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6740 - When "you" and "I" mess around with the hierarchy. A variational study of Tupi-Guarani hierarchical indexation systems

Since Silverstein's pioneer work, it is known that hierarchies of features can play a major role in argument encoding systems (Silverstein 1976). The person indexation system on transitive verbs in Tupi languages constitutes a good example of the role of person hierarchy (Montserrat and Faco Soares 1983, Jensen 1998). Leaving aside the debate on the definition of such systems as inverse or hierarchical (Payne 1994, Rose 2009), this paper will compare the variable effects of the referential factor of person on person indexation through the languages of the Tupi-Guarani branch of the Tupi family, for which we benefit from many recent descriptions. More precisely, it will focus on the configuration where both arguments of a transitive verb are speech act participants, in order to investigate whether a hierarchy 1>2 or 2>1 can be reconstructed for the entire branch. The expression of this configuration can indeed undergo rapid changes due to discourse factors. It is in fact common for the expression of the "local" configurations (when first and second person interact) to be non-transparent both cross-linguistically (Heath 1998) and within the Tupi family (Montserrat and Faco Soares 1983). Moreover, some individual language data may suggest a reversal of the hierarchy or replacement of the 1>2 hierarchy by some other rule, as is the case in Emérillon (Rose 2009). Beside investigating the proto-state of the hierarchical system and its evolution in the daughter languages, this paper may help refine or confirm previous classification thanks to this additional morphosyntactic criteria.

Keywords: Tupi-Guarani, hierarchy, person, comparison, diachrony

Author: Rose, Françoise (CNRS, France / Frankreich)

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