LINGUIST List 14.2044

Wed Jul 30 2003

Diss: Syntax/Morphology: Good: 'Strong linearity...'

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <>


  1. jcgood, Strong linearity: Three case studies

Message 1: Strong linearity: Three case studies

Date: Sun, 27 Jul 2003 22:59:38 +0000
From: jcgood <>
Subject: Strong linearity: Three case studies

Institution: University of California, Berkeley
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2003
Author: Jeff Good 

Dissertation Title: Strong linearity: Three case studies towards a
theory of morphosyntactic templatic constructions

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field:	Syntax ,Morphology 

Subject Language:	Saramaccan (code: SRM )
			Chechen (code: CJC )

Subject Language Family:Narrow Bantu

Dissertation Director 1: Larry M. Hyman
Dissertation Director 2: Andrew Garrett
Dissertation Director 3: Johanna Nichols

Dissertation Abstract: 

The focus of this work is on templatic constructions in morphology and
syntax, and its central argument is that their form is consistent with
the Strong Linearity Domain Hypothesis. This hypothesis states that
all templatic constructions must be coextensive with some prosodic
constituent and that their templatic restrictions must be consistent
with the characteristic phonology of that constituent.

The introductory chapter lays the groundwork for later discussion, and
the primary support for the Strong Linearity Domain Hypothesis comes
from three case studies. The first of these is an examination of the
ordering restrictions of three verbal extensions found on the Bantu
verb stem, the ``long'' causative, the applicative, and the ``short''
causative. The second case study is on a minimal-size restriction
found in the Chechen core verb phrase. The final case study is on the
order of verbs within serial verb phrases, with a focus on Saramaccan.

While each of the three case studies on its own offers support for the
Strong Linearity Domain Hypothesis, taken together they further
illustrate how it can model a cline of templatic restrictions, from
more specific to less specific, as linguistic constituents go from
smaller to larger size.

In addition, each of the case studies can be understood as
exemplifying some well-known type of templatic construction. The Bantu
case study exemplifies morphosyntactic verbal templates, the Chechen
case study exemplifies templates conditioned by special clitics, and
the Saramaccan case study exemplifies a class of templatic syntactic
phenomena often given the label ``constructions''.

The concluding chapter of this work discusses possible explanations
for the Strong Linearity Domain Hypothesis. In particular, an
evolutionary account is offered wherein it is understood as falling
out naturally from a model of the diachronic development of templates
in which they arise out of the reanalysis of prosodic restrictions as
templatic restrictions.
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