Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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The term 'inverse' has traditionally referred to voice systems characterized by alternations of verbal voice marking, alternations that depend on the relative ontologicai salience of the two core arguments of a transitive animate verb, the logical subject and logical object. In typical inverse languages, speech-act participant (SAP) arguments (1,2 person) ontologically outrank non-SAP arguments (3d person), a fact that is grammatically encoded by 1:3 and 2:3 predications assigning one verbal voice ('direct') while 3:1 and 3:2 predications assign the other voice ('inverse'). 3:3 predications are potentially ambiguous, a problem addressed in some inverse systems by 3d person arguments with relatively low ontologicai salience being assigned a special case, the obviative (4th person).The present work addresses the question whether inverseness may be evinced through formal means other than alternations in verbal voice marking. It is argued that this occurs in a Tanoan (Kiowa-Tanoan) language, Arizona Tewa (AT). In AT transitive animate predications, an opposition in paradigms of person-marking verbal prefixes occurs such that one pronominal paradigm is assigned in case of a direct predication (logical subject ontologically outranks logical object), while the other paradigm is assigned in case of an inverse predication (logical object ontologically outranks logical subject). In effect, then, AT has separate direct and inverse pronominal paradigms; these encode the voice alternations, rather than oppositions of verbal voice marking per se. It is argued that an inverse analysis is both appropriate for AT and, in addition, applicable to at least some other Tanoan languages, such as Picurís and Southern Tiwa.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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