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Noncompositional scopal morphology in Yi

Abstract

This paper distinguishes between scopal affix paradigms and compositional affix paradigms, two notions confused in the literature. The Yi languages (Tibeto-Burman: China) exhibit maximally scopal paradigms which reflect the cognitive layers of the sentence in the mind of the speaker. In spite of this prototypical pattern, the paradigm is full of noncompostional pairs of morphemes.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Although McGregor (2002:25) does not discuss affix order in Ngarinyin, it follows nevertheless from the description that the paradigm of the classificatory verb is largely templatic.

  2. 2.

    For the interlinear glosses, see the list of abbrevations at the end of the paper. Glosses of verb enclitics in the Yi languages are separately presented in Table 4.

  3. 3.

    There are for example three types of aspects: phasal aspect (inchoative, completive), viewpoint aspect (perfective, imperfective), quantificational aspect (experiental, habitual). Quantifcational aspect seems to be as relevant to the verb as tense.

  4. 4.

    Generative models such as lexicalism (Chomsky 1970; Anderson 1992) and distributed morphology (Halle and Marantz 1993) do not provide a systemic integration of affix concepts. Wunderlich and Fabri (1995:246–247) propose a hierarchy of functional categories that is similar to Bybee’s. It is conceived as a component of the generative theory of word formation and empirically justified only with German data. Formal semantic approaches such as Davidsonian event semantics or Montegovian possible world semantics analyze affix concepts individually not in a system. (Davidsonian event semantics models aspectual notions, while Montegovian possible world semantics formalizes modality.) Cinque (1999) proposes classes of “lower” and “higher” adverbial phrases but his conclusions are derived from adverbial phrases not affixes.

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Correspondence to Matthias Gerner.

Additional information

I wish to thank Ingo Plag, Editor of Morphology, and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on previous drafts. An early version of this paper was presented at the 3rd Vienna Workshop on Affix Order in Vienna (Austria), 15–16 January 2011.

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Gerner, M. Noncompositional scopal morphology in Yi. Morphology 24, 1–24 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11525-014-9231-2

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Keywords

  • Scopal morphology
  • Templatic morphology
  • Compositionality
  • Yi
  • China