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Topicalization and Switch-Reference in Matis Narratives

Grant number: 19/09686-9
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research Internship - Post-doctor
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2019
Effective date (End): March 21, 2020
Field of knowledge:Linguistics, Literature and Arts - Linguistics - Linguistic Theory and Analysis
Principal researcher:Waldemar Ferreira Netto
Grantee:Raphael Augusto Oliveira Barbosa
Supervisor abroad: Dejan Matic
Home Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Research place: University of Munster, Germany  
Associated to the scholarship:17/12835-0 - Ergativity and Referential Function in Matis Narratives, BP.PD


The transitivity systems of Matis language (Panoan family), such as case-marking and switch-reference, represent important morphosyntactic aspects of functional and typological research. However, the analyzes regarding these grammatical systems in this language are restricted to synchronic descriptions of isolated sentences. Thus, the purpose of this research project is to investigate, in Matis narratives, whether the interclausal morphology of the switch-reference system is a result of grammaticalization of pragmatic and grammatical processes of case-marking system. Specifically, I propose that the switch-reference verbal suffix {-xo} (S/A>O) has been derived from the process of topicalization of the null direct object of the following clause, and then by grammaticalization of accusative case marker. Based on the examination of Matis narrative texts collected in fieldwork, integrated with the data already described, this project presents a research proposal regarding the functioning and development of pragmatic and grammatical processes identified in case-marking and switch-reference systems. In this way, we hope to contribute to the scientific knowledge about the information structure in Matis language and also about the transitivity properties in human language. We also hope to collaborate in the researches about the languages investigated by the professors, researchers and students of the Department of Linguistics of the University of Münster, institution in the which this research project will be developed.

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