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Open Access Publications from the University of California


Languages of the Caucasus is an open-access peer-reviewed electronic journal that publishes linguistic research on languages of the Caucasus.

The first issue (1.1) will be a memorial volume for Aleksandr Kibrik and Sandro Kodzasov, founders of an illustrious tradition of fieldwork and analysis of languages of the Caucasus and intellectual inspiration to Caucasianists and typologists everywhere. 

We will use a volume and issue number system for ease of bibliographical reference, but papers will be published as soon as they are accepted and received in final form.  Articles for the memorial issue can be submitted at any time from Jan. 15 to about mid-November 2015 (leaving time for review, acceptance, and editing during 2015).  Articles not for the memorial issue will appear in Vol. 1.2 if received in time for review and acceptance during 2015.  (That is, the memorial and plain issues of Vol. 1 will run simultaneously.)


Evidential coding in Lezgi

Evidentiality is “grammatical marking of how we know something” (Aikhenvald 2014:3). As evidentiality is a well-known feature in many Nakh-Daghestanian languages, this paper investigates the expression of evidential meanings in Lezgi, a language which has received less attention in this area. This paper compares evidential meanings of verb forms with the existing findings in a related language, Aghul (Majsak & Merdanova 2002a), and then considers other ways of conveying evidential meanings non-lexically. The language data were collected through elicitation and study of natural texts. Following Aikhenvald (2004), semantic labels were established for different evidential meanings.

Regarding indirect evidentiality, the Lezgi Perfect was found to display the meaning of inference, thus largely coinciding with the inferential use of the Aghul Resultative. In addition, a verb construction involving a nominalized predicative and an equative particle conveys the meaning of inference accompanied by epistemic uncertainty. The Lezgi Aorist is in general evidentially neutral, but can acquire readings of direct, witnessed information source, accompanied by the modal meaning of reliability. However, the opposition displayed in Aghul between witnessed and reported meanings does not find reflection in the Lezgi past tense forms.

In the area of speech reports, evidential meanings can be displayed in Lezgi by two markers, originating from the speech verb luhun: a grammaticalised clitic expressing hearsay, and a converb form expressing the meaning of quotative. Discourse particles display evidential and mirative meanings.

On modality in Georgian sign language (GESL)

Modality is one of the most fascinating and complex areas of language studies. This paper illustrates the types of modal constructions in Georgian Sign language (GESL), including negative forms. GESL shows modality semantics with a combination of manual and facial signs. Modals in GESL can occur in the pre-verbal, clause-final, or clause-initial positions, as in many other sign languages (SLs). GESL modal constructions show the specific tense-related negation strategy. Modal constructions in this language often use combinations of modal signs with an equal value.