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The Clause-Typing System of Plains Cree Indexicality, Anaphoricity, and Contrast by Clare (Brandon University) Cook

The Clause-Typing System of Plains Cree Indexicality, Anaphoricity, and Contrast

Part of the Oxford Studies of Endangered Languages Series


The Clause-Typing System of Plains Cree Indexicality, Anaphoricity, and Contrast by Clare (Brandon University) Cook

This book offers detailed empirical coverage of the syntax and semantics of Plains Cree, an Algonquian language of western Canada. It combines careful elicitation with corpus studies to provide the first systematic investigation of the two distinct verbal inflectional paradigms - independent and conjunct - in the language. The book argues that the independent order denotes an indexical clause type with familiar deictic properties, while the conjunct order is an anaphoric clause type whose reference is determined by rules of anaphoric dependence. Both syntactic and semantic considerations are examined: on the syntactic side, indexical clauses are shown to be restricted to a subset of matrix environments, and to exclude proforms that have clause-external antecedents or induce cross-clausal dependencies. Anaphoric clauses have an elsewhere distribution: they occur in both matrix and dependent contexts, and freely host and participate in cross-clausal dependencies. The semantic discussion focusses primarily on the context in which a proposition is evaluated: it shows that indexical clauses have absolute tense and a speaker origo, consistent with deixis on a speech act; anaphoric clauses, by contrast, use anaphoric dependencies to establish the evaluation context. Data from Plains Cree is compared to the matrix/subordinate system found in English, to the clause-chaining system of the Amele language of Papua New Guinea, and to Romance subjunctive clauses. The book also provides the first micro-typology of pronominal marking and initial change in Algonquian languages.

About the Author

Clare Cook currently teaches in the Native Studies department at Brandon University, having completed her PhD at the University of British Columbia, and a SSHRC postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Manitoba, where she taught classes on the structure of Cree for several years. She has carried out extensive fieldwork on Plains Cree since 2003, as well as fieldwork and textual analysis in the related Algonquian languages Blackfoot and Menominee.

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Book Info

Publication date

31st October 2013


Clare (Brandon University) Cook

More books by Clare (Brandon University) Cook
Author 'Like for Like'


Oxford University Press


354 pages


Semantics, discourse analysis, etc
Grammar, syntax & morphology



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