Grammatical resources and linguistic complexity: Sirionó as a language without NP coordination

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The paper discusses the relationship between cross-linguistic differences in grammatical resources and linguistic complexity. It is claimed that Sirionó (Tupí-Guaraní) lacks syntactic coordination as in English <i>John and Mary are asleep</i>. Instead, Sirionó employs a number of different strategies – the ‘with’ strategy, the list strategy, and the ‘also’ strategy – to make up for this. It is argued that one or more of these strategies may serve as a diachronic source of syntactic coordination. The development of syntactic coordination in a language exemplifies condensation processes in grammaticalization and increases complexity in the sense that a certain type of complex syntactic structure is introduced, and makes it possible to express in one syntactic unit what previously needed two or more.


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