Verb of speech manaš in Mari: Grammaticalization properties.

2014. №6, 66-91

Svetlana Yu. Toldova
National research university «Higher school of economics» / Lomonosov Moscow state university, Moscow / Russiа

Natalia V. Serdobolskaya
Russian state university for the humanities  / Sholokhov Moscow state university for the humanities, Moscow / Russiа


This paper focuses on the paths of grammaticalization of the verb of speech manaš (‘say’, ‘name’) in Eastern Mari. The converb of this verb (manən) is desemantisized, it loses the syntactic properties of the verb of speech and shifts to the category of subordinators. Successive grammaticalization steps of this marker can be observed in Modern Mari: in some contexts it functions as a quotation marker, while in others as a subordinator. We suggest two paths of grammaticalization of this form on the basis of the given analysis: the fi rst path involves the context of verbs of speech, mental and emotive complementtaking predicates, the second path involves the contexts of causation and potential situation (in complementation), purpose and causal adverbial clauses. The argumentation for this grammaticalization pattern is based on the constraints on subordinate predicate encoding (acceptability of non-fi nite clauses with manən), the choice of pronouns [we focus on the choice of the anaphoric vs. deictic strategy of encoding the textual («original» in [Aikhenvald 2008]) speaker and hearer] and the mood of the verb in the complement clause. We show that in Modern Mari the analyzed form can have the following functions: as a quotation marker, as a subordinator in complement and adverbial clauses, as a discourse marker of hesitation and autocorrection, and as a semantically empty subordinator that is used to express negation with the infi nitive.