Switch-reference in American languages: A synthetic overview

Mark C. Baker, Livia Camargo Souza

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


This chapter reviews 50 years of literature on switch-reference (SR), a grammatical phenomenon found in more than 70 North American languages and at least six South American families, in which one clause is morphologically marked to show whether its subject refers to the same entity or entities as the subject of a structurally nearby clause. Our review is organized around three central issues: to what extent is SR a semantic phenomenon or a syntactic phenomenon, what sorts of clauses can be marked for SR, and what counts as a subject for purposes of SR marking. We also briefly point out some similarities and differences between SR and some other reference-tracking devices found in American languages.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of North American Languages
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781351810272
ISBN (Print)9781138628748
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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