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6004 - Subordination strategies in Tupian languages

Assessing the internal consistency of language families often centers either around comparing certain form-meaning correspondences, or around identifying the presence or absence of linguistic features or subsystems across languages. The former approach is generally restricted to the lexicon and individual bound morphemes. The latter approach focuses mostly on structural characteristics of language. The different nature of these approaches makes it rather difficult to compare the results they yield. In this paper we present an alternative approach to comparing grammatical systems between languages within a language family, which aims at bringing the two approaches sketched above and their results closer to each other. We will look at subordination in a genealogically and geographically representative sample of Tupian languages by taking constructions as the basic unit of comparison, and treating them as form-meaning correspondences, in line with Construction Grammar approaches to language. The distribution of recurring subordination strategies across families in South America suggests patterns of diffusion, in spite of the alleged conservatism of subordinate structures. Within this context, the Tupian stock offers an especially intriguing case for studying subordination strategies, given its enormous geographical spread and the variety of contact situations in which its member languages have engaged and are engaging. In terms of subordination strategies, major patterns can be discerned across the family, e.g. strategies involving nominalization, verbal incorporation and other subtypes of verbal serialization, and subordinate operators, but there is also a great degree of variability among the different languages. By mapping the structural diversity onto the known genealogy and geographic distribution, we hope to shed more light on the history of the Tupian family and on the diffusability of subordination strategies.

Palavras-chaves: subordination, Tupian, constructions, comparative linguistics

Autores: van Gijn, Rik (Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands / Niederlande)
Co-Autores: Galúcio, Ana Vilacy (Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Belém, Brazil); Nogueira, Antônia Fernanda (Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi,Brazil)

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