8972 - Complex associated motion systems of Western Amazonia

This paper will present the results of an ongoing survey that I am conducting on the newly recognized typological category of associated motion (Koch 1984, Wilkins 1991, Guillaume 2006) in the languages of South America. Associated motion (AM) markers primarily attach to non-motion verbs and express the fact that the verb action (V) is associated with a back-grounded motion which can be temporally prior (‘go and V’, ‘come and V’, etc.), concurrent (‘V while going’, ‘V while coming’, etc.) or subsequent (‘V and go’, ‘V and come’, etc.). Although not particularly rare cross-linguistically, the category of AM is extremely interesting in South America because of its unusually high degree of elaboration in many languages of that region. This is particularly true in the Arawak, Panoan and Tacanan families, in which it is not infrequent to find well-grammaticalized AM systems encoding more than 6 distinctions, sometimes up to 12 distinctions, as in some Tacanan languages. Interestingly, the languages which manifest the most complex AM systems are not randomly distributed but tend to cluster along the western margins of the Amazon basin, along the foothills of the Andeas. If we consider the fact that such complex types of systems are typologically extremely rare -- to my knowledge they are only attested outside Amazonia in some languages of Central Australia -- one is inclined to think that diffusion must have played a major role in their development, in which case the AM category should be considered as a good diagnostic feature for the identification of a western Amazonian linguistic sub-area (see D. Payne 1990) within South America.

Keywords: associated motion, Western Amazonia, Arawak, Panoan and Tacanan languages

Author: GUILLAUME, Antoine (Laboratoire Dynamique du Langage (CNRS & Université Lyon 2), France / Frankreich)


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