Chapter published in:Nonverbal Predication in Amazonian Languages
Edited by Simon E. Overall, Rosa Vallejos and Spike Gildea
[Typological Studies in Language 122] 2018
► pp. 53–83
Nonverbal predication and the nonverbal clause type of Mojeño Trinitario
Mojeño Trinitario, an Arawak language spoken in Bolivia, makes frequent use of clauses without a verb or a copula. These encode some of the most common semantic types of nonverbal predication – equation, inclusion, attribution (as understood by Payne 1997), but also typologically neglected types, like quantification and temporality. Possession, existence, and two unattested semantic types – motion-presentational and quantified existential, are actually encoded in Mojeño Trinitario with verbal clauses and copular clauses. The non-copular nonverbal constructions present a very regular morphosyntactic pattern, even though they make use of predicates that belong to different classes (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, numerals, demonstratives and prepositional phrases). These constructions can be subsumed under a major clause type distinct from the verbal clause type, and are characterized by a nonverbal predicate either juxtaposed to its argument, or standing by itself if it is suffixed with a person index. Nonverbal clauses share some properties with verbal clauses, like some of the inflectional morphology (e.g. negation, plural, TAM), but they however neatly differ in three respects – constituent order, argument indexing, and irrealis marking. In conclusion, Mojeño Trinitario shows a nonverbal clause type clearly distinct from the verbal clause type, and this draws a robust major distinction among lexical classes between on the one hand, verbs, and on the other hand, non-verbs (nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and numerals).
Keywords: clause type, copula, parts-of-speech, word order, Arawak
Published online: 21 August 2018
Bowerman, Melissa & Pederson, Eric
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