Ėven nominal evaluatives and the marking of definiteness

Brigitte Pakendorf 1  and Ija V. Krivoshapkina 2
  • 1 Institut des Sciences de l'Homme, Dynamique du Langage, 14 avenue Berthelot, 69363 Lyon Cedex 07, France
  • 2 ul. Lamutskogo 1, s. Sebjan-Kjuël', Kobjajskij ulus, 678318, Respublika Saxa, Russian Federation


Languages vary as to whether they overtly mark the referential status of noun phrases as well as the manner in which they do so. This article discusses a hitherto undescribed means of marking the (un)identifiability of referents found in Ėven, a North Tungusic language spoken in Siberia. Narrative data from two geographically and linguistically divergent dialects show that in this language (in)definiteness is expressed with sets of diminutive and augmentative suffixes which are in complementary distribution. One member of each set occurs with identifiable referents and one member occurs with unidentifiable referents; the dialects differ with respect to possessive-marked nouns.

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Linguistic Typology publishes research on linguistic diversity and unity. It welcomes articles that report empirical findings about crosslinguistic variation, advance our understanding of the patterns of diversity, or refine typological methodology.