LINGUIST List 13.1211

Thu May 2 2002

Qs: Urdu Syntax, Phonology-based Iconic Morphology

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  1. 832, Phrase Structure rules for Urdu
  2. Zylogy, Phonology-based diagrammatically iconic morphology

Message 1: Phrase Structure rules for Urdu

Date: Wed, 1 May 2002 12:09:25 +0500
From: 832 <>
Subject: Phrase Structure rules for Urdu

Hi all,

I need help regarding the Urdu(Pakistani lang)Syntax. Does any one
knows about any work done on the phrase structure analysis of Urdu? It
would be fine even if yo refer me to someone else.

Hammad Kabir
National University of Computers and Emerging Sciences
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Message 2: Phonology-based diagrammatically iconic morphology

Date: Thu, 2 May 2002 05:23:55 EDT
From: Zylogy <>
Subject: Phonology-based diagrammatically iconic morphology

Greetings to all. Recently I've become aware of a new type of
phonosemantically motivated morphological systematicity. In certain
historically related language types stem extensions, noun classes,
etc. appear to be wholly diagrammatical in nature, almost slavishly
following the prevailing phonological winds for their source semantic

Examples include: The suffixal stem extensions of Takelma (Penutian,
North America), the "singular" suffixes of verbs stems in Muskogean
(North America), various morphological devices in Yuchi (isolate,
North America), space encoding prefixes in Siouan (North America),
suffixes in Chemakuan (North America), noun class suffixes in !XooN
(Khoisan, Africa), sesquisyllabic "prefixes" in certain Mon-Khmer and
Munda languages (Austroasiatic, Asia), and many more, including
perhaps Mongolian (Asia) and Proto-Indo-European.

What all the languages with such formations seem to have in common is
current or historical isolating tendencies. The affixal systems appear
to either be reshaped or streamlined from less harmonic antecedents
(as is the case with, for instance, instrument prefix sets in certain
languages called bipartite after Jakobson, further popularized by
Delancey), or more directly through some sort of co-selectional
process during grammaticalization (though I have no evidence of this
last hypothetical phenomenon as yet).

The primary semantic area involved in all these less obviously
secondarily streamlined systems is that of encoding location and
pathway in verbs (rather than manner of action as is true for
instrument terms), or shape and distribution (as is the case for noun

I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has done work with such
apparently phonologically based morphological stem elements in their
research to see whether there is any common thread between them in
form and meaning. Any hypotheses as to why languages might go through
such a phase in their typological histories would be welcomed. I'll
post a summary when enough responses have been received. Thanks to all
in advance.

Jess Tauber
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