Scope effects on linearization in polysynthetic languages

University essay from Lunds universitet/Allmän språkvetenskap

Abstract: This paper adopts a generative approach to investigating the influence of scope on linearization of affixes in polysynthetic languages. From a typological perspective, polysynthetic languages distinguish themselves morphosyntactically by being non-configurational, using noun incorporation, and by their ability to produce (near) one-word sentences by way of agglutinativity on verbs. These features secern them from languages more commonly associated with generative syntactic research. The purpose of this paper was to investigate whether scope relations may be predicted based on the linearization of affixes in verbal complexes. Along the lines of previous generative research (Baker, 1988, 1996, Ouhalla, 1991), my results suggest that scope relations can indeed be reliably predicted when viewed in light of certain well-established generative principles and restrictions which they describe. To avoid family-internal bias, I opted for a comparative analysis of empirical data from three polysynthetic languages from separate language families. The languages were: Mohawk (Iroquoian), Chukchi (Chukotko-Kamchatkan), and Nuuchahnulth (Wakashan).

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