Source–Goal asymmetry in diachrony: evidence from Asia Minor Greek

Georgakopoulos, T. and Karatsareas, P. 2015. Source–Goal asymmetry in diachrony: evidence from Asia Minor Greek. 22nd International Conference on Historical Linguistics. University of Naples, Italy Jul 2015

TitleSource–Goal asymmetry in diachrony: evidence from Asia Minor Greek
AuthorsGeorgakopoulos, T. and Karatsareas, P.
TypeConference paper
Abstract

The fact that Goals and Sources of motion behave asymmetrically has drawn sustained interest from numerous linguists who have shown that this asymmetry is not bidirectional. Rather, most studies to date tip the scale in favour of Goal as the dominant member of the contrastive pair Source–Goal (inter alios Ikegami 1987; Lakusta 2005; cf. Gerhke 2008). One major indication supporting the crosslinguistic prevalence of Goals over Sources shows up in patterns of polysemy in the marking of spatial relations. For example, Place—Goal polysemy is more frequently attested than Source—Place polysemy, although all polysemic patterns in the tripartite distinction Source—Place—Goal are possible (Nikitina 2009; Lestrade 2010; Pantcheva 2010). Most studies, however, have addressed the phenomenon from a synchronic perspective, thus neglecting the developments that the marking of Goals and/or the Sources can undergo over time (cf. Kabata 2013).

In this paper, we address this shortcoming by investigating the implications that diachronic rearrangements within a spatial system can have for the preservation or breakdown of polysemic patterns in the expression of spatial relations. We specifically examine the marking of Source, Place and Goal in the Modern Greek varieties of inner Asia Minor (today’s Turkey), which were spoken by the Greek Orthodox communities in and around Cappadocia until the relocation of their speakers to Greece in 1924.

The Asia Minor Greek varieties fall into three different categories based on the inventory they use to mark the three spatial relations Source, Place and Goal:

(a) conservative (or, Stage I) Cappadocian varieties, in which Goal and Place are syncretically marked by the inherited preposition s(e) whereas Source is marked by the inherited preposition as:

(1) Delmesó Cappadocian
Goal: irta so xorʝo ‘I came to the village’
Place: cime so xorʝo ‘I am found at the village’
Source: irta aso xorʝo ‘I came from the village’

(b) the intermediate (or, Stage II) varieties of Phloïtá Cappadocian and Silliot, in which Goal and Place are syncretically marked by either s(e) or zero—the distribution of which is syntagmatically conditioned (in the sense of Stolz et al. 2014)—whereas Source is marked by as:

(2) Phloïtá Cappadocian
Goal: irta so xorʝo ~ irta Ø to xorʝo ‘I came to the village’
Place: cime so xorʝo ~ cime Ø to xorʝo ‘I am found at the village’
Source: irta aso xorʝo ‘I came from the village’

(c) the innovative (or, Stage III) variety of Ulaghátsh Cappadocian, in which Goal and Place are syncretically marked by zero whereas Source is marked by as.

(3) Ulaghátsh Cappadocian
Goal: irta Ø to xorʝo ‘I came to the village’
Place: cime Ø to xorʝo ‘I am found at the village’
Source: irta aso xorʝo ‘I came from the village’

We first trace the diachronic development of the loss of the Goal/Place marker s(e) by comparing data from conservative, intermediate and innovative varieties. The results of our analysis suggest that the loss first became manifest in motion event utterances that expressed a Goal rather than a Place relation; that contained a verb that required a spatial complement; and, in which a prototypical location (town, city, geographical space) assumed the role of Ground. These findings are accounted for by reference to Lestrade’s (2010) and Stolz et al.’s (2014) notions of predictability and economy.

We subsequently show that the loss of s(e) from the prepositional paradigms of Stage II and, especially, Stage III varieties only had a local effect in the reorganisation of the spatial system. That is, despite the loss, the original global picture (Goal = Place ≠ Source) was kept intact in the transition from Stage I to Stage III and holds equally for all Asia Minor Greek varietes. The Source–Goal asymmetry therefore remained stable through time as did the manifestation of the crosslinguistically robust tendency for Place and Goal markers to be uniformly marked by polysemous elements which are distinct from Source markers. In addition, the diachronic development of s(e) has a further consequence regarding the asymmetrical behaviour of the two Path elements. The expression of Goal becomes morphologically less complex (zero marking) than the expression of Source (overt marking using as), which is exactly our expectation under the Goal-over-Source-predominance hypothesis.

We finally focus on the (rather limited) prepositional inventory reserved by the Cappadocian varieties for the denotation of Source, Place and Goal. What is relevant to the question of the Source–Goal asymmetry is that, across all dialects, Source is encoded exclusively by means of the preposition as whereas in the Goal domain the system is slightly more complex. Cappadocian and Siliot use two prepositions for the expression of Goal: s(e), which is also used for location in space, and os, which has a more limitative reading (in addition to os, Mistí Cappadocian also employs the prepositional element tʃaus and its morphological variant tʃax; see Karatsareas 2013). This finding also conforms to the general Goal-over-Source-predominance hypothesis as more fine-grained distinctions are made in the former than in the latter domain.

References
Gehrke, Berit. 2008. Ps in Motion. On the semantics and syntax of P elements and motion events. PhD dissertation: Utrecht University.

Ikegami, Yoshihiko. 1987. ‘Source’ vs. ‘goal’: A case of linguistic dissymmetry. In: Dirven, R. and G. Radden (eds.), Concepts of Case, 122–146. Tübingen: Narr.

Kabata, Kaori. 2013. Goal–source asymmetry and crosslinguistic grammaticalization patterns: a cognitive-typological approach. Language Sciences 36, 78–89.

Karatsareas, Petros. 2013. Adpositional systems in contact: the case of Cappadocian Greek. Paper presented at the 46th Annual Meeting of the Societas Linguistica Europaea, University of Split, 18–21 September 2013.

Lakusta, M. Laura & Barbara Landau. 2005. Starting at the end: The importance of goals in spatial language. Cognition 96, 1–33.

Lestrade, Sander. 2010. The Space of Case. Nijmegen: Radboud Universities Nijmegen.

Nikitina, Tatiana. 2009. Subcategorization pattern and lexical meaning of motion verbs: A study of the source/goal ambiguity. Linguistics 47(5), 1113–1141.

Pantcheva, Marina. 2010. The syntactic structure of Locations, Goals, and Sources. Linguistics 48(5), 1043–1081.

Stolz, Thomas, Lestrade, Sander & Christel Stolz. 2014. The Crosslinguistics of Zero-Marking of Spatial Relations. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter Mouton.

Year2015
Conference22nd International Conference on Historical Linguistics
Accepted author manuscriptGeorgakopoulos&Karatsareas_ICHL22_slides_PK.pdf

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