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Relativization in Shapsug Adyghe

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  • Northwest Caucasian Languages
  • Finiteness
  • Internally Headed Relative Constructions
  • Constraints On Relativization
  • Linguistics


This paper discusses peculiarities of relativization in Shapsug Adyghe, a variety of the polysynthetic Adyghe language belonging to the Northwest Caucasian family. In general, Adyghe relative constructions display a number of interesting phenomena such as morphological marking of the target role, relativization of several arguments within a single construction, and an internally-headed relative construction with the semantic head being marked by a specific exponent. The Shapsug variety i) presents evidence against the contrast between finite forms and participles, which was proposed for the language in most descriptions, ii) restricts relativization of possessors to possessors of absolutive arguments, and iii) displays typologically unique internally-headed constructions with internal heads marked by the external case. It is suggested that these peculiarities actually highlight certain properties of the Adyghe relative constructions that remain implicit in the standard language.

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