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Vol. 51, nos. 3-4 (Fall and Winter 2009)


Contents

Lexical Discontinuities between Generations: Recent Inuit Cases from North Baffin Island Guy Bordin 191

Pet Vocatives in Southwestern Amazonia Stefan Dienst and David W. Fleck 209

Locative and Existential Constructions in Ulwa Andrew Koontz-Garboden 244

Agentless Transitive Verbs in Georgian Kevin Tuite 269

Metaphor, Mythology, and a Navajo Verb: The Role of Cultural Constructs in the Lexicography of Endangered Languages Margaret C. Field 296

From Utility to Perceptual Salience: Cultural, Lexical and Conceptual Change in the Southern Kalahari Landscape Gertrud Boden 303

‘Sun’ and ‘Moon’ in the Circum-Pacific Language Area Matthias Urban 328

Book Reviews

A Grammar of Crow (Randolph Graczyk) Willem J. de Reuse 347
Haitian Creole–English Bilingual Dictionary (Albert Valdman and Iskra Iskrova, editors) Jean-Robert Cadely 350
Linguistics of the Himalayas and Beyond (Roland Bielmeier and Felix Haller, editors) Stephen Morey 351
Morphologies of Asia and Africa. 2 vols. (Alan S. Kaye,editor) Paul D. Kroeber 354
Publications Received 358

Abstracts

Lexical Discontinuities between Generations: Recent Inuit Cases from North Baffin Island

Guy Bordin
Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales

Abstract. During recent fieldwork in North Baffin Island, I came across several Inuit terms well known by elders but fading into oblivion among young people. In an apparent paradox, these more or less forgotten words among young Inuit generations designate objective situations that in most cases still belong to the contemporary world, at least as possibilities. It is argued that the loss of these words is the result of the obsolescence of the social practices and cultural understandings that the words reference.

Pet Vocatives in Southwestern Amazonia

Stefan Dienst
Goethe University Frankfurt

David W. Fleck
University of Oregon

Abstract. Languages of several families of southwestern Amazonia have a set of vocative terms for calling tamed animals kept as pets. These vocatives are mostly unrelated to the referential nouns for the species and more likely than other words to be borrowed between unrelated languages.

Locative and Existential Constructions in Ulwa

Andrew Koontz-Garboden
University of Manchester

Abstract. This article lays out the morphosyntactic and semantic facts of existential and locative constructions in Ulwa (Misumalpan; Nicaragua). Locative constructions come in two types—those that take one of a small set of posture predicates, and those that are completely bare, having only a figure and locative (postpositional phrase) nonverbal predicate. The posture predicates constitute a distinct syntactic category. Among the posture predicates, ‘sit’ is special in being polysemous, having both a locative and more semantically bleached existential meaning. Bare locative constructions do not have the existential meaning of the bleached ‘sit’ construction; rather, they have a pure locative meaning.

Agentless Transitive Verbs in Georgian

Kevin Tuite
University of Montreal

Abstract. The Georgian language has an unusual abundance of indirect (dative-subject) verbs. Most of these are intransitive, but several dozen are formally transitive. The focus of this article is on the subset of Georgian indirect transitives that lack overt grammatical subjects (e.g., ‘I shiver’, lit., ‘it makes me shiver’). The semantic, morphological, and syntactic features of Georgian agentless transitives are presented and compared to those of similar verb types from other languages. Of particular interest is a small group of bodily emanation verbs, such as ‘yawn’ and ‘belch’, that are paired with syntactically inverse direct-transitive verb forms. A scenario is reconstructed for the origin of such direct-indirect pairings, which are otherwise unknown in Georgian.

Metaphor, Mythology, and a Navajo Verb: The Role of Cultural Constructs in the Lexicography of Endangered Languages

Margaret C. Field
San Diego State University

Abstract. This article focuses on multiple lexical entries for one Navajo classificatory verb, arguing that many of its subentries are polysemous, rather than unrelated homophones. It is suggested that the connection between them is based on metaphor and conventionalized cultural knowledge (mythology and cosmology). The documentation of such metaphorical connections is crucial not only for making sense of the uses of this verb stem but also for what it tells us about Navajo culture.

From Utility to Perceptual Salience: Cultural, Lexical, and Conceptual Change in the Southern Kalahari Landscape

Gertrud Boden
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig

Abstract. This article presents a model of the southern Kalahari landscape that in the past gave clues for orientation and usability to Taa-speaking hunter-gatherers. Lexical and conceptual changes are detected with respect to what was formerly the most important landform for survival: pans as water sources and sites suitable for camping and foraging. A part-to-whole-change in lexical semantics is paralleled by a conceptual change from a predominance of notions of utility to a predominance of perceptual salience. These changes reflect changes in land-use patterns and were discovered by comparing statements from people of different ages.

‘Sun’ and ‘Moon’ in the Circum-Pacific Language Area

Matthias Urban
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Abstract. This article reports on the peculiar distribution of languages lacking lexical differentiation for the concepts ‘sun’ and ‘moon’, i.e., languages that express both concepts with the same term or use terms that share lexical material. The phenomenon is largely confined to the Americas, but it is also found in indigenous languages of northeastern Eurasia (“Paleosiberian” languages) and languages of New Guinea. A representative sample of the world’s languages indicates that the areal distribution of the phenomenon is strongly correlated with the large and old Circum-Pacific language area, and it is argued that it can be interpreted as a historical marker that bears witness to the common history of these languages.


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