Neither a lexical verb nor a complementizer: evidential SAY-based complements in Chuvash
Mikhail Knyazev
May 2023

The paper discusses a potential challenge to the (full) decompositional analysis of ‘say’-complementizers according to which they are synchronically analyzed as respective non-finite forms of a lexical verb ‘say’ (cf. Major 2021), by focusing on tenine, the accusative-marked (event) nominalization of te ‘say’, which is used in the complementizer-like function with verbs like ‘hear’, ‘know’, ‘believe (someone)’, etc. in the Poshkart dialect of Chuvash. Based on data previously described by Knyazev (2022), it is shown that tenine cannot be compositionally interpreted as a nominalization of a lexical verb ‘say’ since this would lead to incorrect paraphrases (‘heard / learned that X / someone said that p’). However, an analysis where tenine is a special complementizer (cf. Knyazev 2022) must also be rejected since tenine syntactically patterns like a nominalization. To resolve this paradox, it is proposed that tenine should be analyzed as involving a reportative evidential light verb ‘say’, with the saying event component having the status of a presupposition (Simeonova 2020). The possibility of extending this account to the more familiar converbial complementizer teze is briefly discussed, as well as implications for Korotkova’s (2016) analysis of evidentials.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/007172
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: to appear in the In memoriam collection for Sasha Vydrina (
keywords: 'say'-complementizers, turkic, verbs of hearing, evidentiality, semantics, syntax
previous versions: v2 [March 2023]
v1 [March 2023]
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