Syntax in morphological guise: Interrogative verbal morphology in Abaza, by Peter M. Arkadiev

Linguistic Typology 2020; 24(2): 211–251

Abaza, a polysynthetic ergative Northwest Caucasian language, possesses a typologically unique system of forming content questions by means of inflectional marking in the verb. I offer a detailed description of this peculiar system, showing how it is grounded in the more general pattern of encoding relativization by means of prefixes forming part of the basic cross-referencing paradigms. I also discuss a tentative diachronic scenario, explaining how at least a subpart of the synthetic interrogative marking in Abaza (and its close relative Abkhaz) could have emerged via univerbation of pseudocleft focus constructions.

Keywords: Abaza; Abkhaz; Northwest Caucasian; polysynthesis; interrogative constructions; typological rarities

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