Linguistic Discovery

Table of Contents

Volume 17, Issue 1 (2021)

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Pronouns in Arigidi: A Syntactic Analysis
     by Boluwaji Oshodi and Bolanle Foluke Adekeya    (PDF - 371k)
     doi: 10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.514

This study examines pronouns in Arigidi (a little studied) speech form with the aim of gaining an insight into their forms, structure and function in line with the classification of traditional grammar

The Peñafiel Vocabulary from San Juan Elotepec
     by Natalie Operstein    (PDF - 3178k)
     doi: 10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.511

This paper analyzes and makes available the contents of an unpublished nineteenth-century lexical questionnaire in Elotepec Zapotec, an endangered and under-documented indigenous language of Mexico. This unique document forms part of the survey of Mexican indigenous languages conducted in the 1880s and 1890s by the Dirección General de Estadística de la República Mexicana. The paper provides a transcription of the Elotepec Zapotec forms, a study of the document’s orthography, and a linguistic analysis of the data.

On the Relationship Between Null Subjects and Agreement: A Large-Scale Cross-Linguistic Account
     by Ernei Ribeiro Pereira    (PDF - 343k)
     doi: 10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.512

It is generally assumed that languages with rich agreement allow null subjects, while languages with poor agreement do not. However, the concept of agreement richness has been remarkably difficult to define. This study, based on a sample of 403 languages, measures agreement richness by counting the number of person, number, and gender combinations encoded by subject agreement on the verb. It is shown that, among languages with subject agreement on the verb, null subject languages (NSLs) with seven or more such distinctions are the most widespread geographically and genealogically. On the other hand, NSLs without subject agreement on the verb are more widespread than NSLs with seven or more combinations only in Eurasia. Possible explanations for these tendencies are suggested.

Cholón and the linguistic prehistory of Northern Peru: triangulating toponymy, substrate lexis, and areal typology
     by Matthias Urban    (PDF - 770k)
     doi: 10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.513

At the eve of Spanish conquest, Northern Peru is thought to have been home to a multitude of languages of relatively modest geographical extension, especially when compared with the widespread Quechuan and Aymaran languages. In this contribution, I suggest the possibility that a language or several languages relatively closely related to Cholón were spoken in a much wider part of Northern Peru than that in which Cholón is historically attested. A prior “Cholonoid” area might have covered not only the western part of today’s San Martín department, but also almost the entire department of Cajamarca as well as parts of La Libertad and Amazonas. This interpretation results from a triangulation of three independent lines of evidence, namely the toponymic record, substrate lexis in the local variety of Quechua at Chachapoyas, and typological properties of the extinct northern Peruvian languages.

Adverbial Subordinator Prefixes
     by Matthew S. Dryer    (PDF - 423k)
     doi: 10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.497

Cross-linguistic study on adverbial subordinator prefixes

Series shifts and mergers in the obstruent phonology of Tahltan (Northern Athabaskan)*
     by John Alderete, Amber Blenkiron and (Judy Thompson) Edōsdi     (PDF - 476k)
     doi: 10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.515

A survey was conducted to investigate the development of the Proto-Athabaskan obstruent series, *ts/tš/tšr/k, into present day Tahltan. Results from seven native speakers and quantitative analysis of a larger corpus establish tθ/ts/ts/tš as the standard obstruent system, alongside three alternate systems that relate to independently motivated historical changes. These findings support the long-held view that differences in the obstruent reflexes do not reflect deep phonological differences among Northern Athabaskan languages, but instead represent areal influences and patterns of individual variation in a highly dynamic language network.

Person-marking in Máku
     by Chris Rogers    (PDF - 580k)
     doi: 10.1349/PS1.1537-0852.A.516

In Máku (an extinct language isolate), person marking is encoded by pronominal elements that are attached to bound pronominal roots, possessed nouns, and as subject and object argument agreement reference on verbs. However, when the contrasts between the various person-markers and their behaviors in the language are considered the system does not fit easily into the traditional analysis of three persons and two numbers. Rather, the organization of and relationships between the pronominal elements in Máku reveals a system based on the distinction of three persons (first, second and third), a two-way quantitative distinction (singular and non-singular), and a two-way qualitative distinction (homogenous speech-act-participants or heterogeneous speech-act-participants). Furthermore, some of the syncretisms which provide evidence for this description are crosslinguistically commonplace while others are rare or unattested, as suggested in Cysouw (2003) and Siewierska (2004). This article provides the facts of person marking in Máku and motivates a language-specific description of the paradigm.

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