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Space in Alaska: Cognitive variations on Upper Kuskokwim Athabaskan Andrej A. Kibrik (aakibrik@gmail. com) Space in Alaska: Cognitive variations on Upper Kuskokwim Athabaskan Andrej A. Kibrik ([email protected] com) Time and Space in St. Petersburg March 29, 2012 1

Upper Kuskokwim 2 Upper Kuskokwim 2

What’s space in the Upper Kuskokwim like? 3 What’s space in the Upper Kuskokwim like? 3

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Basic information about Upper Kuskokwim Athabaskan (UKA) § About 25 speakers left out of Basic information about Upper Kuskokwim Athabaskan (UKA) § About 25 speakers left out of the population of § § about 200 Most speakers reside in the village of Nikolai Prior work – Collins and Petruska 1979 Kibrik’s field trips in 1997, 2001, 2009, and 2010 As in other Athabaskan: § polysynthesis § highly complex verb morphology and morphophonemics 5

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Welcome to Nikolai 7 Welcome to Nikolai 7

Domains under consideration § Dimensional directional (DD) adverbs § Riverine orientation § Elevational orientation Domains under consideration § Dimensional directional (DD) adverbs § Riverine orientation § Elevational orientation § Relativity of spatial orientation § Conceptualization of movement § Absolute vs. relative frame of reference 8

Data § Natural discourse recordings (transcribed) § § Folk stories Personal stories Conversation Interview Data § Natural discourse recordings (transcribed) § § Folk stories Personal stories Conversation Interview at school § Elicited examples 9

Dimensional directionals noygi digheloye hidenin ghelheˀ yats’in nehwdadidził ts’eˀ uphill mountain slope perhaps other. Dimensional directionals noygi digheloye hidenin ghelheˀ yats’in nehwdadidził ts’eˀ uphill mountain slope perhaps other. side brush. was. piled. up and notsints’eˀ nehulkanh ts’eˀ degheneˀ downhill they. were. pushing. earth Comp he. used. to. say yiˀots’ digheloye denin yihw hulkanh from. uphill mountain slope there they. ploughed. out <…> nodigw hwk’oy hwts’inh noˀin yotsin hidenin hwdinelkanh<…> uphill ridge from further downhill slope it. was. leveled. out 10

Schematic representation of the UKA native area 11 Schematic representation of the UKA native area 11

Riverine orientation: upriver vs. downriver § Roots: § -n- ‘upriver’ § -d- ‘downriver’ § Riverine orientation: upriver vs. downriver § Roots: § -n- ‘upriver’ § -d- ‘downriver’ § Basic examples § y-o-n-aˀ Pref-upriver-Id § n-o-d-o-ts’ tekash Pref-downriver-Id-El you. paddle ‘Come this way (by boat, from downriver)’ zido ‘He lives upriver’ he. lives 12

Elevational orientation: uphill vs. downhill § Roots: § -n(w)g- ‘uphill’ § -ts- ‘downhill’ § Elevational orientation: uphill vs. downhill § Roots: § -n(w)g- ‘uphill’ § -ts- ‘downhill’ § Basic examples: § n-o-ts-in Pref-downhill-Id ‘I will go downhill’ § minh y-o-ng-w-t lake Pref-uphill-Id-Punct ‘The lake is up there’ tighisyoł I. will. go 13

Templatic morphology A B C D E F Referential Prefix Root Idiosyncratic suffix Localization Templatic morphology A B C D E F Referential Prefix Root Idiosyncratic suffix Localization hw (areal) y (default) o d (downriver) n (default) n (upriver) d (relative) ts (downhill) n(w)g (uphill) oˀ aˀ in i/w w(gh) (regional) (e)t (punctual) (e)ts’(eˀ) (elative) ts’in (adessive) ghw (diminutive) § Close to 100 forms just from these four roots 14

Relativity 1: deictic orientation § X is at the river bank, Y is away Relativity 1: deictic orientation § X is at the river bank, Y is away from the river: § X (= origo) speaks to Y: § n-o-ng-i Pref-uphill-Id tighisyoł I. will. go ‘I will go uphill’ § Y (= origo) speaks to X: § y-o-ts-ets’ teyosh Pref-downhill-El you. go ‘Come here (lit. from downhill)’ 15

Relativity 2: relevance of scale § § Local scale: y-o-ng-i si-kayih Pref-uphill-Id my-house ‘I Relativity 2: relevance of scale § § Local scale: y-o-ng-i si-kayih Pref-uphill-Id my-house ‘I will go to my house’ § § Grand scale: dotron’ n-o-ts-in nonot’wh raven Pref-downhill-Id it. flies ‘A raven flies away from the mountains’ hi-ts’eˀ Ar-to notighisdoł I. will. go 16

Local vs. grand scale grand slope notsin ‘downhill’ yongi ‘uphill’ local s lope s Local vs. grand scale grand slope notsin ‘downhill’ yongi ‘uphill’ local s lope s ain nt u o m river 17

Conclusions on dimensional directionals § DDs display a remarkable variety of forms § DDs Conclusions on dimensional directionals § DDs display a remarkable variety of forms § DDs are used in discourse to provide a detailed § § description of actual location/movement Precise specification of locations, directions, and paths constitutes a salient component of ethnic cognitive representation DDs represent location and movement not in an absolute way, but in a relative way, with respect to a frame of reference: deictic or scale-based 18

Conceptualization of movement across space § Classificatory verb roots § Consider four stereotypical meanings Conceptualization of movement across space § Classificatory verb roots § Consider four stereotypical meanings § § (i) ‘lie/sit’ (ii) ‘move/fall’ (iii) ‘throw/drop’ (iv) ‘bring/carry’ 19

Different classificatory roots for (i) ‘lie’ and (ii) ‘move’/‘fall’ Compact roundish (rock) Stiff elongated Different classificatory roots for (i) ‘lie’ and (ii) ‘move’/‘fall’ Compact roundish (rock) Stiff elongated (gun) Multiple (gloves) Animate (baby) (i) ‘lie’ -ˀo -to -la -ta (ii) ‘move’/‘fall’ -ninh -gheł -dak -yo § NB: classification in groups (i) and (ii) is similar, but not identical 20

‘Throw’/‘drop’(iii) verbs are causatives from ‘move’/‘fall’ (ii) a. dichinh no-di-ghe-ø-ghił stick down-Pref-Md-Norm. Val-SEO. move. ‘Throw’/‘drop’(iii) verbs are causatives from ‘move’/‘fall’ (ii) a. dichinh no-di-ghe-ø-ghił stick down-Pref-Md-Norm. Val-SEO. move. Pf ‘the stick fell down’ b. dichinh no-di-ghi-ł-ghił stick down-Pref-Md-[1 Sg. Nom-]Caus-SEO. move. Pf ‘I dropped the stick’ Ø‘Throw/drop’ means ‘cause to move/fall’ Ø‘Carry/bring’ may also be expected to be construed as ‘cause to move’ 21

However, ‘carry/bring’ (iv) verbs’ roots coincide with those of the ‘lie’ (i) verbs a. However, ‘carry/bring’ (iv) verbs’ roots coincide with those of the ‘lie’ (i) verbs a. tudzile zi-ø-tonh ice. pick Md-Norm. Val-SEO. lie. Pf ‘the ice pick lies’ b. tudzile ni-s-ø-tonh ice. pick Md-1 Sg. Nom-Norm. Val-SEO. lie. Pf ‘I brought an ice pick’ Ø‘Carry’/‘bring’ does not mean ‘cause to move’ Ø Completely different verb roots Ø No increase in transitivity 22

Relationships between four stereotypical meanings § (i) ‘lie/sit’ § (ii) ‘move/fall’ § (iii) ‘throw/drop’ Relationships between four stereotypical meanings § (i) ‘lie/sit’ § (ii) ‘move/fall’ § (iii) ‘throw/drop’ § (iv) ‘bring/carry’ +Caus 23

Explanation § Throwing or dropping is conceptualized as § § causing independent movement of Explanation § Throwing or dropping is conceptualized as § § causing independent movement of an object In contrast, in carrying/bringing the patient moves together with the agent In carrying/bringing, the patient remains at rest relative to the agent ‘A carries X’ essentially means ‘X is at rest within the frame of reference of moving A’ The idea of movement is rendered not by the root but by derivational or inflectional affixes 24

Drop 25 Drop 25

Carry 26 Carry 26

Athabaskan relativity § § § Carrying and dropping may seem similar actions of movement Athabaskan relativity § § § Carrying and dropping may seem similar actions of movement causation from point 1 to point 2, from an objective perspective. But these types of movements are conceptualized differently, in a relativist fashion Athabaskans have known long before Galileo and Einstein: object location/motion is different depending on the frame of reference 27

Proviso: Animacy against relativity § Carried animate patients are treated simultaneously as being at Proviso: Animacy against relativity § Carried animate patients are treated simultaneously as being at rest and moving independently § Verb roots: same as in ‘lie’ verbs § Increase in transitivity, causation of movement a. to-ø-tał‘he will lie down’ Fut-Norm. Val-An. lie. Prog b. si-gh-e-ł-tał ‘you carry me’ 1 Sg. Acc-Md-2 Sg. Nom-Caus-An. lie. Prog § Animate referents have their inherent frame of reference and their physical movement is understood as linguistic movement as well, even when they are at rest relative to the agent § So in the Atabaskan conceptual system relativity of motion is partly overruled by animacy 28

Neurophysiological parallel § Andreeva and Malinina in press: “Is the human a moving frame Neurophysiological parallel § Andreeva and Malinina in press: “Is the human a moving frame of reference? ” 29

Conclusions on conceptualization of movement § Movement of object through space is § § Conclusions on conceptualization of movement § Movement of object through space is § § § conceptualized differently depending on the frame of reference Independently moving objects have their own frame of reference Objects’ movement together with an agent is conceptualized as being at rest with respect to the agent’s frame of reference Animate referents have their own frame of reference, even when moving together with an agent 30

General conclusions § Conceptualization of space is largely relative § The notion of frame General conclusions § Conceptualization of space is largely relative § The notion of frame of reference is crucial for § § § understanding the semantics of space in Athabaskan Lakoff and Núñez (2000) have demonstrated how scientific mathematical concepts grow from the basic embodied concepts Likewise, ideas of theoretical physics are based on deep-ingrained notions Exotic languages may reveal such notions, not expressed transparently in the languages spoken by most physicists 31

Tsenˀan! § Thanks to all speakers of Upper Kuskokwim who § contributed evidence used Tsenˀan! § Thanks to all speakers of Upper Kuskokwim who § contributed evidence used above Thanks to many individuals and organizations that helped to collect and process the data, in chronological order: § § § § § Michael Krauss James Kari Raymond Collins Alaska Native Language Center Fulbright Program Endangered Language Fund Bernard Comrie MPI for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig Russian Foundation for the Humanities National Science Foundation 32

If you think that the Alaskan space is very remote. . . § just If you think that the Alaskan space is very remote. . . § just cross the Neva river and visit the Kunstkamera 33