A view from the North: genders and classifiers in Arawak languages of north-west Amazonia

Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2019) A view from the North: genders and classifiers in Arawak languages of north-west Amazonia. In: Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y., and Mihas, Elena I., (eds.) Genders and Classifiers: A Cross-Linguistic Typology. Explorations in Linguistic Typology . Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, pp. 103-143.

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Abstract

This chapter addresses the issue of coexistence of noun categorization devices within one language. Genders and other noun categorization devices—be they numeral classifiers, or other classifiers—are generally thought of as being relatively independent from one another. Co-existing and overlapping systems of genders and classifiers are cross-linguistically uncommon. The chapter shows that this is a feature of some Arawak languages from north-west Amazonia, two genders—feminine and non-feminine—are obligatorily marked on verbs and nouns, and demonstratives and other modifiers within a noun phrase. Classifiers used on number words, and in a variety of other contexts, categorize the noun in terms of its physical properties, and distinguish gender. Gender is thus integrated within the system of classifiers. Gender markers may co-occur with classifiers in one word. The chapter concludes that gender distinctions and gender markers are uniform across the Arawak language family, and can be reconstructed for the proto-language. The chapter proposes that classifiers may have developed separately in each subgroup within the family.

Item ID: 60942
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-19-884201-9
Keywords: Arawak language, classifier, gender, number word, feminine, non-feminine
Copyright Information: © Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald 2019. First published in 2019 by Oxford University Press.
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2019 05:17
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2004 Linguistics > 200408 Linguistic Structures (incl Grammar, Phonology, Lexicon, Semantics) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9502 Communication > 950202 Languages and Literacy @ 100%
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