PresentationPDF Available

Nominal alignment in Chitimacha

Authors:

Abstract

This talk presents the first analysis of grammatical relations in noun phrases in Chitimacha (Glottolog: chit1248, ISO 639-3: ctm; isolate, Louisiana). Previous grammatical descriptions of the language treat Chitimacha noun phrases as uninflected for case (Swanton 1920; Swadesh 1946:319), yet describe various “postpositions” which sound suspiciously like markers of grammatical relations. For example, Swadesh (1939a:120) states that main function of the postposition hiš is “indicating the subject of an active verb”, and that this form also serves as an instrumental. Given Swadesh’s description, and the fact that instrumental > ergative is a well-known grammaticalization pathway (Garrett 1990; Heine & Kuteva 2004:180), hiš is likely an ergative marker. Another form, (n)k, he describes as optional when it marks subjects (Swadesh 1939a:134), perhaps suggestive of an absolutive. He later notes that “hiš is a device for indicating the subject unambiguously,” but that “ nk is also used” (Swadesh 1939a:120). Taken together, these and other miscellaneous comments are suggestive of a system of case marking that follows an ergative-absolutive pattern.
Nominal alignment in
Chitimacha
Daniel W. Hieber
University of California, Santa Barbara
Slides available at
danielhieber.com/cv
This research was funded in part by a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Grant #1144085.
Workshop on American Indigenous Languages (WAIL), UC Santa Barbara, April 20–21, 2018
2
Documentary Materials
1802: Jefferson List (Duralde, Jefferson)
1881–1882: lexicon, a few texts (Gatschet)
1907–1921: dozen texts, sketch grammar (Swanton)
1930–1934: 120 texts, 3,500-word lexicon, 200-page
grammar (Swadesh)
3
Nominal Marking: /hiš/ & /(n)k/
Nouns are uninflected except for certain ones, including kinship
terms and several others, which distinguish singular and plural.
(Swadesh 1939:101)
Swadesh and Swanton both describe various “postpositions
that sound suspiciously like case markers
4
Swadesh (1939) on /hiš/
indicating subject of an active verb1.
by means of [instrument]2.
made out of, consisting of [material]3.
occasionally used in place of 4. kin with[postposition]
In connection with the first meaning, it is to be noted that the
subject of active verbs need not be marked by any formal sign:
hišis a device for indicating the subject unambiguously. -nk is
also used.” (Swadesh 1939:120)
5
Swadesh (1939) on /hiš/
ergative ?
instrumental > ergative grammaticalization pathway ?
discourse optional ?
6
Swanton (1920) on /(n)k/
-nk, -nki, -k, or -ki. This is very widely used and covers all those
locative relations expressed in English by at, to, in, into, etc. The
form in -nk appears after vowels; the form in -k after
consonants.(Swanton 1920:51–52)
7
Swadesh (1939) on /(n)k/
-(n)ki [postposition]
spatial location (1. ‘at, in, on, among’)
temporal location, used with terms referring to temporal periods (2. ‘at,
in, during), and with predications (when, while’)
partitive (3. ‘of, from, among’)
The spatial locative notion includes simple location and the indication of
the part of an entity to which an action applies or affects. -(n)ki is used with
verbs expressing or implying movement from, through, or to, to give a
combined meaning of ‘from, from in, from at, through, to, into onto. In the
simple allative sense, hup [postposition ‘to’] is commonly used, but ki may
be used instead.(Swadesh 1939:116)
8
Swadesh (1939) on /(n)k/
1. -k emphatic
2. -(n)k general relationship(/k/ after Cs, /nk/ after Vs)
3. “-(n)k is used mainly in postvocalic position as an equivalent of either
hiš or hup [‘to’] and occasionally for ki [‘in, at, on’]. It is very common
as a substitute for hiš or hup in cases where no ambiguity is likely
because of the nature of the context.
(1) ʔunkʼnus hup čuː-ʔunkʼkʼastʼa-nk čuy-i
one west to go-SS=TOP one north-?? go-NF.SG
one went toward the west and one went toward the north
9
Swadesh (1939) on /(n)k/
4. “-k, -tk (after /n/) indicates mild contrast or emphasis (‘on
the other hand’). The meaning is often so attenuated that one
can hardly be certain of the basis for use. It occurs only with
terms and is apparently limited to use only after a consonant.
Formally it coincides in at least some phonologic positions
with -(n)k and it is often difficult to know which of the two is
involved in a given context. This is especially true in view of
the semantic weakness of the present postposition. In the
cases where the use of -(n)k is optional (marking the subject),
one is quite at a loss.” (Swadesh 1939:134)
10
Swadesh (1939) on /(n)k/
two forms in complementary distribution ?
one morpheme with multiple functions ?
optionally marks subject (sometimes substitutes for hiš)
absolutive ?
11
Problems
(2) kiči hečʼin hiš we šaːhken hus=up hi nahw-iʔi
woman holy ?? DET basket 3SG=to AND throw-NF.SG
the holy woman threw that basket at her’
(3) we kiči nahcʼipʼu hus koːhi ʔam-i
DET woman young 3SG aunt DIST see-NF.SG
the girl saw her aunt
(4) we siksi-nk hiš hesikʼen ʔapš heyšt-iʔi
DET eagle-?? ?? again back pick.up-NF.SG
the eagle picked him up again’
12
Problems
(5) ʔiš-k him-k hac-kʼa
1SG-?? 2SG-?? measure-DES
‘I want to measure you’
13
hiš
424 occurrences of this form
corpus: 3,528 clause chains (each with multiple clauses)
14
=hiš INSTR
(6) koːš=hiškʼet-ki-ː
stick =INSTR kill-1SG.P-SS
they would have struck me with a switch
(7) kuːhečʼin =hišhi popšmi-naʔa
water holy =INSTR AND splash-NF.PL
they splashed it with holy water’
15
=hiš INSTR
(8) ʔučke ʔiš=up šaːhken čipniškʼan =hiš
someone 1SG=to basket finished NEG =INSTR
ʔap neh-ki-naʔa
VEN strike-1SG.P-NF.PL
someone struck me with an unfinished basket
(9) we kaːcpa=nkʼ=hiš ʔam kʼust-k
DET stick=only =INSTR thing eat-SS
with only that stick, I shall (be able to) eat something
16
=hiš INSTR
(10) siːc =hišwaːkʼipi ʔuči-ːk=š
moss =INSTR pillow do-SS=TOP
he made a pillow with moss’
(11) hus kanin =hišwey hi ʔam-i
3SG eye =INSTR DEM DIST see-NF.SG
he had seen that with his (own) eyes’
17
hiš INSTR
Accounts for 65 of the 424 occurrences of hiš
18
hiš ERG
Remaining 357 instances of hiš
Only occur with 2- or 3-argument verbs
No clear cases of hišmarking the subject of a patientive verb
19
hiš ERG: Subject of Transitive
(12) ʔoːš=hišwe kipi kap ušmi-naʔa
buzzard =ERG DET meat up eat-NF.PL
‘the buzzards ate the meat’
(13) we haksikʼam =hišhus kaniʔapšhuktmi-ʔi
DET young.man =ERG 3SG eye=TOP together close-NF.sg
the young man closed her eyes’
20
hiš ERG: Subject of Ditransitive
(14) we puːp =hiš naːpʼu hečma-ʔ-i
DET rabbit =ERG children care.for-BEN-NF.SG
the rabbit took care of the children for them
(15) we puːp =hiš hus poː čʼiwin
DET rabbit =ERG 3SG hay
neki šiš kʼamin nuku=nki kap pehčt-iʔi
elephant back=LOC up put-NF.SG
the rabbit put his hay on the elephants back
21
hiš ERG with activated participants
(16) panš=hiškʼet-k
people =ERG kill-SS
some people had killed him
(17) wey=hišmiš ʔap ʔam-pa-m-kuy-iʔi
DEM=TOP =ERG way VEN see-CAUS-PLACT-1PL.P-NF.SG
he showed us the way’
22
hiš with proper names
(18) we Karankawe =hiškap ʔoːknemi-ː
DET Karankawa =ERG STAT steal-SS
‘the Karankawa [people] would steal them [the children]’
(19) Francis =hišnatma-ː-ki […]
Francis =ERG tell-BEN-1SG.P [COMP]
Francis told me […]’
23
hiš with independent pronouns
(20) ʔiš=hišwayt-iki
1SG =ERG surpass-1SG.A
I had beaten him’
(21) him =hišʔapškim-pa-ki […]
2SG =ERG REFL believe-CAUS-1SG.P [COMP]
‘you remind me […]’
Does not occur with third person independent pronouns
24
hiš with different NP types
Supernatural
(22) kutnehin =ERG ʔapšnahw-i
God =ERG back send-NF.SG
God sent him back’
Human
(23)panšʔašinčʼatʼi ʔapščuːmam =hiš
person old.man about traveler =ERG
we kaːcpaʔap ʔaː-ki-ʔi
DET stick=TOP VEN give-1SG.P-NF.SG
an old man gave me a stick’
25
hiš with different NP types
Animal
(24) ʔukš=hišha kičantʼakʼaht-iʔi
snake =ERG DEM old.woman=TOP bite-NF.SG
a snake has bitten this old woman’
Indefinite
(25) neškun =hišwaːč-čuy-i-nkʼ
someone =ERG marry-IRR-NF.SG-DEB
someone must marry her’
26
hiš with different NP types
Inanimates
(26) ʔišmahči=š kuː=k =hiškap niː-ki
1SG tail=TOP water=?? =ERG STAT soak-1SG.P
‘the water soaked my tail’
27
hiš with modifiers
Negation / Indefinites
(28) ʔuč=hiškʼan kaːkw-iʔi ʔašt […]
who =ERG NEG know-NF.SG how [COMP]
nobody knows how […]’
Numerals
(29) haksikʼank =hišʔupa we imniš-k
young.men =ERG two DET young.girl-LOC.NZR
ʔap tut-k ʔam-ʔiš-na
VEN go-SS see-IPFV.NF.PL
the two young men came to see the girl’
28
hiš with verbs of speaking
In a sample of 200 instances of hiš(including instrumental
uses), 111 (55%) occur with verbs of speaking (say, tell,
‘answer’, ask, etc.).
Characters are taking turns speaking, frequently switching the active topic.
29
hiš with verbs of speaking
(27)
ni tiːkm=iš =hišwey teːt-iʔi.
Governor=TOP =ERG DET say-NF.SG
‘The Governor said that [aforementioned thing].’
wetkšni tiːkm=iš =hišni wopm-iʔi, […].
then Governor=TOP =ERG DEF ask [COMP]
‘The Governor asked, […]’
30
hiš with verbs of speaking
wetkš heki ʔatkank =hišteːt-iʔi, […]
then minister =ERG say-NF.SG [COMP]
‘The minister said, […]
tutk we ni tiːkm=iš =hiš,kʼayi,teːt-iʔi, […]
then DET Governor=TOP =ERG no say-NF.SG [COMP]
‘The Governor said, “No, […]”’
31
hiš in discourse
hišis discourse optional
Not many contexts for it to occur in anyway
Continuing topics are omitted from the clause
When NPs are overt, hiš(or -(n)k) tends to appear
Especially when both arguments are animate
Never appears with third person pronouns
Of the 89 cases of hišwith non-speech verbs, 77 (86.5%)
involve a change in the activated topic
32
/(n)k/ forms
-(n)k Locative Nominalizer
=(n)ki Locative Postposition
-(n)k Agent/Subject Nominalizer
=(n)kCase Marker (Nominative)
Will show mainly /nk/ rather than /k/ forms (easier to find)
33
-(n)k Locative Nominalizer
(28) šeːni-nk hup hi ničw-iʔi
pond-LOC toPP AND move.to.water-NF.SG
he came to the edge of a pond
(29) we šeːni waʔa-nk hi peš-iʔi
DET pond other-LOC AND fly-NF.SG
he flew toward the opposite side of the pond
(30)ʔasiha-nk ʔap nenšw-iʔi
man=TOP PROX.DEM-LOC VEN cross.water-NF.SG
man came over here [crossing water]
34
-(n)k Locative Nominalizer
(31) kʼastʼa-nk hi tʼut-naʔa
north.wind-LOC AND go-NF.PL
they went toward the north’
(32) we tiːkm=iš hus hana-nk we panšhi koːm-iʔi
DET Governor=TOP 3SG house-LOC DET people AND call-NF.SG
the Governor called the people to his house
35
-(n)k Locative Nominalizer
(33) we ʔašinčʼatʼa=š hus hi-ʔi-nk kas čuy-i
DET old.man 3SG be-NF.SG-LOC back go-NF.SG
‘the old man went back home’
(34) we puːp panšnaʔa-nk hi ču-ː
DET rabbit people be(NF.PL)-LOC AND go-SS=TOP
the rabbit went to some people (lit. where the people were’)’
36
=(n)ki Locative Postposition (V__)
(35) ʔamčʼ-š-i sa=nki
do.what-IPFV-NF.SG DIST.DEM=LOC
‘what are you doing there?’
(36) ʔiš=k kuːketa=nki ʔap niː-k-ʼš-iki
1SG=?? water side=LOC VEN to.water-SS-IPFV-1SG.A
‘I have come to the water’s side’
37
=(n)ki Locative Postposition (C__)
(37) kaškas niči-ču-k huːh =ki
clam back put.in.water-IRR-1SG.A lake =LOC
I shall put clams back into the lake
(38) we tiːkm=iš ʔakšuš šuš =ki hi peh-k
DET Governor=TOP cypress tree =LOC AND be-SS
the Governor got up on a cypress tree’
38
=(n)ki Locative Postposition (__)
(39) kuː=ki hi nikin-ču-ki-nkʼ
water=LOC AND drop.in.water-IRR-1SG.A-DEB
‘I’ll have to drop you into the water’
(40) we šeːni siː=ki hi tey--š-iʔuy-i-n
DET pond edge =LOC DIST sit-SS-IPFV-NF.SG-CONT
he sat by the edge of the pond’
39
Aside: -nki Temporal Subordinator
=(n)ki extended its use to fully-inflected clauses
Became a temporal subordinator for adverbial when-clauses:
kap nuːp-i-nki hus kut katmakʼapt-ʼiš-na
STAT die-NF.SG-TEMP 3SG brain=TOP take-IPFV-NF.PL
‘they take his brain when he dies’
40
-(n)k Agent / Subject Nominalizer
Attaches to verbs, especially after pluractional -ma
(41) huykʼi we panšniːk-ma-nk ʔuč-š-naʔa
good DET people be.sick-PLACT-A.NZR do-IPFV-NF.PL
‘they made sick people well’
(42) tʼut-ma-nk his nuyt-iʔi
go-PLACT-A.NZR response answer-NF.SG
he answered the travelers’
41
-(n)k Agent / Subject Nominalizer
(43) ney heč-ma-nk =hiškunukʼu hi teːt-iʔi, […]
land watch-PLACT-A.NZR =ERG QUOT AND say-NF.SG [COMP]
the land-watcher (dove) said, […]’
(44) hesikʼen čuː-ču-ki-nkʼ wašti kaːyčʼi-ma-nk =ki
again go-IRR-1SG.A-DEB day be.three-PLACT-A.NZR =LOC
I must go again on the third day’
42
-(n)k Agent / Subject Nominalizer
(45) ʔuč=hišwayti-čuy-i-nk we imnišwaːč-čuy
who =ERG win-IRR-NF.SG-A.NZR DET girl marry-IRR(NF.SG)
whoever wins will marry the girl
(46) him waši kiːct-i-nk
2SG finger point-NF.SG-A.NZR
your index finger(lit. pointing finger’)
43
=(n)k Case Marker (Nominative)
Identified all the other functions of /nk/ first
Then looked at remaining /nk/ forms (unknown # of /k/
forms)
Again, identified easy cases first (SIMIL, SING, INSTR)
44
=(n)k + teːt Similative (‘like, as’)
39 occurrences in corpus, nearly all with TOP as well
(47) huykʼi kʼan hi-ʔi=nkteːt ču-ːš-iʔi
good NEG be-NF.SG=SIMIL=TOP like go-IPFV-NF.SG
I used to do as the old man [did]
(48) heyčʼi husa=nkteːt hi ʔuymi-naʔa
ten five=SIMIL=TOP like DIST reach-NF.PL
about fifty reached there
45
=(n)k + teːt Similative (‘like, as’)
(47) we ʔašinčʼatʼa=nkteːt ʔuč-puy-ki-n
DET old.man=SIMIL=TOP like do-IPFV-1SG-CONT
I used to do as the old man [did]
(48) ʔun kun ʔiniw-š-na=nkteːt ʔuči-ːkas nuhmi-naʔa
someone chase-IPFV-NF.PL=SIMIL=TOP like do-SS back run-NF.PL
they ran back acting as though someone were chasing them’
46
=(n)k + =(n)Singulative (‘just, only, until’)
7 instances in corpus
(49)kiːcti ʔunkʼu=nk =nam čʼaht-ʼiš-i
finger one=SING =only brand press-IPFV-NF.SG
she embosses only one finger
(50)ʔišwey čun ʔapškima-ka=nk =natm-iki
1SG DEM about REFL believe-1SG.P=SING =just tell-1SG.A
I told just what I remember about it
47
=(n)k Instrumental
Functionally equivalent to instrumental hiš
Occurs 72 times in corpus (instrumental hišoccurs 66 times)
48
=(n)k Instrumental
(51) ney tʼaːpa=nk hani hapščʼi-čuy-i
earth dirty=INSTR house build-IRR-NF.SG
you will build a house of mud
(52) ʔampi=nk kin ušmi-ːtʼi-naka
what=INSTR with eat-IRR-1PL.A
with what shall we eat it?
49
=(n)k + =hiš Instrumental
(53) we čʼah=k šuš tiya-nk hi čuy-iʔi
DET bird=?? tree close-LOC AND go-NF.SG
paːntʼin ʔunkʼu=nk =hiš
wing one=INSTR =INSTR
the bird went with one wing close to a tree
(54)hus kʼampa=nk =hiš cʼaːt-k
3SG lead=INSTR =INSTR thrust-SS
he thrust with his lead
50
=(n)k Nominative
After examining the functions covered so far, 383 instances
remained
Expect an absolutive function, in contrast to ergative
But: Appears on subjects of intransitives and transitives
51
=(n)k Nominative with Predicate Cxns
(55) ʔiš=k ʔam keysti=nki hi-ki
1SG=NOM some trouble=LOC be-1SG
I am in some difficulty
(56) ni tiːkm=iš ʔuypʼi=nk piːhni-ːči-ʔuy-i
Governor=TOP blood=NOM be.red-SS=TOP be-IPFV-NF.SG
‘the Governor’s blood was red’
52
=(n)k Nominative with Intransitives
(57) kaːyčʼi=nkʔapštʼut-k
three=NOM=TOP back go-SS
three came back’
(58) ʔiš=k čʼakš-iki kʼan
1SG=NOM lie-1SG.A NEG
I am not lying
53
=(n)k Nominative with Transitives
(59) we naːpʼuwe ʔašinčʼatʼa=nk nuhčpam-aːs-i
DET children DET old.man=NOM chase-IPFV-NF.SG
‘the old man chased the youngsters’
(60) ʔiš=k ʔoːksni-ču-k
1SG=NOM steal-IRR-1SG.A
‘I shall steal it’
54
=(n)k Nominative & Transitivity
(61)
we ʔašinčʼatʼi ʔaseypa=nk ʔapškay-i-š,
DET old.man brother=NOM REFL wake-NF.SG-COND
when the old mans brother awoke,’
we kaːči=š hus ʔaseypa=nk kʼapt-k
DET owl=TOP 3SG brother=NOM take-SS
his brother took the owl’
55
=(n)k Nominative with Inanimates
(62) kaya=nk ne ʔušʔamin ʔučp-i kaːhan
rain=NOM even 1PL anything do-GER unable
even the rain could not harm us
(63) kʼampa=nk ne him suʔu=nki šahčw-i kʼay-š-iʔi
bullet=NOM even 2SG skin=LOC go.in-NF.SG be(NEG)-IPFV-NF.SG
even bullets will not enter your skin
56
-(n)k NOM + hiš ERG
Very infrequent (~20 examples identified so far)
Anthropomorphic animals acting on humans
Inanimatesacting on animate
Youth acting on their social superiors (elders)
Humans acting on supernatural beings
Typically also involve a switch in activated topic
57
-(n)k NOM + hiš ERG: anthropomorphic > human
(64) we siksi=nk =hiš hesikʼen ʔapš heyšt-iʔi
DET eagle=NOM =ERG again back pick.up-NF.SG
the eagle picked him up again’
58
-(n)k NOM + hiš ERG: youth > social superior
(65) we ʔasi nahcʼipʼu=nk =hišwe ʔašinčʼatʼi hi kʼayp-iʔi
DET man small=NOM =ERG DET old.man DIST lose-NF.SG
the boy lost [got rid of] the old man’
59
-(n)k NOM + hiš ERG: inanimate > animate
(66) ʔišmahči=š kuː=k =hiškap niː-ki
1SG tail=TOP water=NOM =ERG STAT soak-1SG.P
‘the water soaked my tail’
60
Future Research: =(n)k as Patient marker?
Exceptions to the =(n)k nominative analysis
Marks an object of a transitive instead
Cannot be interpreted as any other function
Only happens with independent pronouns
Only happens with patientive verbs / particularly affected participants
Chitimacha exhibits agent-patient alignment for first person
verbal marking
61
Conclusions
Make lists! Tackle clear-cut cases first. Analyze one piece at a
time if possible. (e.g. Snider 2017)
Overlapping functions (subject/ergative, instrumental) suggest competing systems, under influence from other Southeastern
languages
62
Huyaǃ
63
References
Snider, Keith. 2017. Tone analysis for field linguists. SIL.
Swadesh, Morris. 1939. Chitimacha grammar. In Chitimacha
grammar, texts and vocabulary (American Council of Learned
Societies Committee on Native American Languages
Mss.497.3.B63c G6.5). Philadelphia: American Philosophical
Society Library.
Swanton, John R. 1920. A sketch of the Chitimacha language.
(Numbered manuscripts 1850s-1980s (some earlier), MS 4122).
Suitland, MD: National Anthropological Archives.
64
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
Tone analysis for field linguists. SIL. Swadesh, Morris. • 1939. Chitimacha grammar
Huyaǃ References Snider, Keith. • 2017. Tone analysis for field linguists. SIL. Swadesh, Morris. • 1939. Chitimacha grammar. In Chitimacha grammar, texts and vocabulary (American Council of Learned Societies Committee on Native American Languages Mss.497.3.B63c G6.5). Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society Library.
A sketch of the Chitimacha language. (Numbered manuscripts 1850s-1980s (some earlier)
  • John R Swanton
Swanton, John R. • 1920. A sketch of the Chitimacha language. (Numbered manuscripts 1850s-1980s (some earlier), MS 4122).