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Fedden, Sebastian; Brown, Dunstan Patrick; Kratochvíl, František; Robinson, Laura; Schapper, Antoinette (2014)
Languages: English
Types: Article
Subjects: 1203, 3315, 3310
We examine the role of referential properties and lexical stipulation in three closely related languages of eastern Indonesia, the Alor-Pantar languages Abui, Kamang and Teiwa. Our focus is on the continuum where event properties (e.g. volitionality, affectedness) are highly important at one extreme or play virtually no role at the other. These languages occupy different points on this continuum. In Abui event semantics play the greatest role, while in Teiwa they play the least role (the lexical property animacy being dominant in the formation of verb classes). Kamang occupies an intermediate position. Teiwa has conventionalized the relation between a verb and its class along the lines of animacy so that classes become associated with the animacy value of the objects with which the verbs in a given class typically occur. Paying attention to a lexical property like animacy, in contrast with event properties, has meant greater potential for arbitrary classes to emerge.
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