Putting a sentence together

Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald

in The Languages of the Amazon

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199593569
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739385 | DOI:
Putting a sentence together

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  • Historical and Diachronic Linguistics


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We start with a brief outline of kinds of clauses in Amazonian languages. We then turn to various techniques of putting clauses together into one sentence. Numerous Arawak, Carib and Tupí languages use nominalizations in the function of relative clauses, and in subordinate clauses. A number of languages north of the Amazon, and some in the south have what is known as ‘switch‐reference’: a clause‐combining technique which indicates whether the subject of the main clause is the same as that of a dependent clause, or different from it. This takes us to the issue of ‘pivot’ in clause combining. In a number of languages, including Aguaruna and the Quechua varieties, speech reports have many overtones to do with intention, internal thought and volition.

Keywords: relative clause; subordinate clause; nominalization; switch-reference; pivot; speech report

Chapter.  7686 words. 

Subjects: Historical and Diachronic Linguistics

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