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Words in Time and Place: Exploring Language Through the Historical Thesaurus of the Oxford English Dictionary

By David Crystal

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Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases

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Academic Paper


Title: Temporal Markers in Wichí
Author: Dibella Wdzenczny
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara
Linguistic Field: Language Documentation; Morphology; Typology
Subject Language: Wichí Lhamtés Güisnay
Abstract: This paper focuses on data from the Wichí language (of the Matacoan family) and its treatment of temporal markers on nouns. Beginning with a short typological description of nominal tense in South American languages, I show the wide range of nominal tense and tense-like constructions. Following will be a brief overview of the Wichí language, and I will show several grammatical and ungrammatical examples of these nominal constructions, and their function in the language, including in discourse. Wichí has an intricate system of tense on verbs, which also manifests itself inside noun phrases. From there, I will use the semantic criteria for nominal tense set forth in Tonhauser (2006, 2007) and comparative criteria from Nordlinger & Sadler (2004, 2008) to tease apart the finer nuances of temporal expression in Wichí nominals and examine the evidence for additional categories. I demonstrate that there is evidence in Wichí supporting a further division of temporal markers on nominals in languages from a typological perspective – that aspect (or aspect-like markers) can be a valid separate category in languages which have temporal marking on nouns, and can be distinct from nominal tense./L//L/Data for this presentation comes from fieldwork elicitation performed in Misión La Paz, Argentina.
Type: Individual Paper
Status: Completed
Venue: 14th Annual Workshop on American Indigenous Languages
Publication Info: Santa Barbara Working Papers in Linguistics, v.22


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