Multilingual imperatives: the elaboration of a category in northwest Amazonia

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2008) Multilingual imperatives: the elaboration of a category in northwest Amazonia. International Journal of American Linguistics, 74 (2). pp. 189-225.

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The Vaupés River Basin in northwest Amazonia is a well‐established linguistic area. Its major feature is obligatory societal multilingualism which follows the principle of linguistic exogamy: “those who speak the same language as us are our brothers, and we do not marry our sisters.” Speakers of East Tucanoan languages and of one Arawak language, Tariana, participate in the exogamous marriage network and share the obligatory multilingualism.

Long‐term interaction between East Tucanoan languages and Tariana has resulted in the rampant diffusion of grammatical and semantic patterns and calquing of categories. A typologically unusual system of 11 imperatives in Tariana bears a strong impact from East Tucanoan languages; but to say that imperative meanings were just borrowed or calqued from East Tucanoan languages would be a simplification. The markers come from different non‐imperative categories, via distinct mechanisms. I discuss the mechanisms involved in the development of Tariana multiple imperatives and then address the crucial question: Which factors facilitate the diffusion of commands?

Item ID: 4861
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1545-7001
Keywords: Arawak languages; imperatives; evidentiality; language contact; areal diffusion
Date Deposited: 05 Aug 2009 04:55
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200407 Lexicography @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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