Universität zu Köln

Agentivity and Participant Marking in Dena'ina Athabascan

Lovick, Olga Charlotte (2005) Agentivity and Participant Marking in Dena'ina Athabascan. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

[img]
Preview
PDF
Download (3418Kb) | Preview

    Abstract

    This dissertation is concerned with strategies of participant marking in narrative texts in Dena�ina Athabascan, a language spoken in south-central Alaska. Dena�ina is a highly head-marking, polysynthetic language, and all referents (subjects, direct objects and postpositional objects) are encoded by pronominal affixes to the verb stem, as opposed to free pronouns or noun phrases. After a short introduction into the grammar of the language (chapter 1), the pronominal inventory as well as basic pronominal functions are explored (chapter 2). It is then shown that there is a significant asymmetry between the pronominal marking of first and second person referents (so called discourse referents) and of third person referents. These differences are: Discourse referents are always overtly encoded by a prefix, while third person referents can be encoded by null-marking; also, first and second person are marked in a different position within the verb word than third person prefixes. First and second person prefixes display case-marking, third person prefixes do not. An interesting semantic difference between prefixes encoding discourse referents on the one hand, and third person prefixes on the other, is that the latter group agree with their referent with respect to features such as animacy or humanness. Several examples are presented where the narrator makes use of this mechanism either to keep track of several referents without explicitely naming them, or to express his or her attitude towards particular referents, by either down- or upgrading them. It is concluded that first and second person on the one hand constitute a different category than third person on the other hand. Third person prefixes act more like semantic class markers than like pronominals (chapter 5). Last of all, the question of the interpretation of noun phrases (�who did what to whom�) is addressed, seeing that there is no case marking to disambiguate. It is shown that Dena�ina employs marking patterns based on assumptions on the �natural order of things�: such a pattern indicates whether a high-ranking referent acts on a low ranking one or vice versa. The listener then has to use world knowledge to decide which of the referents is higher ranking than the other.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
    Creators:
    CreatorsEmail
    Lovick, Olga Charlotteolga_mueller@yahoo.de
    URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-17277
    Subjects: Other languages
    Uncontrolled Keywords:
    KeywordsLanguage
    Dena'ina , Athabaskisch , Argumentstruktur , Nominalklassifikation , DiskurslinguistikGerman
    Dena'ina , Athabascan , argument structure , noun classification , discourse analysisEnglish
    Faculty: Philosophische Fakultät
    Divisions: Philosophische Fakultät > Institut für Sprachwissenschaft
    Language: English
    Date: 2005
    Date Type: Completion
    Date of oral exam: 06 December 2005
    Full Text Status: Public
    Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2006 10:45:24
    Referee
    NameAcademic Title
    Sasse, Hans-JürgenProf. Dr.
    URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/1727

    Actions (login required)

    View Item