8412 - Classificatory nouns: Where do they come from?

Different types of noun classification systems can be found in Arawak languages, such as numeral classifiers, incorporated classifiers, and noun classifiers. A system of productive nominal compouding has also been described for Apurinã (Facundes 2004)), within which "classificatory nouns" (CNs) reccur as the semantic head. Such CNs bear some resemblance to Class Terms in South East Asian languages, except that in Apurinã they can be incorporated into the verb in ways similar to incorporated classifiers that can refer back to properties of referents previously mentioned in the preceding discourse. Although some of these CNs can be formally reconstructed to earlier stages of the family, it has been unclear whether a grammatical system of CNs itself can be reconstructed. In order to examine this question we will present a historical comparative study involving Apurinã, Piro, and Iñapari, the three most closely related languages among themselves, possibly forming a subbranch of their own within larger branches of Arawak. As a way of determining the extent to which CNs are particular (or not) to these three languages, they will also be compared to Paresi, a language more distantly related to them. We will also take into consideration the general historical comparative studies of Arawak in general. Our results will reveal important new information about the historical development of Arawak, particularly in relation to whether NC systems are inherent in Arawak or results of areal diffusion, and what they can inform us about contacts involving non-Arawak groups in the Amazon.

Facundes, Sidney da Silva. 2000. Noun Categorization in Apurina (Maipure). MA Thesis, University of Oregon.

Keywords: Classificatory Nouns, Apurinã, Paresi, Piro, Iñapari

Author: Brandao, Ana Paula (University of Texas at Austin, Brazil / Brasilien)
Co-Author: Facundes, Sidi (Universidade Federaldo Pará, Belem, Brazil / Brasilien)


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