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Interpreting derived stative predicates : evidence from ʔayʔaǰuθəm de Oliveira Andreotti, Bruno Luis

Abstract

This thesis explores the semantic properties of a verb affix analyzed by Watanabe (2003) as marking stative aspect in ʔayʔaǰuθəm. Also known as Comox-Sliammon, ʔayʔaǰuθəm is a critically endangered Central Salish language spoken on the central west coast of British Columbia, Canada. As Nedjalkov and Jaxontov define them, (1988, p. 6), pure stative readings express “a state without any implication of its origin” (e.g. the village is surrounded by mountains), while resultative readings express “both a state and the preceding action it has resulted from” (e.g. the village is surrounded by soldiers). Predicates derived by the ʔayʔaǰuθəm stativizer were tested in elicitation with native speakers which was targeted to clarify what kinds of context these predicates can occur in and what readings are possible. It was found that despite being derived from eventive roots, these predicates may be interpreted as pure stative rather than resultative. A new representation of the affect of stative morphology on an eventive predicate is provided based on this evidence from ʔayʔaǰuθəm to address the analytical paradox that arises from stative predicates, derived from eventive roots, being interpreted as pure states. It is proposed that the different possible readings of a stativized predicate in ʔayʔaǰuθəm arise out of pragmatics, requiring no semantic or syntactic ambiguity and not violating monotonicity. Essentially, the analysis states that derived stative predicates denote the contextually most informative and least superfluous of the states associated with the predicate, evaluated against a set of Questions Under Discussion (Roberts, 1996).

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