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Title: A Morpho-Syntactic Analysis of Marshallese Determiner Phrases
Authors: Provencher, Catherine
Keywords: Austronesian Languages
Malayo-Polynesian Languages
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Université du Québec à Montréal
Abstract: The purpose of this thesis is to examine the determiner phrases of the Marshallese language. More specifically it challenges the idea that Marshallese definite determiners and demonstratives are elements of the category D. Through the analysis of different structures of Marshallese determiner phrases (with or without adjectives; involving possessive constructions) we argue that definite determiners and demonstratives are in fact nominal flexional affixes. Furthermore this also subsumes the idea that the head of the determiner phrase is phonetically empty. This work is in accordance with the precepts of Asymmetry Theory particularly the strict asymmetry of morphology proposed by Di Sciullo (2005a; 2005b). In morphology, the relations between morphemes are purely asymmetrical i.e. the linear order can never be reversed. Affixation is therefore highly constrained and restrictions in the ordering of affixes in conjunction with roots are subject to specifie operations of the grammar. Since there are many types of affixes (predicate, modifier, operator-variable) with their own properties, then we expect Marshallese determiners and demonstratives to possess the properties of nominal flexional affixes rather th an tho se of actual determiners. The results obtained from this analysis are consistent with our hypothesis; not only do the parts of determiners and demonstratives act according to the morphological operations of the grammar proposed by Di Sciullo (2005a; 2005b) for flexional affixes, but every structure of Marshallese determiner phrases that we have analysed suggest that there are no phonetically overt element that can be found in the head of a determiner phrase.
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