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Title: Cora Locationals and Structures Imagery
Authors: Casad, Eugene Homer
Keywords: American Indigenous Languages (Northern)
Uto-Aztecan Languages
Issue Date: 1982
Publisher: University of California, San Diego
Abstract: This dissertation presents a lexicosemantic analysis of certain locationals of Cora, a Uto-Aztecan language of Mexico. The analysis takes in the locative particles, the topographic adverbs and the loca¬tive verbal prefixes. Deep seated phonological, morphological, and semantic similarities and syntactic correlations tie these three grammatical classes into a clearly delineated subdomain of Cora grammar. The analysis given in this study is stated within the framework of Space Grammar, a usage-based approach which seeks to explain in depth the richness and complexity of language (Langacker, 1982a:8). This approach also attempts to account for language in a unified and realistic way, making the kinds of distinctions that lead to insightful accounts of language data and avoiding those that are artefactual and counter¬productive (1982 a:42). Space Grammar claims that structured imagery plays a pervasive role in grammar. The analysis of the Cora data reveals much about the nature of this structured imagery. It shows how imagery relates to the various ways people construe conceived scenes. For example, they may foreground certain aspects of a scene while fading out certain other ones. They may transform it in certain ways or even view it from alternate perspectives. The analysis also shows that imagery is com¬ponential. Simple concepts combine to form more complex ones. The semantic structures described in Chapters 3-8 display a linguistic reflex of this. The dissertation is organized as follows: Chapter 1 treats the background of this study and summarizes previous studies of locative systems in natural language. This summary highlights parallels to the Cora analysis. Chapter 2 is basically theoretical. It surveys some previous approaches to locationals. It also discusses those claims and notational devices of Space Grammar that are relevant to this study. The locationals discussed in this dissertation express spatial relationships. The context that defines a relation is its base. The configuration that the relation displays within the base is its profile. Within the profile, two entities are related such that one, the landmark, anchors the relation. The entity being located with respect to the landmark is the trajector. Chapters 3-8 are data-oriented. Chapter 3 describes the semantic structures of the locative particles. The basic set of locative particles reflects notions of distance and boundedness. The slope-oriented set adds to this the notion of a generalized slope with discrete 'foot', 'face', and 'head' regions. Chapter 4 discusses six topographic suffixes that combine with the locative particles to form a set of 63 topographic adverbs. The meanings of the suffixes reflect 'upward', 'downward', and 'oblique' relations which are defined with respect to the overlapping domains of the river and the hill. Chapters 5-7 present an exploratory analysis of the seventeen verbal prefixes and their combinations with each other. Chapter 5 gives a summary of the commonalities which characterize the entire set of prefixes. Chapter 6 treats the basic a- 'outside' and u- 'inside' contrast that is salient to the entire Cora complex of locational elements discussed in this study. Chapter 7 surveys the remaining prefixes and prefix sequences. Chapter 8 shows how the locative particles and the verbal prefix sequences map out over the human body. It also discusses the correlations between these two morphological classes. Chapter 9 summarizes the salient characteristics of the three locative morpheme classes. It also presents several theoretical impli¬cations drawn from the analysis.
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