This is a comprehensive reference grammar of Tariana, an endangered Arawak language from a remote region in the northwest Amazonian jungle. Its speakers traditionally marry someone speaking a different language, and as a result most people are fluent in five or six languages. Because of this rampant multilingualism, Tariana combines a number of features inherited from the protolanguage with properties diffused from neighbouring but unrelated Tucanoan languages. Typologically unusual features of the language include: an array of classifiers independent of genders, complex serial verbs, case marking depending on the topicality of a noun, and double marking of case and of number. Tariana has obligatory evidentiality: every sentence contains a special element indicating whether the information was seen, heard, or inferred by the speaker, or whether the speaker acquired it from somebody else. This grammar will be a valuable source-book for linguists and others interested in natural languages.
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(247mm x 174mm x 37mm)
Cambridge University Press
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
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Author Biography - Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald
Alexandra Aikhenvald is Professor of Linguistics and Associate Director of the Research Centre for Linguistic Typology at La Trobe University. Her books include Language Contact in Amazonia (2003) and The Amazonian languages (co-edited with R. M. W. Dixon, Cambridge University Press, 1999). She has done extensive fieldwork on numerous Arawak languages from Brazil and has published a collection of texts in Tariana and also a Tariana-Portuguese dictionary.