Eloise Jelinek was a leading authority on syntactic and semantic theory, information structure, and several Native American languages (including Lummi, Yaqui, and Navajo). She was one of the very first generative linguists who brought the theoretical implications of the properties of typologically unusual and understudied languages to the forefront of mainstream generative thinking.
Jelinek originated the Pronominal Argument Hypothesis – the idea that many languages restrict realization of their arguments to pronouns. In other work, Jelinek investigated a broad range of morphological, syntactic and semantic phenomena in understudied and endangered languages. Besides the theoretical value of that work, it was instrumental in providing sophisticated semantic and syntactic documentation for such languages, where description is typically limited to the basic morphophonology and morphosyntax, as well as texts, that form the core of most descriptive work.
Thirteen of her most important papers, together with a fourteenth essay previously unpublished, are here collected, each preceded by a short introduction that provides context for the work and evidence of its subsequent influence.
Introduction Andrew Carnie and Heidi Harley Part I: Configurationality and the Pronominal Argument Hypothesis 1. Empty Categories, Case and Configurationality, 1984 Eloise Jelinek 2. The bi-Construction and Pronominal Arguments in Apachean, 1989 Merton Sandoval and Eloise Jelinek 3. Predicates and Pronominal Arguments in Straits Salish, 1994 Eloise Jelinek and Richard Demers 4. Navajo as a Discourse Configurational Language, 2000 Mary Ann Willie and Eloise Jelinek 5. The Pronominal Argument Parameter,2006 Eloise Jelinek Part II: Hierarchies, Information Structure, and Semantic Mapping 6. Auxiliaries and Ergative Splits: A Typological Parameter, 1987 Eloise Jelinek 7. The Case Split and Argument Type in Choctaw, 1989 Eloise Jelinek 8. Ergative Splits and Argument Type, 1993 Eloise Jelinek 9. Distributing Arguments, 1995 Molly Diesing and Eloise Jelinek 10. Argument Hierarchies and the Mapping Principle, 2003 Eloise Jelinek and Andrew Carnie Part III: Yaqui Morphosyntax 11. Double Accusative Constructions in Yaqui, 1989 Eloise Jelinek and Fernando Escalante 12. Voice and Transitivity as Functional Projections in Yaqui, 1998 Eloise Jelinek 13. Quantification in Yaqui Possessive Sentences, 2003 Eloise Jelinek 14. Impersonal Agreement in a non-Agreement Language: The Hiaki Impersonal Construction Previously unpublished, Eloise Jelinek and Heidi Harley