New Book: Information Structure in Indigenous Languages of the Americas

Rutgers’ own Jose Camacho and Liliana Sanchez (along with Rodrigo Gutiérrez-Bravo) have co-edited a new book called “Information Structure in Indigenous Languages of the Americas“.  Published in summer 2010, the book is now available in hardcopy. The e-book version is currently available only for Libraries.

Information Structure in Indigenous Languages of the Americas

The study of the interaction between syntax and information structure has attracted a great deal of attention since the publication of foundational works on this subject such as Enric Vallduví’s (1992) The Informational Component and Knud Lambrecht’s (1994) Information Structure and Sentence Form. The book inserts itself in this contemporary interest by providing a collection of articles on different aspects of the syntax-pragmatics interface in the indigenous languages of The Americas.

The first chapter provides a brief introduction to some of the basic descriptive issues, and of some of the theoretical tools that have been developed to analyze them. The reader finds articles that focus mostly on empirical issues, while others are mostly oriented to theoretical issues. Diverse theoretical approaches are addressed, including Minimalism, Optimality-theoretic syntax, and Meaning-Text Theory.

The volume includes articles on the following topics: the grammatical means to encode pragmatic notions in Tariana (A. Aikhenvald); the relation between clause structure and information structure in Lushootseed (D. Beck); the split distribution of null subjects in Shipibo (J. Camacho and J. Elías-Ulloa); the syntactic structure of left-peripheral discourse-related functions in Kuikuro (B. Franchetto and M. Santos), an agglutinative and head final language; word order and focus patterns in Yaqui (L. Guerrero and V. Belloro); SVO and topicalization in Yucatec Maya (R. Gutiérrez-Bravo and J. Monforte); the structure of the left-periphery in Karaja (Maia) and the interaction between the wh-words and polarity sensitivity in Southern Quechua (L. Sánchez).

José Elías-Ulloa—a Rutgers graduate currently at Stony Brook—co-authored one of the chapters, and Sarah Murray—a Rutgers graduate currently at Cornell—reviewed another one of the chapters.