In linguistics, Switch -reference is ( in German as much as " switching reference " ) is a morphological feature of verbs in some languages, for anaphoric linking of subsets ( " clauses" ). More specifically denotes a switch -reference marker whether the subject of the verb corresponds to or is different from the subject of another verb. In addition to the identification of subject equality and inequality Switch -reference markers can also directly or indirectly indicate other information about the relationship between the two subsets, like coordinating conjunctions.

The fundamental distinction that a switch -reference system relates to the question whether the following subset of the same subject ( "same subject " = SS ) or another subject ( "different subject " = DS) has. As part of the switch -reference is 'subject' as defined for languages ​​with a nominative - accusative alignment ( " nominative - accusative alignment" ): A subject is the only argument of an intransitive sentence, or the agent of a transitive sentence. This is true even for languages ​​with a high degree of ergativity. However, SS and DS may also be used to bring other relations except that of the nominative subject to express and languages ​​with rich switch -reference systems can thereby also view other grammatical relations.

Examples of switch -reference systems

The Washo in California and Nevada ( language isolate ) shows such a switch -reference system. When the subject of a verb and the following are the same, then receives the verb in any switch -reference marker. However, if the subject of a verb is different from that of the following, then the verb receives the DS- marker - š:

In addition to the expression of the equality or inequality of subjects in consecutive sets ( sequential marking) can some switch -reference systems also verbs with respect to a focused subset within a set mark (usually the last phrase ), regardless of whether the focus subset of the follows selected subset or not. Sequential verbs with the same subjects can therefore assume DS marker when its subjects depart from the focus of the subset. This form of switch -reference is called (in this context ) as a focus marker and is in Kashaya ( Pomo languages) exist.

Additional distinctions

SS and DS may also be used with the opposite subject sometimes. For example, in cases where the subject of the following subset of the above is the different, but the events that are described by the sub- sets are closely coupled to one another, but instead may be applied to the SS marker. Conversely, can be used where the real subject matches when these subsets describe unconnected events DS marker. SS and DS flag is not only used for common subjects, but also to describe the continuity or discontinuity of events.

Some languages ​​mark the interklausale relationship explicitly in their switch -reference system. Kate, a Huon language in New Guinea, has four switch -reference marker, where SS and DS are cross-classified with the distinction of succession or overlapping of events in the subsets.

A more complex system, which can be found in the northern or Tundra Jukagirischen, divided into both SS and DS in scene -setting ( "scene - setting" ) and neutral forms, with the former indicating that the event described by the selected subset out of the reach of event in the following subset is, and make the latter no such distinction. The SS forms are further subdivided into privative shapes to indicate whether the connection between the events taking place contrary to the expectation in the subsets; in perfective forms, indicating that the event in the following subset occurs after the selected subset; in imperfective forms, indicating that the events in the subsets occur simultaneously, and can be as thematically interconnected or specified as part of the same event beyond.

Other complex systems can be found eg in the Pano language Cashinahua, which has ten markers, the unfinished, overlapping or completed events mark and events, complete a sequence of previous events, all this in addition to the identification of subjects involved; also in the Caribbean Panare language which can specify the relation between subsets as a cause, movement, purpose or result.

Such switch -reference systems assume additional functions that implement other languages ​​through the use of conjunctions.

Properties of languages ​​with switch -reference

Languages ​​, which are characterized by switch -reference, often have a reduced or modified notion of syntactic pivot ( pivot engl. ): There are few restrictions on the types of roles that can occur in coordinated propositions, or may be omitted, and " pivots " can better be expressed as a pragmatic or semantic roles rather than grammatical roles. Languages ​​with switch -reference can also perform tasks such as the diathesis passive and antipassive missing, or they use it only for semantic effects, the grammatical uses of the said diatheses be handled by the switch -reference system.