Plural coding of individuated inanimate nouns in Meseño Cora

AMERINDIA 43: 145-176, 2021

Seminario de Lenguas Indígenas, Instituto de Investigaciones Filológicas, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México


Abstract: Meseño Cora, a linguistic variant of Cora, a Southern Uto-Aztecan language of the Corachol branch spoken in Mexico, shows a conspicuous bound morpheme with peculiar morphosyntactic patterns for conveying plural coding. The present work proposes that the tíʔ- prefix in this Cora variant functions as a plural marker of individuated inanimate nouns when attached to non-agentive intransitive, monotransitive and ditransitive verbs, acting on the nominal argument of the verb, either the thematic subject for intransitives or the thematic object for the other two predicate types (Malchukov et al. 2010). The dissemination of tíʔ- in those verb classes reveals how nominal number marking on the noun type of individuated inanimate nouns in this language variant follows an absolutive-alignment pattern, highlighting that the tíʔ- prefix affects theme thematic relations (Van Valin 2001). This account corroborates predictions of plural number marking on nouns designating inanimate entities construed as individual objects as put forth by Grimm’s (2018) individuation scale and also by Haspelmath’s (2005) implicational scale for number marking.