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19. Discourse-level Features

Andrew Cowell University Press of Colorado ePub

Arapaho has a rich set of discourse-level affixes and particles, which function in various pragmatic contexts. These particles serve to introduce new nominal or verbal elements (new referents, new actions, etc.) into a discourse, to reactivate these elements in the discourse, or to highlight them emphatically. Some of them are crucial in organizing the larger discourse, such as in extended narratives or speeches.

A number of different “presentational” or “additive” particles are used in Arapaho. They all serve to add new actions or actors to a situation, or to add to already-active actors or actions. They include the following:

Niixóó adds new actions; additional, new action by same actor(s): ‘he did X, Y, and Z too’; additional, same action but by an additional participant: ‘X did it, and then Y did it too’.

nii-3oo3o’ohoenei-t

IMPERF-REDUP.crush hand(AI)-3S

‘He meets them, takes their hands, and crushes their hands too.’[R:Strong Bear Shakes Hands]

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15. The Verb Phrase—Particles

Andrew Cowell University Press of Colorado ePub

Arapaho has a rich collection of particles, which are defined here as non-inflectable words. Many of these are invariable and occur only in particle form. Others can occur at least occasionally as roots within nouns or verbs but can also be used independently (unlike the vast majority of Arapaho roots). There are also a number of secondarily derived particles that are based on common and widely used roots. Of special note is a subclass of derived particles that will be labeled “adverbials” and play a major role in the sentence. Also of note are a number of particles that interact very closely with the verb; these particular particles require specific inflectional orders and modes on the verb stem and constitute fixed constructions. Finally, there is a large collection of discourse-level particles. This chapter examines only particles that occur specifically within the verb phrase and interact closely with the verb semantically and/or syntactically

There are many particles that express concepts similar to those expressed by pre-verbs. These include temporal and aspectual forms and a modal auxiliary:

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20. Numbers, Counting, Times, and Dates

Andrew Cowell University Press of Colorado ePub

The grammar of numbers, times, and dates is quite complex in Arapaho because except in the case of simple counting, number roots occur in verbal forms. There are numerous derivational suffixes used with number roots to form verbs indicating quantity, ordinal numbers, clock time, and so forth. Although some are familiar primary derivational forms, others are unique to the number verbs.

The simple count numbers are:

The numbers show clear traces of a quinary counting system, and this is reinforced by the fact that /niit/ is a common root for ‘one’ in the language (/niiteiyookuu/ ‘to stand in line, to stand one-by-one’, nííto’ ‘first’)

The teens series is formed by the addition of the II derivational final /iini/ to the number roots, thus forming verbs—but often without initial change. Formerly, the count form for ‘ten’ was added prior to this, and some people still do this today:

The succeeding decades are formed by adding the II derivational final /yoo/ to the count number roots. Once again, verbs are thus formed—but again without initial change for most speakers. The intervening numbers are formed in the same way as the teens:

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18. Syntax—Main Clauses and Sentence-level

Andrew Cowell University Press of Colorado ePub

In this section we examine in detail the general claims made earlier that the unmarked position for NPs in Arapaho is postverbal and that the marked focus position for NPs is preverbal. We also show more generally that syntax in Arapaho is largely a question of pragmatics, with the marked syntactic position being the pragmatic focus position. Any focused constituent of the sentence can occupy this marked preverbal position. These general observations have been made for other Algonquian languages as well, including Massachusett (Goddard and Bragdon 1988:586, where they argue that word order often has a “discourse function”), Plains Cree (Wolfart 1996:394), and Nishnaabemwin (Valentine 2001:951-957).

We begin with an examination of main clause syntax, followed by a brief summary of syntax internal to subordinate clauses (much of which has been covered earlier, especially in chapter 17), followed by sentence-level syntax, including sentences with multiple clauses and cleft constructions.

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9. Derivation—Preverbs and Verb Initials

Andrew Cowell University Press of Colorado ePub

Many Arapaho verbs consist of only an initial element and a final. However, it is common for “preverbal” lexical elements to be prefixed to the verb stem. The term “preverb” is preferred because these elements are added to the full verb stem. There are two different classes of preverbs. The first class involves a very limited set of grammatical preverbs, which always precede all lexical preverbs and never participate in the formation of verb stems. These grammatical preverbs are listed here with underlying pitch accent.

The second class of preverbs is the lexical preverbs/initials. As the name indicates, these have concrete meanings. In addition, these forms can occur either as preverbs or as the initial element in verb stems. When they occur with medial/final verb roots that do not occur as independent verb stems, such as /-see/ ‘walk’ or /-koohu/ ‘run’, they function as verb initials. An example is:

In this section, we examine this second class of morphemes—the lexical pre-verbs/verb initials—according to their semantics. Many correspond to English adverbs, expressing things such as the direction, location, time, or manner of the action expressed in the verb stem. Another group is made of up qualifiers, quantifiers, and intensifers. A third important group is roughly equivalent to English auxiliary verbs (‘able to’, ‘like to’, ‘want to’, and so forth). A fourth group expresses aspectual concepts such as finishing, starting, and continuing actions. Some of these groups have a fairly limited number of members, whereas others, such as the directionals and locations, are quite large. In general, the lexical preverbs/initials can be divided into two subsets. The first (aspectual, auxiliary, qualifiers, quantifiers, and intensifiers) is relatively smaller, tends to function most often as preverbs, and tends to be placed immediately after the grammatical preverbs in verb constructions. The second subset (time, location, direction, and manner forms) is relatively larger (an open-ended class, in fact) and tends to be placed after the preceding set and immediately before the verb stem. These forms are especially likely to be used as initials, although the first set can be used this way as well.

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