Grammatical relations in the languages of the American continent, with emphasis on ergativity and Amazonia (Francisco Queixalos)
Queixalos handout (PDF, 143 Кб)
The aim of this series of three talks is to provide a general view of various grammatical sub-systems displayed by languages of the American continent that raise interesting questions on morphosyntactic alignment issues, together with a more in-depth examination of several Amazonian languages that have received close attention in the last two decades as for their contribution to on-going discussions on the topics at stake. I will focus more particularly on Katukina-Kanamari, spoken on South tributaries of the middle Amazon, to show that, beyond the so common approach to ergativity that mainly relies on case marking, syntactic domains such as constituency, coreference and behaviour lead us to far reaching considerations on the diachronic paths and the synchronic nature of ergativity.
A brief survey of what we know about argument structure and grammatical relations -- from a typological-functional perspective -- in some languages of the American continent will be followed by a more detailed scrutiny of a selected sample of systems found in Amazonian languages.
A description of the ergative alignment of Katukina-Kanamari will be used as the starting point for some generalisations on ergativity at the morphological and syntactic levels.
On the basis of the ideas put forth in the preceding lectures, I will outline possible scenarios for the origin of a few types of ergative grammars.