La construcción diádica en mapudungun y sus implicancias tipológicas

Nicholas Evans, Lucia Gulloscio, Fresia Mellico

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Dyad constructions provide a way of referring to pairs or groups of people based on shared social relationships, e.g. '(pair of) brothers / neighbours', 'father and son'. They may be formed by morphological derivation, or may be unanalyseable lexical roots. Until recently the phenomenon has escaped typological systematization, and the available information has a highly skewed distribution of the phenomenon worldwide, with the majority of reported occurrences in the Western Pacific, with only sporadic instances in Africa, Western Eurasia or the Americas. This article reveals the existence of a robust and productive dyadic construction in Mapudungun (Mapuche, also known as Araucanian), spoken in the south of Chile and Argentina. It examines various typological features of the Mapuche dyadic construction in the light of new primary data, which either deviate from what has been documented so far for dyadic constructions in other languages, or exhibit interesting semantic effects which have not yet been reported: the possibility of forming reciprocalized causative denominal verbs from dyads, the ambiguous interaction of numerals with dyad expressions, and the possibility of deriving, from a nominal root denoting an exchanged gift object or shared experience, a dyad term for the pair of people bonded by this interchange. Mapudungun, then, extends the typology of dyadic constructions and their semantic and syntactic behaviour. Moreover, the fact that such a deeply-entrenched and productive construction could escape previous typological integration even for such a relatively well-described language as Mapudungun suggests that the phenomenon may turn out to be more widespread than has hitherto been suspected. KEY WORDS: South American languages; Mapudungun, Mapuche; typology; dyadic constructions; reciprocal constructions
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)49-66
    JournalLIAMES: Linguas Indigenas Americanas
    Issue numberPrimavera 2010
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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