Root lexical features and inflectional marking of tense in Proto-Indo-European

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This paper examines early inflectional morphology related to the tense-aspect system of Proto-Indo-European. It will be argued that historical linguistics can shed light on the long-standing debate over the emergence of tense-aspect morphology in language acquisition. The dispute over this issue is well-known; it has been pursued mostly by scholars following various general linguistic approaches, from typology to acquisition, but also by historical linguists and Indo-Europeanists, who have long debated about the precedence of aspect or tense from both a synchronic and a diachronic perspective. However, so far Indo-Europeanists have rarely confronted their results in a successful way with recent research in other fields such as acquisition or neurolinguistics. The aim of this paper is to put forward evidence from the reconstruction of the Proto-Indo-European verbal system concerning the prominent role of root lexical aspect features in the emergence of grammatical marking of tense in the proto-language. More precisely, by means of a comparison between the residual archaic verbal forms of the INJUNCTIVE in Vedic Sanskrit and the corresponding augmentless preterites in Homeric Greek, it will be argued that the [±telic] lexical feature of the inherited verbal root is responsible for a non-random distribution of past tense inflected forms in an earlier verbal paradigm.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)505-532
Numero di pagine28
RivistaJournal of Linguistics
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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