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Non-referential actor indexing in Nehan

CollectionsAustralian Linguistic Society Conference (2011)
Title: Non-referential actor indexing in Nehan
Author(s): Olstad, John
Australian Linguistic Society
Keywords: impersonals;non-referential indexing;argument structure;Oceanic;semantics
Publisher: Australian Linguistic Society
Citation: Olstad, J. (2012). Non-referential actor indexing in Nehan. In M. Ponsonnet, L. Dao & M. Bowler (Eds), Proceedings of the 42nd Australian Linguistic Society Conference – 2011, Australian National University, Canberra ACT, 2-4 December 2011 (pp. 297-315).
Series/Report no.: Australian Linguistic Society Conference: 42nd
Non-referential actor indexing is found in many languages in the form of 3PL impersonal constructions. In the sentence, “They don’t drink root beer in Australia.”, the actor 'they' does not refer to any specific entity. In addition to 3PL impersonals, the Nehan language of northern Bougainville uses non-referential actor indexing for middle voice-like constructions, undergoer promotion, and — perhaps uniquely — expands impersonal constructions using 3SG agreement to indicate that the actor of the verb either lacks sentience or has accidentally carried out an action. This paper describes the semantics of non-referential actor indexing constructions and their role in argument structure.
ISBN: 978-0-9802815-4-5


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