[X] Anthropological Linguistics

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Vol. 53, no. 4 (Winter 2011)


Verbal Classifiers in Innu Lynn Drapeau and Renée Lambert-Brétière 293

Diphthongs in Tohono O’odham Mizuki Miyashita 323

Nage Lizard Classification: Free-Listing and Other Evidence for a Covert Life-Form Gregory Forth 343

Binomials and the Noun-to-Verb Ratio in Puma Rai Ritual Speech Martin Gaenszle, Balthasar Bickel, Narayan P. Sharma, Judith Pettigrew, Arjun Rai, Shree Kumar Rai, and Diana Schackow 365

Book Reviews

Dictionary of Upriver Halkomelem (Brent D. Galloway) Strang Burton 383
The Bearer of This Letter: Language Ideologies, Literacy Practices, and the Fort Belknap Indian Community (Mindy J. Morgan) Margaret Bender 385
The Calusa: Linguistic and Cultural Origins and Relationships (Julian Granberry) Geoffrey Kimball 387
Publications Received 390


Verbal Classifiers in Innu

Lynn Drapeau
University of Quebec at Montreal

Renée Lambert-Brétière
University of Quebec at Montreal

Abstract. This article reports on verbal classifier affixes in Innu (also known as Montagnais), an Algonquian language spoken in northeastern Quebec and Labrador, Canada. Verbal classifiers are normally characterized as a form of semantic agreement whereby an affix on the verb (the classifier) categorizes the shape or substance of the referent of an argument. The analysis of a corpus of natural speech data reveals that in a significant number of cases the classifier actually introduces a new semantic argument and is the sole reference to it in the clause or discourse. Such stand-alone classifiers refer to parts of a whole, identify the theme of an impersonal verb, or express a peripheral argument.

Diphthongs in Tohono O’odham

Mizuki Miyashita
University of Montana

Abstract. This article examines the distribution of diphthongs in Tohono O’odham (Uto-Aztecan), dividing them into two types, light and heavy, on the basis of three characteristics: stress placement (a light diphthong occurs in either stressed or unstressed syllables while a heavy diphthong occurs in only stressed positions); reduplicative processes (a light diphthong undergoes segment-retention reduplication, and a heavy diphthong, segment-skipping reduplication); and restrictions on the phonemes allowed by each type (light diphthongs can contain [i], whereas heavy diphthongs do not). This analysis has implications for the treatment of Tohono O’odham diphthongs in terms of mora theory, for the status of the high front vowel, and for pedagogy.

“Nage Lizard Classification: Free-Listing and Other Evidence for a Covert Life-Form

Gregory Forth
University of Alberta

Abstract. Speakers of a Central-Malayo-Polynesian language, the Nage of Flores Island, Indonesia, name five folk generic categories of lizards. Ethnographic questioning and observed speech indicate that Nage additionally recognize a more inclusive, but unnamed, taxon glossable as ‘lizard’. Evidence for this taxon has further been generated by a modified form of free-listing. The article analyzes the results of this method, obtained from questioning seventy-two Nage speakers, and discusses the internal structure and taxonomic status of the general ‘lizard’ category. It is concluded that ‘lizard’ is a covert life-form taxon comprising distinctly prototypical and peripheral members and contrasting especially with the overt Nage life-form nipa ‘snake’.

Binomials and the Noun-to-Verb Ratio in Puma Rai Ritual Speech

Martin Gaenszle (University of Vienna), Balthasar Bickel (University of Zurich), Narayan P. Sharma (University of London), Judith Pettigrew (University of Limerick), Arjun Rai (Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu), Shree Kumar Rai (Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu), and Diana Schackow (University of Leipzig)

Abstract. This article examines the pairing of nouns in the type of parallelism known as binominals, expressions of paired words, in Puma Rai ritual speech. Using a large corpus of ritual and everyday language texts resulting from a language documentation project among the Puma Rai in Nepal, we explore the characteristics of ritual binomials and provide a quantitative analysis of noun-to-verb ratios in the two major ritual speech genres (shamanic and priestly invocations). It is argued that the increase of nouns in the ritual language under study leads to an inversion of the noun-to-verb ratio in relation to ordinary speech.

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