MULL-lab will be meeting this Tuesday, November 15th at 3:30 pm. Meetings will take place in Rm. 002 of the Linguistics department, with a Zoom room open for those unable to join us in person.
This week, Yoann will be presenting a talk entitled: ‘Anaphora and field shift in the Inuit-Yupik deictic system as possession: reconsidering the prefixhood ofta-‘. The abstract is below.
Case and number marking on Inuit-Yupik personal pronouns mirrors that of possessed lexical nouns, as recently noted by Compton (2022).I tentatively argue that demonstratives are also (possibly inherently) possessed nominals, a status which could potentially have far reaching consequences for our understanding of the anaphoric/field shifter ta-, allegedly the only prefix in the Inuit-Yupik language group.
At the very core, the meaning of deictic elements involves three things (Hanks 2009 a.m.o.): entity, origo and relation holding between those two. In Inuit-Yupik languages, this tripartite relation appears to be morphologically isomorphic to three-term possession constructions. In fact, a closer look at the demonstrative case declension reveals the presence of possessive morphology in addition to regular case exponents. Given that other means of expressing localization in the language group also involve possession relations, and that Inuit-Yupik languages are robustly pro-drop, I consider the idea that ta- might in fact be a suffix on an elided stem cliticized on the demonstrative following it.
Finally, I consider the general plausibility of this idea and underline how reframing demonstratives in an underlying possession construction involving covert origo and ground could provide a motivation for several morphosyntactic and semantic characteristics of the ta- prefix.
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