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[S2E2] Extreme Rendition

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[S2E2] Extreme Rendition

As extreme vocals become more commonplace in music and in reality TV contests, the reactions are typically one of surprise but there now seems to be a fairly high level of respect for this vocal technique amongst the judge's panel.

In the following sections, we discuss the extremes of nominal classification systems. In Section 2 we discuss the essentials: categorization (assignment), form (exponence), and their cognitive connection. Section 3 is devoted to extremely simple systems, particularly that of Bagvalal. In Section 4 we move on to more complex relations of assignment and exponence. In Section 5 we deal with concurrent systems, i.e. languages with two classification systems. Section 6 is about extreme concurrency and those cases for which more than two concurrent systems have been claimed to exist.

Semantically fully transparent assignment systems are one extreme of classification. A clear example is the three-gender system of Bagvalal. While the two-gender systems in this section are simpler in numbers of values they are not automatically simpler in terms of assignment (see also Audring 2017 on this distinction).

Bagvalal and German are extremes of assignment systems. Bagvalal is simple and requires few generalizations. German is more complex, in that each gender value includes nouns which belong there for a good semantic reason, and others which do not. The number of generalizations involved is much higher than in Bagvalal. Now we turn to the interesting case of Archi, another language from Dagestan, which combines properties of Bagvalal and at least to some extent properties of German.

Bora-Miraña is typologically quite unique because both sets of markers are possible for all targets. Compare this with the similar but more expected situation in the eastern Tucanoan language Tatuyo (Gomez-Imbert 2007), spoken by 400 people in Colombia. Like Bora-Miraña, Tatuyo has two sets of markers. One is found on noun phrase modifiers, one is found on the verb. Again, we see that the smaller set involves the neutralization of distinctions made in the larger set. Noun phrase modifiers make a large number of distinctions for inanimate nouns, which all neutralize to -e in the verb. Unlike Bora-Miraña, targets differ significantly in Tatuyo. The SCMs used with inanimate nouns only appear in the noun phrase, while the verb neutralizes all of these values into a single inanimate value. In Bora-Miraña, the type of the target is irrelevant. Each target in the language has the same possibilities, and there is a thorough-going option for inanimates to either choose a GCM or an SCM. Therefore, Bora-Miraña and Tatuyo illustrate two different types of neutralization between a larger and a smaller system. The way Tatuyo does it, namely to single out a particular type of target (or a specific set of targets) where the neutralization occurs, is what we would expect. The kind of relation found in Bora-Miraña is unique so far: here no type of target is singled out, but rather the neutralization is possible with all of them.[16] What we find in Bora-Miraña is an extreme mismatch between assignment and exponence. The language relies on one means of exponence, there is only a single slot for each target; but there is more than one means of assignment (for lower animals and inanimates) and these have to collapse onto each other because they are competing for the same slot.

The examples of extreme concurrency we examine here are Akatek (Section 6.2), Palikur (Section 6.3), and Carrier (Section 6.4). The numbers of concurrent systems previously identified are four for Akatek (Zavala 2000), six for Palikur (Aikhenvald and Green 1998), and no less than nine for Carrier (Poser 2005). However, as we will see below, the results of counting can vary dramatically depending on how we count. In a given language, the number of candidate systems which we can identify, based on different semantics or different forms, is not nece


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