Postsyntactic reordering in the Mari nominal domain

Evidence from Suspended Affixation


We argue that the unusual morphological template in the noun phrase of Meadow Mari should be derived on the basis of a simple, semantically transparent syntax. In accordance with the Mirror Principle, the analysis we propose derives the actual surface order of morphemes in Mari by means of two postsyntactic reordering operations: A lowering operation and a metathesis operation. Evidence for this account comes from a process called Suspended Affixation. This process is known to delete the right edges of non-final conjuncts under recoverability. We show however, that Suspended Affixation in Mari does not apply to the right edges of surface orders. Rather, the right edges of an intermediate postsyntactic representation are relevant. Suspended Affixation applies after some but not all postsyntactic operations have applied. Thus, the account we present makes a strong argument for a stepwise derivation of the actual surface forms and thus for a strongly derivational architecture of the postsyntactic module.


Templatic morphology Suspended Affixation Postsyntactic reordering Lowering Metathesis Mirror Principle Derivational modules Opacity 



We are thankful for numerous comments on various versions of this paper. We are particularly indebted to Jonathan Bobaljik, Doreen Georgi, Kadir Gökgöz, Laura Kalin, Gereon Müller, Andrew Murphy, Andrew Nevins, Susi Wurmbrand as well as the audiences of the UConn Linglunch; PLC 40 at UPenn and GLOW 39 at Göttingen. We furthermore want to thank three anonymous reviewers who helped improve the paper significantly. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (Research Grant Number BCS-1451098, PI: Bobaljik) as well as the Feodor-Lynen Program of the Alexander-von-Humboldt Foundation (Projects: ‘Case and Coordination’ and ‘Consequences of the SOCIC Generalization’).


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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of National Culture and Cross-cultural CommunicationMari State UniversityYoshkar-OlaRussia
  2. 2.Department of LinguisticsLeipzig UniversityLeipzigGermany

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