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Progressives in use and contact: A descriptive, areal and typological study with special focus on selected Iranian languages
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5167-1424
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Progressives are grammatical patterns primarily used to refer to events that are ongoing at a specific time. This thesis investigates uses of such patterns in a number of languages as well as the interaction of a number of progressives in contact. The dissertation includes a typological study of the uses of 89 progressive patterns in two parallel corpora, an investigation of the uses and origin of the Persian dāštan progressive and an areal linguistic investigation of 50 Iranian varieties spoken around the Caspian Sea.

The dissertation presents features that increase the likelihood that a progressive is used. Such features are 1) a focalized (punctual) reference point, 2) the engagement or ‘busyness’ of the agentive subject on the event, 3) an emotive component and 4) the desire to turn the attention of the addressee towards an ongoing event. The significance of these features is expected to weaken as progressives grammaticalize.

There is a cross-linguistic tendency for progressives to occur more often with present time reference than with past time reference. In some cases, they are even restricted to the former. Among the varieties of the Iranian language Taleshi, on the other hand, we find asymmetric temporal paradigms as a consequence of former progressive patterns having expanded and lost their progressive character in the present but not in the past.

The study also shows that progressives are used differently in the present and the past: while events with present time reference often have the features mentioned above in 1-4, events with past time reference are often, although not exclusively, background contexts to other events pushing the narration forward.

The thesis also discusses various peripheral uses of progressives, such as uses in habitual and performative-like contexts, proximative, iterative and futurate uses, uses with stative verbs and temporary and subjective uses. Some of these tend to be found in patterns with higher frequencies and can be regarded as expansions towards the imperfective. Other uses are linked to the type of event to which the progressive applies: the proximative reading is shown to arise with achievements and the iterative use with repeated punctual events.  

The data from the varieties of the Iranian languages Mazandarani, Gilaki, Taleshi and Tati, as well as from varieties under the influence of Persian, suggests that the progressive in these varieties is highly borrowable. Among the varieties discussed in Chapter 5, an areal cline is noted where constructional schemas used for ongoing events shift towards the imperfective. In the borrowing process, on occasion, a shift from progressive to proximative is also noted. As expected, the data from Caspian varieties shows that there are more progressive patterns than imperfective patterns.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Linguistics, Stockholm University , 2018. , p. 275
Keywords [en]
progressive, use, contact, areal, parallel corpora, typology, grammaticalization, Iranian, Persian, Mazandarani, Gilaki, Taleshi, Tati
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Linguistics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-155533ISBN: 978-91-7797-304-1 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7797-305-8 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-155533DiVA, id: diva2:1200741
Public defence
2018-06-15, Hörsal 9, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10 D, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-05-23 Created: 2018-04-24 Last updated: 2018-06-21Bibliographically approved

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