Chapter published in:Advances in Iranian Linguistics
Edited by Richard K. Larson, Sedigheh Moradi and Vida Samiian
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 351] 2020
► pp. 57–83
The additive particle in Persian
A case of morphological homophony between syntax and pragmatics
This chapter discusses the syntactic and semantic properties of the additive marker -am in Persian. I show that -am exhibits positional variability, is polysemous in meaning, and does not always contribute meaning that affects the truth conditions of the sentence. On the basis of this I classify -am as a pragmatic particle. Noting that -am is homophonous with both the first person singular agreement suffix and the first person pronominal enclitic, I propose that it is precisely because additive -am is a pragmatic particle that it is distinguished from the inflectional morphemes it resembles in form. Thus the chapter argues for three levels at which morphemes can be classified: derivation, inflection, pragmatic, and suggests that cross-level homophony is not accidental. Rather, frequency of use at one level predisposes a particular form to be used at another level. This ultimately gives a language its morphological ‘flavour’.
Keywords: additive, inflection, derivation, discourse particles, homophony, Persian
Published online: 22 July 2020
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