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Chapter 4. When culture grammaticalizes

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Abstract

The Onya Darat language of Borneo has a large set of personal pronouns. In addition to encoding the categories of person and number, these pronouns also encode the generational affiliation of their referents. It is suggested that obligatory expression of kinship in the pronoun system arose due to particular patterns of marriage and emerged against the background of a traditional society where an entire village shared one large house. This enabled all members of the community to know each other intimately and to be aware of each other’s generational affiliation.

References

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