Multifaceted body parts in Murui: a case study from Northwest Amazonia

Wojtylak, Katarzyna (2020) Multifaceted body parts in Murui: a case study from Northwest Amazonia. In: Kraska-Szlenk, Iwona, (ed.) Body Part Terms in Conceptualization and Language Usage. Cognitive Linguistic Studies in Cultural Contexts (12). John Benjamins Publishing Company, Amsterdam, NDL, pp. 170-190.

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Abstract

Based on the firsthand data from Murui, a Witotoan language spoken in the Northwest Amazon, the study demonstrates how the body part terms ‘back’, ‘face’, ‘mouth, and ‘body’ grammaticalized into the domains covering spatial orientation, time, comparison, counting, and the reflexive. Murui body part nouns did not grammaticalize in isolation; to become grammatical markers, they were obligatorily followed by case marking. This allowed those nouns to preserve the original semantics of the case suffixes, and then to extend their semantics into other domains. For instance, the noun ‘back, spine’, followed by the locative, became a postposition meaning ‘above, on top’, and later also ‘over’, a marker used in comparative constructions and counting. In the contexts in which this process took place, ‘back’ lost its semantic content and many of its original morphosyntactic characteristics.

Item ID: 62527
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 9789027204806
Keywords: grammaticalization, body part terms, ‘back’, ‘face’, ‘mouth, ‘body’, Murui, Witotoan
Copyright Information: © 2020 John Benjamins Publishing Company
Date Deposited: 15 Sep 2020 00:51
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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