The overabundance of the perfect and the restriction of evidentiality in Standard Azerbaijani: A diachronic study of -(y)Ib and -mIş

Matthew Zaslansky


This article investigates the historical development and reorganization of variation in the individual cells of the Standard Azerbaijani perfect paradigms, a phenomenon known as overabundance (Thornton 2011, 2012). Unlike many previous examples of overabundance in the literature, the variation of the present perfect in Standard Azerbaijani applies to all the relevant verb lexemes in the language and shows no indication of developing verb classes. Rather, the present study argues that, (i) while there is an ongoing reorganization of this variation, it is along lines of specialization for paradigmatic oppositions in person marking, and (ii) this reorganization is attributable to analogical extension on the basis of structural asymmetries in the person-marking of the evidential paradigm. Differentiation by Person (Dmitriyev 1927, Əfəndiyeva 2005) is an inherent structural property of the Azerbaijani verb paradigm, manifested by analogical change. The synchronic asymmetries in the perfect paradigms are best explained as the result frequency-sensitive changes, i.e., lower frequency categories (but not lexemes) correlate with the persistence of variation.


Azerbaijani; overabundance; perfect; morphosyntactic variation; paradigmatic reorganization; low frequency

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Copyright (c) 2019 Matthew Zaslansky

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