ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies
ISSN: 2306-5737E-ISSN: 2658-4069
Acta Linguistica Petropolitana
Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies 

Doing without verbs of falling: the semantic domain of uncontrolled downward motion in Aghul

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Reznikova T. I., Merdanova S. R. Kak yazyku oboytis bez glagolov padeniya: semanticheskoye pole nekontroliruyemogo peremeshcheniya vniz v agulskom yazyke. Acta Linguistica Petropolitana. 2020. XVI(1): 757–785.

The article focuses on verbs expressing the semantics of uncontrolled downward motion in the Aghul language. The peculiarity of the Aghul system is the lack of dedicated lexical means for the idea of falling: this kind of motion is described by stems that are derived from verbal roots meaning ‘to find oneself somewhere’, ‘to hit against smth’, ‘to tear off’, etc., which are combined with various spatial preverbs. Despite such an unusual system, the principles of its lexical division are in line with general typological trends. Out of four frames, which are cross-linguistically relevant for the domain of falling (motion from an upper surface, detaching, loss of a vertical orientation, and destruction), Aghul co-lexifies two — upper surface and detaching (both are encoded with the root -arxas ‘to find oneself somewhere’). Each of the two other frames uses se­veral verbs which specify the type of trajector and/or the manner of motion. Thus, the loss of a vertical orientation is further subdivided into three zones, viz. non-specified falling of a person (-urq’as ‘hit against smth’), falling of a person backwards (al-ʁ-adarkas ‘SUPER-UP-move’), and falling of an inanimate subject, which is lexically combined with falling of a person sideways (al-at’t’as ‘SUPER-tear_off’). Falling-­destruction may be described by the verbs ʕʷas ‘go’, ajč’ʷas ‘go out’, and -uq’as ‘sit down’, the choice of the verb here depends on the degree and nature of damage.

Semantic shifts have been discovered only for two of the verbs considered in the study (-arxas and -urq’as). Though these verbs in their basic meanings do not belong to the domain of falling, their shifts follow the same patterns as those observed for dedi­cated falling verbs, cf., e.g., the metaphors of getting into an unpleasant situation, falling behind a group, falling to one’s lot, the onset of a season or a daytime. Our data shows that the derivation of similar meanings from verbs of diverging semantics allows us to elucidate the motivation for each shift.

verbs of falling, Aghul language, metaphors of falling, semantic adjacency
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verbs of falling, Aghul language, metaphors of falling, semantic adjacency
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