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. 339–363
Evidence for the development of action nominals in Awetí towards ergatively-marked predicates
Non-verbal predicates without any copula occur at a high frequency in Awetí discourse. Especially numerous are action nominals as heads of action nominal constructions (ANCs) with the structure of possessive NPs. There is evidence that in this Tupian language action nominals of a specific type have lost their pragmatic markedness and undergone a reanalysis as nuclei of main clause predicates. This tendency of a reanalysis of nominalizations has been observed in a variety of South American language families. As monoclausal constructions, ANCs have properties and possibilities which are absent in clauses with finite verbs. One of them is their consistent ergative person-marking and ordering of constituents, compared to Awetí finite verbs with their asymmetrical indexing pattern, and a constituent order in clauses with finite verbs which is motivated by discourse-pragmatic principles. Another is the possibility of a change in perspective in 3rd person arguments marked by an ‘antipassive’ on an action nominal, while 3rd person reference on finite verbs is determined by a person-animacy hierarchy.
Keywords: Tupian, nominalization, reanalysis, antipassive, corpus study
Published online: 21 August 2018
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