Cofán subordinate clauses in a typology of subordination

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This paper presents various types of subordinate clauses in Cofán, an isolate language spoken on both sides of the Ecuadorian-Colombian border. These constructions are evaluated in light of parameters used in typological studies on subordination. We show that Cofán has two types of subordinate clauses: (i) Those that are marked with special forms of the dependent verb, and (ii) those that are marked with cliticized conjunctions, which appear attached to the dependent verb for reasons of word order, but do not affect the internal structure of the subordinate clause. In addition, our case study illustrates some more general problems involved in the application of cross-linguistic formal criteria to an individual language, with specific reference to finiteness and argument coding.


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