Getting others to do things is a central part of social interaction in any human society. Language is our main tool for this purpose. In this book, we show that sequences of interaction in which one person’s behaviour solicits or occasions another’s assistance or collaboration share common structural properties that provide a basis for the systematic comparison of this domain across languages. The goal of this comparison is to uncover similarities and differences in how language and other conduct are used in carrying out social action around the world, including different kinds of requests, orders, suggestions, and other actions brought together under the rubric of recruitment.View less
The expression of knowledge in language (i.e. epistemicity) consists of a number of distinct notions and proposed categories that are only partly related to a well explored forms like epistemic modals. The aim of the volume is therefore to contribute to the ongoing exploration of epistemic marking systems in lesser-documented languages from the Americas, Papua New Guinea, and Central Asia from the perspective of language description and cross-linguistic comparison. As the title of the volume suggests, part of this exploration consists of situating already established notions (such as evidentiality) with the diversity of systems found in individual languages. Epistemic forms that feature in the present volume include ones that signal how speakers claim knowledge based on perceptual-cognitive access (evidentials); the speaker’s involvement as a basis for claiming epistemic authority (egophorics); the distribution of knowledge between the speech-participants where the speaker signals assumptions about the addressee’s knowledge of an event as either shared, or non-shared with the speaker (engagement marking).View less
This book provides a complete analysis of synchronic CV -> VC metathesis in Amarasi, a language of western Timor. Metathesis and unmetathesis realise a paradigm of parallel forms, pairs of which occur to complement each other throughout the language.
Metathesis in Amarasi is superficially associated with a bewildering array of disparate phonological processes including: vowel deletion, consonant deletion, consonant insertion and multiple kinds of vowel assimilation, any of which can (and do) vary by lect in their realisation. By proposing that Amarasi has an obligatory CVCVC foot in which C-slots can be empty, all these phonological processes can be straightforwardly derived from a single rule of metathesis and two associated phonological rules.
Three kinds of metathesis can be identified in Amarasi: (i) Before vowel initial enclitics, roots must undergo metathesis, responding to the need to create a phonological boundary between a clitic host and enclitic. Such metathesis is phonologically conditioned. (ii) Metathesis occurs within the syntax to signal attributive modification. Such a metathesised form cannot occur at the end of a phrase and thus requires the presence of an unmetathesised form to complete it syntactically. (iii) In the discourse an unmetathesised form marks an unresolved event or situation. Such an unmetathesised form cannot occur in isolation and requires a metathesised form to achieve resolution.
Metathesis in Amarasi is the central linguistic process around which linguistic structures are organised. Amarasi metatheses also reflect fundamental Timorese notions of societal and cosmic organisation. Alongside weaving and other performed activities, metathesis is an important linguistic marker of identity in a region obsessed with similarities and differences between different groups. The complementarity of Amarasi metathesis and unmetathesis within the syntax and within discourse reflects the Timorese division of the world into a series of mutually dependent binary and complementary pairs. As well as being the key which unlocks the structure of the language, metathesis is also a reflection of the structure of Amarasi society and culture.
This book is complemented by a dataset available at https://doi.org/10.18710/IORWF6View less
Constructions with multiple verbal elements have posed a long-standing challenge to linguistic analysis. Most studies of verb serialisation have been confined to single languages rather than looking at crosslinguistic patterns. This book provides the first in-depth account into the areal characteristics of multi-verb constructions (MVCs) in Eastern Indonesia. By collating published data as well as corpus data from 32 Austronesian and Papuan languages, the study traces commonalities as well as differences in MVC use across the area. Analysis takes place on two levels: first, the morpho-syntactic behaviour of MVCs is taken into account. As this plane of analysis arguably does not provide any meaningful insights into why MVCs are construed and used the way they are, a semantic account of MVCs is presented. One of the main hypotheses advanced in this book is that the crucial driving force behind multi-verb construals is semantic interaction between the verbs, leading to four principal techniques of event formation: merging, staging, modification, and free juxtaposition. The study aims at showing that while all four techniques are, to varying degrees, in use in Eastern Indonesian languages, the morpho-syntactic output does not necessarily mirror these underlying differences in event conception. Applying insights from Davidsonian event semantics as well as from predicate decomposition, the book provides a model of event interaction that helps to explain differences in MVC behaviour such as issues in constituent order or operator assignment.View less
The many facets of grammatical gender remain one of the most fruitful areas of linguistic research, and pose fascinating questions about the origins and development of complexity in language. The present work is a two-volume collection of 13 chapters on the topic of grammatical gender seen through the prism of linguistic complexity. The contributions discuss what counts as complex and/or simple in grammatical gender systems, whether the distribution of gender systems across the world’s languages relates to the language ecology and social history of speech communities. Contributors demonstrate how the complexity of gender systems can be studied synchronically, both in individual languages and over large cross-linguistic samples, and diachronically, by exploring how gender systems change over time. In addition to three chapters on the theoretical foundations of gender complexity, volume one contains six chapters on grammatical gender and complexity in individual languages and language families of Africa, New Guinea, and South Asia.
This volume is complemented by volume two, which consists of three chapters providing diachronic and typological case studies, followed by a final chapter discussing old and new theoretical and empirical challenges in the study of the dynamics of gender complexity.View less
The many facets of grammatical gender remain one of the most fruitful areas of linguistic research, and pose fascinating questions about the origins and development of complexity in language. The present work is a two-volume collection of 13 chapters on the topic of grammatical gender seen through the prism of linguistic complexity. The contributions discuss what counts as complex and/or simple in grammatical gender systems, whether the distribution of gender systems across the world’s languages relates to the language ecology and social history of speech communities. Contributors demonstrate how the complexity of gender systems can be studied synchronically, both in individual languages and over large cross-linguistic samples, and diachronically, by exploring how gender systems change over time. Volume two consists of three chapters providing diachronic and typological case studies, followed by a final chapter discussing old and new theoretical and empirical challenges in the study of the dynamics of gender complexity.
This volume is preceded by volume one, which, in addition to three chapters on the theoretical foundations of gender complexity, contains six chapters on grammatical gender and complexity in individual languages and language families of Africa, New Guinea, and South Asia.View less
Definiteness has been a central topic in theoretical semantics since its modern foundation. However, despite its significance, there has been surprisingly scarce research on its cross-linguistic expression. With the purpose of contributing to filling this gap, the present volume gathers thirteen studies exploiting insights from formal semantics and syntax, typological and language specific studies, and, crucially, semantic fieldwork and cross-linguistic semantics, in order to address the expression and interpretation of definiteness in a diverse group of languages, most of them understudied. The papers presented in this volume aim to establish a dialogue between theory and data in order to answer the following questions: What formal strategies do natural languages employ to encode definiteness? What are the possible meanings associated to this notion across languages? Are there different types of definite reference? Which other functions (besides marking definite reference) are associated with definite descriptions? Each of the papers contained in this volume addresses at least one of these questions and, in doing so, they aim to enrich our understanding of definiteness.View less
Many descriptive grammars report the use of a linguistic pattern at the interface between discourse and syntax which is known generally as tail-head linkage. This volume takes an unprecedented look at this type of linkage across languages and shows that there exist three distinct variants, all subsumed under the hypernym bridging constructions. The chapters highlight the defining features of these constructions in the grammar and their functional properties in discourse. The volume reveals that: - Bridging constructions consist of two clauses: a reference clause and a bridging clause. Across languages, bridging clauses can be subordinated clauses, reduced main clauses, or main clauses with continuation prosody. - Bridging constructions have three variants: recapitulative linkage, summary linkage and mixed linkage. They differ in the formal makeup of the bridging clause. - In discourse, the functions that bridging constructions fulfil depend on the text genres in which they appear and their position in the text. - If a language uses more than one type of bridging construction, then each type has a distinct discourse function. - Bridging constructions can be optional and purely stylistic or mandatory and serve a grammatical purpose. - Although the difference between bridging constructions and clause repetition can be subtle, they maintain their own distinctive characteristics.View less
Pichi is an Afro-Caribbean English-lexifier Creole spoken on the island of Bioko, Equatorial Guinea. It is an offshoot of 19th century Krio (Sierra Leone) and shares many characteristics with West African relatives like Nigerian Pidgin, Cameroon Pidgin, and Ghanaian Pidgin English, as well as with the English-lexifier creoles of the insular and continental Caribbean. This comprehensive description presents a detailed analysis of the grammar and phonology of Pichi. It also includes a collection of texts and wordlists. Pichi features a nominative-accusative alignment, SVO word order, adjective-noun order, prenominal determiners, and prepositions. The language has a seven-vowel system and twenty-two consonant phonemes. Pichi has a two-tone system with tonal minimal pairs, morphological tone, and tonal processes. The morphological structure is largely isolating. Pichi has a rich system of tense-aspect-mood marking, an indicative-subjunctive opposition, and a complex copular system with several suppletive forms. Many features align Pichi with the Atlantic-Congo languages spoken in the West African littoral zone. At the same time, characteristics like the prenominal position of adjectives and determiners show a typological overlap with its lexifier English, while extensive contact with Spanish has left an imprint on the lexicon and grammar as well.View less
Komnzo is a Papuan language of Southern New Guinea spoken by around 250 people in the village of Rouku. Komnzo belongs to the Tonda subgroup of the Yam language family, which is also known as the Morehead Upper-Maro group. This grammar provides the first comprehensive description of a Yam language. It is based on 16 months of fieldwork. The primary source of data is a text corpus of around 12 hours recorded and transcribed between 2010 and 2015. Komnzo provides many fields of future research, but the most interesting aspect of its structure lies in the verb morphology, to which the two largest chapters of the grammar are dedicated. Komnzo verbs may index up to two arguments showing agreement in person, number and gender. Verbs encode 18 TAM categories, valency, directionality and deictic status. Morphological complexity lies not only in the amount of categories that verbs may express, but also in the way these are encoded. Komnzo verbs exhibit what may be called ‘distributed exponence’, i.e. single morphemes are underspecified for a particular grammatical category. Therefore, morphological material from different sites has to be integrated first, and only after this integration can one arrive at a particular grammatical category. The descriptive approach in this grammar is theory-informed rather than theory-driven. Comparison to other Yam languages and diachronic developments are taken into account whenever it seems helpful.View less
Information structure is a relatively new field to linguistics and has only recently been studied for smaller and less described languages. This book is the first of its kind that brings together contributions on information structure in Austronesian languages. Current approaches from formal semantics, discourse studies, and intonational phonology are brought together with language specific and cross-linguistic expertise of Austronesian languages. The 13 chapters in this volume cover all subgroups of the large Austronesian family, including Formosan, Central Malayo-Polynesian, South Halmahera-West New Guinea, and Oceanic. The major focus, though, lies on Western Malayo-Polynesian languages. Some chapters investigate two of the largest languages in the region (Tagalog and different varieties of Malay), others study information-structural phenomena in small, underdescribed languages. The three overarching topics that are covered in this book are NP marking and reference tracking devices, syntactic structures and information-structural categories, and the interaction of information structure and prosody. Various data types build the basis for the different studies compiled in this book. Some chapters investigate written texts, such as modern novels (cf. Djenar’s chapter on modern, standard Indonesian), or compare different text genres, such as, for example, oral narratives and translations of biblical narratives (cf. De Busser’s chapter on Bunun). Most contributions, however, study natural spoken speech and make use of spoken corpora which have been compiled by the authors themselves. The volume comprises a number of different methods and theoretical frameworks. Two chapters make use of the Question Under Discussion approach, developed in formal semantics (cf. the chapters by Latrouite & Riester; Shiohara & Riester). Riesberg et al. apply the recently developed method of Rapid Prosody Transcription (RPT) to investigate native speakers’ perception of prosodic prominences and boundaries in Papuan Malay. Other papers discuss theoretical consequences of their findings. Thus, for example, Himmelmann takes apart the most widespread framework for intonational phonology (ToBI) and argues that the analysis of Indonesian languages requires much simpler assumptions than the ones underlying the standard model. Arka & Sedeng ask the question how fine-grained information structure space should be conceptualized and modelled, e.g. in LFG. Schnell argues that elements that could be analysed as “topic” and “focus” categories, should better be described in terms of ‘packaging’ and do not necessarily reflect any pragmatic roles in the first place.View less
This study investigates the distribution of linguistic and specifically structural diversity in Northeast Asia (NEA), defined as the region north of the Yellow River and east of the Yenisei. In particular, it analyzes what is called the grammar of questions (GQ), i.e., those aspects of any given language that are specialized for asking questions or regularly combine with these. The bulk of the study is a bottom-up description and comparison of GQs in the languages of NEA. The addition of the phrase and beyond to the title of this study serves two purposes. First, languages such as Turkish and Chuvash are included, despite the fact that they are spoken outside of NEA, since they have ties to (or even originated in) the region. Second, despite its focus on one area, the typology is intended to be applicable to other languages as well. Therefore, it makes extensive use of data from languages outside of NEA. The restriction to one category is necessary for reasons of space and clarity, and the process of zooming in on one region allows a higher resolution and historical accuracy than is usually the case in linguistic typology. The discussion mentions over 450 languages and dialects from NEA and beyond and gives about 900 glossed examples. The aim is to achieve both a cross-linguistically plausible typology and a maximal resolution of the linguistic diversity of Northeast Asia.View less
This book presents an in-depth linguistic description of Papuan Malay, a non- standard variety of Malay. The language is spoken in coastal West Papua which covers the western part of the island of New Guinea. The study is based on sixteen hours of recordings of spontaneous narratives and conversations between Papuan Malay speakers, recorded in the Sarmi area on the northeast coast of West Papua. Papuan Malay is the language of wider communication and the first or second language for an ever-increasing number of people of the area. While Papuan Malay is not officially recognized and therefore not used in formal government or educational settings or for religious preaching, it is used in all other domains, including unofficial use in formal settings, and, to some extent, in the public media. After a general introduction to the language, its setting, and history, this grammar discusses the following topics, building up from smaller grammatical constituents to larger ones: phonology, word formation, noun and prepositional phrases, verbal and nonverbal clauses, non-declarative clauses, and conjunctions and constituent combining. Of special interest to linguists, typologists, and Malay specialists are the following in-depth analyses and descriptions: affixation and its productivity across domains of language choice, reduplication and its gesamtbedeutung, personal pronouns and their adnominal uses, demonstratives and locatives and their extended uses, and adnominal possessive relations and their non- canonical uses. This study provides a starting point for Papuan Malay language development efforts and a point of comparison for further studies on other Malay varieties.View less
This study is the first wide-scope morpho-syntactic comparative study of North-Eastern Neo-Aramaic dialects to date. Given the historical depth of Aramaic (almost 3 millennia) and the geographic span of the modern dialects, coming in contact with various Iranian, Turkic and Semitic languages, these dialects provide an almost pristine "laboratory" setting for examining language change from areal, typological and historical perspectives. While the study has a very wide coverage of dialects, including also contact languages (and especially Kurdish dialects), it focuses on a specific grammatical domain, namely attributive constructions, giving a theoretically motivated and empirically grounded account of their variation, distribution and development. The results will be enlightening not only to Semitists seeking to learn about this fascinating modern Semitic language group, but also for typologists and general linguists interested in the dynamics of noun phrase morphosyntax.View less
The Alor-Pantar family constitutes the westernmost outlier group of Papuan (Non-Austronesian) languages. Its twenty or so languages are spoken on the islands of Alor and Pantar, located just north of Timor, in eastern Indonesia. Together with the Papuan languages of Timor, they make up the Timor-Alor- Pantar family. The languages average 5,000 speakers and are under pressure from the local Malay variety as well as the national language, Indonesian. This volume studies the internal and external linguistic history of this interesting group, and showcases some of its unique typological features, such as the preference to index the transitive patient-like argument on the verb but not the agent-like one; the extreme variety in morphological alignment patterns; the use of plural number words; the existence of quinary numeral systems; the elaborate spatial deictic systems involving an elevation component; and the great variation exhibited in their kinship systems. Unlike many other Papuan languages, Alor-Pantar languages do not exhibit clause- chaining, do not have switch reference systems, never suffix subject indexes to verbs, do not mark gender, but do encode clusivity in their pronominal systems. Indeed, apart from a broadly similar head-final syntactic profile, there is little else that the Alor-Pantar languages share with Papuan languages spoken in other regions. While all of them show some traces of contact with Austronesian languages, in general, borrowing from Austronesian has not been intense, and contact with Malay and Indonesian is a relatively recent phenomenon in most of the Alor-Pantar region. About the Author: Marian Klamer Marian Klamer (1965) is Professor of Austronesian and Papuan Linguistics at Leiden University. Over the last two decades she has lead research projects describing and documenting Austronesian and Papuan minority languages in Eastern Indonesia; comparing their typological characteristics; and reconstructing their history. Her publications include grammars on Kambera (1998), Teiwa (2010), and Alorese (2011), as well as several edited volumes, and over fifty articles on a wide range of topics. Klamer is currently leading the NWO-VICI project "Reconstructing the past through languages of the present: the Lesser Sunda Islands" (2014-2019).View less
This book is a comprehensive description of the grammar of Rapa Nui, the Polynesian language spoken on Easter Island. After an introductory chapter, the grammar deals with phonology, word classes, the noun phrase, possession, the verb phrase, verbal and nonverbal clauses, mood and negation, and clause combinations. The phonology of Rapa Nui reveals certain issues of typological interest, such as the existence of strict conditions on the phonological shape of words, word-final devoicing, and reduplication patterns motivated by metrical constraints. For Polynesian languages, the distinction between nouns and verbs in the lexicon has often been denied; in this grammar it is argued that this distinction is needed for Rapa Nui. Rapa Nui has sometimes been characterised as an ergative language; this grammar shows that it is unambiguously accusative. Subject and object marking depend on an interplay of syntactic, semantic and pragmatic factors. Other distinctive features of the language include the existence of a ‘neutral’ aspect marker, a serial verb construction, the emergence of copula verbs, a possessive-relative construction, and a tendency to maximise the use of the nominal domain. Rapa Nui’s relationship to the other Polynesian languages is a recurring theme in this grammar; the relationship to Tahitian (which has profoundly influenced Rapa Nui) especially deserves attention. The grammar is supplemented with a number of interlinear texts, two maps and a subject index.View less
The volume contains a selection of papers originally presented at the symposium on “Areal patterns of grammaticalization and cross-linguistic variation in grammaticalization scenarios” held on 12-14 March 2015 at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. The papers, written by leading scholars combining expertise in historical linguistics and grammaticalization research, study variation in grammaticalization scenarios in a variety of language families (Slavic, Indo-Aryan, Tibeto-Burman, Bantu, Mande, "Khoisan", Siouan, and Mayan). The volume stands out in the vast literature on grammaticalization by focusing on variation in grammaticalization scenarios and areal patterns in grammaticalization. Apart from documenting new grammaticalization paths, the volume makes a methodological contribution as it addresses an important question of how to reconcile universal outcomes of grammaticalization processes with the fact that the input to these processes is language-specific and construction-specific.View less
While there are languages that code a particular grammatical role (e.g. subject or direct object) in one and the same way across the board, many more languages code the same grammatical roles differentially. The variables which condition the differential argument marking (or DAM) pertain to various properties of the NP (such as animacy or definiteness) or to event semantics or various properties of the clause. While the main line of current research on DAM is mainly synchronic the volume tackles the diachronic perspective. The tenet is that the emergence and the development of differential marking systems provide a different kind of evidence for the understanding of the phenomenon. The present volume consists of 18 chapters and primarily brings together diachronic case studies on particular languages or language groups including e.g. Finno-Ugric, Sino-Tibetan and Japonic languages. The volume also includes a position paper, which provides an overview of the typology of different subtypes of DAM systems, a chapter on computer simulation of the emergence of DAM and a chapter devoted to the cross-linguistic effects of referential hierarchies on DAM.View less
This book presents a synchronic grammar of the southern dialects of Yauyos, an extremely endangered Quechuan language spoken in the Peruvian Andes. As the language is highly synthetic, the grammar focuses principally on morphology; a longer section is dedicated to the language's unusual evidential system. The grammar's 1400 examples are drawn from a 24-hour corpus of transcribed recordings collected in the course of the documentation of the language.View less
This edited volume offers a collection of twelve interlinear texts reflecting the vast linguistic diversity of Amazonia as well as the rich verbal arts and oral literature traditions of Amazonian peoples. Contributions to the volume come from a variety of geographic regions and represent the Carib, Jê, Tupi, East Tukano, Nadahup, and Pano language families, as well as three linguistic isolates. The selected texts exemplify a variety of narrative styles recounting the origins of constellations, crops, and sacred cemeteries, and of travel to worlds beyond death. We hear tales of tricksters and of encounters between humans and other beings, learn of battles between enemies, and gain insight into history and the indigenous perspective of creation, cordiality and confrontation. The contributions to this volume are the result of research efforts conducted since 2000, and as such, exemplify rapidly expanding investment and interest in documenting native Amazonian voices. They moreover demonstrate the collaborative efforts of linguists, anthropologists, and indigenous leaders, storytellers, and researchers to study and preserve Amazonian languages and cultures. Each chapter offers complete interlinear analysis as well as ample commentary on both linguistic and cultural aspects, appealing to a wide audience, including linguists, historians, anthropologists, and other social scientists. This collection is the first of its type, constituting a significant contribution to focused study of Amazonian linguistic diversity and a relevant addition to our broader knowledge of Amerindian languages and cosmologies.View less