Argument marking and hierarchy effects: why Jivaroan is a special case

Kohlberger, Martin, and Overall, Simon (2014) Argument marking and hierarchy effects: why Jivaroan is a special case. In: AIATSIS National Indigenous Studies Conference. From: AIATSIS seminar, 5 September 2014, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

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Abstract

[Extract] Differential object marking (DOM) has been described as a phenomenon by which a language marks case overtly on some direct objects but not on others depending on the semantic and pragmatic features of the object (Bossong 1985, 1991; Aissen 2003). Whether an object receives marking has typically been claimed to depend on where it stands on an animacy or definiteness hierarchy, with objects at the top of the hierarchy favouring overt marking (ibid.). This talk presents an interesting case of DOM found in Jivaroan languages and argues against an abstract hierarchical approach to explaining it.

Five closely related Jivaroan languages are spoken in the western Amazon basin in Ecuador and Peru. Morphologically they are suffixing and agglutinating and show both head and dependent marking. Unmarked constituent order is predicate-final, and clause-chaining is pervasive. Grammatical relations centre on Subject and Object, and basically follow accusative alignment. These are manifested through morphological coding (case-marking and verbal indexing) and syntactic behaviour (control of switch-reference and nominalization). Importantly, Jivaroan languages show symmetrical objects: coding properties of all objects (notional direct and indirect objects as well as those added by applicative derivation) are identical, and their syntactic behaviours are similarly symmetrical.

Jivaroan languages exhibit a scenario-conditioned split in accusative case marking (described by Overall 2007 for Aguaruna, and see Witzlack-Makarevich 2011 §8.6 for discussion), whereby third person objects are only marked for accusative case if the subject of the verb is first person singular or third person, but remain unmarked if the subject is first person plural or second person.

Item ID: 38560
Item Type: Conference Item (Presentation)
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Date Deposited: 05 May 2015 23:49
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
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