LINGUIST List 15.2677

Tue Sep 28 2004

Books: Language Description/Ket: Vajda

Editor for this issue: Megan Zdrojkowski <meganlinguistlist.org>


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        1.    Ulrich Lueders, Ket: Vajda



Message 1: Ket: Vajda

Date: 22-Sep-2004
From: Ulrich Lueders <lincom.europat-online.de>
Subject: Ket: Vajda


Title: Ket 
 Series Title: Languages of the World/Materials 204  
 
 Publication Year: 2004 
 Publisher: Lincom GmbH
        http://www.lincom-europa.com
 
 Author: Edward J. Vajda, Western Washington University
 
 Paperback: ISBN: 3895862215 Pages: 109 Price: 38 (Europe EURO)
 
 
 Abstract:
 
 Ket is the only surviving member of the formerly widespread Yeniseic
 family and one of the world's more intriguing language isolates. Its
 phonology, vocabulary, and grammar differ strikingly from the
 surrounding families. A system of five phonemic tones, apparently
 derived from simplified consonant articulations, mark the beginning
 of each phonological word. Agreement-related inflections reflect a
 tripartite noun-class division based on animacy and gender. The
 polysynthetic verb contains ten position classes and involves a
 variety of distinct agreement patterns: active/inactive,
 ergative/absolutive, nominative/accusative, and two that employ
 redundant subject markers. Each stem selects one of these strategies
 as part of its lexical makeup. The co-indexed subject and object NPs
 are zero-marked regardless of the verb's agreement type.
 Incorporation affects certain intransitive subjects, as well as
 objects, instruments, and directional adverbs. Important derivational 
 categories include event number (punctual vs. iterative) and
 transitivity, with transitive and intransitive stems normally
 differing in some formal way. Causatives, inceptives, and even
 infinitives are distinct lexemes rather than grammatical forms of
 another stem. The only verbal inflectional categories are tense
 (past/non-past), mood (indicative/imperative), and agreement in
 person, class, and number with at most two grammatical terms.
 Particles convey other temporal and modal nuances. Most morphemes 
 are roots or grammatical inflections. With so few derivational affixes,
 compounding is the most prevalent technique of lexeme creation.
 Redundant inflections also play a role in stem formation. This is
 manifested most obviously in the verb, but occurs in the noun too.
 
 Despite its isolate status, Ket shares certain areal features with
 its Uralic, Turkic, and Tungusic neighbors. These include a nominal
 paradigm containing a dozen cases and a propensity to use
 postpositions or case suffixes as clausal subordinators.
 
 Ket is spoken today by a few hundred of the 1,200 Ket people, mainly
 in remote areas near the Yenisei River in the Turukhansk District of
 Russia's Krasnoyarsk Province. Most speakers are adults who know
 Russian fluently too.
 
 This book contains the first full-length description of Ket to appear 
 in English. It covers all aspects of the phonology, morphology and
 syntax of Southern Ket (the dialect with the most speakers), and
 briefly discusses the traditional culture and its characteristic
 vocabulary. Also included is a previously unpublished folktale with
 interlinear morpheme glosses and an English translation. 
 
 Linguistic Field(s): Language Description 
 Subject Language(s): Ket (Language Code: KET) 
 
 Written In: English (Language Code: ENG)
 
 See this book announcement on our website: 
 http://linguistlist.org/get-book.html?BookID=11574

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Graduate Linguistic Students' Assoc., Umass http://glsa.hypermart.net/
International Pragmatics Assoc. http://ipra-www.uia.ac.be/ipra/
Kingston Press Ltd http://www.kingstonpress.com/
Linguistic Assoc. of Finland http://www.ling.helsinki.fi/sky/
MIT Working Papers in Linguistics http://web.mit.edu/mitwpl/
Multilingual Matters http://www.multilingual-matters.com/
Pacific Linguistics http://pacling.anu.edu.au/
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