Tohono o'odham

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Le tohono o'odham est une langue pima uto-aztèque parlée en Arizona dans la région de Tucson, et dans le nord-est de l'État de Sonora au Mexique.

Le tohono o'odham partage avec le breton la propriété T2, c'est-à-dire que l'élément tensé ne peut normalement pas débuter le phrase.


approche grammaticale

C'est une langue pro-drop ( 'Amai 'o ke:k, /here AUX standing/, 'It is standing right there', Zepeda 1983:17).

L'accord en nombre avec le sujet apparaît sur le verbe, pas sur l'auxiliaire. L'accord en personne apparaît sur l'auxiliaire.

(1) 'I:da 'o'odham 'o ñeok. vs. 'Idam cecoj 'o ñeñok.
this person is/was speaking.SG these boys is/was speaking.PL
'This person is/was speaking', vs. 'These boys are/were speaking.'
Tohono O'odham, Zepeda (1983:10)

(2) 'A:ni ' s-ba:bigi ñeok.
I is/was.1 slowly speaking.SG
'I am speaking slowly.' Tohono O'odham, Zepeda (1983:18)

langue à auxiliaire second

 Kroch & Marshall (1973:80): 
 "Papago sentences always contain an auxiliary element which is inflected for the person and number of the subject, the aspect, and the tense. This element either occurs in 'second position' (as the second element in a simple sentence, where the 'first element' can consist of a single particle, a noun or verb, or a whole phrase), or in sentence initial position. If the auxiliary occurs sentence-initially, the first part is deleted (this also applies to some particles when sentence-initial.) Thus the 1st person singular, imperfective, non-future, 'normal mood' auxiliary /'añ/ is reduced to /ñ/ when occurring at the beginning of the sentence.
[...] Word order in Papago is largely free. Thus either the verb, subject or object can usually appear as the first word. But between the auxiliary and the verb the order of elements is constrained."
 Hale (1983:302):
 "prefixed AUX regularly appears in clause-initial position, while a prefixless AUX is, almost without exception, placed in "second position".

négation, pas de localité

Lorsque la négation est à l'initiale, le verbe peut être, dans le champ postverbal, plus haut que son sujet (les éléments du champ postverbal sont connus pour avoir un ordre plutôt libre).

(1) pi 'o ñeok 'i:da 'o'odham.
NEG is/was speaking this person
'This person is/was not speaking.' Tohono O'odham, Zepeda (1983:8-9)

Cependant, seul le sujet peut atteindre l'initiale lorsque la négation est projetée. Le verbe ne peut pas être antéposé. C'est peut-être dû au fait qu'il porte les traits d'accord du sujet.

(2) 'I:da 'o'odham 'o pi ñeok.
this person is/was NEG speaking
'This person is/was not speaking.' Tohono O'odham, Zepeda (1983:8-9)

(3) * Ñeok 'o pi 'i:da 'o'odham.
speaking is/was NEG this person
'This person is/was not speaking.' Tohono O'odham, Zepeda (1983:8-9)

T2 linéaire

Les têtes fonctionnelles peuvent remplir l'initiale devant l'auxiliaire. En (5), l'auxiliaire fusionne avec la tête Q et perd son stop glottal (').

(4) Hegai kawyu 'o med.
this horse is/was running
'This horse is running.' Tohono O'odham, Zepeda (1983:14)

(5) No hegai kawyu med?
Q-Is/was this horse running
'Is/was this horse running?' Tohono O'odham, Zepeda (1983:14)

examples de T1

particules à voyelles initiales

 Zepeda (1983:19):
"When you use the particle aş (just), it must follow the auxiliary, and in this case, the auxiliary may come first in the sentence, contrary to our general rule."

(2) (Hegam) 'o ñeñok (hegam).
they is/was.1 just speaking.PL they
'They are /were just speaking.' Tohono O'odham, Zepeda (1983:19)

 Hale (2001a:1):
 "The particles as* 'just, merely' and as*kia 'still, yet,' actually block aux-second, giving the only true case in which the auxiliary must remain initial (thereby avoiding a vowel-initial sentence)." 

(3) 'o as*kia ko:s* g 'ali.
AUX3 still sleep:IMPERF ART child
'The child is still sleeping.' O'odham, Hale (2001a:1)

L'adverbe pourrait être le signe qu'une particule remplit l'initiale. La particule as*kia, selon Hale (2001a:1), ne tolère pas d'élément préverbal réalisé. La particule est cependant compatible avec un pronom sujet à l'initiale dans la donnée de Zepeda (1983:19).


(1) 'Ant o wáko g ñ-kótoñ c ñ-lí:wa.
AUX.1SG IRR to.wash-PFV DET 1S.POSS-shirt CNJ 1S.POSS-jacket
'I will wash my shirt and my jacket.', Tohono O'odham, Fitzgerald (2019) citant (Zepeda 1988:77)

(2) Nt o hu: hegai mat g Huan hascu 'i gatwi.
AUX FUT eat:PERF that SUBORDAUX ART John what ever shoot:PERF
'I'll eat whatever John shot.' Papago, Hale (1983:310), = (his 24)

(3) Pt o s-ko'okam e-ju:, sa 'i ge:s-k.
AUX FUT s-hurtfully self-do:PERF, if INCEP fall:PERF-PART
'You'll hurt yourself if you fall.' Papago, Hale (1983:311), = (his 25b)

évitement de voyelles initiales

 Hale (2001a:1):
 "Particles are the only "part of speech" which has vowel-initial members. Since no sentence can be vowel initial, various strategies are employed to avoid this in the interaction between a vowel-initial particle and those forms of the auxiliary which avoid initial position, giving rise to the aux second order which prevails in O'odham finite clauses."

La description en anglais suivante est la suite de la citation:

The irrealis particle o (glossed FUT) either blocks aux-second or else employs the composite form w-o, with w- appearing in initial position.

(1)a. w-at o 'i gei.
'He/she/it will fall.', 'He/she/it is liable to fall.' O'odham, Hale (2001a:1)

Where aux-second is blocked in the irrealis, and the w-o alternative is not taken, the auxiliary itself accommodates the situation by appearing with the complementizer ku-, and hence in "second position," the complementizer counting as initial.

(1)b. k-∅ hed*ai s*oak?.
'... who is crying.' O'odham, Hale (2001a:1)

This ku-complementizer may itself delete, if the auxiliary base is overt, superficially leaving the auxiliary in initial position and stripped, so to speak, of the initial CV support element ('a-) which would ordinarily appear on an unprefixed auxiliary.

(1)c. (ku-)t o 'i gei.
'He/she/it will fall.', 'He/she/it would fall (generic).' O'odham, Hale (2001a:1)


On trouve aussi pour cette langue le nom papago qui est cependant dépréciatif. Ce terme papago n'est pas une auto-dénomination et signifie 'mangeurs de haricots'. Le terme tohono o'odham est une auto-dénomination qui signifie 'peuple du désert'.


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