The EK construction in Xhosa : a cognitive account

Andrason, Alexander ; Dlali, Mawande (2017-11-29)

CITATION: Andrason, A. & Dlali, M. 2017. The EK construction in Xhosa : a cognitive account. Jezikoslovlje, 18(3):383-421.

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ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Developed within the frame of cognitive linguistics, this paper argues that the entire syntactic and semantic profile of the EK gram can be unified and viewed as coherent by modeling it as a map of different but related features. This understanding gives access both to the extreme variability of the EK form and to its internal cohesion, without equating this construction with one taxonomical category or postulating a set of invariant properties. The synchronic evidence demonstrates that the traits such as intransitivity, non-agentivity, resultativity/ stativity, and modality are prototypical. Other traits, e.g. (semi-)transitivity, (semi-)agentivity, spontaneity, and impetus are less prototypical or nonprototypical. The former class is psychologically associated with the EK gram, while the latter class does not enter into speakers’ representation of this form. The true cohesion of the EK gram is, however, recoverable only diachronically. The historical center of the map of the EK form corresponds to an in-/detransitive, agentless, resultative gram. This input construction has developed all the other properties visualized as components of the map (e.g. functions that are more transitive and more agentive, as well as stative and modal senses) by following a set of crosslinguistically common evolutionary tendencies or grammaticalization paths.

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