Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Linda Humnick


Napo Quichua is a Quechuan language variety spoken along the Napo River in Northern Peru and Southern Ecuador. This thesis presents a description of the constituent order and participant reference system of oral narrative discourse. The primary data source for this study consists mostly of folk tales told by native speakers, with a few autobiographical accounts.

Napo Quichua is an SOV language with a relatively high degree of variation in constituent order. Constituent order variations are motivated by the guiding principles of information structure, including showing focus, highlighting information, and backgrounding information. Constituent order and participant reference also interact to preserve continuity, to highlight information or to show discontinuity.

Referents in Napo Quichua can be encoded with verb agreement, pronouns, and noun phrases. This thesis discusses the default encodings of referents in various contexts, as well as non-default encoding in specific contexts. Non-default encoding occurs when there is discontinuity in the text, when the referent is a VIP, and in order to highlight information that follows.

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