A reference grammar of Paresi-Haliti (Arawak)



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This dissertation is a description of the grammar of Paresi. The Paresi people live in the State of Mato Grosso, near the city of Cuiabá. Paresi belongs to the Arawak family, and it is classified in a branch called Paresi-Xingu (Aikhenvald, 1999; Ramirez, 2001). This language is spoken by approximately 2000 speakers. The data for this thesis were collected mostly in the Formoso area. In this dissertation, I expand on the work of Rowan (1969, 1978, among other works), Silva (2009), and on my own work conducted in my Master's report (Brandão, 2010) in order to provide a comprehensive analysis of aspects of phonology, morphology, and syntax. The grammar is presented in eight chapters and an appendix with text samples. The first chapter includes general information about the speakers and the language. The second chapter describes the sound system. The segmental phonology is simple, with morphophonemic alternations on some roots and morphemes. The third chapter describes the closed words classes (pronouns, demonstratives, indefinites, numerals, quantifiers, postpositions, adverbs, interjections and ideophones). The fourth chapter examines nouns and the structure of noun phrases. The fifth and sixth chapters are descriptions of verb classes, valency, tense, aspect and modality. Verb roots can be intransitive, transitive, or ditransitive. There are three mechanisms to decrease valency and six mechanisms to increase valency. Paresi expresses time through tense, aspect, and temporal adverbs. It also distinguishes three modalities. The seventh chapter is about simple clauses and negation. In this chapter, evidence is presented for describing Paresi as an OV language. Finally, the eighth chapter, on clause combining, describes coordination and the three types of subordination: relative clauses, complementation and adverbial clauses. Grounded primarily in “basic linguistic theory”, this dissertation uses a Functional-Typological linguistic framework, informed by discussions about particular phenomena in the general linguistics literature.