Volume 32, Issue 2
  • ISSN 0378-4177
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9978
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Cross-linguistic comparison of future constructions (e.g. Bybee et al. 1994) shows that future grams almost invariably derive from verbs involving agent-oriented modality or spatial movement. However, the Hup language of the northwest Brazilian Amazon (Nadahup or ‘Makú’ family) has developed a future gram from a noun: ‘wood, stick’. This paper traces a proposed path of grammaticalization from the free lexeme ‘wood’ to an increasingly abstract ‘generic’ noun in nominal compounds, thence to a purpose adverbial, and finally to a future suffix in verbal constructions. While a nominal source like ‘wood, stick’ for a future gram is typologically extraordinary, each step in this transition is argued to be clearly motivated and consistent with more general cross-linguistic patterns of grammaticalization.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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