, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 165–204 | Cite as

Scope, phonology and morphology in an agglutinating language: Choguita Rarámuri (Tarahumara) variable suffix ordering

Open Access
Original Paper


What is the nature of the interaction between scope, phonological conditions and morphologically specified precedence relations in determining affix combinatorics in morphologically complex languages? In depth studies of affix ordering patterns in typologically diverse languages reveal intricate interactions among multiple factors. Mixed scope/template systems, for instance, have been characterized as either involving scope taking precedence over templates [Athabaskan (Rice 2000)], or templates overriding scope [Chichewa (Hyman 2002, 2003) and Pulaar (Paster 2005)]. This paper makes an empirical contribution by documenting a novel type of affix order system of a previously unstudied language, Choguita Rarámuri, a Uto-Aztecan language spoken in Mexico, which features free affix permutation, and which cannot be characterized as either ‘template-emergent’ or ‘scope-emergent’. In this agglutinating language, scope and morphological constraints are freely ranked, with phonological subcategorization overriding all other constraints. This paper also documents how semantically non-compositional suffix sequences may arise through priming effects and morphophonologically conditioned multiple exponence.


Scope Phonology Variable affix order Subcategorization Uto-Aztecan Tarahumara 


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© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity of California, San DiegoLa JollaUSA

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