Bound Clitic Objects of Independent Adpositions in Suleimaniye Kurdish

Robyn C. Friend, Ph.D.

The Institute of Persian Performing Arts

Rancho Palos Verdes, California

First presented at the 1988 annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association

ABSTRACT: This paper discusses the affixation rules for bound clitic objects of prepositions in Suleimaniye Kurdish.  While most simple prepositions in Suleimaniye Kurdish have free nouns and pronouns as their objects, some have alternate forms that take bound clitics as their objects; I use the term “independent adposition” to refer to the latter type of preposition.

While independent adpositions take bound clitics as their objects, the clitic may not always be bound to the adposition of which it is the object.  This clitic may be bound to other constituents in the sentence, and the independent adposition may appear in any one of several different positions in the sentence.

Like other features of Suleimaniye Kurdish syntax and morphology, many of the constraints on word order of independent adpositions and affixation of their bound clitic objects are determined by the tense and transitivity of the verb.  With few exceptions, in intransitive sentences the clitic must be bound to the adposition, although the adposition-clitic constituent may come either before or after the verb.  In transitive sentences, the independent adposition can come before or after the verb, but the clitic need not be bound to the adposition.  In transitive sentences, the clitic object of an independent adposition can suffix either to the verb, to another noun phrase, or to its independent adposition; the clitic, however, must be bound to a constituent that comes before the verb in a present transitive sentence, and to a constituent that comes after the verb in a past transitive sentence.

INTRODUCTION

In Suleimaniye Kurdish the simple prepositions /ba/ “to, for, by, with, during”, /la/ “at, from”, and /a/ “to” have alternate forms with similar meanings and special properties.  The regular forms have free nouns and pronouns as their objects, while these alternate forms have bound clitics (note 1) as their objects [ Wahby 1966:84, McCarus 1958:75 ].  I refer to these alternate forms by the term “independent adposition”; though this type of adposition has a bound clitic as its object, the clitic is not always bound to the adposition.  As will be shown below, the clitic that is the object of the independent adposition could be bound to one of several constituents, and the adposition may appear in one of several positions, depending on the tense and transitivity of the verb, and the presence of other constituents in the sentence.

The independent form of /ba/ is /pê/; the independent form of /la/ is /lê/ [ McCarus 1958:75 ]; the independent form of /a/ is /ê/; additional independent forms are /wê/ and /tê/ [ MacKenzie 1961:123 ]. In addition, the simple prepositions /bô/ “for, to, towards, as” and /lagal/ “with” may also function independently [ MacKenzie 1961:123 ].

Examples 1, 2, and 3 contrast the use of the regular preposition with full nouns against the use of the independent adposition with clitics.  Example 1 is a regular preposition that has a following noun as its object; examples 2 and 3 show independent adpositions with bound clitic objects.

While the independent adposition can appear in several different positions, it would not be entirely correct to say, as does MacKenzie, that these adpositions “stand in no particular position in relation to the form they govern” [ 1961:123 ].  In fact, though the clitic need not be bound to the adposition of which it is the object, there are limits on the circumstances under which an independent adposition is separated from its object, limits on the position each may have with regard to other constituents, and limits on the constituents which may separate the two.  As we will see in the next section, in Suleimaniye Kurdish these limits are defined by rules of clitic movement, as well as by rules regarding independent adpositions.

INDEPENDENT ADPOSITIONS, INTRANSITIVE VERBS

Many of the constraints on the possible positions of independent adpositions relative to their object clitics are determined, like much of Suleimaniye Kurdish syntax and morphology, by the transitivity of the verb (note 2).  With few exceptions, in past- and present-tense intransitive constructions the clitic must be bound to the adposition.  This yields constituent orders where the verb and its bound subject clitic may come either before or after the adposition and its bound object clitic; however, the clitic may not (with rare exception) split off from the adposition and bind itself to any other constituent.

Examples 4 through 18 are intransitive sentences with independent adposition constructions, both grammatical and ungrammatical.  These examples and the tables of grammatical and ungrammatical constituent orders have been compiled from data I have collected from a native speaker.

The adposition-clitic package may come after the verb, as in examples 4 and 5, or it may come before the verb, as in examples 6 and 7.  Nearly every attempt to separate a clitic from its independent adposition in an intransitive sentence results in ungrammaticality. For example, the clitic may not be bound to the verb either before or after the verb stem, as shown in the ungrammatical examples 8 through 11; nor can the clitic attach to some other constituent, as shown in the ungrammatical examples 12 through 14.

Some of the logical possibilities that turn out to be ungrammatical are such primarily because of a general rule regarding word order in Suleimaniye Kurdish, under which destinations preferentially come last.  The general rule for Suleimaniye Kurdish word order is that the expression of time comes first, the verb second, and the destination last, as in examples 15 and 16.  Attempts to put the destination or the expression of time elsewhere result, at best, in clumsy-sounding sentences that, though entirely interpretable, still sound awkward or “foreign”.

Table I provides an outline of the constituent orderings that I have found to be grammatically correct with independent adpositional phrases in Suleimaniye Kurdish, as well as some constituent orders that I have found to be ungrammatical.

INDEPENDENT ADPOSITIONS, TRANSITIVE VERBS

The independent adposition has more freedom with regard to position in transitive sentences than those in intransitive sentences.  The positions of the other main elements (agent clitic, verb, and indirect object clitic), however, remain fixed.  Note that in past transitive sentences, the Set II agent clitic always precedes the verb stem, while the Set I indirect object clitic always follows the verb stem.  In the present tense, these two grammatical roles switch position, while the actual clitic structure of Set I and Set II remains the same:  the Set II clitic comes before the verb and is the indirect object of the adposition, while the Set I clitic comes after the verb and is the agent clitic.   The independent adposition may come immediately following the Set II clitic, which attaches itself to the earliest non-subject constituent in the sentence.  This attachment of the Set II clitic is similar to the clitic movement patterns of the past transitive construction, except that in this case the fronting of the Set II clitic happens in the present tense as well as in the past tense.  The adposition may also follow the verb stem in the past tense; when this occurs, the Set I indirect object clitic attaches to the adposition.  This cannot occur in the present tense; the Set I clitic is the agent clitic, and cannot be separated from the verb.

PAST TRANSITIVE

In the past transitive, the agent clitic fronts to the earliest major non-subject/agent constituent in the sentence.  The indirect object clitic is suffixed either to the verb, or to the independent adposition which follows the verb.  The adposition can occur either before the verb, or after it, as shown in examples 19 and 20.

If the adposition comes before the verb in the past transitive — which means it comes after the NP-agent clitic bundle — and if there is an additional NP before the verb (such as the noun phrase of a compound verb) (note 3), the adposition must come before the NP.  This is illustrated in the ungrammatical example 21, and in example 22.  If no other NP in the sentence precedes the adposition, this makes the adposition the earliest major non-subject constituent.  It is therefore eligible to receive the agent clitic, as in example 23.  However, this is true only if there is no other possible NP which can be in the first position.  If there is another NP that can be in first position, it must go there and take the agent clitic, as in example 25.  Failure to place an eligible NP to the first position in the sentence leads to ungrammatical sentences, such as example 24.

Table II provides an outline of the constituent orderings for adpositional phrases in the past transitive tense that I have found to be grammatically correct in Suleimaniye Kurdish, as well as some constituent orderings that I have determined to be ungrammatical.

PRESENT TRANSITIVE

In the present tense of transitive verbs with independent adpositional phrases, the basic ordering of clitics and verbs is Set II — Verb — Set I, the same as in the past transitive.  However, in the present tense the Set II clitic switches from being the agent clitic (as it is in the past tense) to being the object of the adposition, and the Set I clitic switches from being the object of the adposition (as it is in the past tense) to being the agent clitic.  The Set II clitic still attaches to the earliest major non-subject constituent in the sentence.  Examples 26 and 27 are the present-tense equivalents of examples 19 and 22, respectively (note 4).

In the present transitive, the adposition is more restricted as to the positions that it can hold.  As shown in the ungrammatical examples 28 and 29, it may not come at the end of the sentence.  In some cases, such as examples 30 and 31, the adposition may occupy the first position, and is then eligible to take the Set II object clitic.  That this is not always the case is shown by the ungrammatical attempt in example 32.  Compare example 32 with a similar ungrammatical past tense sentence in example 24.

Table III provides an outline of the constituent orderings for adpositional phrases in the present transitive tense that I have found to be grammatically correct in Suleimaniye Kurdish.

SUMMARY and CONCLUSIONS

Like other features of Suleimaniye Kurdish syntax and morphology, many of the constraints on word order of independent adpositions and affixation of their bound clitic objects are determined by the tense and transitivity of the verb.  With few exceptions, in intransitive sentences the clitic must be bound to the adposition, although the adposition-clitic constituent may come either before or after the verb.  In transitive sentences, the independent adposition can come before or after the verb, but the clitic need not be bound to the adposition.  In transitive sentences, the clitic object of an independent adposition can suffix either to the verb, to another noun phrase, or to its independent adposition; the clitic, however, must be bound to a constituent that comes before the verb in a present transitive sentence, and to a constituent that comes after the verb in a past transitive sentence.


EXAMPLES

Note: Throughout the paper, examples marked with an asterisk [*] are UNGRAMMATICAL.

REGULAR PREPOSITION
                _
(1)      ba    bawk  - im
        prep <--obj  - II
                      poss
         to   father - my

        'to my father'

        [ McCarus 1958:75 ]
INDEPENDENT ADPOSITIONS with BOUND CLITIC OBJECTS

(2)         _
          pe  - y
          prep - II
            |<---|
           to  - him
 
          'to him'
 
          [ McCarus 1958:75 ]

(3)       _      _                        _
          ista  bo - t      a    - gir  - in
          adv   IA - II    T/A   - PRES - I
                |<---|                    S
          now  for - you  imperf - weep - they
 
          'they are now weeping over you'

          [ MacKenzie 1962:18 ]

INDEPENDENT ADPOSITIONS, INTRANSITIVE VERBS

            _      _^                  _                 _
(4)        bo     mal - awa     ?   - hat  - in  lagal - i
          preE <--obj - postE  T/A  - PAST - I     IA  - II
                                             S           IO
           to    home - to     perf - came - you  with - him
 
          "you came home with him"
           _       _^                    _                 _
(5)       bo      mal - awa       d   -  e   - n   lagal - i
          preE <--obj - postE    T/A  - PRES - I     IA  - II
                                               S           IO
           to    home - to     imperf - come - you  with - him
 
          "you will come (are coming ) home with him"
                  _        _           _     _^
(6)       lagal - i    - hat  - in   bo    mal - awa
           IA   - II   T/A  - PAST - I   preE <-obj - postE
                  IO                 S
          with  - him  perf - came - you  to   home - to
 
          "you came home with him"
 
                  _              _           _    _^
(7)       lagal - i       d   -  e   - n    bo   mal  - awa
           IA   - II     T/A  - PRES - I   preE <-obj - postE
                  IO                   S
          with  - him  imperf - come - you  to   home - to
 
          "you will come (are coming) home with him"

INDEPENDENT ADPOSITIONS, INTRANSITIVE VERBS

Ungrammatical Examples
               _         _          _   _^
(8)      * - hat - in - i  lagal  bo  mal - awa

               _       _          _   _^
(9)       *d - e - n - i  lagal  bo  mal- awa

                           _         _   _^
(10)      *lagal  a - y - hat - in  bo  mal - awa

                           _       _   _^
(11)      *lagal  da - y - e - n  bo  mal - awa

            _   _^                       _
(12)      *bo  mal - awa - y lagal  - hat - in

            _   _^                       _
(13)      *bo  mal - awa - y  lagal  d - e - n

            "_ _    _              _         _
(14)      *doene - man  lagal  - hat - in  bo  mala - awa

INDEPENDENT ADPOSITIONS, INTRANSITIVE VERBS

With Expressions of Time

             "_ _                _          _    _^
(15)        doene    -  gara  - m - awa   bo   mal  - awa
             adv     T/A  -  PAST  - I - dir  preE <-obj - postE
                                     S
          yesterday  perf - return - I - dir   to   home - to
 
          "I returned home yesterday"
 
              _ _                _               _     _^
(16)       bayani      a   -  gare  - m - awa   bo    mal - awa
            adv       T/A  -  PAST  - I - dir  preE <-obj - postE
                                      S
          tomorrow  imperf - return - I - dir   to   home - to
 
          "I shall return home tomorrow"


TABLE I

INDEPENDENT ADPOSITION CONSTITUENT ORDERS, INTRANSITIVE VERBS

Past Tense
                  NP  V-S       IA-IO
                        I          II

                      V-S  NP   IA-IO
                        I          II

                      V-S       IA-IO  NP
                        I          II
           IA-IO      V-S  NP
              II        I

           IA-IO  ADJ-COP
              II

                  ADJ-COP        IA-IO
                                    II
*      NP  IA-IO      V-S
              II        I

*          IA-IO  NP  V-S
              II        I

*     IA   NP-IO      V-S
              II        I

 
*          NP-IO  IA  V-S (NP)
              II        I
*          NP-IO      V-S        IA
              II        I
 
*         IA          V-S-IO
                        I II
*         IA     NP   V-S-IO
                        I II
 
*         NP     IA   V-S-IO
                        I II
 
*         NP          V-S-IO     IA
                        I II

*                     V-S-IO     IA
                        I II

*         IA       IO-V-S
                   II   I

*         IA    NP IO-V-S
                   II   I

*         NP    IA IO-V-S
                   II   I
 
*         NP       IO-V-S        IA
                   II   I

*                  IO-V-S        IA
                   II   I

Present Tense

     NP   IA-IO       V-S
             II         I

          IA-IO  NP   V-S
             II         I

          IA-IO       V-S  (NP)
             II         I

*    IA   NP-IO       V-S
                        I

*    IA   NP-IO      COP
             II

          NP-IO  IA  COP
             II

*         NP-IO  IA  V-S
             II        I

*          NP-IO      V-S        IA
             II        I

*         NP-IO      COP        IA
             II
                 NP  V-S        IA-IO
                       I           II

                     V-S   NP   IA-IO
                       I           II

                     V-S        IA-IO   NP
                       I           II
 
                 ADJ-COP         IA-IO
                                   II

          IA-IO  ADJ-COP
             II

INDEPENDENT ADPOSITIONS, TRANSITIVE VERBS

              _    _     _                     _
(19)      darga - yan   bo    - kird  - it  - awa
           DO   - II    IA   T/A  - PAST  - I   - post
                  A                         IO
          door  - they  for  perf - "did" - you - post
 
          "they opened the door for you"
 
              _    _                            _
(20)      darga - yan    - kird  - awa   bo  - y
           DO   - II    T/A  - PAST  - post  IA  - I
                  A                                IO
          door  - they  perf - "did" - post  for - you
 
          "they opened the door for you"

             _        _    _      _            _
(21)      *xwardin - yan  hazir  bo  - kird - i
 
            _        _     _     _                 _
(22)      xwardin - yan   bo    hazir    - kird - i
            DO    - II    IA    COMP    T/A  - PAST - I
                    A                                 IO
           food   - they  for  prepare  perf - did  - you

          "they prepared food for you"
           _     _    _
(23)      bo  - tan  bar    - kird - in
          IA  - II   COMP  T/A  - PAST - I
                A                        IO
          for - you  load  perf - did  - them
 
          "you loaded up [something] for them"
            _    _       _                 _
(24)      *bo - yan  darga  - kird - it - awa
 
              _    _     _                     _
(25)      darga - yan   bo    - kird  - it  - awa
           DO   - II    IA   T/A  - PAST  - I   - post
                  A                         IO
          door  - they  for  perf - "did" - you - post

          "they opened the door for you"


TABLE II

INDEPENDENT ADPOSITION CONSTITUENT ORDERS, TRANSITIVE VERBS

Past Tense
   *           IA  NP-A             V-    IO
                      II                  I
 
                   NP-A   IA        V-    IO
                      II                  I

   *               NP-A   NP  IA    V-    IO
                      II                  I

                   NP-A             V  IA-IO
                      II                  I

                   NP-A             V-    IO    IA
                      II                  I

               NP  IA-A             V-    IO
                      II                  I

                   IA-A   NP        V-    IO
                      II                  I

   *               IA-A  NP         V-    IO
                      II                  I

                   IA-A             V-    IO    NP
                      II                  I
 
INDEPENDENT ADPOSITIONS, PRESENT TRANSTIVE

              _         _
(26)      darga - t    bo     a   -  ka  -  n   - awa
           DO   - II   IA    T/A  - PRES -  I   - post
                  IO                        A
          door  - you  for imperf - "do" - they - post
 
          "they will open (are opening) the door for you"
 
            _             _     _
(27)      xwardin - it   bo    hazir      a   -  ka  - n
            DO    - II   IA    COMP      T/A  - PRES - I
                    IO                                 A
           food   - you  for  prepare  imperf - did  - they
 
          "they will prepare (are preparing) food for you"
 
               _                         _
(28)      *darga - t  a - ka - n - awa  bo
 
            _     _        _
(29)      *nan - man  a - xo - y  lagal

                   _    _             _
(30)      lagal - man  nan    a    - xo   - y
           IA   - II   DO    T/A   - PRES - I
                  IO                        A
          with  - us  food  imperf - eat  - you
 
          "you will eat (are eating) food with us"
 
           _     _     _
(31)      bo  - yan   bar     a    -  ka  - yn
          IA  - II    COMP   T/A   - PRES - I
                IO                          A
          for - them  load  imperf -  do  - we
 
          "we will load up (are loading up) [something] for them"
 
            _          _
(32)      *bo - t  darga  a - ka - n - awa
 


TABLE III
INDEPENDENT ADPOSITION CONSTITUENT ORDERS, TRANSITIVE VERBS

Present Tense
   *           IA  NP-IO  (NP)      V-    A
                      II                  I

                   NP-IO  IA  (NP)  V-    A
                      II                  I

   *               NP-IO  NP  IA    V-    A
                      II                  I

   *               NP-IO  (NP)      V-    A IA
                      II                  I

               NP  IA-IO            V-    A
                      II                  I

                   IA-IO  NP  (NP)  V-    A
                      II                  I

                   IA-IO            V-    A       NP
                      II                  I

                   IA-IO            V-    A
                      II                  I


NOTES

1.

    In Suleimaniye Kurdish, as in other Iranian languages, there exist two sets of clitic suffixes (referred to as Set I and Set II) that form a complex system of marking; this marking system appears throughout Suleimaniye Kurdish grammar.  These suffixes mark possession, and can indicate the subject, agent, and direct and indirect objects of the verb.  Which of these functions a particular suffix is performing largely depends on the tense and transitivity of the verb.  The rules for these clitics have been discussed elsewhere [Friend 1985:45; Stilo 1981:156; see also Mackenzie 1961:76-77 and McCarus 1958:49].

2.

    For a discussion of the past transitive construction in Suleimaniye Kurdish, see [Friend 1985:152-192].

3.

    Alan Timberlake has suggested (personal communications) that it is likely that the noun phrase of a compound verb is the only NP that might occur in this position.

4.

    As in other Iranian languages, there is no formal future tense in Suleimaniye Kurdish.  The present tense serves for both present and future, as I have indicated in my translations of the example sentences.

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