Participant marking: corpus study and video elicitation

Sebastian Fedden, Dunstan Patrick Brown

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The Alor-Pantar languages are particularly interesting for examining the relative importance of referential properties as opposed to lexical stipulation in determining pronominal marking on the verb. In this chapter we take a detailed look at the patterns of pronominal marking on verbs in the existing corpora of three languages, Abui, Kamang and Teiwa. These differ in relation to the importance of these factors. There is a continuum with event properties, such as volitionality and affectedness at one end, and stipulation or arbitrary association of prefixes with verbs at the other end. Abui is located at one end of this continuum, because event semantics play a major role. Teiwa is located at the other end, with the lexical property of object animacy as the major determinant of prefixal marking. Between these two extremes we find Kamang. We also argue that lexical properties such as animacy, as opposed to event properties, create the means for arbitrary classes to develop. We complement the corpus study with data from video experimentation using 42 specially prepared video stimuli, in which we systematically varied animacy and volitionality values for participants in one and two-participant events.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAlor-Pantar languages (Second Edition)
Subtitle of host publicationHistory and typology
EditorsMarian Klamer
Place of PublicationBerlin
PublisherLanguage Science Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-944675-48-0
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Publication series

NameStudies in Diversity Linguistics
PublisherLanguage Science Press

Bibliographical note

This chapter gives 2017 as the date of publication, because it appears in the second edition (published in 2017). The first edition was published in 2014.

This chapter presents an overview of the results reported in two earlier papers, “Conditions on pronominal marking in the Alor-Pantar languages” by Sebastian Fedden, Dunstan Brown, Greville G. Corbett, Marian Klamer, Gary Holton, Laura C. Robinson and Antoinette Schapper, published in Linguistics 51(1): 33-74 in March 2013, and “Variation in pronominal indexing: lexical stipulation vs. referential properties in the Alor-Pantar languages” by Sebastian Fedden, Dunstan Brown, František Kratochvíl, Laura C. Robinson and Antoinette Schapper published in Studies in Language 38(1) [expected in April 2014]. This chapter also has an additional section on the video elicitation to be used by others for further comparative work.

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