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Universality of grammar and grammatical universals (2)

von August Dauses


Chapter 1: Isolating versus inflecting and agglutinating languages
Chapter 2: Grammatical morphemes as relative indicators and concomitant phenomena
Chapter 3: Grammatical marking, classification and word formation
Chapter 4: Grammar and linguistic history
Chapter 5: Schematic, pleonastic and secondary usage
Chapter 6: New categories - new redundancies

3. Grammatical marking, classification and word formation

As we have seen, it is neither always so easy to understand highly schematic markings following the rules by using the concept of 'grammar', nor to even specify this concept of grammar. Indications of relations and indications of function inside the sentence and inside the text cannot simply be equated with the basic distinctions between different meanings as they are for example represented by the sentence modes. It is therefore absolutely legitimate to speak of a certain plurality as far as the determination of grammar is concerned just as it is legitimate to speak of a flexible and gradual determination of the degree of grammaticality. However, it is especially a gradual determination that makes the philologist determine which kind of criteria he wants to use. If this is not case or only on the basis of an intuitive foreknowledge, the points of view concerning the form and the content are easily mixed up so that it becomes soon impossible to delimit definitely 'real' grammar from vocabulary any longer.

In a theory concerning the Romance languages about the so-called pre-determination of grammatical morphemes in modern French, analogously to the Latin comparative (fortior) and to the elative (fortissimus), also augmentative and diminutive suffixes have been considered to be part of grammar, in addition to that analogously adjectives referring to size (for example French petit and grand). This very soon leads to a kind of chaos, because it is obvious that the distinction between grammar and vocabulary disappears immediately, if we try to reach an analogous treatment according to onomasiological points of view (cf. chapter 1 and 2). This does not only apply to the comparison of two language levels (Latin-French), but also to the comparison of different languages among themselves. Analogously to the Indo-European grammar we treat too easily in non-Indo-European languages as grammar that which is used neither schematically nor redundantly nor in an obligatory way, but that which is used as freely as the forms considered as lexemes (for example nominal concepts of case or prepositions with a meaning of place).

Consequently, an inadequate definition easily leads to an incoherent theory and to an incoherent treatment of the phenomena so that classifications of a concept may be counted as grammar for analogous reasons. Adjectives expressing the idea of something ‘big’ or ‘small’ (in the literal or figurative sense) are, however, such classifications that orientate themselves directly by the external world and by its assessment so that they cannot simply be counted as grammar, just as little as further adjectives or, more generally speaking, attributes.

In order to distinguish classification and thereby also word formation on the one hand from grammar on the other hand, our criterion of pleonastics - redundancy is well suited and at the same time it is in accord with the conceptions of grammar as an obligatory marking: a classification orientating itself by the external world cannot become redundant or obligatory because

  1. it is up to the speaker himself whether and to which degree he wants to specify something (for example according to size, weight, colour, quality, etc.) and because
  2. such a classification also demands specific knowledge (as far as size, weight, colour and quality are concerned).
This specific knowledge is however by no means always available so that an obligatory indication with reference to certain characteristics or attributes necessarily leads to a kind of misleading information because in this case the speaker indicates something he does not know in reality!

Every reader can find this out by using the collocates 'big' or 'small' for every noun in every sentence. Let us only take a sentence like Das Wetter in Spanien begünstigt die Landwirtschaft with three nouns, which will lead him to desperation or to a completely arbitrary usage of these adjectives, which would immediately be deprived of any meaning. They soon would become the emptied prefixes of the nouns.

Real classifications do not go together with real redundancy, otherwise they are no classifications any longer, but empty 'appendices'!

In connection with the delimitation of grammar from word formation it means the following: classifications that become obligatory turn into emptied appendices of the words in question or let us put it differently: classifications that are to become grammatical, re-disappear in the 'black hole' of word formation!

In fact, such phenomena exist in the natural languages: in Suaheli, nouns and similarly also connected adjectives referring to living things are connected with a prefix m-, which is said to have had the meaning of something 'big', whereas things connected with a prefix ki-, are said to have had the meaning of something 'small'. These are completely emptied prefixes that are learnt together with the words of a class. Further noun prefixes in Suaheli are to be assessed in a similar way.

We can find something similar in the Indo-European languages: the gender used to indicate the sex, but even if it is about living things the speaker cannot always know which sex it is about so that this gender was always used schematically before it was more and more 'emptied'. As a consequence, it was gradually used in a fragmented way from one analogous usage to another (also as far as plants and objects were concerned), and was finally memorised one by one. Consequently, a classification turned into an emptied suffix and finally into a morpho-syntactical behaviour (congruencies of gender) that is to be learnt together with the single noun, because the morphological form does not permit an unambiguous piece of information about the gender (cf. already classical Latin or even modern French: la maison, la main, le pain).

In the Indo-European language gender is basically grammar that disappears in the 'black hole' of word formation, before even this word formation became not recognisable any longer so that just a morpho-syntactic behaviour was preserved. As far as this gender is concerned, it is not about a redundant marking any longer, already because of the fact that the grammatical gender does not have a content any more. It would at best be possible to speak of redundancy as far as the sex is concerned and this because
  1. it is marked regularly and because
  2. it is often used additionally to lexematic information (cf. pater - mater; vir - femina; bos - vacca).
We could therefore, referring to gender, also speak of allomorphic forms or even better of an allomorphic behaviour.

By doing this, we have already reached an area that is typical of the Indo-European languages and that lies between grammar and word formation: the allomorphic forms are the different realisations of a grammatical morpheme and they develop among others from the crossing of two morphemes that used to have different functions (Latin curro – cucurri; dico – dixi, the perfect and the 'aorist' coincided as far as their functions were concerned) or from the emptying of a word formation morpheme being preserved as part of a grammatical ending. So different word classes are generated as it is the case with the nouns that differ according to the gender or as it is the case with the verbs, Latin cantare, monere, whose stem vowels go back to an old case form respectively to a causative.

Naturally, we have extremely simplified the highly complex connections between word formation, stem formation and the formation of allomorphic forms in the Indo-European language. However, this allows us just to illustrate that word formation and grammar in the Indo-European languages are closely linked with each other and that we can also count the different formal realisations of grammatical morphemes, that is the allomorphic forms, as grammar and that we thereby also consider the allomorphic forms and allomorphic distributions to be part of this grammar. Such an understanding of grammar has however nothing to do any longer with the fact that the usage of a morpheme is highly schematic and redundant, but only with the different realisations of these morphemes, consequently with the arbitrariness of the 'signifiers' when compared among themselves.

And this arbitrariness is therefore not universal either in the sense that it is necessarily part of the nature of grammar, but it is a part of a single language and a product of linguistic history. We simply learn this allomorphic form together with the lexemes (for example verbs) and certain grammatical functions (cf. tense, infinitive, etc.). In any case the allomorphic form does neither refer to contents nor to the structure of the sentence or the text, but it is an arbitrary distribution of forms, whose memorisation suggests a regularity as far as the lexemes are concerned (Latin cantare, habere, dormire; murus, casa, templum). This regularity however only consists in the memorised arbitrariness and the high frequency of these allomorphic forms that can simply be combined with many lexemes.

Allomorphic forms develop themselves among other things by the fact that original elements of the word formation are not understood any longer so that they are understood and memorised as a unity together with the ending.

There are also further connections between grammar, word formation and vocabulary, which in turn are characteristic of our Indo-European languages and which are connected with their history. The Indo-European has a category of its own of prepositions that represent neither nominal concepts nor verbal concepts and that represent so to speak the second generation of the cases referring to a place. At first, they can be used as free additives to these cases so that they can also become pleonastic-redundant (Latin *in, templo stat; ex, templo venit). In classical Latin we find as a relic the 'tmesis' (obstat, but ob mihi stat!). Being free additives they are also syntactically free and can therefore stand next to the verb and form a unity with it (ex, it > exit; in, it> init, etc.), also in the nominal area (introitus, abitus, exitus). They then form a new concept together with the lexeme, that is they specify the lexeme in question.

Now this can have as a consequence that we have to do with a very redundant marking of the indication of place or origin, if word formation and 'real' preposition are involved at the same time: de nave desilire, ex urbe ire, de provincia exire. Case, preposition and word formation prefix work together in order to mark the origin. This would not be possible in a different language, in which nominal concepts correspond to these deictic prepositions (for example 'inside, front, back').

Such nominal concepts are not free syntactically and would be understood as a subject or as an object of the verb in the 'wrong' place (cf. in imitation: Latin ineunt vs. *interiora eunt; interiora would then be the subject referring to eunt). The flexibility of our Indo-European prepositions has therefore also a syntactic background: they used to be freely movable additives with a deictic character and in fact no nominal concepts so that they could also be connected with the different word classes. And since these prepositions that are free and dispensable additives which, in a pleonastic way, make for example the indication of direction clear (desilire de, profisci ad, inire in), are also used a bit schematically, it is by far easier to use them analogously once again, cf. to look at, German schauen auf, to strive at, German streben nach; to hope for, German hoffen auf, etc. They can now be regarded as redundant indicators of the object (grammar) or even as integral parts of the corresponding verbs which are followed by an object.

This hybrid character also becomes distinct if such pleonastic additives assume for their part a grammatical or partial function once again. The development of a prepositional or ‘personal’ accusative in some Romance languages has to be imagined in a similar way (Spanish Maria ve a Juan 'John sees Mary', with the object at the first place in the sentence). An originally certainly pleonastic preposition used together with verbs indicating a direction (cf. English to look at) can be used to distinguish the object as aim from the subject, and since this is in general relevant only to persons but not to a person and an inanimate object (cf. A Maria ve Juan vs. El muro ve Juan: the wall cannot see), it was only the so-called 'personal accusative' that came to exist. Since this accusative however fulfils only in few cases an important function, it was not really taken into consideration any more and was used more and more schematically so that it became a pleonastic companion of the accusative referred to persons, therefore as far as orthodox syntax is concerned, too (Juan ve a Maria).

Grammar and word formation on the one hand and word formation and the formation of allomorphic forms on the other hand are therefore closely linked with each other in the Indo-European languages: the more pleonastic a grammatical marking, which is used for example together with a verb, becomes, the more often analogous treatments can occur.

To the extent, however, to which such prepositions are not used systematically – in order to mark the accusative, even if pleonastically, they are not memorised with this same function either, but as an integral part of the verbs. This is why they become 'governed' particles (compare consequently to see + O, but to look at, to strive for, etc.)

Perhaps it is possible to reduce these considerations to a simple formula: numerous allomorphic occurrences are often an indicator of highly pleonastic grammars, because it is only that which fulfils a very little function which can also be extended analogously or crossed within themselves and such crossings again lead to arbitrary allomorphic forms (= total synonymy as far as complementary distribution is concerned). Consequently, word formation and grammar are closely linked with each other in our Indo-European languages, even though we could but outline this connection only as an example. In another context we have already indicated this in chapter 1, in fact with reference to the marking of the person as far as the predicative verb is concerned (Latin canto, cantas, cantat, English I sing, you sing, he sings). This marking is part of the word formation because it is possible to deduce a verb from a noun (with a different meaning) out of the same root, and at the same time it is part of grammar, because the subject to which the predicative verb is referred is (pleonastically or also redundantly) indicated by it.

In this case grammatical redundancy is the consequence of word formation as shown by languages that are poor in redundancy. Such languages do not know such products of word formation and create periphrastic constructions (for example *Fisch fangen for fischen) or use completely different words, which has a far more rare marking of the person as a consequence.

Furthermore, such languages use the object pronouns in a more economical way so that further usages of personal pronouns (for example as relative pronouns) and sub-usages (for example as dativus commodi, etc.) become far less probable there. Thus, word formation indirectly has still further consequences for the grammar of a language and its development.

But even in our languages where we do not deduce verbs from nouns with the same root (for example German Bein, Nase, Stuhl) and even in such languages that generally do not know such kind of word formation (Japanese), the distinction between noun and verb seems to be a fundamental, perhaps even necessary distinction, which we therefore consider to be universal. This has probably in principle to do with the fact that in the Indo-European languages we create predicates that are no identity predicates (Vater ist Lehrer; das ist ein Stein) almost always with verbs so that we equate the function in the sentence (predicate) with the word class (verb). Strictly speaking, the function in the sentence is to be separated from the word class and we can obtain this for example by using analogously to the isolating languages words capable of forming a predicate (consequently especially verbs to our understanding) without a difference in a nominal or predicative function (consequently fictitious *people go; I like go; go is good for health; *I love you; we speak about love; love is good). We just must not commit the mistake of transposing this 'verb' according to the syntactic tradition of the English language into a 'real' verb and noun again!

Consequently, we have to start from the assumption that as far as both usages are concerned (the nominal one or the verbal predicative one) exactly the same concept is expressed. In this sense we have to do with polymorphous forms in the Indo-European; the same concept can occur as a noun as well as a verb and this verb can have predicative and nominal (non-predicative) forms (I go – to go/ going respectively Latin eo-ire).

This joining-up of certain forms and word classes with the function in the sentence is, however, not universal yet. It is only the function in the sentence that is universal and certainly also the circumstance that this function is recognisable in the sentence. This is possible by using own forms and markings or by using syntax and meaning. Isolating languages (for example Chinese) prefer the latter method, that is they use certain words ('verbs' to our understanding) in the same form in a nominal as well as in a predicative way. If these – always unchanged – words are to be considered 'verbs' remains an open question.

On the other hand, there are certainly in all languages such words that transmit a concept only neutrally, consequently that only 'name' it (compare the nominal function!) and which, as nominal concepts, can therefore only have the function of a subject or object. If they are used predicatively, the consequence is a confrontation of two nominal concepts that in general is interpreted as an identity predicate (N ist Bäcker; das (ist) ein Haus).

Such nominal concepts are necessary to name concrete objects for example. The determination of a predicative usage with a specific meaning (which does not only indicate the existence of exactly this object), for example a fictitious *to tree = 'to cut a tree') would have as a consequence that we could not call the object in question isolated any longer.

Such nominal concepts are, however, also useful respectively economical if they name concrete objects and illustrate complex facts and situations, which in turn are to be found in most different contexts. They then are specified by a word creating a predicate ('verb'), compare for example 'art, war, education, science': something can be real art, but it is also possible to study arts; you can be at war or wage war; and there is also a war industry; it is possible to provide education or to spread education; it is possible to promote science and there is a scientific theory and a criticism of science.

We cannot go into detail here, but we consider it to be universal for reasons of economy (!) that there are also mere nominal concepts that can only be used as a subject or as an object in a sentence, or only in nominal predicates (identity predicates) (N ist Bäcker, das ist Kunst). If these are to be called nouns, may remain an open question (in Indo-European not all nominal forms are nouns, let us only think of the nominal forms of the verb!).

As a consequence, word classes in the sense of our Indo-European grammar are not necessary or universal, but the functions in the sentence are universal and it is also universal that in all languages of the world there will be words that are only used in a nominal function. This has in the first place economical reasons, but it can also be justified analogously (modern Chinese has a compound ('love-sympathy') for the concept of 'love' that is not used in a predicative way any longer).

This digression about the word classes (word categories) shows on the one hand that in the Indo-European languages word formation and grammar are closely linked with each other; at the same time it qualifies all considerations on the 'nature' of these word categories (consequently also potential ontological ideas). On the other hand, this digression refers to the essential role of linguistic history for the formation and the further development of our Indo-European grammars, which means that it refers to the following chapter.

4. Grammar and linguistic history

So far, we have shown that there are languages with only very few grammatical morphemes and markings, and others which have a lot of grammatical categories and markings. In addition, we have tried to find out which functions and relative indicators can be called grammtical at all, and how grammar is different from vocabulary. This enables us to describe theoretically and universally any possible kind of morphological marking in any given language without claiming that these markings actually exist.

The differences between the actually existing languages of the world (some of which have a lot of grammatical categories and others only very few) must therefore also be accounted for on a historical basis. Yet, in the following, we do not intend to give an outline of Indo-European grammar, but rather do we intend to bring out the general principles which were responsible for the genesis of complex or also complicated grammars, taking the Indo-European languages as an example.

In the Indo-European languages, the splitting of the root of a word into noun and verb (with different meanings), and thus word formation, is responsible for the fact that the verb in question is always used with a personal marking (Latin canto, cantas…, English I sing, you sing…). As a consequence, free morphemes (that is the personal pronouns) were to emerge, in addition to the personal endings which were used highly schematically. Later on, these new free morphemes were to replace in turn partly the old personal endings. It is an open question whether the first development, the splitting into 'weak', that is schematically used morphemes (endings) and 'strong', that is free pronouns which were only used when required, was absolutely necessary. But this development became possible and it was also encouraged. And it is no coincidence that those languages which do not know this kind of word formation (Japanese, isolating languages) do not distinguish personal endings from personal pronouns either, but that they only use pronouns, that is free signs. And such languages do not distinguish either between clitic and non-clitic pronouns, that is between those pronouns which are used highly schematically so that they are considered as integral part of the verb and others which appear in isolation or in a stressed position. This splitting into strong and weak signs, however, which our example of word formation (the derivation of a verb from a noun) has illustrated, is a generally valid principle which enables us to distinguish grammatical morphemes from lexemes or more grammatical elements from less grammatical elements! We come back to this point in chapter five. Grammatical morphemes are weak signs to the extent that they are used more or less schematically and not only in those cases in which they are absolutely necessary in the context in question in order to convey a certain piece of information. Therefore, they also appear often in those cases in which they don't provide any new information nor any relevant new information; and this is exactly what we mean when we talk about rules or the obligatory use of grammatical morphemes.

Personal endings and (more or less) obligatory personal pronouns (subject pronouns or object pronouns) are therefore weak and grammatical morphemes, but those free pronouns the use of which the speaker decides upon himself can not be defined in the same way. Consequently, we could ask ourselves by what right we count these free pronouns among grammar and to what extent we let ourselves be guided by semantic similarity (onomasiological point of view).

In any case, this splitting into strong vs. weak (grammatical, more grammatical) signs is symptomatic especially for the Indo-European languages with all their redundancies, which we would like to illustrate briefly:

A past tense is a weak, unspecific, grammatical morpheme which is used highly schematically and which is not only used when it is necessary, so that it may even seem redundant next to a strong sign with more specific content (Yesterday I went to town). In Chinese, there is a particle which indicates the accomplishment of an action (le), which, in fact, is never used if there is a more specific adverb which indicates the past in the same syntactic construction; comparatively no-one would say in German: *Gestern damals ging ich in die Stadt! Two signs of roughly the same value may even result in a disturbing redundancy.

In isolating languages, however, particles which indicate accomplishment are obviously felt to be equal to other adverbs of time, there is no relation between strong and weak signs nor between lexeme and grammatical morpheme, or this relationship is far less distinct.

Therefore, it seems reasonable to put forward the hypothesis that, in isolating languages, more specific adverbs and less specific particles (for instance those indicating accomplishment) have always been equal in value, so that it never crossed one's mind to use them together in one syntactic construction, and therefore the concept of 'tenses' in our sense doesn't exist in these languages. Conversely, for languages which have a past tense, this hypothesis means that less specific markings were used with a certain regularity at the beginning, even before the more specific adverbs and also the lexemes emerged. The synchronic juxtaposition (Yesterday I went to town) would then be the result of a diachronic sequence: unspecific older markings are preserved when the more specific markings emerge and their use increases. Again, there would be a splitting into strong and weak signs which we have also postulated for the relationship between personal ending and personal pronoun. The weak sign is at the same time the older one, which is used more and more schematically and can also combine with a word class (verb); the stronger sign, however, is the younger one, which the speaker only uses when he wants to use it.

This hypothesis seems plausible to us especially as far as a past tense is concerned, and it is no coincidence either that almost all languages have such a tense with the exception of the isolating languages: lexematic words like yesterday, last year (literally-etymologically: 'the other day' respectively 'tired, late') haven't had this temporal meaning right from the beginning or were ambiguous as far as past tense or future meaning is concerned ('the other day' = 'yesterday' or 'tomorrow'?), so that they still needed an explicit reference to the time level. It became redundant only later when the words or collocations in question were used exclusively in one sense (for instance the past tense). If the vocabulary of a language is less developed it needs auxiliary signs which clarify the temporal relations so that we would have to ask ourselves once again why this was not the case in the development of the isolating languages: have they started anew on a more highly developed level?

Irrespective of these hypothetical reflections on the subject of the isolating languages, our hypothesis concerning the inflecting languages is as follows: weak temporal auxiliary signs emerged very early, even before the vocabulary was much developed, and their use remained a regular habit even later when more specific indicators of time had developed. This was all the more easily possible as even some of the more specific indicators used to be ambiguous as far as temporality is concerned ('the other day'), so that they were accompanied by auxiliary signs right from the beginning. And when, later-on, redundancies developed, the marking by means of a temporal sign had already become a regular habit which was not noticed anymore and which would not be revised (by force).

Therefore, such temporal markings for past tense are to be expected in most languages and they are more relevant than any markings for the future: firstly, there will always be more to report about things past than about an insecure future which, most of the time, only consists of few plans and secondly, the future meaning can be deduced from the non-marked form, supposing that the past tense is already marked. In most cases, he distinction between future and present tense does not pose a problem because of the context and the situation, as is illustrated by many languages which use the present tense also to express the future.

When, now and in the following, we talk about grammatical morphemes as 'weak' signs this is done first and foremost from a synchronic and functional point of view: we talk about morphemes which are used highly schematically and not only when required so that there will also be redundancies. Regarded on its own, a particle (e.g. a deictic expression) which is used to express past tense is not weaker than an adverb which gives a reference to the past. It is only weaker and less noticed in so far as the unspecific sign appears more and more frequently side-by-side with a more specific one in the same syntactic construction or that it appears totally schematically, always linked to the verb, even in those cases when the context is explicit as far as the time level is concerned (cf. a continuous narrative in the past tense: yesterday I went … I bought … I returned). The 'weakness' is only a result of redundant usage!

Therefore, flexives are not already per se weak grammatical signs, there is only a high probability that such very old markings, which are also little specific, will appear later with more specific signs side-by-side in one syntactic construction, so that then, they will be less noticed, considered as concomitant signs of these more specific signs and therefore become redundant.

This is especially the case as far as the so-called government is concerned, a special feature of the Indo-European languages. The old cases for place, for example, were restrained by more specific prepositions (initially free adverbs) so that they became schematically used concomitant forms (governed cases) (Latin in templo, ex horto). Had both categories emerged at the same time, the speakers would have decided between the alternatives (in the same way as the speakers of isolating languages decide between the alternatives of an adverb or a particle of the past); it would not have happened that the more specific sign is first used optionally side-by-side with the more unspecific one (fictitious: *ex, eo, templo), and that then it becomes more and more frequent until it finally degrades the older sign (case) to a mere concomitant form. The pattern is the same in this case as in the relationship between tense and adverb of time.

But there is also one significant difference between government and redundancy (yesterday I went…): government always also means a semantic weakening of the governed phenomenon which gives up more and more of its own meaning. In the Latin in templo, ex silva, de muro, sub muro, cum copiis, we can hardly explain today which is the meaning of the ablative case, so much has it become a mere (empty) concomitant form of the preposition. A redundant tense of the past, however, always retains its 'past' meaning and therefore remains semantically stable.

Government is therefore a special case of redundancy and by no means universal: it is based on the fact that a more specific sign can occur side-by-side with a less specific one in the same syntactic construction instead of replacing it. In the case of the Indo-European prepositions, this is only possible because, being adverbs, they were syntactically mobile and did not constitute an integral part of the sentence construction. In those languages which use noun forms instead of prepositions the nominal form cannot be used as a free component, cf. for example: *Er befindet sich an der Vorderseite des Hauses (= 'in front of the house'), but certainly never: ***Er befindet sich an der Vorderseite des Hauses im Hause! In this case, redundancy could only be produced by force. Word classes or rather the fact of not belonging to a word class, and syntax play a distinctive role in the emergence of such governments.

But the syntactic mobility also plays a distinctive role in another case of government, if we think of the governed use of the subjunctive mode in Latin and the Romance languages. At first, the phrase rogo te ut venias! is just as redundant as the phrase *ich bitte dich, du sollst kommen! The subjunctive is not as specific as a lexematic sign, but this does not make it per se a weak 'morpheme' which would have to become redundant for this reason. It only becomes a 'weak' morpheme when, after a rearrangement of the sentence structure, it is regarded as part of a construction and becomes dependent on a more specific lexeme (verb): ut venias! rogo te. => rogo te, ut venias! So, the syntactic mobility of the final clause led to a juxtaposition of a more specific and a less specific sign within a complex sentence, so that the attention of the speaker/the listener was always directed towards the more specific sign and the mode was interpreted as concomitant form to the more specific sign (cf. also governed cases and prepositions). This development was by no means inevitable as is shown by most other Indo-European languages. In Latin and the Romance languages, it was only very pronounced because there were also further 'illogical' analogies (cf. Ne veniat! timeo 'He'd better not come! But I still fear it' => timeo ne veniat!), so that the mode itself was less and less noticed and only memorised schematically together with certain lexemes. And with every further analogous use this mode was further weakened.

The (governed) subjunctive, however, is not in the centre of our reflections, we are more concerned with the question whether grammatical morphemes or what we consider to be such, are weak signs per se. They are considered to be such only to the extent that further circumstances were added which then have led to a more and more schematic use of these little specific and old morphemes. There are only general probabilities, which have to do with the genesis of the languages (cf. tenses) or are based on further characteristics of these languages (syntactic liberties, cf. the emergence of governed cases, of a governed mode).

There is one further phenomenon which seems to be typical for Indo-European languages and which is, at first sight, similar to the types of government. It is the congruencies we think of, which are for example responsible for the fact that, in Latin, the number is always marked as far as nouns are concerned even in those cases when there is a more specific indicator of quantity in the same syntactic construction (tres homines) and also for the fact that attributive adjectives, too, always occur with a (congruent) marking of number (tres homines boni). Number, of course, is also a simple and very little specific morpheme, but this does, by no means, justify these high redundancies. Unlike it is the case with the past tense, they can hardly be explained by the fact that this morpheme used to have an especially relevant function, so that the marking was preserved even though this function lost more and more of its relevance. In this case, it is primarily the fusion of case and number which is responsible for the redundancies.

Such a morphological fusion can for instance be made by a phonetic fusion between the marking of number and case, if both markings occur regularly juxtaposed in a periphrastic construction (for example case –a + singular e > e; case a + plural u > o). It can however also be only a product of an interpretation. This is the case if we have to do with a 'non-symmetrical' marking, where one time only the case, another time only the number is marked so that in any case the number respectively the case is to be 'completed'. Consequently, if an -s only marks the nominative, but an -i the plural, and if this –i can only be the (unmarked) nominative, then the singular with reference to the plural does not behave as a neutral form with reference to an additional kind of marking: by using the form of the nominative, the speaker at the same time makes a decision for the singular, and if he uses the plural form he makes at the same time a decision for the plural (and would in this case perhaps use *-ei for the dative, -bhos for the dative in the plural. Even if this *-bhos (Latin turribus) consisted of two parts (of the dative and the plural), it would - in comparison with all the other plural markings - only be memorised as a unity of the dative and the plural!). By contrast, in Turkish, there is an additional form (-ler) for the plural, which can therefore also be omitted, if the context is already explicit enough as far as the number is concerned (in imitation: *three house/ three new house). Congruencies and the ensuing redundancies are by no means universal, but different in any single language and dependent on specific factors. Neither is the number, or rather the plural, per se a weak grammatical morpheme; it only becomes one under certain circumstances.

High redundancy and grammaticality are not merely founded on the 'weak' character of old morphemes or inflections, but they only become 'weak' morphemes in many languages because of further developments.

Even a weak conjunction with the meaning 'and' (formerly 'there, then') is not per se weak and could also be used much more economically (cf. the Chinese language!). But it is weakened to the extent that more specific words are used side-by-side with it in the same syntactic construction ('and then', 'and thereupon', 'and three hours later'). The original 'then, thereupon' (= and!) is restrained and degraded to a mere concomitant form. One can only ask oneself why this does not happen in all languages and, as it were, inevitably and therefore constitute a universal phenomenon (so that one has to assume a similar development sooner or later also for the Chinese language). One reason for this could be the fact that our inflecting languages have used right from the beginning many deictic signs and auxiliary signs (cf. the cases); thus, the increase in frequency could be explained by analogy. In addition, there might also possibly be a syntactic factor. Syntactic factors play an essential role in the development of the Indo-European languages, which we have already seen when talking about the development of the prepositions (from originally free adverbs). The conjunction 'und' can occur with more specific adverbs and adverbial phrases, and, in principle, such adverbs are syntactically free. At the beginning, they possibly didn't even occur right next to the conjunction 'and', but in some distance so that the redundancy was also far less obvious (…and he talked with her on politics, an hour later…). Such an 'improvement in retrospect' at any place in the sentence is only possible, of course, if the syntax has no strict rules, which smoothes the way for a later juxtaposition (…and an hour later he talked…), which, otherwise, would be felt to be a disturbing redundancy. This would be a hypothesis for an indirect way of developing redundancies.

Morphemes which we consider grammatical or to which we ascribe a high degree of grammaticality, have not been weak signs right from the beginning, but have become such only in the course of the history of a language. But there is a high probability that languages which use many unspecific signs or auxiliary signs right from the beginning restrain those signs later by using more specific signs, so that the older signs become concomitant signs or weak and schematically used auxiliary signs. For the isolating languages, this raises the question why they didn't need any such auxiliary signs which would have developed into redundant markings later on. However, it is not our task here to answer this question.

The 'weak' grammatical morphemes have not always been used highly schematically and redundantly, and this is certainly also true for the purely relative cases (nominative - accusative - genitive), which don't have any meaning of place (any more). Their increase up to obligatory use is connected with the fact that the syntactic rules of inflecting languages are not as strict as those of isolating languages and that the final position of the verb (pater videt/patrem videt) makes it more difficult to distinguish between subject and object.

In chapter six, we will treat the question why even newly developed grammatical morphemes and markings can become just as schematic and pleonastic-redundant as the old ones.

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