A Grammar of Garifuna

Haurholm-Larsen, Steffen (2016). A Grammar of Garifuna. (Dissertation, University of Bern, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Linguistics)

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This dissertation is a grammatical description of Garifuna, and is the first booklength treatment of the entire grammatical system of this language. The language is spoken in Central America and belongs to the Arawak language family, which is the largest in South America. The book consists of 15 chapters, with Chapter 1 being an introduction to the study, the language and its speakers, fieldwork carried out by the author and the database upon which the analyses are based. The book is structured in a similar way to most grammatical descriptions, starting with phonology (Chapter 2), moving on to morphology (chapters 3-10), and lastly syntax (Chapters 11-14) with Chapter 15 treating the special issue of genderlects. There is also an appendix containing three texts transcribed, glossed and translated.

The grammar makes important constributions in at least two ways: Garifuna is an endangered language, and its description and documentation will help preserve knowledge of the language for the future benefit of speakers and their descendants, as well as language scholars. Secondly, Garifuna displays a number of linguistic features which are cross-linguistically rare, and will be of interests to language typologists, and to linguists more generally, including: gendered speech (or genderlects), possessive classifiers encoding the relationship between possessor and the possessed, verb forms underspecified for tense and aspect accounting for the majority of verb tokens, suppletive verb forms (high frequency items) based on borrowed verbs.

Item Type:

Thesis (Dissertation)


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

UniBE Contributor:

Haurholm-Larsen, Steffen, Zúñiga, Fernando


400 Language > 410 Linguistics




Igor Peter Hammer

Date Deposited:

13 Dec 2016 12:51

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:00



Additional Information:

e-Dissertation (edbe)





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