In the present chapter, we turn to Maslov's Stage 2, the development of the l-perfect across the N. Slavic languages. After a discussion of the replacement of the old aspect tenses by l-perfects in N. Slavic, we focus on geographical factors and examine the documentary evidence. An examination of the role of sociolinguistic factors in the development of the l-perfects east and west and the impact of this distribution on the expansion of aspectual contrast concludes this chapter.
Replacement of Aspect Tenses by l-perfect in North Slavic
In Chapter 11, we noted the general tendency toward loss of the imperfect and aorist categories in S. Slavic, especially in those varieties at a greater distance from Greek. This trend is likewise to be noted in the N. Slavic languages: most varieties lose the imperfect first, followed by the aorist, replacing them with the l-perfect, which becomes the only marker of the past. Those languages with more conservative traditions, such as Czech, tend to maintain the aspect tenses longer; those with more innovative tendencies, such as the northern Russian dialects around Novgorod and Pskov, lose the imperfect and aorist very early: there is, for example, practically no evidence for either of these categories in the vernacular birchbark letters of Novgorod. The imperfects and aorists survive in Old Church Slavonic and in medieval Russian and Croatian Church Slavonic, and, as we have seen, in the modern S. Slavic languages of Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Serbian. The aorists and imperfects are already almost extinct in the earliest documents of Old Polish and Old Czech (Andersen 2009: 127). These facts are summarized in Table 13.1.
We can note two conservatizing forces at work in Slavic, which hindered the process of replacement:
1) the archaizing pressures of Church Slavonic, and, ultimately, Byzantine Greek, which affected the S. Slavic languages most thoroughly, but which had an ongoing resurgent effect in all areas under the influence of Orthodoxy (Chapter 12)
2) the retention and revamping of old categories for stylistic purposes (Czech) or in imitation of external models (Sorbian), which Dickey (2011: 201) calls “replica preservation” (Section 13.6)
My goal in writing this book is twofold: to present the history of a multifaceted verbal construction, the periphrastic perfect (e.g., I have seen in English, nous sommes venus ‘we have come’ in French) as it developed in Europe, and to demonstrate the essential role played by language contact at all stages of this development. The book is a chronological account of the development of the European periphrastic perfect from its earliest attestations in ancient Greek to the various constructions found in the present-day European languages. It is also an attempt to demonstrate that contact is a more crucial factor in linguistic change than has generally been recognized.
The perfect itself has been defined in a number of ways (see Chapter 3 for a fuller discussion), but Comrie's (1976: 52) simple definition offers a useful starting point: “[T]he perfect indicates the continuing present relevance of a past situation.” Bybee, Perkins, and Pagliuca (1994: 55) choose the term anterior for this category, to avoid confusion with the similar-sounding perfective aspect. In this book, however, anterior will be used only when precise reference is made to the semantic value of the perfect as a marker of a past situation with present relevance; the generally accepted term perfect will be used otherwise, in reference to the broad category.
The term periphrastic refers to the fact that the present perfect construction in most European languages is not synthetic, but is made up of an auxiliary + a participial main verb, with the most frequent perfect auxiliaries in Europe being HAVE and BE. The present perfect of English, in maintaining its anterior meaning, has been classified as a prototypical perfect (Dahl 1985: 129–31, Bybee et al. 1994: 61, pace Kortmann 1995: 195), bringing present relevance to past situations:
(1) Housing prices have fallen rapidly in the past two years (and so this might be a good time to buy a house).
(2) Bach has played an immense role in shaping musical tastes in the West. (Though he is no longer alive, his music continues to exert infl uence.)
The Balkan languages, especially Greek, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Romanian, and Albanian, present a remarkable series of similarities in their syntactic structure, in spite of the fact that most of these languages are only distantly related. As mentioned in Chapter 2, the Balkan languages have come to be recognized as a classic example of a Sprachbund, or linguistic area, which can be defined as a group of contiguous languages that share a set of structural correspondences not inherited from a common ancestor but developed by means of long-term contact. What this chapter will demonstrate most clearly is that a Sprachbund is not merely an area of single-tiered contact or a region where features converge in some unmotivated way. Rather, it represents an accumulation of the effects of many layers of influence, all governed by the sociolinguistic pressures that were in existence at the time of the spread of each innovation, as well as by the formal characteristics of the model and the copying varieties. The way that the innovation is inserted into the linguistic system depends on the formal context, but the motivation for the change itself springs from sociolinguistic considerations (Johanson 1992; Bisang 1996). The innovations tend to enter as productive reworkings, renewals, of elements already in existence in the language, resulting in what could be regarded as motivated, sociolinguistically governed exaptations – exaptations not in the sense that the reanalyzed material was useless before, but in the sense that it receives a new, heightened value, imbued as it is with desirable external connections.
Historical Factors Fostering Balkan Linguistic Unity
Before we begin our analysis of the development of the periphrastic perfect in the Balkans, a brief look at the social and political factors that unified the area throughout its history may be useful, for it is clearly the complex shared history of the Balkan speech communities that caused them to develop so many systematic correspondences. One of the most important factors in this development was a shared history of domination – by the Roman Empire, by Byzantine Greece and the Greek Orthodox Church, and eventually by the Ottoman Turks. The various invasions of Byzantine territory by Slavic and Avar tribes in the sixth century led to the weakening of central administration and cities, with “radical ruralization of society” (Fine 1983; Weithmann 1994; Lindstedt 2000: 240).
In her important work on the development of aspectual systems in English, Laurel Brinton (1988) notes the similarities of periphrastic perfects across the Germanic languages and makes the following claim about their origin:
If one does not propose a common Germanic provenance for those processes of auxiliation, then it is difficult to explain the appearance of identical auxiliaries in the various Germanic languages, unless one admits independent parallel innovations of an unlikely extent. This I am unwilling to do. (Brinton 1988: 107)
Brinton concludes that auxiliaries in general, and perfect auxiliaries among them, must have arisen in Proto-Germanic times. It will be the focus of this chapter to explore the key issues inherent in this claim: How indeed can we explain the similarities in the periphrastic perfects across many Germanic languages if not by shared inheritance? Are the features that the Germanic languages share only explainable through the notion of genetic relationship? While I am completely sympathetic with Brinton's unwillingness to posit parallel development of identical systems as an explanation, I propose an alternative explanation to her reconstruction of the periphrastic perfects for Proto-Germanic, namely that the Germanic varieties that developed a periphrastic perfect resemble each other so fully because they followed the same model – that of Latin. In the case of Gothic, the oldest well-attested Germanic language, we will find that Greek played the role as “roof” language more extensively than Latin did, but we will also discover that fascinating evidence for the mutual influences of Gothic and Latin exists, as well. What will emerge from our examination here is that the morphosyntactic patterns of Latin served as the template on which the Germanic languages of Western Europe built their perfects.
The dispute as to the origin of Germanic perfects is an old one: in the Grimms’ Deutsches Wörterbuch, Latin is mentioned as the model for the HAVE perfects of Germanic (DWB Bd. 10 Sp. 71). Meillet (1970) likewise suggests that the Germanic languages developed their HAVE perfects based on the influence of Latin: “An important procedure, not yet utilized by Gothic and doubtlessly owing in the beginning to imitation of Vulgar Latin models, is that which consists of uniting the participle with the verb ‘to have’” (Meillet 1970: 70).
In the previous chapter, our focus on the historical interactions of the Balkan languages, including the South Slavic varieties, revealed the preeminence of Greek in that area and the essential role language contact played in the history of the perfects there. In the present chapter, we focus more particularly on the influential status of Byzantine Greek as emblem of the Byzantine Empire and the Greek Orthodox Church and on the “roofing” effect that this influence had on the perfects of Old Church Slavonic. We construct a chronologization reminiscent of that formulated by Maslov (1988: 70–85) in his classic work on the typology of the resultative, the perfect, and aspect. Maslov distinguishes three layers in the development of resultatives and perfects in the history of Slavic:
1) the Indo-European layer, with its synthetic stative perfect
2) the expansion of the perfect through the introduction of analyticity in such forms as the l-perfect, and
3) the creation of new possessive resultatives and perfects built on past passive participles in -n/t- and of non-possessive structures such as that built on the gerund in –(v)ši.
Having discussed the Indo-European perfect in detail in Chapter 4, we begin here with an examination of the second layer, and continue this discussion into the next chapter; the third layer will be examined in Chapters 14–15. Throughout this chapter and the next three, we will attempt to sort out the possible motivations for these developments and their complex interactions.
Slavia Orthodoxa and Slavia Romana
In his study of Church Slavonic and the impact that confessional allegiance had on the development of the Slavic languages, Riccardo Picchio (1980: 22) coined the terms “Slavia Orthodoxa” and “Slavia Romana” to refer to the cultural and linguistic divide that existed between those Slavic lands that adhered originally to Greek Orthodoxy and those that practiced Roman Catholicism, respectively. Slavia Orthodoxa, comprising modern-day Serbia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, remained historically under the influence of Byzantium and the Greek Orthodox Church; Slavia Romana, consisting of present-day Poland, Czechia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, and Lusatia in Germany, was historically Roman Catholic, and, later, also Protestant. One sign of the contrast between east and west is the use of the Cyrillic and, historically, Glagolitic alphabets in the east and the Roman alphabet in the west – iconic symbols of adherence to different cultural norms and scholarly traditions.
This chapter provides a synopsis of the major findings and arguments from each of the preceding chapters, followed by a discussion of the larger conclusions that can be drawn from these findings.
Following an introduction to the general premises in Chapter 1, evidence was presented in Chapter 2 that the notion of Sprachbund is appropriate for certain parts of Europe, such as the Balkans and parts of Western Europe, but that a more dynamic model is called for particularly in such areas as the Circum-Baltic area, where macro- and micro-contacts have produced multidimensional patterns of relationship among varieties. For this highly complex, stratified outcome, a more appropriate designation is proposed: a “Stratified Convergence Zone.” Details of this visualization are laid out in more detail in Chapter 14.
In Chapter 3, the validity of the concept of PERFECT as a universal category was assessed, and the hodological (‘path-oriented’) approach of Bybee, Perkins, and Pagliuca (1994) was examined in detail. While anteriority can be expressed in a fairly large number of languages worldwide, it was found that the semantic space that perfects occupy differs substantially from language to language. Thus, rather than viewing the perfect as a unified, universal category, we should instead regard the related semantic features of CURRENT RELEVANCE, RESULTATIVE, COMPLETIVE, PERFECTIVE, INFERENTIAL PAST, and so on, as concepts available for incorporation into morphosyntactic categories, according to the cognitive and social pressures experienced by speakers. The HAVE perfect turns out to be extremely rare in the languages of the world, and has been identified as a “quirk” of Western Europe (Cysouw 2011), and in no way representative of a universal category.
In Chapter 4, the chronological account of the development of the periphrastic perfects was initiated with an examination of the features of the category and related structures that date back to Proto-Indo-European: synthetic verbal categories like the reduplicated perfect and aorist, and the components of periphrastic structures such as the BE copula and verbal adjectives and participles in *-wos-/-us-, *-l-, and *-to-/-no-. The multifaceted nature of the widely distributed *–to-/-no- participle may indicate that some periphrasis had already developed in the proto-language. Its flexible semantic value clearly played a decisive role in determining the direction that the periphrastic replacements would take.
Considerable controversy has recently arisen concerning the validity of the notion of the Sprachbund: Campbell (2006: 2) declares that “linguistic areas boil down merely to a study of local linguistic borrowing and its history, and little else”; Stolz (2006: 36; 45) concludes that Sprachbünde are “projections from the minds of linguists.” He excludes geography and culture as criteria to be used for judging the existence of a Sprachbund, and sees the use of the “isogloss-first” method, using the geolinguistic distribution of a feature to assess the extent of a Sprachbund, as uninformative. Should we, then, as Stolz (2006: 46) recommends, “either strip the term of its unwelcome and much too suggestive connotations or abolish it for good”? Or is there still reason to retain the notion as a descriptor of a real phenomenon? This chapter argues that there is, indeed, value in preserving the concept of the linguistic area, but that it will require substantial updating. What is proposed here is a more dynamic, three-dimensional depiction of the linguistic area, as embodied in the concept of a “Stratified Convergence Zone.”
This chapter begins with a brief synopsis of earlier work on contact and areal linguistics, followed by an overview of new empirical approaches, including the EUROTYP and ensuing projects. Finally, it presents the model of a new view of the Sprachbund, as a Stratified Convergence Zone.
Languages in Contact: Foundations
The study of languages in contact, once relegated to the periphery of linguistic inquiry, has recently come to be recognized as a subdiscipline with robust explanatory power, positioned between the disciplines of historical linguistics and sociolinguistics and firmly linked to empirical methodology. Among the earliest linguistic models to represent contact as significant was Johannes Schmidt's (1872) renowned Wellentheorie ‘Wave Theory,’ alongside the work of Hugo Schuchardt (1883, 1884), which helped establish the study of pidgins and creoles. Kristian Sandfeld's (1930) classic Linguistique balkanique accounted for many of the shared innovations in the Balkans as due to the domination of Byzantium and to the influence of the Greek Orthodox Church. In Italy, “Neolinguisti” like Matteo Bartoli (1925) focused on the geographical distribution of innovations, expanding on the explanatory role of centrality and peripherality. In his analysis of the languages of the Pacific Northwest, Boas (1938) showed that innovations could spread across linguistic and cultural borders without impediment.
In his insightful analysis of the perfects of Europe, Jouko Lindstedt (2000: 368) remarks that perfects in the languages of the world are usually periphrastic in form, but that a notable exception to this tendency exists in the old perfects of Indo-European, especially as represented by Classical Greek and Sanskrit. To this observation can be added the fact that many Indo-European languages have developed a periphrastic perfect, either as a direct replacement of the IE synthetic perfect or as a complementary addition to the verb system. Why should it be that the old, synthetic perfect of IE came to be replaced by analytic structures in so many IE languages? Why did these periphrastic structures tend to be formed with stative auxiliaries and past passive participles, as illustrated in Chapter 3, at a rate much higher than that found for perfects of other languages? What role did Proto-Indo-European, the earliest reconstructable ancestor of virtually all European languages, play in this rise of the periphrastic perfects of Europe?
In previous chapters, it was claimed that the configuration of components available to speakers of Indo-European languages enabled and even encouraged this development. In Chapter 2, it was hypothesized that the development of the meaning of later periphrastic constructions – resultatives, passives, and perfects – was set in motion by the passive and anterior value of participles and verbal adjectives inherited from the proto-language. In Chapter 3, it was concluded that the use of HAVE as an auxiliary was surely encouraged by the presence of the participle or verbal adjective inherited from PIE. In this and in following chapters, we will expand on these claims, exploring the semantic value and formal features of the oldest perfects in an attempt to discover whether the structures of PIE actually did predetermine the outcome of periphrastic structures in Europe and the extent to which this development was influenced by the interplay of auxiliary and participle.
In Chapter 1, a stratified depiction of the expansion of the perfect across Western Europe was sketched, and in Chapter 7, the stages of this development were laid out. In this chapter, we focus on the third stage of this chronology:
III Within the HAVE / BE area, anteriors began to take on preterital value. First witnessed in the vernacular of twelfth-century Paris and its environs, it spread to areas influenced by French culture, such as western and southern Germany and northern Italy, and eventually into contiguous areas such as the Slavic territories under the rule of the Habsburgs.
In Chapter 3, the shift of Anterior > Preterite was examined in light of claims by Bybee, Perkins, and Pagliuca (1994) and others that it represents a universal process, governed by such principles as source determination, unidirectionality, and universal paths (see Figure 3.1 in Chapter 3). In response to those claims, we presented evidence that, rather than being motivated by universal paths, the shift in Europe had a fairly narrow point of initiation, in and around Paris, and that it diffused first to areas within the cultural sphere of that city, and from there to contiguous areas. The similar shifts in French, German, and other varieties should therefore not be regarded as separate instantiations of the shift, but rather as the long-lasting operation of a single, widely diffused shift. This fact is well illustrated by Ternes's (1988: 340) mapping of the contiguity of the languages in the “analytic group”, which have undergone the Anterior > Preterite shift (Figure 10.1). This group includes northern French, southern German, northern Italian, Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, and northern Serbian and Croatian. The area where the Anterior > Preterite shift occurred is clearly visible in Figure 10.2.
This contiguity of the affected languages constitutes strong evidence for areal diffusion as the prime motivation for the spread of the innovation in Europe. The Slavic languages located in the vicinity of the nuclear area – Czech, Slovak, Slovenian, and northern Croatian and Serbian – follow the same pattern in using their analytic perfects (with active resultative l-participle + BE) to mark the preterite.
How universal is the PERFECT category? Should we, with Bybee and Dahl (1989) and Bybee, Perkins, and Pagliuca (1994), call this category a “gram,” a basic construct found widely in the languages of the world, expressing a fundamental semantic value? Or have we created an expectation that such a category exists because it is part of the temporal-aspectual repertoire of European languages? Are there predictable paths of grammaticalization that perfects tend to follow, or should these be regarded as tendencies, to be triggered by more immediate motivations such as sociolinguistic pressures?
Jacob (1994: 62), in his analysis of the perfects of Europe and of the languages of the world, suggests that it is the inner consistency (“innere Kohärenz”) of the formation of this construction across time and space, especially its persistently recurring uniformity (“immerwiederkehrende Gleichförmigkeit”) in various epochs – in Hittite as well as in Late Latin and Romance – that demonstrates that universal, cyclical processes are in operation and that language contact is thus not a prime factor in the development of the perfects of Europe. To what extent is Jacob justified in claiming “innere Kohärenz” in the formation of the periphrastic perfects of the languages of the world, across time and space? In this chapter, we attempt to answer this question by examining the perfect category from a cross-linguistic perspective, to determine whether it should be regarded as universal or not. In the course of this examination, we assess a number of claims concerning the formation and grammaticalization of the category, especially with regard to the “hodological” (“path-oriented”) approach of studies like that of Bybee et al. (1994).
What the arguments and evidence presented here will reveal is that the perfect should not, in fact, be regarded as a semantically unified, universal category, but that it is better seen as representing an array of related semantic features (CURRENT RELEVANCE, RESULTATITIVE, COMPLETIVE, etc.), available for incorporation into language-specific morphosyntactic configurations. With Anderson (1982), Li, Thompson, and Thompson (1982), Bisang (2004), Wiemer (2004), McFadden and Alexiadou (2010), and others, I claim that it is not so much the meta-category of PERFECT that should be regarded as universal, but rather that it is the more minute, closely related semantic or pragmatic properties that speakers use to construct perfects and related structures according to the cognitive and social pressures they encounter that should be so viewed.
Core vs. Periphery in the Charlemagne Sprachbund
In the conclusion to his edited volume in the EUROTYP series on adverbs, Johan van der Auwera (1998b: 824) introduces the term Charlemagne Sprachbund to refer to the area of Western Europe where languages adhere to an array of similar grammatical patterns and thus provide evidence for the existence of a European linguistic area, also called Standard Average European (see Chapter 2 for discussion). Van der Auwera notes that the “core” areas of the Sprachbund are French, German, and Dutch, with Italian and Polish closely linked – all located within or near to the area ruled by Charlemagne. He demonstrates the degree of similarity that exists across European adverbial constructions by assembling a list of the features that tend to occur more frequently in the core area and less frequently in the periphery, counting the occurrence of these features, and grouping the varieties with similar numbers of features on an isopleth map (Figure 7.1) (cf. Haspelmath's similar map, presented as Figure 2.1 in subsection 2.3.1). For reference, we can examine Figure 7.2, which is an actual map of the holdings of Charlemagne at the time of his death in 814.
Van der Auwera (1998: 824) gives the following explanation for this distribution:
[I]f the convergence is not completely due to genetic relatedness, chance or some independent structural feature(s), then it must in some measure be due to language contact, either in a direct way, to language interference between coterritorial or adjacent languages, or in an indirect way, to the fact that some languages have been excluded from contact-instigated change.
He thus points to the essential role of both centrality and peripherality as explanatory principles of innovation through contact, since the profile of groups who did not adopt a change can be as telling as information about those who do.
Van der Auwera goes on to present a similar mapping of temporal-aspectual features of the languages of Europe, based on Thieroff (2000: 265–305), which also points to French and German as core members of the Sprachbund (Figure 7.3).
The features that van der Auwera (1998: 833 n13) utilizes from Theiroff (2000) in order to construct this map are shown in Table 7.1
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