Hilário de Sousa

Study notes

These are linguistic notes for myself: they are not fully referenced, and there are not many examples. If they help you, great. n.b.: I cannot guarentee the accuracy of these notes.

Jump to:


I had a quick look at:

Alphabet/a little bit of phonology

Here are the Abkhaz alphabet organised phonologicaly. The inventory is that of the standard Abzhywa dialect (other dialects have more consonants). These are the consonants:

П п Т т Тә тә К к Кь кь Кә кә Ҟ ҟ Ҟь ҟь Ҟә ҟә
/pʼ/ /tʼ/ /tʷʼ/ [t͡pʼ] /kʼ/ /kʲʼ/ /kʷʼ/ [kʷʼ] /qʼ/ /qʲʼ/ /qʷʼ/ [qʷʼ]
Ҧ ҧ Ԥ ԥ Ҭ ҭ Ҭә ҭә Қ қ Қь қь Қә қә
/pʰ/ /tʰ/ /tʷʰ/ [t͡pʰ] /kʰ/ /kʲʰ/ /kʷʰ/ [kʷʰ]
Б б Д д Дә дә Г г Гь гь Гә гә
/b/ /d/ /dʷ/ [d͡b] /ɡ/ /ɡʲ/ /ɡʷ/ [ɡʷ]
М м Н н
/m/ /n/
Ф ф С с Ш ш Шь шь Шә шә Х х Хь хь Хә хә Ҳ ҳ Ҳә ҳә
/f/ /s/ /ʂ/ /ʂʲ/ [ʃ] /ʂʷ/ [ʃᶣ] /χ/ /χʲ/ /χʷ/ [χʷ] /ħ/ /ħʷ/ [ħᶣ]
В в З з Ж ж Жь жь Жә жә Ҕ ҕ Ӷ ӷ Ҕь ҕь Ӷь ӷь Ҕә ҕә Ӷә ӷә
/v/ /z/ /ʐ/ /ʐʲ/ [ʒ] /ʐʷ/ [ʒᶣ] /ʁ/ /ʁʲ/ /ʁʷ/ [ʁʷ]
Ҵ ҵ Ҵә ҵә Ҿ ҿ Ҷ ҷ
/tsʼ//tsʷʼ/ [tɕᶠʼ] /tʂʼ/ /tʂʲʼ/ [tʃʼ]
Ц ц Цә цә Ҽ ҽ Ч ч
/tsʰ//tsʷʰ/ [tɕᶠʰ] /tʂʰ/ /tʂʲʰ/ [tʃʰ]
Ӡ ӡ Ӡә ӡә Џ џ Џь џь
/dz/ /dzʷ/ [dʑᵛ] /dʐ/ /dʐʲ/ [dʒ]
Р р И и Ҩ ҩ У у
/r/ /j, jə, əj/ /jʷ/ [ɥ~ɥˤ] /w, wə, əw/
Л л

For the letter pairs <Ҧ Ԥ> /pʰ/ and <Ҕ Ӷ> /ʁ/, The ones with descenders <Ԥ Ӷ> are the modern standards, but the ones with hooks <Ҧ Ҕ> are still widely used. The ones with descenders <Ԥ Ӷ> are encoded in unicode since version 5.2 (i.e. later than the ones with hooks), and might not render correctly in some devices. (<Ꚋ Ӄ> also existed in earlier Cyrillic orthography of Abkhaz, for mordern <Ҭ Қ>.) There is also a (marginal) phoneme /ʔ/, but I don't know whether it is written or not.

There are two vowel phonemes: /ə/ /a/. There is also a long /aa/, which came from an earlier */ʕa/ or */aʕ/. There are the vowel symbols <Ы ы> for /ə/ and <А а> for /a/, and also <И и У у Е е О о> for other realisations of the vowel phonemes:

(In reality, things with the vowels are more complicated that this; let me read more about it / listen more first.) Stress is contrastive, but not indicated in the script.


I read through this:

I read parts of these:

Flagging and indexing of core gramamtical relations

In Georgian, the inventories of case and personal affixes that can be used to mark core grammatical relations is small. Nonetheless, the same markers are used in different ways, based on the verb class, and also the tense-aspect-mood of the verb for some verb classes. With these complex patterns, and some other morphosyntactic behaviours, different linguistics have been defining/arguing for different mappings between the arguments and the grammatical relations based on different morphosyntactic criteria.

Verb classes. The verbs are commonly divided into four classes. (Some linguists make finer distinctions.) I will simply call them Classes I, II, III, and IV. Prototypically:

There are many cases within each class that deviates from these transitivity prototypes. These verb classes are also characterised by other verbal morphologies, most of which are not discussed here.

Tense-aspect-mood. Each paradigm of tense-aspect-mood is traditionally called in English 'screeve' (from მწკრივი mts'k'rivi 'row'). The screeves can be divided into three series (the labels of the individual screeves often differ slightly in different discriptions:

Core cases. There are three core cases, they are usually called 'nominative', 'ergative', and 'dative'. Their forms vary depending on whether the noun/adjective stem they are attached to ends in a consonant or a vowel.

There are some class IV verbs of which the stimulus (the "object") is marked with a genitive case (noun: -is/-s, stems ending in -a or -e usually have -a/-e deleted and take -is; adjective: -i/-∅), instead of the usual nominative case. However, one line of thought is that since these genitive-marked nominals are not marked with a core case, nor cross-referenced, these nominals are oblique. These cases are not discussed further here.

There are three case marking patterns (-თვის -tvis below is a postposition that governs the genitive case):

Case pattern ↓ subject direct object indirect object

These three case marking patterns are used with the following verb classes/screeves:

Verb ↓ | Case ↘ | TAM → Series I Series II Series III
Class I B A C
Class II B B B
Class III B A C
Class IV C C C

With case pattern C, there is also Harris (1981)'s opinion that pattern C is a derivative of pattern B, and in pattern C, the DAT-marked nominal is the indirect object, the NOM-marked nominal the subject, and the tvis nominal an oblique object. The derivation from the normal pattern B is as follow: i) the original subject underwent 'inversion', i.e. demotion to indirect object, and hence marked with DAT; ii) the original indirect object becomes an oblique, marked with -tvis; and iii) since there is now no subject, 'unaccusativity' is activated, i.e. the original direct object is promoted to subject, and hence this nominal is marked with NOM. Please see Harris (1981) for her arguments and exact wording. One fact that makes this account for pattern C attractive is that the case marking aligns with the cross-referencing: i) the NOM-marked nominal, traditionally regarded as the direct object, is now regarded as the subject, and it aligns with set I cross-referencing on the verb, which is usually used for subjects; ii) the DAT-marked nominal, traditionally regarded as the subject, is now regarded as the indirect object, and it aligns with the set II cross-referencing, which is usually used for objects; iii) the tvis-marked nominal, traditionally regarded as the indirect object, is now regarded as an oblique, and this correctly matches the fact that this tvis-marked nominal is not cross-referenced. This set of operations occur in TAM series III for verb classes I and III, and in verb class IV. (She also had to formulate that these do not occur twice for class IV verbs in series III.)

Nonetheless, the world is not perfect, and there is one trait that suggests that synchronically, in some ways speakers view the DAT-marked nominal in pattern C as the subject: for third person references, plural subject references can be cross-rerenced by a plural suffix, whereas objects are never cross-referenced as plural; in pattern C, when both arguments are third person, it is the DAT-nominal that can have its plurality cross-referenced by a plural suffix -თ -t, while the NOM-nominal cannot.

Harris' account of the DAT/NOM/-tvis nominal in pattern C being IO/SUB/oblique is at least diachronically correct, while the traditional account of the DAT/NOM/-tvis nominal being SUB/DO/IO is also not without reason. Here I will simply acknowledge that things don't line up nicely, and, when dealing with pattern C, simply call them the DAT-relation/NOM-relation/tvis-relation. (While for patterns A and B, I'll use the terms SUB/DO/IO as usual.)

Cross-referencing. There are two sets of verbal cross-referencing affixes in Georgian (an agreeing nominal does not need to occur): Set I and Set II. Set I is used for subjects. Set II is used for objects, with separate affixes for direct and indirect objects for third person. For case pattern C, Set I is used for the NOM-relation, and set II (indirect object) is used for the DAT-relation. In some verb forms, an auxiliary verb is used in place of a normal set I affix; this auxiliary verb is laregly identical in form as the copula, which itself contains set I affixes. An example is მ-ი-ყვარ-ხარ m-i-q'var-xar 'I love you', where 'I' is cross-referenced with a set II m-, and 'you' is cross-referenced by the auxiliary -xar, identical in form to the copular ხარ xar 'you (sg) are'.

Set I singular plural
1st person ვ- ვ-[...]-თ
v- v-[...]-t
2nd person ∅(/ხ-) ∅(/ხ-)[...]-თ
∅(/x-) ∅(/x-)[...]-t
3rd person -ს/-ა/-ო -ან/-ენ/-ნენ/-ეს
-s/-a/-o -an/-en/-nen/-es
Auxiliary (Set I) singular plural
1st person (ვ-)[...]-ვარ (ვ-)[...]-ვართ
(v-)[...]-var (v-)[...]-vart
2nd person -ხარ -ხართ
-xar -xart
3rd person -ა/-ს -ა/-ს
-a/-s -a/-s

The third person allomorphs are morphologically conditioned; it depends on the verb class and screeve. The second person ხ- x- is rare: a) in the present indicative copulas ხარ xar 'you(sg) are' and ხართ xart 'you(pl) are'; b) in the motion verb in the future and aorist series (-თ -t in the following indicates plural subjects): future მო-ხ-ვალ-(თ) mo-x-val(-t) 'you will come', conditional მო-ხ-ვიდ-ოდ-ი(-თ) mo-x-vid-od-i(-t), future subjunctive მო-ხ-ვიდ-ოდ-ე(-თ) mo-x-vid-od-e(-t); aorist მო-ხ-ვედ-ი(-თ) mo-x-ved-i(-t) 'you came', aorist subjunctive (optative) მო-ხ-ვიდ-ე(-თ) mo-x-vid-e(-t). (The preverb მო- mo- can be substituted by other preverbs, e.g. მო-ხ-ვალ mi-x-val 'you will go'.)

Set II singular plural
1st person მ- გვ-
m- gv-
2nd person გ- გ-[...]-თ
g- g-[...]-t
3rd person direct object ∅- ∅-
∅- ∅-
3rd person indirect object ∅-/ს-/ჰ- ∅-/ს-/ჰ-[...](-თ)
∅-/s-/h- ∅-/s-/h-[...](-t)

As for the set II third person indirect object affixes: a) ს- s- in front of ც- წ- ძ- ჩ- ჭ- ჯ- თ- ტ- დ- | ts- ts'- dz- tš- tš'- dž- t- t'- d- (all the coronal plosives and affricates); b) ჰ- h- in front of ქ- კ- გ- ყ- | k- k'- g- q'- (all the dorsal plosives) or პ- p'-; and c) ∅ elsewhere. (One line of thinking is that) third person objects never take the plural suffix -თ -t; nonetheless, in case marking pattern C, the DAT-relation is now viewed as the subject, and the corresponding set II third person affix can take the plural suffix -თ -t if the NOM-relation is also third person.

A verb must have a set I affix. If the relation cross-referenced by a set II affix is empty, it is cross-referenced as 3SG direct object, i.e. ∅, by default. These prefixes and suffixes occur at the outer-most periphery of the verb, with the exception that preverbs can exist in front of a cross-reference prefix.

Combining cross-referencing affixes. There is a constraint that at most one non-zero prefix and one non-zero suffix can occur (the internal structure of the copula-like auxiliaries does not count). When more than one is logically needed in the prefix or suffix slot, there is a hierarchy as to which one is kept and which one is deleted (in the list below, > signifies 'has precedence over'):

For prefixes, see below for what happens when there is a 2SG direct object and 3SG indirect object. For the suffixes, it can be reworded like this: any plural suffix has precedence over the plural suffix -თ -t or a singular suffix.

These deletion rules can create two homonym sets, e.g. გმალავთ gmalavt 'we hide you(sg)', 'I hide you(pl)', 's/he hides you(pl)', or 'we hid you(pl)'; გმალავენ gmalaven 'they hide you(sg)' or 'they hide you(pl)'. In the table below, მალ mal is the verb root 'hide', and -ავ -av is a 'thematic suffix' (which is used primarily in the present/future series; in this case the verbs are in present indicative). Set I indexes the subject, and Set II the object, so, for instance, Set I 2SG and Set II 1sg მმალავ mmalav means 'You(sg) hide me'.

Set I → | Set II ↓ 1SG 2SG 3SG 1PL 2PL 3PL
1sg მ-მალ-ავ მ-მალ-ავ-ს მ-მალ-ავ-თ მ-მალ-ავ-ენ
m-mal-av m-mal-av-s m-mal-av-t m-mal-av-en
1pl გვ-მალ-ავ გვ-მალ-ავ-ს გვ-მალ-ავ-თ გვ-მალ-ავ-ენ
gv-mal-av gv-mal-av-s gv-mal-av-t gv-mal-av-en
2sg ვ-გ-მალ-ავ გ-მალ-ავ-ს ვ-გ-მალ-ავ-თ გ-მალ-ავ-ენ
v-g-mal-av g-mal-av-s v-g-mal-av-t g-mal-av-en
2pl ვ-გ-მალ-ავ-თ გ-მალ-ავ-ს-თ ვ-გ-მალ-ავ-თ-თ გ-მალ-ავ-ენ-თ
v-g-mal-av-t g-mal-av-s-t v-g-mal-av-t-t g-mal-av-en-t
3 ვ-მალ-ავ მალ-ავ მალ-ავ-ს ვ-მალ-ავ-თ მალ-ავ-თ მალ-ავ-ენ
v-mal-av mal-av mal-av-s v-mal-av-t mal-av-t mal-av-en

Two more comments need to be made. Reflexivation is indicated by the noun თავი tavi 'head', sometimes preceded by a possessive pronoun, e.g. ჩემი თავი tšemi tavi 'myself' (3SG reflexive is თავისი თავი tavisi tavi). This reflexive nominal is cross-referenced as third person (and hence the combinations of first person–first person and second person–second person do not feature in the table above). For instance, ჩემს თავს ვ-ა-ქ-ებ tšem-s tav-s v-a-k-eb (my-DAT head-DAT 1SG-NV-praise-TS) 'I praise myself'. Often, subjective version is used (ი- i- in the following example), in which case the possessive phrase is not used, e.g. თავს მო-ვ-ი-კლ-ავ tav-s mo-v-i-k'l-av (head-DAT PV-1-SV-kill-TS) 'I shall kill myself'.

We have seen above that there cannot be more than one non-zero cross-reference prefix. When there are a first or second person direct object and an indirect object, a more drastic approach is used than simply deleting one of the object prefixes: the direct object nominal is changed to თავი tavi 'head' preceded by a first or second person possessive adjective, and it is cross-referenced on the verb as third person, i.e. zero. For instance, შენ-ს თავ-ს მ-ა-ძლ-ევ-ენ šen-s tav-s m-a-dzl-ev-en (your-DAT head-DAT 1SG-NV-give-TS-3PL 'they give you(r head) to me'.