It is widely assumed that there is a natural, prelinguistic conceptual domain of time whose linguistic organization is universally structured via metaphoric mapping from the lexicon and grammar of space and motion. We challenge this assumption on the basis of our research on the Amondawa (Tupi Kawahib) language and culture of Amazonia. Using both observational data and structured field linguistic tasks, we show that linguistic space-time mapping at the constructional level is not a feature of the Amondawa language, and is not employed by Amondawa speakers (when speaking Amondawa). Amondawa does not recruit its extensive inventory of terms and constructions for spatial motion and location to express temporal relations. Amondawa also lacks a numerically based calendric system. To account for these data, and in opposition to a Universal Space-Time Mapping Hypothesis, we propose a Mediated Mapping Hypothesis, which accords causal importance to the numerical and artefact-based construction of time-based (as opposed to event-based) time interval systems.
Linguistic theory has been preoccupied since midway through the twentieth century with the search for universals of language. However, more recently there has been increasing attention across the different disciplines that contribute to research in language to variation and difference. This goes together with a more recent focus on culture and language, approached through interdisciplinary research methods, including field research. In this article the authors report the results of a survey they conducted with the assistance of indigenous teachers about the counting term (number) systems of their native Amazonian languages. All the teachers were indigenous people from different communities living in the State of Rondônia, Brazil. This survey of twenty-three languages, belonging to seven different language families, confirms the observation that small counting term systems are a general feature of indigenous Amazonian languages. This article identifies two general features of counting term systems in the languages of Rondônia: a restricted number (less than five) of lexicalisations of number, and the productive combinatorial use of these terms to refer to larger quantities. It suggests that this is evidence of a way of thinking about and practicing counting that is shared across a cultural area. However, this generalization goes together with a high degree of of diversity in the specific patterns of lexicalisation and combination.
In this paper we analyse verbal reduplication in the Amondawa language, focusing on the aspectual function. We argue that
verbal reduplication may be linked to Amondawa’s cultural values, such as the counting system and the event-based concept of time. We
analysed 100 verbal predicates, considering: (i) transitivity (active and stative intransitive and transitive), (ii) semantic properties
(state, activity, achievements and accomplishments); and (iii) morphological structure. The results suggest that, for the Amondawa, verbal
reduplication presents notions of pluractionality, notably aspectual, and reflects cultural values related to their ways of counting things
in the world and their conception of time. Thus, in this language/culture, it is preferable to say that this phenomenon evidences a
decomposition of the event into micro-events, rather than verbal plurality. In this sense, reduplication works as a kind of aspectual marker
and not as a plural mark, in the strict sense, whether in nouns or verbs.
Este trabalho tem por objetivo tratar de alguns casos de variação que apontam para uma possível mudança linguística em Amondawa (Tupi-Kawahib). Quanto aos aspectos fonéticos, são apresentadas variações que podem implicar em uma alteração em seu sistema fonológico, tais como: a redução no inventário das vogais, mudança no padrão silábico e processo de fonologização devido Ã redução de alofones nasais. No que diz respeito ao léxico, devido ao contato com a sociedade não indígena, têm havido incorporações de palavras da língua portuguesa, criação de novas palavras a partir de mecanismos morfológicos do Amondawa e a adoção de nomes próprios alheios Ã cultura que interferem significativamente em sua onomástica tradicional. Por fim, quanto aos aspectos morfossintáticos, está em curso um forte processo de enfraquecimento do paradigma de concordância verbal, provocando uma mudança em seu parâmetro do sujeito nulo.
Neste trabalho, contestamos a Hipótese do Mapeamento Universal com baseem pesquisa realizada com uma língua Tupi-Kawahib, da Amazônia brasileira: a língua amondawa. Salientamos, entretanto, que não contestamos a hipotética universalidade dos fundamentos cognitivos do mapeamento linguístico espaçotempo.
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