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. 245–259
Nonverbal predication in Ninam (northern Brazil)
Although complex verbal morphology characterizes the languages in the Yanomami family, nonverbal predication is used when no verb or only a copula is present. Nonverbal predicates are distinguished from nonverbal clauses, which do not include a copula. The nonverbal predicates in Ninam fulfill the following four functions: existence, equation, possession, and location. Attributive constructions in nonverbal clauses that were presumed to be predicate adjectives are more appropriately categorized as adjectival verbs. The possibility of flexible word classes (Hengeveld et al. 2004; Haspelmath 2007) is evaluated in light of nonverbal clauses and the existence of derived attributive modifiers. The author concludes that Ninam has a fixed rather than flexible parts-of-speech system with verbs and nouns as the main word classes with semantic adjectives forming a subclass of verbs.
Keywords: Yanomami, adjectival verbs, attributivizer, copula
Published online: 21 August 2018
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