Nouns, Noun Phrases, and other Referential Resources in Kʷak̓ʷala

Colloquium | November 18 | 3:10-5 p.m. | 370 Dwinelle Hall

 Daisy Rosenblum, University of British Columbia

 Department of Linguistics

This paper explores the status, constituency and distributive patterning of Kʷak̓ʷala Noun Phrases in a corpus of recently recorded spontaneous interaction, and examines them alongside other referential resources available to speakers. Kʷak̓ʷala – along with other Wakashan languages, and neighboring Salishan languages – has challenged some of our ideas about how categories such as ‘Noun’ and ‘Verb’ work in grammar. However, while lexical roots in Kʷak̓ʷala and other Wakashan languages may not easily sort themselves into self-evident ‘Noun’ and ‘Verb’ categories (cf. Bach 1968, Jacobsen 1979, Kinkade 1983; Demirdache & Matthewson 1995; inter alia), syntactic predicates and arguments are clear within conversational data, and Kʷak̓ʷala lexical argument phrases align well with our expectations of ‘NP’ as a category. In considering how lexical reference in Kʷak̓ʷala relates to other referring resources in the language, such as (so-called) ‘lexical suffixes,’ I also ask what we can understand from examining bilingual speakers’ translations of their Kʷak̓ʷala into English, and explore how Kʷak̓ʷala lexical reference compares with patterns of Preferred Argument Structure and other information management constraints found cross-linguistically (cf. Chafe 1984; DuBois 1987). Examining these and other questions for Kʷak̓ʷala allows a nuanced and emergent analysis of what is meant by the category ‘Noun Phrase’ in Kʷak̓ʷala, identifies functions NPs serve in Kʷak̓ʷala grammar in use, and informs our understanding of how to develop useful materials for teachers and learners engaged in Kʷak̓ʷala revitalization.

 hyman@berkeley.edu