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A typology of marked-S languages

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Book Series: Studies in Diversity Linguistics ISBN: 9783944675190 Year: Pages: 281 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_533871 Language: English
Publisher: Language Science Press
Subject: Linguistics
Added to DOAB on : 2014-09-24 15:01:43
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Abstract

Case-systems all over the world exhibit striking similarities. In most lan- guages intransitive subjects (S) receives less overt marking than one of the two transitive arguments (agent-like A or patient-like P); the other one of these two arguments is usually encoded by the same form as S. In some languages the amount of overt marking is identical between S, A, and P. But hardly ever does the S argument receive more overt marking than A or P. Yet there are some languages that do not follow this general pattern. This book is about those languages that behave differently, the marked-S languages. Marked-S languages are well-known to be found in East Africa, where they occur in two different language families, Afro-Asiatic and Nilo-Sa- haran. They can also be found in North-Western America and the Pacific region. This book is the first investigation of marked S-languages that treats the phenomenon on a global scale. The study examines the functional distribution of the two main case- forms, the form used for S (S-case) and the case-form of the transitive ar- gument which receives less marking (the zero-case). It offers a very fine- grained perspective considering a wide range of constructions. The con- texts in which the case-marking patterns are investigated include nom- inal, existential and locational predication, subjects in special discourse function (e. g. focused constituents), subjects of passives and dependent clauses, as well as the forms used for addressing someone (vocative form) and for using a noun in isolation (citation form). Apart from the functional distribution of case forms, the formal means of marking are also considered. The main focus is on the synchronic de- scription and comparison of marked-S languages, but historical explana- tions for the unusual case-marking pattern are also discussed.

The Alor-Pantar languages: History and typology

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ISBN: 9783944675480 Year: Pages: 477 DOI: 10.26530/OAPEN_533875 Language: English
Publisher: Language Science Press
Subject: Linguistics --- Mathematics
Added to DOAB on : 2014-09-24 15:10:12
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The Alor-Pantar family constitutes the westernmost outlier group of Papuan (Non-Austronesian) languages. Its twenty or so languages are spoken on the islands of Alor and Pantar, located just north of Timor, in eastern In- donesia. Together with the Papuan languages of Timor, they make up the Timor-Alor-Pantar family. The languages average 5,000 speakers and are under pressure from the local Malay variety as well as the national lan- guage, Indonesian. This volume studies the internal and external linguistic history of this interesting group, and showcases some of its unique typological features, such as the preference to index the transitive patient-like argument on the verb but not the agent-like one; the extreme variety in morphologi- cal alignment patterns; the use of plural number words; the existence of quinary numeral systems; the elaborate spatial deictic systems involving an elevation component; and the great variation exhibited in their kinship systems. Unlike many other Papuan languages, Alor-Pantar languages do not ex- hibit clause-chaining, do not have switch reference systems, never suffix subject indexes to verbs, do not mark gender, but do encode clusivity in their pronominal systems. Indeed, apart from a broadly similar head-final syntactic profile, there is little else that the Alor-Pantar languages share with Papuan languages spoken in other regions. While all of them show some traces of contact with Austronesian languages, in general, borrow- ing from Austronesian has not been intense, and contact with Malay and Indonesian is a relatively recent phenomenon in most of the Alor-Pantar region.

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