From: Pilar Valenzuela <valenzuelachapman.edu>
Subject: Transitivity in Shipibo-Konibo Grammar
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Institution: University of Oregon
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003
Author: Pilar M. Valenzuela
Dissertation Title: Transitivity in Shipibo-Konibo Grammar
Linguistic Field(s): Language Documentation
Subject Language(s): Shipibo-Conibo (shp)
Doris L. Payne
The present dissertation is devoted to the documentation of Shipibo-Konibo
(SK), a Panoan language from the Peruvian Amazon, and is divided into two
parts. Part I offers the first account of the phonology, morphology,
syntax, and discourse-pragmatic aspects of SK. This substantial grammatical
description begins with an introduction to the Shipibo people and their
language, as well as to the Panoan family.
Part II provides an in-depth, typologically-informed treatment of selected
morpho-syntactic topics, all of which cluster around transitivity, a
central notion in SK grammar. The formal and functional properties of
causative, applicative, reflexive, and reciprocal constructions are
investigated, and a distinction between 'transitivity agreement' versus
'participant agreement' phenomena is established for the first time in
Participant agreement (PA), defined as the use of a distinct inflectional
morphology on adjuncts in correlation with the syntactic function of the
participant they are predicated of, is probably the typologically most
salient feature of Panoan grammar. Three basic PA patterns are identified
in SK, all exhibiting an overall tripartite distribution (i.e., different
forms for agreement with S, A, and O arguments); also different adjunct
types are proposed based on the agreement patterns their members allow.
Furthermore, a tentative correlation between adjunct types and varying
degrees of participant-orientedness versus event-orientedness is offered.
The overall tripartite distribution of the PA system (which diachronically
involves case agreement) contrasts with the dominant ergative-absolutive
case-marking on NPs, yielding a previously undescribed type of
In addition, a comparative and diachronic analysis of PA is offered, thus
contributing to the reconstruction of Proto-Panoan morpho-syntax; the
presence in the ancestor language of PA and a tripartite case-marking
system in which both A and S arguments receive overt marking are posited. A
handful of grammatical morphemes are reconstructed.
The properties associated with transitivity in SK, such as symmetricality
of objects, intransitive and transitive semantically generic verbs, a
minimal transitivity requirement for taking the malefactive applicative, a
transitivity agreement requirement in verb serialization, and especially
PA, constitute features of significant typological interest, contributing
to an understanding of transitivity and the various and complex ways it is
encoded in language.
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