4.10 Referential tracking


Udi uses the following techniques to allow referential tracking:


1. Overt

2. Pronominal

3. AGR-clitics

4. Ø

5. Textual topic marker (reflexive)


The overt marking of a referential chain is carried out with the help of a complete echo of the referent in question. This technique is not restricted to a specific type of relational behavior, yet it is rare with referents that echo their relational behavior, too, cp.:


me gädi-n-en pasc^’ag/-un g/ar-ax exne te [...] pasc^’ag/-un ga/r-en ex-ne […]

prox boy-sa-erg king-gen son-dat2 say:pres-3sg:a sub […] king-gen son-erg say:pres-3sg:a

‘The boy says to the pince that […]; the prince says […]’


pasc^ag/ ci-ne-sa ic^ taxt’-uxo pasc^ag/lug/-ax ta-ne-st’a ic^  k’ic’k’e g/ar-a k’ic’k’e g/ar ba-ne-k-sa pasc^ag/

king step=down-3sg:s-pres refl throne-abl kingdom give-3sg:a-$:pres refl young son-dat1 yopung boy be-3sg:s-$:pres king


c/oban-en s^ähärä-ä c^ur-re-p-sa tais-ax; me s^ähär-ä p’a? yaq’-ne tai-sa

shepherd-erg town-dat1 want-3sg:a-lv-pres go=into:inf-dat2 prox town-dat1 two way-3sg:s go-pres

‘The shepherd wants to go to the town; two ways lead to this town.’   


bez baba t’ya-ne – bez baba me as^ b-al-le [conversation]

my father here-3sg:s – my father prox work do-fut1-3sg:a

‘My father is here – my father will do it.’


Pronominal echoes most often appear with referents in O- or IO-function (itself an accusative feature, see Schulze 1998) or in the sentential periphery. Preferred prononouns are the proximal or the distal (the medial is much rarer). These pronopuns often occur in switch reference (i.e. in case the S=A chain is interrupted with respect to coreferentiality):


döv-n-ä imx-ox-ne bu s^e-t’-ug/-ox box-a xe-n-e bos^

dev-sa-gen ear-pl-3sg:s cop dist-sa:obl-pl-dat2 cook-opt:2sg:a water-sa-gen pp(in)

‘[These] are the ears of the dev[s] – cook them in water.’


me pasc^’ag/-un sa […] maslahatc^i-t’a bu […] me-t’-in q’ullug/ te-ne b-esa-i amma pasc^’ag/-en s^e-t’-ux gölö hörmät-en-ne ef-sa

prox king -gen one […] advisor-3sg:poss cop […] prox-sa:obl-erg service neg-3sg:a make-pres-past but king-erg dist-sa:obl-dat2 much honor-erg>instr keep-pres

‘This king had an […] advisor […] that one did not serve [him] but the king respects him very much.’


gädi-n-en s/um-ax ta-ne-st’a pasc^’ag/-un g/ar-en p-i-ne […] mo-n-o t’esahat ar-i arc-esa [AGR is missing]

boy-sa-erg bread-dat2 give-3sg:a-$:pres king-gen son-erg say-aor-3sg:a […] pro-sa:abs-abs immediately come:past-part:past sit=down-pres

‘The boy brings the bread [and when] the prince has said […] this one come[s and] sits down.’


AGR-echoes are the most common means to indicate referential chains in S=A function, cp.:


me gar bai-ne-sa mya bütün döv-ürg/-ox k’ac’-ne-xa ic^-ug/-o img/-ox k’ac’-p-i yallug/-a-ne bai-exa

prox boy go=into-3sg:s-pres here all dev-pl-dat2 slain-3sg:a-lv:pres refl-pl-gen ear:pl-dat2 cut-lv-part:past sheet-dat1 go=into-lv:caus:pres

‘This boy enters – here he slains all devs [and] having cut their ear[s] he puts them in a sheet.’ 


Split structures (A-Split (A>IO), S-Split (S>IO), Fluid-S (S>A)) are aligned according to the original pivot, e.g.:


pasc^ag/-un g/ar-a me gädi-n-ax gölö bu-t’u-q’-sa-i met’abaxt’in ic^ xat’ir-axo te-ne c^’er-i

king-gen son-dat1 prox boy-sa-dat2 much love-3sg:io-$-pres-past thus refl idea-abl neg-3sg:s go=away:past-aor

‘The prince loved this boy very much; thus he did not contradict to his proposal’.


bez baba gölö mi-t’u-b-i s^et’abaxt’in k’ua-ne tac-i

my father:dat1 much cold-3sg:io-lv-aor thus house:dat1-3sg:s go:past-aor

‘My father was cold - thus he went home.’    


pasc^’ag-en gölö adz^ug/-on-ne bak-i s^et’abaxt’inte ic^ g/ar-ax gölö bu-t’u-q’-i

king-erg much anger-erg>instr-3sg:s>a be-aor because refl son-dat2 much love-3sg:io-$-aor

‘The king was very angry because he loaved his son very much.’


In simple chains, AGR-clitization (S=A pivot) is in fact the major (and most salient) index for coreference.


Zero-echoes most often concern a referent in O-function. This total maasking of a referent is typical for an ergative behavior (see Schulze 1998):


zu s/um-ax aq’-i c^ubg/-o [O] tad-i-z

I:abs bread-dat2 take-part:past woman-dat1 [zero] give-aor-1sg:a

‘I took the bread [and] gave [it] to the woman.’


gädi-n-en gir-re-b-sa bütün […] dövlät-ax döv-urg/-oi [O] g/ac^’-ne-xa kändir-en pasc^’g/-un g/ar-en [O] zap-ne-xa ala.

boy-sa-erg collect-3sg:a-lv-pres all […] riches-dat2 dev-pl-gen [zero] tie-3sg:a-lv:pres rope-erg>instr king-gen son-erg [zero] pull-3sg:a-lv:pres high

‘The boy collects all riches of the devs, ties them together with the rope [and] the prince pulls them up.’


A special way of encoding coreference is the use of the reflexive pronoun ic^. Just as it is the case with a number of other Southeast Cauacsian languages, the reflexive pronoun can be used in coreference with a general (often ‘sympathetic’) topic, disregarding its relational behavior (which normally is S=A in reflexive structures). Consider the following example:


me p’uri-o za bos^lu-ne xibq’o manat dürüs waxt’-a te-ne tad-e isa s^et’abaxt’in ic^ gärämzi-n-ax ta’p’-zu-exa  

prox dead-abs I:dat1 dept-3sg:s sixty ruble living time-dat1 neg-3sg:a give-perf now thus refl grave-sa-dat2 hit-1sg:a-lv:pres

‘This dead one owes me 60 rubles; in life time, he did not give [it] to me, thus I now hit his grave.’ [not: ‘my grave’]


Here, the reflexive pronoun ic^ stands in coreference with the general topic of the event talked about, namely the ‘dead person’. Another example is:


s^o-n-o bak-al-le kala va? k’al-eg/-al-le g/ar al-un-t’-ai va? ta-ne-d-o s^o-t’-u ag/a bixog/-on ic^ baba David-i taxt’-ux [Lk 1.32]

dist-sa:abs-abs be-fut1-3sg:s big and call-pass:fut-fut1-3sg:s son high-gen-sa:obl-gen and give-3sg:a-$-fut2 dist-sa:obl-dat2 lord god-erg refl father David-gen throne-dat2

‘He will grow up and will be called the son of the high one and lord-God will give him the throne of his father David’


This (rather frequent) use of the reflexive pronoun is obviously connected to its emphatic function (see 4.7) (remember the domain covered by the reflexive is {EMPATH<EMPH<PER<IO<O).


The following passage illustartes the general techniques of referential traclking in Udi:



pasc^’g/-un g/ar-en ex-ne bez baba-n uk’-al-o s/or ha-mo-n-o-ne.

king-gen son-erg say:pres-3sg:a my father-erg say:fut-part:fut-abs such emph-prox-sa:abs-abs-3sg:s

‘The price says: This one is like what my father has said.’


me gädi-n-ax e-ne-f-sa

prox boy-sa-dat2 keep-3sg :a-$-pres

‘He keeps this boy.’


me gädi-n-en gölö s^el q’ullug/-ne b-esa

prox boy-sa-erg much service-3sg:a make-pres

‘This boy serves [him] well.’


gölö-al haq’ullu-ne-i

much-foc clever-3sg:s-past

‘He was VERY clever.’


pasc^’ag/-un g/ar-a gölö me gädi-n-ax bu-t’u-q’-i.

king-gen son-dat1 much prox boy-sa-dat2 love-3sg:io-$-aor

‘The prince loved this boy very much.’


The primary topic chain is highlighted with the help of read (‘prince’), the secondary topic chain is marked by green (‘boy’) [note that ‘prince’ is the ‘sympathetic’ topic in this story].


The following chart illustrates the two topic chains and their association to the Accusative Ergative Continuum:




TOPIC 1 (prince)

TOPIC 2 (boy)








overt + AGR





deixis + AGR





prox overt





prox overt + AGR








overt + AGR


prox overt


Those cells that are marked by a green shading are in coreference. The distribution of the different types of indicating coreference are given below:


Overt (top1) [A] subordinates [SWITCH] deixis(anaph) [which verbs] (top2)


AGR (top1) verbs overt (top2)


Overt (top2) [S>A] verbs


AGR (top2) [S] verbs


Overt (top1) [A] verbs overt (top2) [O]