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ven. 12/04/2019 Atelier Typologie sémantique
ISH - salle Bollier (rdc)

Helder Perri Ferreira (Instituto Socioambiental, Brésil)
Direction, location and associated motion in the Yanomama verbal morphology

This paper provides an overview of the morphological expression in the Yanomama (YMA) verb of some spatially oriented categories, such as location, direction, and associated movement, with an eye on the typological and areal studies.
The discussion begins with the presentation of the YMA static location morphemes, which are mostly topographical deictic markers hosted by the verb indicating where the event takes place in relation to the speaker and to the nearest river (“downriver” and “upriver”) or to the elevation of the place where it happened (“up there” and “down there”). There are also non-deictic locational markers (“at home/in a house” and “in a forest clearing”). Despite previous claims of location morphemes being widespread in Western Amazon (Payne 1990:223), of our current knowledge, only Yagua (Payne 1995) and some Arawan languages (Dixon and Vogel 2004) seem to have a similar set of truly verbal morphemes of static location in the region.
Moving on to the next spatial notion coded by the YMA verbal morphology, we will see that directionality is strongly intertwined with the aspectual categories. Proper directional markers (with andative and venitive meanings) are used exclusively in imperfective contexts and, in clauses marked for perfectiveness, the perfective markers themselves have developed directional contrasts (also andative/venitive), much like what some neighboring Cariban languages, such as Macushi, have done (Abbott 1991; Cáceres 2010).
In the final part of this paper, we explore how the directional, locational and perfective markers are used, mostly in combination, to code the 6 associated motion (AM) contrasts in the YMA verbal morphology. Yanomama AM system is particularly interesting for the typological and areal studies for having a fairly complex system of AM distinctions (6 distinctions) in a region whose languages reportedly have simpler systems (mostly with only one category) (Guillaume 2006:28-32).


Abbott, M. 1991. 'Macushi', pp. 23-160 of Handbook of Amazonian languages. Volume 1, edited by D. C. Derbyshire and G. K. Pullum. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter
Cáceres, Natalia. 2010. The motion marker ta~tan in Cariban languages: one for all? Communication - Presented at the Verbal markers of motion and/or direction in the Amazonian Languages of the Guaporé-Mamoré region (and beyond), 10 March, Institut des Sciences de l’Homme, Lyon.
Dixon, R.M.W. and Vogel, Alan. 2004. The Jarawara Language of Southern Amazonia. Oxford: Oxford
Guillaume, Antoine. 2016. Associated motion in South America: Typological and areal perspectives. Linguistic Typology 20(1): 81–177.
Payne, Doris L. 1985. Aspects of the Grammar of Yagua: a Typological Perspective. University of California: Los Angeles. Ph.D. dissertation.
Payne, Doris L. 1990. “Morphological characteristics of lowland South American languages”. In Amazonian Linguistics: Studies in Lowland South American Languages, ed. by Doris L. Payne, 213-241. Austin: University of Texas Press.



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