A Grammar of Cavinena
Antoine Guillaume (Author)
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DescriptionThis book is a detailed high-quality descriptive grammar of the endangered Cavinena language (less than 1200 speakers), spoken in the Amazonian rainforest of Lowland Bolivia, an area where the indigenous languages are virtually unknown. Cavinena belongs to the Tacanan family, comprising five languages, none of which has been the subject of an adequate descriptive grammar. The grammar is based mostly on the extensive fieldwork conducted by the author in traditional Cavinena communities. Cast in the functional-typological framework, and based on natural discourse data, the grammar presents a detailed and copiously exemplified account of most aspects of the language, building up from basic levels (phonetic and phonological) to higher levels (morphological and syntactic), and from brief descriptions of each level to a more comprehensive description of the same level in specific chapters. The language contains a number of unusual features that will be of interest to typologist linguists, such as an unusual pitch accent system, a morpho-phonological rule that deletes case markers, an intricate predicate structure, a system of verbal suffixes coding associated motion, a specific causative of involvement marker, a peculiar prefix e- that attaches to nouns coding body parts and a complex system of second position clitic pronouns. The grammar will also be of interest to historical-comparative linguists, as for the first time one has sufficiently detailed grammatical information to make possible a reliable comparison with other languages with which Tacanan languages might be related, in particular the Panoan family, and to serve as input into hypotheses regarding the population history of this part of South America.
15 July 2008
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