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Gender-switching strategies in the activity of tsinampantsi ‘joking’ among Northern Kampa Arawaks of Peru

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Among Northern Kampas, the linguistically creative production of tsinampantsi by non-kin and affines intends – apart from having fun – to initiate an intimate relationship or affirm the intimacy of the existing interpersonal relationship. Northern Kampa participants of tsinampantsi ‘joking’ often resort to gender-switching strategies for jocular effects. Creatively playing with linguistic gender marking is characteristic of tsinampantsi-joking conduct. The study’s findings revealed that there are variable lexicogrammatical means for accomplishing the man > woman gender switch. Two basic gender-switching strategies are deployed: manipulation of person marking indexes and deployment of derivational morphology. The verbal person marking strategy is the most basic and most common means of indicating gender switches, whereas derivational morphology functions as a supplementary technique. In gender reversals, participation structure (production and reception roles) is predominantly coded by third person (other-role) markers on the verb. The woman > man direction of gender reversals is uncommon in joking sequences.

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Keywords: Northern Kampa Arawak; gender agreement marking; gender reversal; joking behavior; participation structure

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: February 1, 2019

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