Getting negatives in Arizona Tewa: On the relevance of ethnopragmatics and language ideologies to understanding a case of grammaticalization

Paul V. Kroskrity


This article explores the process of grammaticalization that has lead to the innovation of a distinct form of negation in Arizona Tewa, a Kiowa-Tanoan language spoken in the U. S. southwest. After reviewing comparative linguistic evidence that clearly establishes the innovative form of the Arizona Tewa negative, the analysis proceeds to examine ethnographic data as a means of understanding an apparent reanalysis of a subordinate clause marker as an obligatory part of negative constructions. Such data provide strong evidence for viewing the powerful role of discourse and language ideological factors in accounting for how this grammatical reanalysis both emerged and ultimately came to be the “preferred” form. Comparative data from Australian languages provides additional evidence for viewing larger discourses as highly influential contexts for grammatical change.

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