Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Lability in Andi

Abstract : This paper deals with the identification of labile verbs in Andi (Nakh-Daghestanian, Russia), and more specifically its methods, results and conclusions for the definition of transitivity in Andi. Lability is traditionally defined as an unmarked valency-changing phenomenon characterizing verbs that can be used both transitively and intransitively without any formal change. Andi happens to feature a combination of three typological characteristics that challenges not only the identification of its labile verbs, but also the application of traditional definitions of lability and transitivity to its context. These characteristics are a radical P-alignment, the absence of any agent demoting or removing morphology, and the possibility for interpreting any unexpressed agent as arbitrary. They are crucial for the analysis of labile phenomena in Andi, because they were shown by D. Creissels to be responsible for a formal ambiguity between 'less labile' passive lability (when a labile verb used intransitively has a passive meaning) and 'more labile' anticausative lability (when a labile verb used intransitively has an anticausative meaning). Several syntactic tests were designed by different authors to distinguish cases of anticausative lability from those of passive lability. These tests involve the semantic interpretation of a reflexive-emphatic pronoun, compatibility with the intransitive imperative in combination with an imperative addressee referring to the nominative argument, and the possibility of the verb being used in an involuntary agent construction. Applied to Andi, these tests show that both anticausative and passive lability concern all transitive verbs, which suggests that they do not differ with respect to their syntactic status and that both involve a change in syntactic transitivity. This conclusion supports D. Creissels's suggestion that in languages sharing with Andi the relevant typological features, transitivity applies not to the predicative constructions themselves, but to their realizations.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadata
Contributor : Neige Rochant <>
Submitted on : Sunday, March 28, 2021 - 10:17:48 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 1, 2021 - 3:21:42 AM


Publisher files allowed on an open archive


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution - NoDerivatives 4.0 International License




Neige Rochant. Lability in Andi. Acta Linguistica Petropolitana. Transactions of the Institute for Linguistic Studies, Institute for Linguistic Studies, Russian Academy of Sciences, 2019, 15 (2), pp.229-264. ⟨10.30842/alp2306573715209⟩. ⟨hal-02541967v2⟩



Record views


Files downloads