Athapaskan eating and drinking verbs and constructions

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Athapaskan languages comprise one of the largest, most geographically distributed, and most culturally diverse families in North America. Nevertheless, each daughter language features a set of classificatory verb stems which, semantically, focus less on signaling a relational predication than on some physical attribute of a prominent relational participant. Consequently, most consumption expressions focus on the marking of the theme; that is, on the type of object consumed, the manner in which the consumption happens, or the extent of the dissipation of the object through a combination of classificatory verb stems and adverbial prefixes. Unlike what is found in many languages, there is no appreciable focus on the agent/consumer or on the benefits or detriments associated with the acts of eating or drinking.


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