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On Wed, 2 Jun 2004 02:00:48 -0700, william drewery <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

>Does anyone know where I could find info on polysynthetic noun grammer?
>So far, all I've ran into is a small abstract about Tamara, a language
>that marks grammatical case on a noun for both the functions that noun
>serves in a main clause as well as a subordinate clause,
>http://www.linguistics.unimelb.edu.au/events/seminars/abstracts/2000/
>aikhenvald.html I'm sure that other languages do this, but I can't find
>any. Indeed, I can't even find a decent description of what goes on in
>Tamara.
>

William,

The language you refer to is Tariana, and Dr. Aikhenvald published a
grammar on it within the past year or so (I think it's Cambridge University
Press, but can't remember and the book is at home). Tariana is an Arawakan
language from South America, but similar nominal complexity occurs most
notably in a number of Australian languages like Kayardild and
Mayali/Bininj Gun-Wok (Gunwinjguan languages, IIRC).

I don't have any examples handy, but this is the morphological template for
nouns and predicates in Tariana:

Nominal Structure
Prefix   1. Possessive, Negative, or Relative
         2. ROOT
Affixes  3. Gender-sensitive derivational suffix
         4. Classifier as derivational suffix
         5. Plural marker
Enclitic 6. Pejorative ąplural
         7. Approximative 'more or less'
         8. Diminutive or Augmentative ąplural
         9. Tense : Unmarked, Past, Future
        10. Extralocality 'referent is in different place, or at
            different time, or is only one not to do something' or
            Restrictivity 'just, be just the one'
        11. Oblique case 'comitative-instrumental'
Suffix  12. Oblique case 'locative'
Enclitic 13. Contrastive
        14. Coordinative
        15. Focussed A/S
        16. Topical non-subject

Predicate Structure
Prefix   1. Cross-referencing prefixes (A/Sa) or Negative or Relative
         2. ROOT
Suffix   3. Thematic syllable
         4. Causative  {4a. Complete involvement of O}
         5. Negative
         6. Reciprocal/Reflexive
         7. Approximative(?) 'almost, a little bit'
         8. Topic-advancing or Passive or Purposive non-visual or
            Purposive visual
         9. Verbal classifiers
        10. Benefactive
        11. Relativisers or Nominalisers
Enclitic 12. Intentional 'be about to'
        13. Mood [Imperative; Declarative; Frustrative 'action has
            already failed, is bound to fail, or success is not yet
            certain'; Conditional; Apprehensive 'lest, beware; or
            else'; Purposive; Counter-expectation; Admirative 'surprise,
            reaction to something unusual or unexpected'; Interrogative]
        14. Aspect 'zone' I
            a. Habitual Prescribed
            b. Customary
            c. Habitual Repetitive
            d. Anterior
        15. a/b Evidentiality and Tense
                a. Visual, Non-visual, Inferred generic, Inferred specific,
                   Reported**
                b. Present, Recent past, Remote past
                   Future (no evidential)
        16. Epistemic 'doubt'; 'isn't it true that'; 'maybe, possibly'
        17. Aktionsart (manner or extent of associated action)
        18. Degree : Augmentative, Diminutive, Approximative, or Excessive
        19. Aspect 'zone' II
            a. Prolonged, ongoing 'yet, still'
            b. Perfective 'already accomplished'
            c. Repetitive 'once again'
            d. Completive 'totally, completely'
        20. Switch reference and Clause-chaining
        21. Emphatic or Evidence

**Semantics of Evidentiality:
Visual --
  1. information obtained through seeing
  2. information on events easily observed
  3. refer to events for which speaker takes full responsibility
  4. generally known/observable facts; preferred for stories relating
     personal experience
Non-Visual --
  1. report events/states which speaker has heard, smelt, tasted, or felt
     but not seen
  2. events/states never seen, negative ('I did not see')
  3. accidental uncontrollable actions for which no responsibility is
     taken, verbs like 'be lost'; also when describing actions in dreams
     or acts of supernatural beings
Generic Inference --
     information obtained by reasoning or common sense through observing
     evidence of event/state without direct experiencing; preferred for
     some traditional stories
Specific Inference --
     information obtained through observing direct evidence of event/state
Reported --
  1. information obtained through repetition of information related by
     someone else (secondhand or thirdhand)
  2. way of 'distancing' oneself from responsibility