Four languages from the lower end of the typology of locative predication

Michael Dunn 1 , Anna Margetts 2 , Sergio Meira 3 , and Angela Terrill 4
  • 1 Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics.
  • 2 Monash University.
  • 3 University of Leiden.
  • 4 Radboud University Nijmegen.

Abstract

As proposed by Ameka and Levinson (this issue) locative verb systems can be classified into four types according to the number of verbs distinguished. This article addresses the lower extreme of this typology: languages which offer no choice of verb in the basic locative function (BLF). These languages have either a single locative verb, or do not use verbs at all in the basic locative construction (BLC, the construction used to encode the BLF). A close analysis is presented of the behavior of BLF predicate types in four genetically diverse languages: Chukchi (Chukotko-Kamchatkan, Russian Arctic), and Lavukaleve (Papuan isolate, Solomon Islands), which have BLC with the normal copula/existential verb for the language; Tiriyó (Cariban/Taranoan, Brazil), which has an optional copula in the BLC; and Saliba (Austronesian/Western Oceanic, Papua New Guinea), a language with a verbless clause as the BLC. The status of these languages in the typology of positional verb systems is reviewed, and other relevant typological generalizations are discussed.

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