words for words and languages

Daniel L. Everett dan.everett at MAN.AC.UK
Tue Feb 10 08:28:24 UTC 2004

In Piraha, which lacks number and numerals completely, the
metalinguistic terms are distinguished:

1. ?apaitiisi 'straight head' - the Piraha language
2. ?apaigiiso 'crooked head' - any non Piraha language
3. kaagai - written word (literally means 'mark'), but coming to be
used occasionally for spoken words, as in one example 'kaagai ?abaita'
lost/forgotten word

On Monday, February 9, 2004, at 09:21 PM, Claire Bowern wrote:

> To point out a possible counterexample, in Bardi (Nyulnyulan, spoken
> in NW
> Australia), the word for "word" and "language" is ngaanka, but Bardi
> has
> an obligatory category of number in agreement (subject, object and
> oblique) and on possessive markers. It's marked optionally in noun
> phrases
> with a pronoun (ginyinggi for singular, irr for plural) - the presence
> of
> maining in NPs is bound to a combination of topichood, focus and
> individuation.
> Claire Bowern
> -----------------------------
> Department of Linguistics
> Harvard University
> 305 Boylston Hall
> Cambridge, MA, 02138
Daniel L. Everett
Postgraduate Programme Director
Professor of Phonetics & Phonology
Department of Linguistics and English Language
University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PL UK
Fax: 44-161-275-3187
Phone: 44-161-275-3158

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