The origin of split third person marking in Arara (Cariban)

Matter, Florian (2021). The origin of split third person marking in Arara (Cariban). Cadernos de etnolingüística, 8(2), pp. 1-22. Cadernos de etnolingüística

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Arara, a Cariban language spoken in the state of Pará, Brazil, shows two splits in its third person marking. Intransitive verbs with a third person S and transitive verbs with a 3>3 scenario are marked by either i-/Ø/t(ɨ)- or n(i)-/n(ɨ)-. e rst split (represented by the i- vs ɨ- nal allomorphs in the two groups) is lexically conditioned, the second by TAM su xes, some constructions showing i-/Ø/t(ɨ)-, and some n(i)-/n(ɨ)-. ose with i-/Ø/t(ɨ)- can be demonstrated to descend from earlier subordinate clauses, while those with n(i)-/n(ɨ)- are inherited main clauses. Furthermore, these former subordinate clauses, as other non nite constructions, show otherwise main clause person marking in Arara, which is unusual in the Cariban family. I show that Arara has extended main clause marking to (some) subordinate clauses for all persons, except for those with third person subjects. is leads to a complex system where pre xes originate from Proto-Cariban main clauses and Proto-Cariban subordinate clauses, but their function purely comes from earlier main clauses. is type of innovative main clause coexists with the original main clause type, leading to the split in third person. I also show that Arara’s sister language, Ikpeng has extended this new paradigm to all clause types. I further show that a similar extension has happened in the third member of the Pekodian branch, Bakairi. is is of importance for the reconstruction of Proto-Cariban third person marking. Finally, the Arara constructions with n(i)- /n(ɨ)- show semantic similarities with residual inherited main clause construc- tions in languages that otherwise use innovated constructions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Matter, Florian


400 Language > 410 Linguistics
400 Language > 490 Other languages




Cadernos de etnolingüística




Florian Emmanuel Matter

Date Deposited:

26 Jan 2021 09:10

Last Modified:

20 Apr 2021 08:54




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