Building words

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

in The Languages of the Amazon

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199593569
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739385 | DOI:
Building words

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  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics


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This chapter addresses the structure and make-up of words in Amazonian languages. We start with their typological profile, and what kinds of morphemes words consist of. There are no isolating languages in Amazonia. A few languages have a number of prefixes, but suffixes predominate. Body-part perfixes are an expecially salient feature of Panoan languages. In a number of languages, suffixes may appear in different order within one word. Nouns and verbs are usually clear-cut classes. The status of ‘adjectives’ is hardly ever a straightforward matter. In a number of languages, adjectives are similar to verbs in some of their features. In marking person, Amazonian languages distinguish more than just me, you and ‘the third person’. The final section addresses the ways in which number can be expressed, through pronouns, nouns and verbs.

Keywords: typological profile of Amazonian languages; prefixes; suffixes; analytic; synthetic; nouns; verbs; adjectives; impersonal; indefinite; singular; non-singular; plural; dual

Chapter.  8956 words. 

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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