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Zero And Nothing In Jarawara

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Chapter Summary

The analytic device called 'zero' in modern linguistics has its origin in Pānini's analysis of Sanskrit. In terms of the distinction suggested, Pānini's lopa represents what the author would call (a) zero, whereas luk, ślu and lup correspond to (b) nothing. This chapter surveys some of the varying uses of zero and of nothing. It also discusses zero elements in syntagmatic strings - in a syntactic construction and in a morphological structure. The chapter looks at the most pervasive use of zero, which is as realization of a term (or as one of the alternative realizations of a term) in a paradigmatic system. It also describes the two uses of zero within a grammatical system. Finally, the chapter illustrates a morphological distinction between zero and nothing for Jarawara, from the small Arawa family of southern Amazonia.

Keywords: grammatical system; Jarawara; linguistics; Pānini's lopa; paradigmatic system; syntactic construction; Zero



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