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Concreteness in Grammar

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Based on an exhaustive search of published sources and the author’s firsthand fieldwork, Concreteness in Grammar explores the role of phonological form in the noun class systems of the Arapesh languages spoken in Papua New Guinea. Linguists have long known that formal critical play a role alongside semantics in the classification of lexical terms. In Arapesh, virtually every possible final ending of a noun is represented in the paradigm of noun class and agreement markers, reflecting an interpenetraion of sound ...

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Overview

Based on an exhaustive search of published sources and the author’s firsthand fieldwork, Concreteness in Grammar explores the role of phonological form in the noun class systems of the Arapesh languages spoken in Papua New Guinea. Linguists have long known that formal critical play a role alongside semantics in the classification of lexical terms. In Arapesh, virtually every possible final ending of a noun is represented in the paradigm of noun class and agreement markers, reflecting an interpenetraion of sound structure and grammar that many theories would disallow as wildly unconstrained. In this book, Lise Dobrin describes these formal patterns in order to reveal their naturalness and elegance, establishing their place in a typology of noun class systems and drawing out their significance for theories of grammatical architecture.
A rigorous study of an endangered language, Concreteness in Grammar revisits the definition of a morpheme and looks at unusual language patterns to reveal the naturalness of grammar.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Lise Dobrin is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Linguistics program at the University of Virginia. She has done linguistic and ethnographic fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, and published articles in Language, American Anthropologist, Histories of Anthropology Annual and the chapter on Arapesh in Facts About the World’s Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World’s Languages.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii

Preface ix

Symbols and Abbreviations xv

1 Introduction 1

1.0 Overview 1

1.1 The Arapesh Languages 3

1.1.1 Historical and Typological Orientation 3

1.1.2 Arapesh Varieties and Sources 5

1.2 Noun Categorization and Word Form 9

1.3 The Phonological Basis of Arapesh Noun Classification 14

1.3.1 How is Arapesh Special? 14

1.3.2 Abu' 17

2 Noun Classification in Rohwim Arapesh 27

2.0 Introduction 27

2.1 The Morphology by Itself Model 28

2.2 Arapesh Nouns 31

2.3 The Mapping between Phonological Form, Morphological Realization, and Morphosyntactic Class 43

2.3.1 Aronoff's Analysis 43

2.3.2 Subverting the 'Double Inversion' 44

3 The Lexical Representation of Arapesh Nouns 59

3.0 Introduction 59

3.1 The Lexical Representation of Singulars 60

3.2 The Lexical Representation of Plurals 71

4 Organization within and across Noun Classes 81

4.0 Introduction 81

4.1 The Internal Structure of Noun Class Categories 81

4.2 Organization across Noun Class Categories 95

5 Arapesh Defaults 111

5.0 Default Categories 111

5.1 More on the Default Plural -ehas 112

5.1.1 One Rule or Many? 112

5.1.2 Is the -ehas Plural 'Regular'? 114

5.2 Default Agreement in Arapesh 121

5.2.1 Types of Formal Noun Class Assignment 121

5.2.2 The Special Behavior of s-final Borrowings 126

5.2.3 The Phonological Basis of the Arapesh Classes 132

5.3 A Contrastive Case: Noun Class Restructuring in Bantu 141

6 Theoretical Consequences of Alliterative Concord 155

6.0 Introduction 155

6.1 The Relationship between Word Form and Syntax 156

6.2 Two Proposed PPFS Violations in Agreement 158

6.2.1 Somali 158

6.2.2 Vata 159

6.3 Two Apparent PPFS Violations in Local Agreement 163

6.3.1 Godié 163

6.3.2 Abu' 164

6.4 Alliterative Concord in Bainuk 168

6.5 Implications for Grammatical Organization 171

7 Conclusion 183

References 189

Index 205

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