|Title:||BAKAIRI (Southen Brazil Carib) - A syntactically ergative Brazilian indigenous language with diathesis inversion||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||Tania de Souza||Update Dissertation|
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|Institution:||Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Linguistics|
|Abstract:||Based on the analysis of a 36 hour - long recorded corpus, this dissertation has as its main purpose the analysis of the syntax- discourse relation in Bakairi. It is divided in two parts: (i) the analysis of the syntactic structure of the language; and (ii) the analysis of the discoursive materiality, which has an innately syntactic constitution.
As far syntax is concerned, the most outstanding conclusion is that Bakairi is a syntactically ergative language. As there are no nominal case markers, the ergativity is expressed by the verbal prefix markers referring to the subject of the intransitive verb or to the object of the transitive verb (absolutive case), in opposition to the subject of the transitive verb (ergative case). This type of system affects the syntactic constitution of the language as whole, since it restricts the mechanisms of co-referentiality and control.
The correlation of syntactically distinct arguments is done through two main mechanisms. The correlation of arguments with different nature is done through the prefixation of a morpheme to the verbal root which allows co-referentiality.
In theoretical terms, considering the notion of opacity (Chomsky, 1980; Williams, 1980), this morpheme - usually defined as an ordinary intrasitivizer by Karib researchers - was redefined by the author as a diathesis inversor. The correlation of the transitive argument with the direct object is done through a cleft structure derived by movement. Such analysis contradicts the presuppositions of Marantz (1984), since clefting would point to a PRO structure, without movement.
According to the author, the greatest gain, regarding the functioning of these structures in discourse, is to verify how the two mechanisms above articulate to compose the discursive web. She is then able to show the global language operation, placing the description of co-referentiality processes in the scope of discourse, connected to the structures of focus and topicalization.