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CONLANG  October 2000, Week 1

CONLANG October 2000, Week 1

Subject:

Awa Pit -- a deixis-oriented lang (was: Re: a grammar sketch...)

From:

Daniel Andreasson <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Constructed Languages List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 7 Oct 2000 17:25:23 -0000

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

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text/plain (95 lines)

I (Daniel) wrote:

> > I also have some info on Awa Pit, which is a deixis-oriented language.
> > This is really cool too. If anyone's interested, I can post the info
> > I have on it.

Jörg replied:

> Yes, this sounds interesting.

Okay then. Here is what Kibrik has to say about it:

_Awa Pit_

Its word order does not encode syntactic relations, and only definite
animate NPs distinguish semantic roles in an accusative alignment,
with the non-Principal [i.e. "Patient"] core argument being in the
accuative case. In this respect Awa Pit resembles a semantically
accusative language.

Independent of these role properties of NPs, in present and future
tenses -- which are themselves speech-act coordinates -- the verb
has markers distinguishing Locutor and non-Locutor participants.
It is only in declarative clauses that the speaker is marked as
a Locutor (marker _-s_, non-Locutor is marked with _-zi_). If one
of the event's participants is a Locutor, it is marked as such;
the non-Locutor marker means that there is no Locutor in the event
(hierarchically, Locutor thus ranks above non-Locutor).

1. a) pjan-ni -s
      hit -FUT-LOCUT
      'I will hit you/him; you/he will hit me.'

   b) pjan-ni -zi
      hit -FUT-NONLOCUT
      'You will hit him; he will hit you.'

In interrogative sentences, calling for further speech interaction,
the speaker as well as the addressee are interpreted as Locutors,
exemplifying pure deixis-orientation:

2. a) minta-ma    i -ni -s?
      where-INT   go-FUT-LOCUT
      'Where will I/you go?'

   b) minta-ma    i -ni -zi
      where-INT   go-FUT-NONLOCUT
      'Where will he go'

In the past tense, however, the same category of Locutor (with
the same distribution) is combined with active role-orientation
for Locutors preserving their neutral role status. Actor-Locutor
is marked by _-w_, Undergoer-Locutor by _-s_, non-Locutor by _-zi_.
Again, in the declarative mode inly the speaker is a Locutor (3),
and in the interrogative mode both speaker and addressee are
Locutors (4):

3. a) pjan-ta  -w
      hit -PAST-LOCUT.ACT
      'I hit you/him.'

   b) pjan-ti  -s
      hit -PAST-LOCUT.UND
      'You/he hit me.'

   c) pjan-ti-zi
      hit-PAST-NONLOCUT
      'You hit him/He hit you.'

4. a) min-a  -ma     pjan-ta  -w
      who-ACC-INT    hit -PAST-LOCUT.ACT
      'Whom did I/you hit?'

   b) min-a  -ma     pjan-ti  -zi
      who-ACC-INT    hit -PAST-NONLOCUT
      'Whom did he hit?'

   c) min    -ma     pjan-ti  -s
      who.NOM-INT    hit -PAST-LOCUT.UND
      'Who hit me/you?'

   d) min    -ma     pjan-ti  -zi
      who.NOM-INT    hit -PAST-NONLOCUT
      'Who hit him?'

On the information available on Awa Pit, not much can be said
about the discourse use of such a deixis-oriented system of
marking. And it is not clear either whether the system is purely
deictic or has an added active role opposition for Locutors in
the past tense. It is remarkable, however, that clauses are
marked for the presence vs. absence of a Locutor, highlighting
the salience of this opposition in Awa Pit.

Daniel

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