LINGUIST List 4.415

Sat 29 May 1993

Sum: Suffixing Infixes

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  1. Spencer A J, Summary: Suffixing Infixes

Message 1: Summary: Suffixing Infixes

Date: Thu, 27 May 93 13:39:34 BSSummary: Suffixing Infixes
From: Spencer A J <>
Subject: Summary: Suffixing Infixes

Many thanks to the following for their response to my query
about infixes which concatenate to the right of a stem. I
originally asked for examples of the form talus + mu ===>
talu-mu-s (i.e. the reverse of the frequent pattern as found
in Tagalog um + sulat ===> s-um-ulat):
Aaron Broadwell, Wayles Brown, John Coleman, Gregg Donabed,
Martin Haspelmath, David Gil, Leanne Hinton, John Koontz, John
McCarthy, Stavros Macrakis, Leslie Morgan, Luis Pagani,
Marilia Painter, David Pesetsky, David Powers, Alan Prince,
Ellen Prince, Don Ringe, Richard Sproat, Shigeru Tsuchida.
 Examples included the -n- of messenger, passenger etc.
(cf message, passage) and the Indo-European -n- infix (as seen
in Latin tango vs. tactum). Several respondents reminded me of
the Choctaw examples as reported in Lombardi and McCarthy
(1992) Phonology vol. 8 37-72, and the Ulwa examples cited in
McCarthy and Prince (1990) NLLT vol. 8209-284. Leanne Hinton
pointed to a case of number inflection in Yavasupai in which
the difference between a plural and a paucal interpretation
depends on whether the suffix is infixed or not. Shigeru
Tsuchida provided a detailed data list from Atayal, and Aaron
Broadwell offered detailed data from Muskogean.
 An interesting distinction to be drawn is that between
the specific type of case originally cited and that
represented by Ulwa, in which a suffix is concatenated with a
prosodically defined constituent. Current work by McCarthy,
Prince, and Smolensky makes interesting predictions about the
two types: the Ulwa type is no problem, but the talu-mu-s type
is predicted to be impossible unless the suffix is
reduplicative (as in the Chamorro intensifier pattern metgo-
SYLL-t > metgo-go-t 'very strong').
 [I should, perhaps, have emphasized that I was asking
about 'genuine' infixes which break up a monomorphemic root,
not suffixes which, in some intuitive sense, are added to an
already suffixed form, as in Portuguese pronominal clitics.
These present their own problems, of course, but not the same
ones as genuine infixes.]

Andrew Spencer
Department of Language and Linguistics
University of Essex
Colchester CO4 3SQ
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