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Tense, aspect, modality and evidentiality in Nakh-Daghestanian languages
August 19, 2013

Date: August 19, 2013

Coordinated by Diana Forker & Oleg Belyaev

One of the most striking traits of Nakh-Daghestanian languages is their rich verbal morphology and elaborate systems of tense, aspect, mood, and evidentiality. The most typologically interesting features of Nakh-Daghestanian TAME systems are the following:

  • Large numbers of TAME paradigms with different degrees of grammaticalization.
  • Very subtle distinctions between particular TAME categories: for example, it is common to have several different types of Habitual (e.g. Ashti Dargwa has three: gnomic, qualitative and non-generic) or of Perfect/Resultative.
  • Unwitnessed past is usually expressed by Perfect forms, while the simple past form serves as neutral or witnessed past tense. However, it is not always clear whether these are distinct grammatical meanings of the forms or they simply arise as implicatures.
  • In addition to a primary means of expressing evidentiality, there are often special constructions that express the evidentiality, with often subtle differences from the primary form.
  • The existence of rare TAME categories, such as Deliberative (‘May I go?’), Noncurative (‘Let him go, I don’t care.’), and Mirative.
  • Many languages express aspect by stem changes in addition to specialized suffixal markers. Stem alternations are often purely allomorphic, but sometimes the same suffix can be attached to different stems. Thus, the interaction between the aspectual semantics of the stem and those of the suffixes can be rather complicated.

Contributors are asked to focus on one or two selected, especially interesting points within the range of TAME.  We particularly encourage presentations on mood, aspect, and evidentiality. Our aim is to cover all branches of the family.

The workshop will take place on August 19 in Leipzig, right after the biennial conference of the Association for Linguistic Typology. Anyone interested is welcome to attend the talks.



Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig


Confirmed speakers

  • Gilles Authier
  • Ayten Babaliyeva
  • Marina Chumakina
  • Bernard Comrie
  • Denis Creissels
  • Michael Daniel
  • Zaira Khalilova
  • Timur Maisak
  • Zarina Molochieva
  • Rasul Mutalov
  • Johanna Nichols
  • Nina Sumbatova