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17. The Verb Phrase—Subordinate Clauses

Andrew Cowell University Press of Colorado ePub

Relative clauses in Arapaho are complex because they involve the use of quite different constructions, depending on the stem class of the verb involved in the relative clause. When the verb is AI or II, the relative clauses look just like independent clauses morphologically, with the exception that they are often governed by a demonstrative such as hínee, hí’in, or núhu’:

Note that in traditional narratives where independent clauses are expressed with the special narrative past tense /e’ih/ and the non-affirmative order, the distinction between AI and II independent and relative clauses is much clearer, since relative clauses in the past tense occur with /nih/, not /e’ih/:

On the other hand, relative clauses based on TA and TI stems look radically different from regular TA and TI stems, both in the contemporary spoken language and in traditional narratives. These forms are different enough to merit their own special category, and we will designate them as “dependent participles.” Alternately, one might wish to call them “conjunct participles” based on the parallel between their function in Arapaho and the function of the conjunct participle in Proto-Algonquian and many modern Algonquian languages, but the Arapaho dependent participles are not in fact derived from the PA conjunct participle; they derive rather from the PA independent order and are a recent innovation in the language (see Cowell and Moss 2002a).

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16. The Verb Phrase—Noun-Verb Agreement

Andrew Cowell University Press of Colorado ePub

In this chapter, we examine the ways in which different types of verb stems are used in Arapaho for functional communicative purposes, and the ways in which NP marking on the verb stem can be manipulated for the same purposes. Topics include proximate/obviative marking, alternation between different primary verb stems for reasons of NP saliency and emphasis, and derivation of secondary stems for the same reasons.

As seen in chapter 3, the person hierarchy in combination with the direction-of-action markers determines the shape of TA inflections. The grammatical categories of subject and object are certainly present, but they do not control the inflectional system. Similarly, the semantic roles of agent and patient, although clearly specified by the overall TA inflection, are not fundamental in the determination of which participant will be marked explicitly on the verb using a person marker. For example, a second person will always be marked finally on the verb due to the rules of the person hierarchy, whether the second person is subject, object, agent, or patient. The direction-of-action markers then indicate whether that person is subject or object:

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13. Usage—Conjunct Order

Andrew Cowell University Press of Colorado ePub

The conjunct order, as described briefly in chapter 2, occurs primarily in subordinate clauses that express things like the background to or consequence of the action in the main clause. In this chapter, information is presented on the various more specific uses of the conjunct order beyond the prototypical uses described earlier.

The simple conjunct verbs look exactly like the affirmative order verbs in Arapaho as far as their person and number inflectional suffixes. They are distinguished only by sets of preverbs that are limited to subordinate clauses. Many of these express temporal and/or aspectual distinctions. The primary Arapaho simple conjunct order preverbs of this type are:

All of these preverbs are used with adverbial subordinate clauses. Before presenting examples of these preverbs in clauses, we offer an overall analysis of their function, concentrating on /toh/, /tih/, and /ei’i/. The fundamental distinction between these preverbs is between /toh/ on the one hand and /tih/ and /ei’i/ on the other. The distinction is based on a judgment of the relevance of the given background event referred to by the conjunct verb for the action in the main clause, as suggested by the parenthetical remarks in the above list. /Toh/ marks maximal logical relevance or connectedness between the actions of the main and subordinate clauses and is used in cause-and-effect statements. On the other hand, /tih/ and /ei’i/ mark events that are less clearly related to or necessary for the events in the main clause where there is no clear causal connection. The distinction between /tih/ and /ei’i/ is that the former marks the imperfective aspect, whereas the latter marks the perfective aspect. Background actions occurring in the present tense seem to require /toh/ obligatorily (and thus to be relevant by default), whereas actions in the past can be marked by any of the three preverbs. Note that /tih/ often occurs with the imperfective marker /ii/, which seems initially strange given the analysis just presented of its aspectual meaning. When the imperfective marker is used, this gives one of two additional senses to the verb: a background habitual aspect or a background ongoing aspect. Examples of the different temporal/aspectual usages follow.

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5. Derivation—Verb Finals

Andrew Cowell University Press of Colorado ePub

Arapaho verb stems always consist of at least an initial root and a final element, the latter of which is usually abstract (in a few cases, certain verbs have a null abstract final). It is common for medial elements, and also concrete (lexical) finals, to occur as well, but discussion of these will be delayed until chapter 6. The combination of initial and final elements produces the verb stem. The initial roots contribute much of the lexical meaning to verb stems. Prototypically, they refer to either actions or states (/tew/ ‘to separate from a whole’, /be’/ ‘red’). The finals serve to indicate the stem class of the verb (AI, II, TA, TI). There are several different finals used to form each stem class, however, and the contrasting finals contribute important elements to the meaning of the stem itself, as well as licensing particular semantic categories of NPs that may serve as objects of the verb. The stems are thus best thought of as constructions whose meaning is the product of both lexical and non-lexical elements.

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21. Variation in Arapaho

Andrew Cowell University Press of Colorado ePub

Extensive study of variation between Northern and Southern Arapaho has never been done, and given the state of Southern Arapaho today, it is largely too late to carry out such an investigation except by using existing published and recorded sources. Salzmann (1956a, 1963) remarks on a few differences, including phonological (Northern [s] is equivalent to Southern [ʃ]), prosodic (northerners are said to speak with a faster tempo), and lexical (he lists variant neologisms). In preparing this grammar, the two authors examined a number of Southern Arapaho texts in manuscript, and no notable differences were found in morphology, and of course Alonzo Moss Sr. has had the opportunity to hear Southern Arapaho on numerous occasions in his younger years. There were a few lexical items that Moss did not recognize in the manuscripts, but it is unclear whether these were specific to the southern dialect or whether they were simply items that have become obsolescent since the texts were recorded in the early 1900s. It would of course be surprising if there were not a few lexical differences, even within traditional vocabulary. It should also be noted that the Southern Arapaho apparently once spoke the Arapahoan language Nawathinehena (nowoo3iineheeno’) and switched to Arapaho proper during the nineteenth century (Goddard 2001:76), but no clear linguistic evidence of this language exists today.

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