Natural Language & Linguistic Theory

, Volume 32, Issue 1, pp 1–27 | Cite as

Finiteness in South Asian languages: an introduction



Finiteness bears on issues pertaining to some of the most central properties of a clause: its tense, aspect, mood, agreement, the referential properties and case-marking of its subject and, more generally, the way in which the clause is anchored to a higher one or to the utterance context. And yet, given the increasing amount of empirical evidence challenging conventional definitions of finiteness, it remains one of the least understood concepts in linguistic theory. The series of eleven papers in this volume presents new evidence on the nature of finiteness from a number of hitherto under-studied languages, namely those of the Indo-Aryan and Dravidian language families spoken in South Asia. The hope is that these papers will encourage the reader to deepen their knowledge and simultaneously question their existing view of finiteness. The introduction below sets the stage for the rest of this volume: we briefly describe the content of the individual papers included here and situate them within the larger context of the rich dialogue on finiteness.


Finiteness OC pro pro-drop Agreement Coreference Deixis vs. anaphora 



We are extremely grateful to the participants of the workshop “Finiteness in South Asian Languages” held at the University of Tromsø in 2011, without whose attendance and insightful presentations, this volume would not have come to be, and of course to the authors of the papers included herein for their cooperation and commitment to this volume. Thanks also to our reviewers for taking time out of their busy schedules to comment on papers, often more than once, and to Marcel den Dikken, in particular, for his expert guidance with the editing process and for his unflagging enthusiasm, patience, and good humor throughout.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Zentrum für Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft (ZAS)BerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institut fúr Linguistik Universitát LeipzigLeipzigGermany

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