Shallow-transfer problems in Erzya-Moksha conjunctive-preterite2 syncretism
By Jack Rueter
The Mordvin languages, Erzya and Moksha, have as many as eight moods, including the Conj(unctive), and Ind(icative). Both languages have two Ind preterites (Prt1, Prt2) and a non-past. In Erzya, Prt2 and Conj have distinct morphology, whereas, in Moksha, the two are syncretic. In a preliminar parallel corpus test, three measures were taken:
(1) the causal conjunction 'in order to' /štobu/ (Erzya), /štoba/ (Moksha) was counted for co-occurrence with finite and non-finite verbal forms;
(2) the number of Conj vs Ind Prt2 forms were counted where the causal conjunction was absent, and
(3) the corresponding predicates were established for the forms attested in (2).
Moksha Conj, Erzya Opt/Conj – 4/56.
More divergence was found in the absence of clausal conjunction structures.
Moksha: 5 Conj, 1 Prt2 reading.
Erzya 4 Conj, 17 Prt2 readings.
Only one Moksha conjunctive lacked a parallel in Erzya;
Of the remaining 16 Prt2 in Erzya, 13 had Freq + Prt1 Moksha correlates, two had copula correlates, and one was lacking a correlate due to changes in the text.
The virtual absence of Ind Prt2 forms in the Moksha text is curious.
Additional work will be needed to establish regular frequentative derivation patterns for Erzya-to-Moksha transfer, whereas the reverse is complex.