Thesis Defence

Research Event
Grad Important Dates
Office of Research & Graduate Studies
Virtual Event
Langley, BC

Aspects of switch reference in Marubo, a Panoan language of western Amazonia, by Christopher Sean Smith

Department: Master of Arts in Linguistics

Thesis Supervisor: Sean Allison, PhD (MLIN)

Second Reader: Steve Nicolle, DPhil (MALT)

Third Reader: Pilar Valenzuela, PhD (Chapman University)

Exam Chair: Derrick Klaassen, PhD (CPSY)

Abstract: This thesis is a description of the switch reference system in Marubo (ISO 639-3 [mzr]), an underdescribed Panoan language of western Amazonia. Marubo has a fascinating switch reference system which carries a high functional load in the grammar. This complex system, comprised of nine markers, tracks referents across clauses, often displaying sensitivity to an argument’s grammatical role; temporal and logical relations are also encoded as extended functions of the markers. Of particular typological interest is the cross-referencing of O arguments with other S, A, or O arguments. Switch reference markers may occur in clause chains where they target either adjacent or non-adjacent clauses. In certain cases, the standard order of clauses may be reversed, often producing a reading which elaborates on the preceding information. In addition, non-coreferential clauses may be interposed in clause chains for brief alternations of topic. Lastly, areas which deserve more study are presented, such as the flexible use of switch reference to mark discontinuities related to time, weather and events. All data and analysis come from four years of immersion-based fieldwork by the author, with abundant examples from a variety of Marubo discourse genres.