The Zamucoan family consists of two living languages: Ayoreo (AY) and Chamacoco (CH), spoken in Northern Chaco (between Bolivia and Paraguay) by approximately 4500 and 2000 people, respectively. The Zamucoan family also includes the now extinct Old Zamuco (OZ), described in the early 18th century by the Jesuit Father Ignace Chomé (1958 [ante 1745]). The first stable contacts with the Ayoreos began around the half of the last century, whereas the Chamacocos were already in contact with the Western civilization at the turn of the XIX century, thus undergoing the linguistic influence of Spanish and Guaraní. The Zamucoan family is divided into two branches stemming from Proto-Zamucoan (PZ): According to glottochronological computations (Holman et al. 2011; Müller et al. 2013), CH split long ago from OZ and AY, and indeed it only shares 30% of its lexical roots with AY (Bertinetto 2009). This notwithstanding, all three languages present morphosyntactic correspondences, allowing robust diachronic insights (Ciucci 2013; Ciucci & Bertinetto, to appear). Like all Chaco languages, Zamucoan distinguishes possessable and non-possessable nouns (Fabre 2007). In most languages of the area, the former employ personal prefixes to agree with the possessor, while the latter cannot host possessive markers. The possessive inflection of the Zamucoan languages is reported in the Table below, based on data from Ciucci 2013. From a merely descriptive point of view, one can detect the Person Prefix, the Thematic Vowel and the Root, in this order. The segmentation in the table shows that the first two components are not always obligatory. In the third person there is a contrast between reflexive third person (RFL), expressing coreference with the subject, and non-reflexive third person (3-person) characterized by remarkable polymorphism. The paradigm also includes a generic-form (GF), indicating unspecified possessor. The aim of this paper is to present a diachronic reconstruction of PZ possessive inflection. OZ is the most conservative language, while AY and CH present some innovations: (1) in CH the original 1S-inflection was replaced by the most frequent GF allomorph, while a new kind of GF, not to be found in the other Zamucoan languages, emerged; (2) CH has lost the 1P- and 2P-inflections; (3) the AY 1P-inflection and 2S/P-inflections show prefixes stemming from free personal pronouns. Although CH is the most innovative language, one can find some relics of the original 1S/P-inflections, which are of fundamental importance for reconstruction. In particular, the rare CH exceptions concerning the 1P-inflection show the same prefixes as OZ, never observed in AY despite the genetic proximity between AY and OZ. The paper will also point out that the reconstructed possessive inflections of PZ share remarkable similarity with the verb inflection (in particular with the irrealis mood). Interestingly, some of these morphological exponents can be found in other surrounding languages (Ciucci 2014). This lends support to the hypothesis that the Gran Chaco constitutes a linguistic area over and above the genetic divergence between its main linguistic families (Comrie et al. 2010). Indeed, the Chaco populations, although traditionally in mutual conflict, have been in narrow contact for centuries, so that not only lexical, but even morphological borrowings had a chance to emerge.
|Titolo:||Reconstructing the possessive inflection of Proto-Zamucoan|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2015|
|Parole Chiave:||Zamucoan; possessive inflection; Ayoreo; Chamacoco|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|