Body divisions in Great Andamanese
Possessive classification, the semantics of inherency and grammaticalization
Great Andamanese has a dual semantic system for body part categorization: one that is expressed in various terms for concrete body parts and another more abstract one that is expressed in grammaticalized morphemes represented in seven body division possessive classes that classify body part terms based on the area of the body they occupy. These classes also classify other inalienables, with some semantic connection to the body part system. Further, body part semantics pervade the lexical and grammatical system of the language as this dual system is extended to other form classes, viz. verbs, adjectives and adverbs. The body division class markers occur as proclitics attached to all content word classes. Thus, all content words in Great Andamanese can easily be divided into bound and free, the former necessarily imbued with the semantics of “inherency” and “dependency”. I conclude by proposing that the Great Andamanese conceptualize their world through these interdependencies and hence the grammar of the language encodes this important phenomenon in every part of speech expressing referential, attributive and predicative meaning.
Published online: 10 January 2012
Cited by 5 other publications
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