Athapaskan Classifiers, Person, and Deference

Authors

  • James Collins UC Berkeley

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.3765/bls.v5i0.3254

Abstract

When we view the verb classifier prefixes from the perspective of comparative subject (actor)2properties, and from the perspective of discourse structure, we see the interplay of Person and Anaphora on two levels of historical grammar. Comparative subject (actor) properties, indefiniteness and depersonalization, figure importantly in the constitution of the morphological set known in the Athapaskan literature as "classifiers." In particular, we find that depersonalization via pluralization of first person subject (actor) plays a major role in the regularization of this paradigm. Additionally, deictic elements employed in discourse coreference and deference behaviors intersect the Proto-Athapaskan person system at first person plural.

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Published

1979-07-18

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Section

Articles