Circumstantial Vignettes: Reflections on Adnominal, Adverbial, Adnexal: The Coptic ‘Circumstantial’ Converb

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This paper ponders analytically the Circumstantial and Relative Conversions in Coptic (CC, RC), seen especially as satellital, in the [nucleus — satellite (expansion)] dependences. I wish to present here some progressions of thought about central topics and vexed questions concerning the CC, which is arguably among the “most Egyptian” of Coptic grammatical features, familiar as they may be, as a basis for a typological profile. The issues considered are presented in sequences which, I believe, are pertinent, with connections that appear to me instructive. The examples given are usually minimal and representative only. The hidden agenda of this paper aims, inter alia, at demonstrating the descriptive effectiveness of structural syntactic analysis. I submit that we do not yet properly understand the CC, and contest the conventional way of approaching it. The CC differs interestingly from the other conversion. Not only is it the earliest of converters in Egyptian diachrony — it is the earliest “completely formed” converter. Its structural tension with the RC is an informing feature of Coptic syntax. (The RC is but half-way to converterhood, ⲛⲉ- is arguably not a converter at all, deposed by Polotsky in the 1987 Grundlagen from converterhood, and the Focalizing Conversion is of restricted distribution, morphologically overlapping the RC and the CC and (in Bohairic at least), giving sometimes (in the Preterite) impression of a base-conjugation form.

See also: Coptic
Last updated on 01/18/2018