Volume 5, Issue 1 (2011) Pp. 1–38.
- Insubordination in Tlingit: An Areal Feature?
- by Seth Cable
This paper documents a hitherto unnoticed grammatical phenomenon of
Tlingit, a Na-Dene language of Alaska, British Columbia and the
Yukon. This phenomenon, which has lately been given the name
‘insubordination’ (Evans 2007), is one in which a free-standing,
matrix utterance bears morphosyntactic markers that are otherwise
indicative of subordinated clauses. I distinguish three syntactic
types of such ‘insubordinate clauses’, as well as four distinct
semantic types, and discuss the possible relations between the form
and meaning of Tlingit insubordinate clauses. I also discuss the
possible origins of insubordination in Tlingit, noting that the
phenomenon is not universal amongst the Na-Dene languages. Rather,
its appearance in related languages appears to be driven by areal
pressures, and I posit that insubordination in the neighboring Haida
and Tsimshianic languages may have exerted such pressures on Tlingit
as well. Finally, this paper is accompanied by an annotated corpus of
Tlingit insubordinate clauses, which provides the empirical basis of
the key generalizations proposed here.
Keywords: Tlingit, insubordination, Na-Dene, Athabaskan, Pacific Northwest sprachbund
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