On the loci of agreement: Inversion constructions in mapudungun

“Languages are all the same, but not boringly so.” I think this is my own maxim, not one of the late great Kenneth Hale’s. But it is nevertheless something that he taught me, by example, if not by explicit precept. Ken Hale believed passionately in a substantive notion of Universal Grammar that underlies all languages. But this did not blind him to the details—even the idiosyncrasies—of less-studied “local” languages. On the contrary, I believe it stimulated his famous zeal for those details and idiosyncrasies. It is against the backdrop of what is universal that idiosyncrasies become interesting and meaningful. Conversely, it is often the fact that quite different, language particular constructions obey the same abstract constraints that provides the most striking evidence that those constraints are universal features of human language.
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