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Argument marking and reference tracking in Mekens

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Abstract

This paper discusses argument marking and reference tracking in Mekens complex clauses and their correlation to information structure. The distribution of pronominal arguments in Mekens simple clauses follows an absolutive pattern with main verbs. Complex clauses maintain the morphological absolutive argument marking, but show a nominative pattern with respect to argument reference tracking, since transitive and intransitive subjects function as syntactic pivots. The language extends the use of argument-marking verb morphology to control the reference of discourse participants across clauses. This system of reference tracking also interacts with the encoding of sentence topics, expressed in the periphery of the clause in Mekens. However it will be demonstrated that subject is the important notion for the Mekens system of reference tracking. Keywords: Mekens; Tupian languages; argument marking; reference tracking

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