LAN-01
Caucasian Linguistics

Convenors:
Murad Jalilov (University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)
Kevin Tuite (University of Montreal)
John Colarusso (McMaster University)
Chair:
Murad Jalilov
Discussant:
John Colarusso; Kevin Tuite
Theme:
LAN
Location:
Posvar 3800
Start time:
26 October, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:
1

Abstract:

The panel highlights work in Caucasian Linguistics: Beynen analyzes the Georgian verbal affix -am which describes that the subject and object can be observed separate and in close contact with mutual influences. This is described using Jakobson's and van Schooneveld's semantic distinctive features: van Schooneveld's "duplication," later "enumeration," and Jakobson's "directionality" or van Schooneveld's "extension." The initial separateness of subject and object is described by van Schooneveld's "enumeration." Sharashenidze shows how grammaticalization has given rise to a new system in Georgian. Beginning from the XIV - XV centuries, major changes occurred due to systemic changes of certain forms. The most striking change is shown by the verb "ndoma" (want). Its formal and functional changes, as well as numerous cases of grammaticalization related to this form, led to the development of modality. While grammaticalization often leads to the loss of certain semantic features, analysis of the form "ndoma" enables us discuss the appearance of new semantics in this form (semantic abundance). The original semantics of "want/desire" gave rise to diverse modal meanings in Georgian. In Georgian, the modal form "unda" can express the content which is usually expressed by means of several verbs in other languages (e.g.: must, have to, should). This speaks of the semantic abundance of the above form. Hence, we should find out which semantics can be considered primary i.e. existing at the initial stage of grammaticalization, and which semantics was secondary i.e. developed at a later stage. Makharoblidze surveys current research on Georgian Sign Language, especially as connected with computational linguistics and lexicology, and provides an update on work on a universal sign language translator, which will be able to translate the texts from any sign language into spoken and vice versa. The paper specifies theoretical and methodological approaches used to design the software prototype.