through'' the locative morphology (the locative copula as well as the erstwhile postpo-
sition) and a nominalizing indicator (the high ¯oating tone).
Since it has been argued elsewhere (Heine et al., 1991; Heine, 1993) that auxiliation,
as part of grammaticalization, is motivated by the general tendency for humans to
conceptualize abstract notions in terms of concrete notions and that what actually trig-
gers the auxiliation process is a conceptual shift, these issues will not be pursued here.
Crucial to the discussion in this paper will be the distinction between GENERAL
and SPECIFIC instantiations of BES. It has been pointed out in Heine (1993, p. 32)
that there may be considerable variation in the shape that any of the BES may take in
a particular language. Thus the BES which comprise, by de®nition, conceptual struc-
tures may be realized by linguistic constructions containing fairly general verbal
notions such as `be', `remain', `go', `come'. In this work we will treat such expressions
as GENERAL instantiations of BES. An example of a GENERAL instantiation of a
BES, for instance, the Action Schema, would be
(5) Bongo (C. Sudanic, Nilo-Saharan; Tucker, 1940, p. 75)
ma d& ndere
I- do- walking
`I am walking'
This example involves the development of the lexical structure do V-ing into a pro-
gressive marker in Bongo, a Central Sudanic language spoken in Africa. Since no lin-
guistic item referring to an activity can be more general in meaning than the verb do
we can clearly speak of a GENERAL instantiation of the Action Schema, namely

Agent does V-ing serving as the structural template of the progressive construction in
that language.
While GENERAL instantiations of BES seem to be very persistent in the languages
of the world, there are also cases where the verbal constructions involved contain a
fairly great degree of lexical speci®cities. Heine (1993, p. 32) observes that the Location
Schema /X is at Y/, for instance, may be instantiated by postural verbs such as `sit',
`stand' or `lie' instead of a copula verb `be', cf.
(6) Diola Fogny (Heine and Reh, 1984, p. 118)
i lak& fu- ri
I- sit INF- eat
`I was eating.'
If, in addition, we take into account the results of other comprehensive contrastive
studies of TAM-categories and their expression (see Capell, 1979; Comrie, 1976; Bybee
and Dahl, 1989; Bybee et al., 1994) we are in a position to conclude that the latter
type of instantiation of BES involves speci®c characteristics of:
(a) bodily movement in space (e.g. `walk', `run', `crawl') or bodily posture (e.g. `sit',
`stand', `lie')
(b) mental or perceptual activities (e.g. `see', `think', `say', `taste')
(c) directionality of movement (e.g. `towards the centre of the jungle/island')
(d) socio-cultural practices (e.g. `bury').
We will treat this latter type of instantiation as SPECIFIC and will speak accordingly
of SPECIFIC instantiations of BES as contrasted to GENERAL instantiations of
BES. If we go back to the Action Schema /X does Y/, we can illustrate a SPECIFIC
instantiation of that schema by means of the development of a lexical structure invol-
ving a verb of a fairly speci®c socio-cultural meaning `bury'Ðinto a completive marker
in present-day Cantonese, cf.
(7) Cantonese (HageÁge, 1993, p. 21)
mai `to bury' (action vb)>verbal sux-mai (completive).

The empirical aspect

For the purposes of the present study we examined 55 languages (as well as some
dialects) of Europe, cf. Figure 1.
We identi®ed 309 cases where a particular lexical verb structure is currently develop-
ing, or has already developed, into a particular TAM-marker. Our examination of
Bulgarian, for instance, revealed the following individual auxiliation developments:
saÏm `be' + act. past part. 4 (plu)perf./evidential; SÏte (<`want'.3SG.PRES) + main
vb 4 fut.; ima (<`have'.3SG.PRES) + da (conj.ptcl.) + main vb (PRES) 4 fut.;
imam (`have') + D.O. + pass. past part 4 perf.; bix (>`be'.AOR) + act. past
part. 4 cond.; daj (`give' (IMP) + da (conj.ptcl.) + main vb (PRES) 4 1 person
imper.; nedej (<ne `not' + dejstvaj `act, do'.IMP) + da (conj.ptcl.) + main vb
(PRES) 4 neg. imper. The auxiliation developments that we were able to identify in
all the languages examined comprise our corpus of 309 individual auxiliation develop-
ments in the languages of Europe.

Romance Germanic Slavic Fino-Ugric Celtic Baltic

Spanish English Polish Finnish Welsh Lithuanian

Portuguese German Upper Sorbian Estonian Breton Latvian
Galician Dutch Lower Sorbian Liv Irish
Catalan Frisian Czech Karelian Scots-Gaelic
French Yiddish Slovak Veps
Occitan Norwegian Russian Ingrian
Romansh Swedish Ukranian Vodyan
Ladin Danish Belorussian Saame
Friulian Icelandic Slovene Hungarian
Sardinian Faroese Serbo-Croat
Italian Macedonian
Romanian Bulgarian

Fig. 1. Languages examined.

The sources of information we used comprise reference grammars, individual publi-

cations on the subject as well as informants on some of the languages examined.
What are the overall observations that can be made on the basis of the analysis of
auxiliation in European languages? Firstly, most of the auxiliation developments that
we were able to identify have verbal periphrasis as a morphosyntactic type of ex-
pression. The following is an example of the Bulgarian periphrastic perfect or the so-
called ``past inde®nite tense'' (for details regarding in¯exion vs periphrasis in the ex-
pression of Bulgarian tense distinctions, see Kuteva, 1995a), cf.
(8) Bulgarian
VizÏdal li si Niagarskija vodopad?
see.PAST.PART Q be.2SG.PRES Niagara falls
`Have you seen Niagara Falls?'
As mentioned already, some of the auxiliation developments result in axes. The
following example from Polish in our data can illustrate this. The preterite form of a
verb in Modern Polish is segmentable into two parts, the stem, or the so-called l-form,
and the person and number marker (Andersen, 1987, p. 31), cf.
(9) Polish (ThuÈmmel, 1966, p. 28)
myl/ -em
`I washed.'
The l-form has derived from the past participle, masculine and the person and num-
ber marker (-em in ex. (9) above) can be traced back to the present of the verb `be' in
the respective person and number. In other words, the Modern Polish word form my /l
em in (9) where -em is an ax is the result of the grammaticalization of an erstwhile
auxiliary construction so that what has actually happened is a reorganization of the
Polish tense system which has `resulted in usage that made the present tense forms of
auxiliary BE reinterpretable as person and number markers. . .'( Andersen, 1987, p.
48). Another example of an ax as the result of auxiliation is to be found in (1)
Secondly, the data allow us to make the following observation about the geographi-
cal distribution of auxiliation developments in Europe:

(i) auxiliation developments were identi®ed in ®fty-four out of ®fty-®ve European

languages and the only language where our information sources did not give us
enough grounds to speak of auxiliation developments is a language on the geo-
graphical fringe of Europe, namely Gagauz;
(ii) with respect to the degree to which verbal periphrasis is employed as a morpho-
syntactic means of expression in auxiliation, we can observe a gradual decrease
from South-Western Europe toward the rest of Europe, with Galician exhibiting
the most proliferous TAM verbal periphrasis.

European uniformity in auxiliation

There are at least two respects, we claim, in which one can speak of European uni-
formity in auxiliation. On the one hand, our data suggest a very strong preference/dis-
preference with respect to particular BES and auxiliation developments. On the other
hand, a clear regularity can be observed with regard to the type of instantiations of
BES that are employed in European auxiliation. In what follows we will elaborate in
more detail on each of these aspects.

Preferences for particular basic event schemas/auxiliation developments vs disprefer-

ences/exclusion of others
European languages exhibit a particular anity to a particular BES, namely the
Equation Schema /X is Y/. In our corpus of 309 auxiliation developments, 82 auxilia-
tion developments are instantiations of the Equation Schema alone. For instance, the
Bulgarian perfect, which is an auxiliary construction with the verb be (cf. also (8)
above), was ®rst attested in contexts involving intransitive, change-of-state verbs
(Maslov, 1982, p. 260), cf.
(10) Bulgarian
Tova e zamraÏznalo.
`This has become frozen.'
This usage is structurally modelled on a construction with a nominal predicate
involving either an adjective or a noun of the kind Subject is NP, i.e. on the linguistic
expression of the Equation Schema /X is Y/.
While the Equation Schema is ubiquitous in Europe, a BES such as the
Accompaniment Schema /X is with Y/ is not to be found as the conceptual pattern
underlying any auxiliary developments in European languages. Note that this schema
can persist in occurrence in particular geographical areas outside Europe, for instance
in Southern African languages, cf.
(11) Umbundu (Bantu, Niger-Congo; Valente, 1964, p. 281)
tu- li l' oku- lya
we- be with INF- eat
``We're eating.''

Likewise, we can speak of particular auxiliation developments which are very usual
in Europe but almost non-existent outside Europe. Let us take as an example the
development have + past part. 4 resultative/perfect/preterite. This development has led
to the occurrence of the Italian have-perfect construction in
(12) Italian (Salvi, 1987, p. 225)
Piero ha scritto la lettera.
P. has written the letter
`P. has written/wrote the letter.'
The Latin ancestor of this periphrastic construction in Italian is to be found in a
structure which instantiates the Possession Schema /X has Y/, cf.
(13) Latin (Salvi, 1987, p. 226)
habeo epistulam scriptam
have-1sg. letter-ACC written-ACC
`I have a written letter.'
Importantly, the structure of the have-perfect in Italian is only one of the numerous
examples of the have-perfect in Europe. By contrast, in non-European languages it is
very hard to come across a have-perfect.
On the other hand, a frequent auxiliation development in the languages of the
world such as ®nish + main vb 4 completive/perfect/past (Bybee et al., 1994, pp. 70±
71) exempli®ed in
(14) Sango (Creole of C. Africa; Samarin, 1967, p. 162)
lo sõÂ gõÂ gõÂ lo tõÂ na
3.s arrive outside 3.s fall with
seÂse, alle lo ga pendere
earth suddenly 3.s come beautiful
waÂle awe.
woman ®nish
`She came out, she fell on the ground, and behold, she had become a beautiful
cannot be shown to relate to any of the European languages examined.
Word combinations such as Spanish estoy (voy) terminando de hacer, French je ®nis
de faire, Italian ®nisco di fare, Spanish termino de hacer, Portuguese termino de fazer
are not to be treated as structures that have started along the auxiliation path since
there are neither morphosyntactic nor semantic changes to be observed in these cases.
Therefore, following Coseriu, 1976, p. 106, we do not regard such combinations as
verbal periphrastic constructions that are making their way in the system of grammati-
cal distinctions in the TAM-domain of the verb.

Preferences for GENERAL instantiations of Basic Event Schemas

There is yet another aspect of auxiliation in European languages which justi®es the
notion of uniformity in European auxiliation. More precisely, the analysis of our corpus

of all auxiliation developments identi®ed in Europe shows that European languages

prefer GENERAL instantiations of BES, cf.

(15) be + adj./past participle 4 resultative/(plu)perfect/preterite (Equation)

Hans ist eingeschlafen.
Hans be.3SG.PRES fall.asleep.PAST.PART
`Hans has fallen asleep.'

(16) go (out) (+PREP) + main vb 4 inceptive/(imminent) future (Motion)

Catalan (LuÈdtke, 1984, p. 83)
ara anem a veure el segon acte
`we are going to see the second act now'

(17) have (+PREP) + main vb 4 future (Purpose/Obligation)

Belorussian (ThuÈmmel, 1966, p. 34)
pisac' mu
write.INF have.1SG.PRES
`I will write.'

(18) have + D.O. + adj. participle 4 result./(plu)perf./preterite (Possession)

(a) Old English (Traugott, 1972, p. 94€.)

Ich hñfde hine gebundene.
I had him in a state of being bound.'
(b) Modern English
I have bound him.

(19) want + in®nitive 4 future (Volition)

Serbo-Croat (ThuÈmmel, 1966, p. 25)
(ho)cÂu pitati
want.1SG.PRES ask.INF
`I will ask.'

(20) do + main verb 4 emphasis/`do'-periphrasis (Action)

(a) Welsh (Alan King, pc)
na i ofyn i Dafydd
do.PRES I ask to David
I'll ask David.'
(b) Welsh (Alan King, pc)
nes i ofyn i Dafydd
did I ask to David
`I asked David.'

(21) be + `after' + main vb 4 (recent) perfect (Location)

Irish (Comrie, 1976, p. 106)
taÂim tar eÂis teacht isteach
I-am after coming in
`I have just (this moment) come in.'

(22) go + ger./vb base 4 cont./dur./progr./imperfective

(Motion + Manner)
Portuguese (Coseriu, 1976, p. 105)
vou dizendo
go.1SG.PRES speak.GER
`I am speaking'

(23) go + gerundival 4 continuous/durative/progressive (Manner)

Albanian (Camaj, 1984, p. 149; glosses-Hans-JuÈrgen Sasse, p.c.)
ZogjteÈ janeÈ tue (duke) sjelleÈ
bird.PL.DEF be.3PL.PRES gerundival.particle bring.PART
kandrra neÈ c° erdhe.
insect.PL in nest
`The birds are bringing insects to their nest.'

(24) become/begin + main vb 4 future (Change of State)

Wir werden das Haus renovieren.
we become.1SG.PRES the house renovate
`We will renovate the house.'

(25) go + and + main vb 4 durative/progressive (Serial)

Swedish (Lena Ekberg, p.c.)
Han gaÊr och sjunger.
he go.PRES and sing.PRES
`He is singing (and walking).'

The above examples illustrate the most frequent GENERAL instantiations of BES.
In most cases, however, BES have more than one GENERAL instantiation as can be
seen from (26)±(35), cf.

(26) Equation Schema:

be + adj/past participle 4 resultative/(plu)perfect/preterite
be (usually PAST) + main vb 4 subjunctive/conjunctive/conditional
be + main vb 4 future
be + active past participle 4 perfect/evidential
be + `at' + Verb/Noun 4 future
main vb + be (SUBJ) 4 imperative

be + `to' + Verb/Noun 4 imminent future

be ready + inf. 4 perfect(ive)
remain + in®nitive/CONJ 4 imminent/inceptive
remain + main vb 4 continuative

(27) Motion Schema:

go (out) + (PREP) + main vb 4 inceptive/(imminent) future
go + (PREP) + main vb 4 imminent/ingressive
go (PRES) + in®nitive 4 preterite
go + `to' + in®nitive 4 durative
come + (PREP) + main vb 4 (imminent) future
come + `from' + in®nitive 4 recent past (perfect)
come + `to' + in®nitive 4 perfective
leave + (PREP) + in®nitive 4 terminative/resultative
arrive/reach + PREP + in®nitive 4 perfective
return + main vb 4 (re)iterative

(28) Purpose (Obligation) Schema:

have + (PREP) + main vb 4 future
have/must (PAST/IMPERFECT) + main vb 4 subjunctive/conditional

(29) Possession Schema:

have + D.O. + adjectival participle 4 resultative/(plu)perfect/preterite
main vb + have (SUBJ.) 4 imperative
keep (on) + main vb 4 continuous

(30) Volition Schema:

want + in®nitive 4 future
want + main vb 4 (future-in-past) conditional

(31) The Action Schema:

do + main vb 4 emphasis/`do'-periphrasis
use + main vb 4 habitual
put (put oneself) + (PREP) + inf 4 inceptive
take + (PREP) + main vb 4 inceptive/future
give + PREP + in®nitive 4 ingressive
bring/carry(on) + main vb 4 cumulative/continuous

(32) Location Schema:

be + `after' + main vb 4 (recent) perfect
be + loc.PREP/Case + nominal 4 continuous/durative/progressive

(33) Motion Schema + The Manner Schema:

go + gerund/vb base 4 cont./dur./progr./actual present/imperfective
come + main vb/gerund 4 cont./progr./cumulative(`have been doing')
follow + gerund 4 continuative/progressive

(34) The Manner Schema:

be + gerundival 4 continuous/durative/progressive
stay/remain + main vb (IMPERFECT) 4 continuous

(35) Change of State Schema:

become/begin + main vb 4 future
become (CONJ) + main vb 4 conjunctive/conditional

(36) The Serial Schema:

go + and + main vb 4 durative/progressive
Signi®cantly, the auxiliation developments that are GENERAL instantiations of BES
comprise 92, 9% of all auxiliation developments identi®ed in European languages.
By contrast, the number of auxiliation developments that comprise SPECIFIC instan-
tiations is very small, 7, 1%. Of all BES it is the Serial Schema, cf. (37), as well as the
Manner Schema, cf. (38), that are mostly represented by SPECIFIC instantiations:
(37) The Serial Schema
sit + and + main vb 4 continuous/durative/progressive
stand + and + main vb 4 continuous/durative/progressive
lie + and + main vb 4 continuous/durative/progressive

(38) Manner Schema

stand + main vb 4 continuous/progressive
lie + main vb 4 continuous/progressive
sit + main vb 4 continuous/progressive
hold + (PREP) + in®nitive 4 durative/progressive

We observe SPECIFIC instantiations of the Serial Schema in Swedish, cf. (39),

Faroese, Norwegian, and Danish, whereas the languages where SPECIFIC instantia-
tions of the Manner Schema are to be found are Swedish, cf. (40), Icelandic and Dutch,
(39) Swedtbish (Lena Ekberg, pc)
Han sitter och laÈser.
he sit.PRES and read.PRES
`He is reading.' (the implication being that he is sitting while reading)

(40) Swedish (Lena Ekberg, pc)

Jag haÊller paÊ att laÈsa en spaÈnnande bok.
I hold.PRES on to read an exciting book
`I am reading an exciting book.'

Other BES which also have SPECIFIC instantiations are the Action Schema, cf.
(41), and the Motion Schema, cf. (42)
(41) The Action Schema:
break (out) + (PREP) + in®nitive 4 inceptive
(42) Motion Schema:
run + in®nitive 4 continuous/progressive
run + in®nitive 4 inceptive.

The Action Schema is realized by its SPECIFIC instantiation break

(out) + (PREP) + inf. 4 inceptive in Galician, cf. (43), Occitan and Catalan, whereas
the SPECIFIC instantiations run + inf. 4 continuous/progressive and run + inf. 4 in-
ceptive are to be found in Dutch, cf. (44), and Portuguese, respectively,
(43) Galician (Narumov, 1987, p. 96)
botaron a correr
break.3PL to run.INF
`they started running'

(44) Dutch (Donaldson, 1981, p. 166; glosses-Johan van der Auwera, p.c.)
Ik heb er-naar lopen zoeken
I have there-to run.INF search.INF
`I have been looking for it.'
Some of the verbs involved in the GENERAL instantiations of BES are etymologi-
cally derived from verbs fairly rich in lexical meaning. For instance, the Spanish verb
estar `to be somewhere, temporarily' is part of the GENERAL instantiation be + ger-
und of the Manner Schema (X is/stays in a Y manner) which has provided the concep-
tual source for a progressive structure in present-day Spanish, cf.
(45) Spanish (Comrie, 1976, p. 102)
estoy cantando
`I am singing.'
The well-attested lexical history of estar goes back to the fairly speci®c lexical mean-
ing `stand' (as opposed to `sit, be seated') as the initial lexical meaning of the source
Latin form stare `stand' (as opposed to Latin sedere, `sit, be seated'). Since, however,
written documents testify to an intervening semantic change of the item initially stand-
ing for a speci®c lexical notion `stand' into an item which has developed a general
meaning, the so-called ``contingency state be'' (Comrie, 1976, p. 102), the Spanish
estar + gerund structure represents a GENERAL, and not a SPECIFIC instantiation
of the Manner Schema. Further examples of GENERAL instantiations of BES which
involve verbs whose erstwhile meaning was lexically speci®c but was generalized before
these verbs were launched on the path of auxiliation are to be found in languages such
as Hungarian, Romanian, Russian and others.
Note that in the cases of SPECIFIC instantiations of BES we are dealing with verbs
of rich lexical meaning which are not attested to have acquired additional, general lexi-
cal meanings. In other words, while in the former type of case we can posit an inter-
mediate stage of generalizing an erstwhile lexically speci®c meaning, in the case of
SPECIFIC instantiations of BES we are dealing with lexically speci®c structures which
are used directly to code grammatical categories.
Note also that in certain cases it is hard to determine the particular BES which an
auxiliation development instantiates. In our corpus we have 22 such unclear cases of
GENERAL instantiations, cf.
(46) Russian
Pust' on vojdjot!
pust' he

Motion Ch- of
Eq Motion Purp Poss Vol Act Loc +Man Man Ser state Uncl
82 39 35 32 18 18 12 14 8 4 3 22
Ð 2 Ð Ð Ð 3 Ð Ð 5 12 Ð Ð

Fig. 2. Auxiliation Developments in Europe (55 languages)

(Total Number of Auxiliation Developments: 309).

`Let him come in!'

The form pust' in the above example is derived from the transitive verb pustit' ``let
go''. Thus we can speak of the change of a lexical (source) verb into an auxiliary el-
ement, a change which has brought about the appearance of a particular 3rd person
imperative structure in Russian. What is relevant for us here is that while it is clear
that this auxiliation development involves modality, it is not evident which BES is
being employed in this case.
Figure 2 shows the distribution of both GENERAL and SPECIFIC instantiations
among the BES employed in European languages. The ®rst row of Fig. 2 presents the
BES, the second the absolute number of auxiliation developments that comprise
GENERAL instantiations of BES and the third one the absolute number of auxilia-
tion developments realizing SPECIFIC instantiations of BES.

Core vs periphery
The SPECIFIC instantiations of BES are not only statistically insigni®cant with
regard to the bulk of auxiliation developments in Europe, but they are also geographi-
cally peripheral in terms of areal distribution within Europe. This becomes clear if we
compare the geographical distribution of the GENERAL instantiations to the geo-
graphical distribution of the SPECIFIC ones. What such a comparison shows is that:
(i) the most persistent auxiliation developments that are GENERAL instantiations of
Basic Event Schemas are dispersed geographically all throughout Europe, cf. the
geographical distribution of the auxiliation development be + (adj.)/past par-
ticiple 4 resultative/(plu)perf./preterite, see Fig. 3,
(ii) the auxiliation developments that are SPECIFIC instantiations of Basic Event
Schemas are only to be found in the languages spoken along the coasts (e.g.
Scandinavian languages) and in the Western geographical periphery of the conti-
nent, see Fig. 4.
In other words, we do not ®nd auxiliation developments that are SPECIFIC instantia-
tions of BES irregularly distributed all throughout Europe. Thus we may speak of
nearly all European languages as a fairly coherent geographical group, as an unbroken
belt, as it were, of languages which share an important characteristic regarding TAM-
auxiliation, namely that the genesis of auxiliation in these languages involves
GENERAL but not SPECIFIC instantiations of BES. Hence, we conclude that it is
possible to speak of Standard Average European with regard to TAM-auxiliation in



Ltv Vod
Dan Lith
Dut L.Srb Pol
Brt Grm Ukr
Fr Cz Slva

Rmns Frln
Bsq Lad Slve
Occ SCr

Srd Med


Fig. 3. Equation Schema: be + adj.part. 4 result./pref./preterite.

European vs non-European auxiliation

How di€erent is Europe?
If we juxtapose European auxiliation to non-European auxiliation processes, will
such a juxtaposition speak against or in favour of our proposal for Standard Average
European with regard to auxiliation?
It has been mentioned in previous works that in languages outside Europe it is not
only general meaning verbs such as be, come, go that develop into auxiliaries but also
verbs which have more speci®c or concrete meaning. Thus Capell, 1979 points out
that in the Australian language Ngamini the fairly concrete, motion verb barga `run'








Fig. 4. Speci®c instantiations of Basic Event Schemas.

has developed into the auxiliary of a construction meaning `momentary action while
the actor is moving'. In that same language another motion verb with a rather con-
crete lexical meaning marga `crawl' has become a grammatical marker for `a continu-
ing action while the actor is moving'.
Another example of languages where along with general verbs such as be, remain,
become, come, go there are also speci®c verbs such as taste, see developing into auxili-
aries, comes from the Lolo Burmese group of languages (cf. Park, 1994).
In African languages, too, we can often observe that general meaning verbs and
copulas such as do, go, be at on the one hand, and speci®c meaning verbs such as sit,
stand on the other, develop into TAM-markers. Thus in a random sample of fourteen
African languages coming from all four major language families in Africa, namely

Niger-Kordofanian, Nilo-Saharan, Khoisan and Afro-Asiatic, we ®nd as many as six-

teen SPECIFIC instantiations of BES whereby each of these languages has at least one
SPECIFIC instantiation of a BES serving as the structural template of an auxiliary con-
struction. (47)±(63) exemplify these SPECIFIC instantiations. Note that since the four-
teen African languages selected here were not examined exhaustively for all auxiliation
developments that comprise SPECIFIC instantiations, it is to be expected that there are
even more examples of SPECIFIC instantiations than the ones presented below:
(47) Ewe (Niger-Kordofanian; Felix Ameka, pc)
`see' + main verb 4 experiential

(48) Kanuri (Nilo-Saharan; Heine and Reh, 1984, pp. 124±125)

Ein `say, think (1SG)' 4 E|ªn `continuous aspect marker'

(49) Mamvu (Nilo-Saharan; Heine and Reh, 1984, p. 124)

&dE `seize' 4 marker of progressive/ingressive aspect

(50) Nama (Khoisan; Hagmann, 1977, p. 74)

bkeÂi [bxaÂõÂ ] `to wake up' 4 -bkeÂ|¨ [-bxaÂõÂ ] `to do the whole night' (durative marker of
nocturnal actions)
!hoaÂ- bkeÂõÂ
talk- wake.up
`to talk the whole night' (``to talk until waking up'')

(51) Yatye (Niger-Kordofanian; Stahlke, 1970, p. 65)

aga `wander' 4 habitual auxiliary in serial construction

(52) Egyptian Arabic (Afro-Asiatic, HageÁge, 1993, p. 224)

?aÃm `to get up' when used in the past (with gender, number and person
in¯ection) 4 auxiliary expressing an inchoative meaning
?om- t nim- t
INCH. I- PAST sleep. I- PAST
`I fell asleep.'

(53) Zulu (Niger-Kordofanian; Mkhatshwa, 1991, p. 96)

-shaya `hit' 4 -shaye `do completely' (terminative auxiliary)
(a) Uthisha u- shaya izingane.
`The teacher hits the pupils.'
(b) Amahashi abu-shaye abugothula utshani.
`The horses ®nished o€ all the grass.'

(54) Waata dialect of Oromo (Afro-Asiatic; Stroomer, 1987, p. 149)

(harka) k'wa `hold (in one's hand)' 4 continuous aspect marker
utaal- ca harka k'aw- a
run- NOMIN hand hold/have- 3 M.SG.PRES
`he is running'

(55) More (Niger-Kordofanian; HageÁge, 1993, p. 221)

mi `know' 4 auxiliary marking habitual actions

(56) Kxoe (Khoisan; KoÈhler, 1981, p. 530)

//oe `lie, be lying' 4 -//oeÁ present tense, habitual sux (expressing an action
performed while lying)

(57) Kikuyu (Niger-Kordofanian; Barlow, 1960, p. 268)

-tuÄuÄra `live,be alive, exist' 4 auxiliary marking continuous, durative actions

(58) Nama (Khoisan; KroÈnlein, 1889, p. 106, cited in Heine vs 1993; KroÈnlein 1969,
p. 109)
go `look at (verb of perception and sensation)' 4 -go (suxed particle for the
Ou te tsi- go ti oÃa- ro- tse, . . .
give 1SG 2SG.M- IMP my son- DIM- 2SG.M.VOC
`Give me, my little son, . . .'

(59) Nama (Khoisan; KroÈnlein, 1889, p. 106, cited in Heine vs 1993, p. 142)
go `look at' 4 go (recent past tense particle)
ti-ta gye go !guÃn- xawe-ta gye go !guÃn-sa
1SG TOP PAST go but-1SG TOP PAST go-astray

amaga- ta gye go oa.

therefore- 1SG TOP PAST return
`I went, but as I went astray, I returned.'

(60) Diola Fogny (Niger-Kordofanian; Sapir, 1965, p. 46)

-lak& `sit (postural verb)' 4 past progressive auxiliary
i- lak& i- ri
1SG- sit 1SG- eat
`I was eating'

(61) Ngambay-Moundou (Nilo-Saharan; Heine and Reh, 1984, p. 126)

aÂr `stand' 4 progressive auxiliary
m- aÂr m- uÂsa da
1SG- stand 1SG- eat meat
`I am eating meat.'

(62) Bemba (Niger-Kordofanian; GivoÂn, 1973, p. 917)

-laÂla `sleep' 4 -laÂaÂ-, -leÂeÂ-continuous aspect marker
(a) n- kaÁ- bomba
`I will work.'
(b) n- kaÁ- laÂaÂ- bomba
`I will be working.'

(63) Kikuyu (Niger-Kordofanian; Mathias Schladt pc)

-kora `®nd, discover, realize' 4 -koruÄo (®nd-PASS) ®nality marker (auxiliary
h|¬nd|¬ io tu- guÄ- kor- uÄo
time that 1PL-PAST- ®nd- PASS
tuÄ- kiny- |¬te muÄci|¬
1PL- arrive-PERF home
`By then we had reached the village.'
Note that these SPECIFIC instantiations are geographically dispersed all through-
out Africa (see Fig. 5). Such a geographical distribution does not favour a treatment
of SPECIFIC instantiations as a phenomenon which is con®ned to a particular iso-
lated area within the mainland of Africa or the periphery of the continent. Rather, it

Fig. 5. Speci®c instantiations of Basic Event Schemas in Africa.


is suggestive of SPECIFIC instantiations of BES as being characteristic of African

languages just as GENERAL instantiations of BES are.
In other words, we can observe that
While European auxiliation involves almost exclusively GENERAL
instantiations of Basic Event Schemas, auxiliation in other parts of the
world may well involve both GENERAL and SPECIFIC instantiations
of Basic Event Schemas.
(For a relevant discussion of ``non-embodied'' verbs involved in European auxilia-
tion as opposed to both ``embodied'' and ``non-embodied'' ones in non-European aux-
iliation, the reader is also referred to Kuteva, 1993, 1995b.)
How can this observation be explained? It is this question that we will attempt to
answer in the remainder of the paper.

Ecological vs non-ecological cultures

One possible explanation of the di€erences between European and non-European
auxiliation processes could involve the di€erence between Europe and particular areas
such as Africa in terms of socio-ecological practices as a factor informing the concep-
tual organization of language. We have assumed here that auxiliation re¯ects the con-
ceptualization and accordingly, the expression of abstract, grammatical notions such
as TAM, in terms of other, less abstract concepts involving basic human experiences
(Heine et al., 1991). We could then argue that in cultures where human life involves
closer interaction with nature, such as African cultures, concrete physical character-
istics of human bodily existing and acting within natural environments are of a much
greater cognitive salience and are, accordingly, actively employed as conceptualization
vehicles of abstract concepts such as TAM. Hence the much greater role of SPECIFIC
or ``embodied'' instantiations of BES in African auxiliation.
Let us take, for example, the SPECIFIC (``embodied'') verbs hold in one's hand and
hit in the Waata dialect of Oromo (Cushitic) and Zulu (Bantu), respectively. The for-
mer verb has turned, over time, into a continuous aspect marker (Stroomer, 1987, p.
149) and the latter verb -shaya `hit' has become a terminative auxiliary -shaye, in a
construction which means `do completely'' (Mkhatshwa, 1991, p. 96). Perhaps it is
only to be expected that in cultures where language users live in closer contact with
nature and where social practices are more ecologically based, it is these verbs that
will be employed as the vehicles for conceptualizing grammatical verb distinctions. In
cultures where the bond between man and nature is heavily mediated by man-made
artefacts to the extent that humans do not crucially depend on their physical abilities
for their everyday existence any longer, it is verbs like be, come, go expressing notions
that are stripped bare of ``human body'' speci®cities that become the cognitive refer-
ence points in terms of which grammatical categories are conceptually structured. The
basicness and the experiential salience of one's ability to hit or hold in one's hand, or
to run and crawl is much greater even after infancy, we may want to maintain, if one
lives in a more natural setting than if one is a member of a technological community
where people, alienated from nature, are becoming more and more dependent on
transport, all kinds of machines and electronic devicesÐa fact which drastically
changes the structure of our physical experiences.

While such a line of argument may have some explanatory appeal at ®rst sight, only
a cursory glance at the results of the present investigation suces to make us realize
the seriousness of at least one obvious argument against it. The argument that we
have in mind involves the fact that the 7, 1% of SPECIFIC instantiations of BES in
Europe involves mostly languages which can by no means be thought of as di€ering
from other European languages in terms of ecology of socio-cultural factors. Thus 5
of all 10 SPECIFIC instantiations of BES in Europe are attested in Dutch, Danish,
Norwegian and Swedish (among others) which certainly are cultures no less techno-
logical than the cultures of adjacent linguistic communities.
In other words, the explanation of our observation should be sought, partly at least,
somewhere else.

Auxiliation in Europe: an areal typology phenomenon

The explanation of the way European auxiliation processes arise and develop is to
be sought, we propose, in areal factors. More precisely, it is because of the geographi-
cal closeness of the discourse communities in Europe and the massive linguistic and
cultural communication between these communities that we observe such a uni®cation
of the conceptual patterns in European auxiliation.
The insigni®cant number of SPECIFIC instantiations of BES, their geographical dis-
tribution on the periphery of Europe (cf. Map 2) as well as the distinct preferences for
particular auxiliation developments and dispreferences for others, suggest a gradual
isomorphism and structural convergence as far as auxiliation developments in
European languages appear to be the result of borrowing process. The particular areal
di€usion pattern involving SPECIFIC instantiations in some coastal languages but not
in Europe-internal languages, can presumably be explained as a result of the fact that
the geographically peripheral languages are more resistant to integrational processes
within Europe, and are accordingly, more preserving with respect to some of their
language-speci®c grammaticalization patterns.

In conclusion, the present results regarding auxiliation phenomena in Europe sup-
port observations of other morphosyntactic parallels in the languages of Europe
(Heine, 1994; Van der Auwera, forth.) and thus tend to validate the notion of a
European convergent linguistic area or Sprachbund where long-range interaction
appears to have resulted in a relatively high degree of linguistic uniformity with regard
to a number of important aspects of language structure.

Acknowledgements ÐThe author thanks the German Research Foundation for the ®nancial support for this
study. Part of this paper was presented jointly with Bernd Heine at the 7th International Conference on
Functional Grammar in Cordoba, Spain, September 1996.

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