11477 - The Movima referential hierarchy: no animacy at all?

Movima transitive verbs are marked as either direct or inverse: direct when the event participant higher on a referential hierarchy is the agent and the participant lower on this hierarchy is the patient; inverse in the reversed case. Verbal marking is predictable in local and mixed scenarios: when in a local scenario, the 1 st person is agent and the 2 nd patient, the verb is direct; when the 1 st person is patient and the 2 nd agent, it is inverse. When in a mixed scenario, the local person is the agent and the non-local the patient, the verb is direct (1); when the non-local person is the agent and the local person the patient, it is inverse (2).

(1) sal-na=n--us
search- dir=2--3m
‘You look for him.’

(2) sal-kaya=n--us
search- inv=2--3m
‘He looks for you.’

How is verbal marking determined in nonlocal scenarios? One would expect animacy to be an important factor, with an event with a human patient and non-human agent being represented by the inverse; however, normally the direct is found here. Rather than animacy, topicality and agentivity play a major role. The construction is direct when the agent is topical and the patient nontopical, and inverse in the opposite case. When both participants are equal in topicality, the direct construction is chosen. The fact that most often, direct and inverse are conform with the animacy hierarchy, can be ascribed to the well-known coincidence between animacy and topicality/agentivity.

Keywords: inverse; animacy; discourse

Author: Haude, Katharina (CNRS, France / Frankreich)


University of Vienna | Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 1 | 1010 Vienna | T +43 1 4277 17575