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Non-finiteness in Karitiana: subordination versus nominalization

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Ivan Rocha da Silva
Total Authors: 1
Document type: Doctoral Thesis
Press: São Paulo.
Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Filosofia, Letras e Ciências Humanas (FFLCH/SBD)
Defense date:
Examining board members:
Luciana Raccanello Storto; Patience Louise Epps; Bruna Franchetto; Esmeralda Vailati Negrão; Ana Paula Scher
Advisor: Luciana Raccanello Storto

The main aim of this dissertation is to analyze non-finite clauses in Karitiana. Karitiana is an endangered Amerindian language spoken today by approximately 400 people who live in a reservation located 59 miles south of the urban area of Porto Velho, the capital of the state of Rondônia, Brazil (Amazonian region). The language is the unique representative of the Arikém branch, one of the ten linguistic groupings identified inside the Tupian family. The current research investigates differences among embedded clauses that function as adverbial, relative, and complement clauses in Karitiana, as well as nominalization and infinitival embedding marked respectively by the suffixes and . Even though subordinate clauses in Karitiana do not display any finite morphology of agreement, tense, or mood, it is true that the language shows many other functional heads such as morphemes of causativization, passivization, and object focus construction, as well as aspectual nuclei, and word order variation (SOV, OSV), suggesting that they are clauses and not nominalizations (Storto 1999; Vivanco 2014). Furthemore, we show that Karitiana embedded clauses can be modified by adverbs, negation and evidentials that are associated with clauses or verbal phrases. The literature on non-finite clauses in Amerindian languages shows that many specialists in these languages have claimed that these clauses are nominalized based on two arguments: (1) lack of finite traits and (2) the fact that some of these languages display case-marking. The argument that the presence of case-marking in subordination characterizes them as nominalizations seems to be unconvincing because finite subordinate clauses in several languages can be used as verbal complement and can be marked with case. In our analysis, the lack of finite features also does not necessarily mean that these clauses are nominalizations, since Karitiana subordinate clauses exhibit other properties of active clauses such as functional heads: voice, aspect, adverbs, negation, and evidentials. Typologically, these functional heads are associated with clauses and, internally to the language, they are also correlated with clauses and verbal phrases, functioning either in matrix clauses or in subordinate clauses. (AU)

FAPESP's process: 12/02769-7 - Argument structure of verbs in subordinate clauses in Karitiana: verbal valence and their interaction with aspect functional nuclei
Grantee:Ivan Rocha da Silva
Support Opportunities: Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate