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Genders and ClassifiersA Cross-Linguistic Typology$
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Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald and Elena I. Mihas

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198842019

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198842019.001.0001

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Possessive classifiers in Zamucoan

Possessive classifiers in Zamucoan

(p.144) 5 Possessive classifiers in Zamucoan
Genders and Classifiers

Ciucci Luca

Bertinetto Pier Marco

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses noun categorization devices in Zamucoan languages (Ayoreo, Chamacoco, and the extinct Old Zamuco), spoken in the Northern Chaco lowlands of South America. It focuses on two categorization devices: (i) a small gender system with masculine/feminine distinction; and (ii) possessive classifiers. The chapter demonstrates that Zamucoan languages display different structures involving the use of possessive classifiers, which agree in gender and number with the possessed. In addition, classifiers mark another grammatical system, the so-called ‘form’, which distinguishes between predicative and argument function of the NP, and, within the argument, between specific and non-specific referent. The chapter concludes that the interaction of classifiers with this peculiar system, and their agreement in gender and number with the possessed, are rare features related to their nominal origin. The chapter suggests that possessive classifiers could be an areal feature of Chaco languages, shared with the Guaycuruan and Mataguayan languages, which also mark gender and number on classifiers.

Keywords:   Ayoreo, Chaco language, Chamacoco, gender, inflectional morphology, language contact, possession, possessive classifier, Old Zamuco, Zamucoan

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