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Mosetén and Chimane argument coding: A layered system

Sakel, Jeanette



This paper discusses the argument-coding system of Mosetenan, a small language family spoken in the Bolivian Amazon. While there is no case marking on nouns, all coding of arguments is found in the cross-reference ending of verbs. Intransitive verbs are marked for the gender of their subjects, except for the first-person plural inclusive, which has a marker, -ja', that does not indicate the gender of the subject. Transitive cross-referencing is more complicated. It is a layered system that combines the grammatical relation of the participant (S, A, or O) with the person (1, 2, 3) and number (singular and plural). Again, the forms of first-person plural inclusive subjects are unique. The second most important forms are third-person objects, which appear before any of the speech-act participants (SAP). I analyze the Mosetenan system, discussing how language contact can shape the general outline of an argument-coding system by the introduction of a new category such as an inclusive/exclusive distinction in the first-person plural. © 2011 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.


Sakel, J. (2011). Mosetén and Chimane argument coding: A layered system. International Journal of American Linguistics, 77(4), 537-557.

Journal Article Type Review
Publication Date Oct 1, 2011
Journal International Journal of American Linguistics
Print ISSN 0020-7071
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 77
Issue 4
Pages 537-557
Keywords Mosetén, Chimane, cross-reference, inclusive/exclusive, hierarchical system
Public URL
Publisher URL


1_argument coding Mosetén_pre publication version_May 2011 copy.docx (62 Kb)

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