Journal directory listing - Volume 46 Number 2 (2001/October) - Humanities & Social Sciences【46(1&2)】

Focus system of Mayrinax Atayal:a syntactic, semantic and pragmatic perspective Author: Lillian M. Huang(Department of English, National Taiwan Normal University)

Vol.&No.:Vol. 46, No.1&2
Date:October 2001


Atayal, one of the Formosan languages, consists of two major subgroups: Squliq and C?uli?. The present paper attempts to present a syntactic, semantic and pragmatic analysis of the focus system of Mayrinax Atayal, a C?uli? dialect spoken in Chinshui Village, Taian Hsiang, Miaoli Prefecture.
The term 'focus system' used here refers to a kind of agreement system between the subject (i.e. the focused noun phrase) and the verb, though showing no person, gender or number agreement between them. Such an agreement system is one of the characteristics shared by many western Austronesian languages. In Mayrinax Atayal, verbal affixes such as m-, ma-, si-, -um-, -an, -anay, -ani, -aw, -ay, -i, -un and O form the basis of the focus system. In terms of syntactic distribution, i.e. whether sentences are declarative or imperative, affirmative or negative, agent focus (AF) or non-agent focus (NAF), and/or realis or irrealis, different affixes named above are used. For example, AF markers m-, ma-, -um- and O are used in affirmative declarative sentences while O is used in imperative and/or negative sentences; m-, ma-, -um-, O and m-/ma-/-um- … -ay are used in AF constructions while the others are used in NAF constructions.
Semantically, verbs manifesting events of different degrees of dynamicity (or stativity) are marked with different focus markers. For instance, m- and -um- mark verbs of higher dynamicity whereas ma- and O designate verbs of lower dynamicity and even of stativity, all of which constitute a dynamic-stative continuum then. Pragmatically, whether the involved agent participant(s) is the addresser alone, the addresser and the addressee, or a third party, and whether the particle quw/qi? is present or not, structures containing projective focus markers may convey varying meanings, such as the addresser's or the involved participant's volition, suggestion or obligation, forbiddance or request, as well as the semantics of immediacy.

Keywords:Atayal, Austronesian, focus, syntactic, semantic, pragmatic

《Full Text》

APA FormatHuang, L. M. (2001). Focus system of Mayrinax Atayal:a syntactic, semantic and pragmatic perspective. Journal of National Taiwan Normal University: Humanities & Social Science, 46(1&2), 51-69. doi:10.6210/JNTNULL.2001.46.04