Basque Allocutive Agreement
Moscow State University, Russia
Keywords: agreement, allocutive, Basque, syntax
Allocutive agreement found in Basque is verbal agreement with the addressee — a speech
act participant, not a verb argument. It appears mainly in dialogical speech in the cases of
familiar treatment and is restricted to certain dialects of Basque. Different verb forms in (1)
do not change the general meaning of the sentence; the first verb form is neutral, while the
other two are pragmatically marked:
(1) Ataun-en jaio n-aiz / n-au-k / n-au-n
Ataun-LOC to.be.born 1SG.A-AUX / 1SG.A-AUX-ALLOC.M / 1SG.A-AUX-ALLOC.F
I was born in Ataun.
Analysing morphological properties of allocutives discussed in Albizu 20031, Eguren 20002
and others I assume that the allocutive undergoes embedding into verb argument structure.
Therefore the allocutive morpheme, as well as morphemes associated with other arguments
(the verb in Basque agrees with absolutive, dative and ergative arguments), is governed by
some kind of anaphor. The zero anaphor in question takes a non-argumental position
similar to the position of dislocated topics. The reason why the allocutive anaphor is
generated in the sentence is that the addressee plays a crucial role in a dialogue — the main
usage scope of allocutives. According to my proposal the allocutive becomes a part of the
verb argument structure because of addressee’s discourse prominence. It takes the position
of discourse topic and thus triggers verb agreement.
Albizu P. Basque Morphology: Redefining Cases // Artiagoitia X., Goenaga P., Lakarra J.A. (eds.)
Festschrift essays for Rudolf P. de Rijk. International Journal of Basque Linguistics and Philology (ASJU),
EHU-U.Basque Country & Diputación Foral de Guipúzcoa. Donostia, 2003, pp. 1–20.
Eguren L. El morfema de alocutivo del euskera y el modelo de gramática // Hermeneus. Revista de la
Facultad de Traducción e Interpretación de Soria, ISSN 1139-7489, Nº 2, 2000, pp. 95–118.