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Title: Studies in Southern Wakashan (Nootkan) Grammar
Authors: Davidson, Matthew
Keywords: Southern Wakashan (Nootkan) - Grammar
Southern Wakashan Languages
Wakashan Languages
American Indigenous Languages
Issue Date: 2002
Publisher: State University of New York at Buffalo
Abstract: This dissertation is a study of Southern Wakashan (Nootkan) grammar using data from two languages, Makah and the Tseshaht dialect of Nuuchahnulth (Nootka). The phonology, morphology, and syntax of each language are examined with emphasis on structurally important or typologically interesting features. The description of Makah is based mostly on field data collected in Neah Bay, Washington by the author. Nuuchahnulth data is drawn from Sapir and Swadesh’s two published text collections on the language (Sapir & Swadesh 1939, 1955). Chapter One introduces the Southern Wakashan family and describes the nature of the present study, explaining how the dissertation came to be written, the corpus used in the study, and previous literature on Southern Wakashan. Chapter Two summarizes Southern Wakashan segmental phonology with a presentation of the Nuuchahnulth consonant and vowel inventories, basic allophonic processes, ablaut patterns, and discussion of the special behavior of nasals when they appear in syllable codas. The accent systems of the two languages are also briefly described and compared. Chapter Three, Phonological Alternations, describes a variety of alternations triggered by affixation, including glottalization and lenition of final base segments by affixes, alterations to the CV skeleton of bases required by affixes, and, in Makah, widespread patterns of vowel insertion and loss. Chapter Four is a grammatical sketch of Southern Wakashan divided into sections on word classes, morphology (word structure, lexical suffixes, and aspect), predicate structure, basic clause structure (referring phrase functions, constituent order, clause types), referring phrases, and complex constructions. Chapter Five examines the recursive polysynthetic word structure more closely. Chapter Six presents the aspect system. Chapter Seven, Clitics, describes mood and pronominal clitics, as well as other clitics associated with predicates. Chapter Eight argues that, although word classes are very weakly grammaticalized in Makah and Nuuchahnulth, distributional evidence is available for distinguishing nouns (and other nominal subcategories) from verbs. It goes on to show many examples of nominals and verbs in each of their possible syntactic contexts. Lists of lexical suffixes in Makah and Nuuchahnulth and selected Makah vocabulary are provided in two appendices.
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