Reality Status in South American Indigenous Languages

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Reality Status in South American Indigenous Languages

Type: Bachelor thesis
Title: Reality Status in South American Indigenous Languages
Author: Groeneweg, Willem
Issue Date: 2018-08-30
Keywords: Reality Status
South American indigenous languages
language typology
Abstract: In this typological survey, I study the distribution of irrealis markers in a sample of nine South American indigenous languages. I do this to assess the typological validity of Reality Status, a crosslinguistic grammatical category defined by Elliott (2000) about which there is much debate. This category assumes that a notional distinction of realized and unrealized events underlies the formal marking of the irrealis. Based on Elliott’s notional definition, and inspired by Michael (2014), I set out a group of irrealis parameters, grammatical categories which are expected to be marked for irrealis in a language which makes an RS distinction, and study which of these parameters are marked for the irrealis. I argue that assuming RS is often not adequate in explaining the distribution of irrealis markers and that this distribution should instead be explained by assuming a focal meaning of future prediction, which shows interaction with either degree of assertion or metaphorical inference from markers of deictic space. Together, these factors can account for the distribution of the irrealis markers in this sample.
Supervisor: Crevels, Mily
Faculty: Faculty of Humanities
Department: Taalwetenschap (Bachelor)
Specialisation: Descriptive Linguistics
ECTS Credits: 10

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