Disentangling a versatile prefix: the nature and development of a polysemous marker in Arawak languages

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2017) Disentangling a versatile prefix: the nature and development of a polysemous marker in Arawak languages. International Journal of American Linguistics. (In Press)

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Abstract

A number of the world's languages have a special morpheme marking a generic human participant or possessor, roughly translatable as 'one', or 'someone'. In the course of language history, a generic marker may undergo semantic change and take on further functins - those of (a) a first person inclusive, (b) a marker of possessor coreferential with the subject of a clause, or (c) just a third person. The versatile prefix *pa- attested in a number of Arawak languages of South America offers new insights into clusters of function involving a "generic person." The prefix is a feature of a variety of languages in the Upper Rio Negro region and a few other Arawak languages spoken north of the Amazon, in addition to a few south of the Amazon. We discuss the meanings of the prefix in individual languages and present a scenario of its historical development.

Item ID: 51503
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: Arawak languages, person marking, impersonal marking, prefixes, coreferential possessor, reciprocal, inclusive, Amazonian
ISSN: 1545-7001
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2017 03:01
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970120 Expanding Knowledge in Language, Communication and Culture @ 100%
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