Grammatical relations in Mixe and Chimariko

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The growing documentation and analysis of endangered and other less commonly studied languages has revealed many unique grammatical systems which can not be explained using traditional concepts, such as subject and object. This paper compares two such systems in two different languages: (a) a hierarchical system with direct or inverse alignment in Chuxnabán Mixe and (b) a hierarchical system based on agents and patients in Chimariko. Although the two systems are very distinct, they share several properties and demonstrate how grammatical marking depends on the grammatical, semantic, and pragmatic properties of the arguments in a clause. Overall, this paper illustrates how the study of endangered and even extinct languages contributes to theories defining the nature of grammatical relations.


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