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Title: Issues in comparative Uto-Aztecan morphosyntax
Authors: Haugen, Jason D.
Keywords: American Indigenous Languages
Uto-Aztecan Languages
Issue Date: 2004
Publisher: The University of Arizona
Abstract: This dissertation seeks to test recent important theoretical ideas in the Principles and Parameters and Distributed Morphology frameworks against data from the relatively under-studied Uto-Aztecan languages. In this work I focus on the morphology of reduplication, noun incorporation and related derivational morphology, and the diachronic development of the polysynthetic morphological type in one sub-branch of the family (Corachol-Aztecan). With respect to prosodic morphology, I argue that the comparative Uto-Aztecan evidence suggests that reduplicants should be viewed as morphological pieces, and 1 analyze them as Vocabulary Items inserted into syntactic slots at Morphological Structure. I also argue that the evidence of cognate reduplication patterns across Uto-Aztecan supports a prosodic view of morphology, as well as the constraint-ranking approach to morphophonology. With respect to noun incorporation and derivational morphology, 1 argue that the comparative Uto-Aztecan evidence supports the view that denominal verbs are a subclass of noun-incorporating verbs. I survey the noun incorporation types in Uto-Aztecan and classify NI in these languages into four types: N-V compounding, syntactic NT, classificaiory NI, and "object polysynthesis". I offer a unified syntactic account of these types, maintaining that each is formed via head-movement in syntax. I provide a novel approach to hyponomous objects, suggesting that these are in argument positions, and that they are derived via the Late Insertion of material that is not cognate to the incorporated noun, but which is inserted into the lower copy of a movement chain. Non-theme "nominal" roots incorporated into verbs, such as instrumental prefixes, are analyzed as adverbial elements Merged directly into the verbal position. Finally, I argue that this theoretical analysis of NI leads naturally to a diachronic account of the development of polysynthesis in Nahuatl. I show that the crucial aspects of polysynthesis, subject and object pronominal marking on the verb as well as syntactic noun incorporation, have analogues elsewhere in Uto-Aztecan, and 1 offer a reconstruction of the likely stages of the development of polysynthesis in Nahuatl, each of which have attestation elsewhere in the family.
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