Research Programs: Dynamic Language Infrastructure-Documenting Endangered Languages - Fellowships

Period of Performance

6/1/2011 - 7/31/2012

Funding Totals

$25,200.00 (approved)
$25,200.00 (awarded)

A Grammar of the Northern Paiute Language

FAIN: FN-50084-11

Timothy J. Thornes
University of Central Arkansas (Conway, AR 72035-5001)

This fellowship will support the preparation for publication of a comprehensive grammatical description of Northern Paiute (Western Numic; UtoAztecan), a highly endangered language of western North America. The proposed description will incorporate a more complete understanding of grammatical aspects of the language resulting from 1) a significantly expanded text corpus developed by the Principal Investigator in collaboration with elder fluent speakers and language teachers and 2) access to the extensive grammatical notes of the late Sven Liljeblad and other legacy materials from different dialects currently archived in Special Collections at the University of Nevada at Reno and at the University of California at Berkeley. The entire fellowship tenure will be dedicated to the preparation of the core of the grammatical description. (Edited by staff)

Associated Products

Functional-Historical Approaches to Explanation (Book)
Title: Functional-Historical Approaches to Explanation
Editor: Tim Thornes
Editor: Erik Andvik
Editor: Gwendolyn Hyslop
Editor: Joana Jansen
Abstract: Contributions from both well-known practitioners and new voices in the areas of language typology, historical linguistics, and function-based approaches to language description devine this volume, as does its foci in two major geographical areas - southeast Asia and northwestern North America. All of the papers appeal, in one way or another, to functional-historical approaches to explanation. Behind this appeal lies an assumption that languages are selective in their development in ways that are dependeunt upon the communicative tasks to which they are put. As such, language function accounts for both variation and historical development over time.
Year: 2013
Publisher: John Benjamins Publishing Company
Type: Edited Volume
ISBN: 9789027206848
Copy sent to NEH?: No

Causation as “functional sink” in Northern Paiute (Article)
Title: Causation as “functional sink” in Northern Paiute
Author: Tim Thornes
Abstract: Two morphological constructions operate within the broad, functional domain of causation in Northern Paiute (Numic; Uto-Aztecan). One, the instrumental prefix construction, indicates the means or manner by which some action is carried out by characterizing features associated with instruments. Syntactically, like a morphological causative, this results in the addition of an agent to the valence profile in the derivation. Another, the applicative construction, also functions as a morphological causative in the context of a subset of stative intransitive verbs. The distinct pathways of grammaticalization are explored in this paper by proposing a set of communicative-functional pressures, resulting from the loss of an older causative construction, to fill the domain of causation.
Year: 2013
Publisher: John Benjamins

Functional underpinnings of diachrony in relative clause formation: the nominalization-relativization connection in Northern Paiute (Article)
Title: Functional underpinnings of diachrony in relative clause formation: the nominalization-relativization connection in Northern Paiute
Author: Tim Thornes
Abstract: Northern Paiute (Western Numic; Uto-Aztecan) forms relative, or attributive, clauses through nominalization. Givón (1990) describes nominalization as one of seven strategies, found crosslinguistically, employed by languages in the formation of relative clauses. One theoretical question is whether to consider nominalization as a strategy per se available to languages in the formation of relative clauses or, rather, to treat nominalization and relative clause formation as part of the same complex functional and grammatical domain. The latter approach has been proposed, for example, for some Tibeto-Burman languages (Noonan 1997, DeLancey 1986) as well as some Turkic languages (Greg S. Anderson, in personal communication). Relative clauses formed via nominalization can be viewed as morphosyntactically complex noun phrases, just as simple nominalizations are morphologically complex nouns. Their role in narrowing (in the case of headless relative clauses, establishing) reference, or in characterizing nominal attributes, typically through a genitive (possessive) relationship, can then be better articulated. These features are part of the synchronic description of relative clauses undertaken here for Northern Paiute.
Year: 2012
Publisher: John Benjamins

On the Heterogeneity of Northern Paiute Directives (in press) (Article)
Title: On the Heterogeneity of Northern Paiute Directives (in press)
Author: Tim Thornes
Abstract: In this chapter, I explore a variety of grammatical constructions involved in expressing or asserting a desired action or outcome—what properly (and traditionally) fall under the functional domain of commands (or directives)—in Northern Paiute (Western Numic; Uto-Aztecan). Also described in the following pages is a discussion of the various situational contexts appropriate to their use and a preliminary assessment of their historical developments, as both grammatical and socio-cultural phenomena. This study is intended to contribute to the typological literature on commands and on non-declarative speech acts more generally.
Year: 2015
Publisher: Oxford University Press

Evidentiality in the Uto-Aztecan Languages (forthcoming) (Article)
Title: Evidentiality in the Uto-Aztecan Languages (forthcoming)
Author: Tim Thornes
Abstract: Evidentiality, the grammatical expression of the information source for a proposition, is quite diverse among the languages of the Uto-Aztecan family. This diversity is manifest both in the number of terms and associated functional distinctions and in the formal means used to express evidential functions. The purpose of this chapter is to synthesize and describe properties of evidential expression across the family both as a contribution to a typology of evidential systems in the world’s languages and to an understanding of how such systems develop in the context of a well established, but under-represented and lesser-known, language family.
Year: 2016
Publisher: Oxford University Press