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Grammar of Ese Ejja, a Bolivian language of the Amazon

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Scientific framework and objectives

Ese Ejja (Takana) is an endangered language of the Amazon, spoken by about 1,500 people in Peru and Bolivia. During her Master program (Université de Lyon), Marine Vuillermet started her fieldwork with the Ese Ejja in Portachuelo Bajo, a Bolivian community. She wrote a sociolinguistic profile and a phonological sketch for her MA theses (2004-2006). Her PhD dissertation (University of Lyon/DDL, 2006-2012) has been supervised by Pr. Colette Grinevald and Dr. Antoine Guillaume and various collaborations took place (with Marianne Mithun (bourses Aires Culturelles, Avril-Juin 2008) at the University of California, Santa Barbara and Eva Schultze Berndt (COST, A31, Mars 2009) at the University of Manchester) also took place. The dissertation is a descriptive grammar established on data recorded in the course of 5 fieldtrips in Bolivia between 2005 and 2009, financed by HRELP (2007), ELF (2008) and AALLED (2008, 2009). The grammar places Ese Ejja typologically among the world languages, areally as an Amazonian language and genetically within the Takanan family. Among its interesting features are two voiceless implosives and its complex verbal accent. The morphology of the verb predicate is also intricate, with its 13 slots. Of specific interest are the Aktionsart verbal suffixes with their adverbial semantics and the system of 10 ‘associated motion’ morphemes. The 4 posture verbs are polygrammaticalized and thus omnipresent in the grammar. Two systems of co-reference, both tripartite, are distributed among 4 subordinate clauses. A DVD with the audio-files of the texts in the appendix and with the produced revitalization material accompanies the dissertation.


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