LINGUIST List 25.2852

Mon Jul 07 2014

Diss: Georgian; Morphology: Wier: 'Georgian Morphosyntax and Feature Hierarchies in Natural Language'

Editor for this issue: Danuta Allen <>

Date: 07-Jul-2014
From: Thomas Wier <>
Subject: Georgian Morphosyntax and Feature Hierarchies in Natural Language
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Institution: University of Chicago
Program: Department of Linguistics
Dissertation Status: Completed
Degree Date: 2011

Author: Thomas R Wier

Dissertation Title: Georgian Morphosyntax and Feature Hierarchies in Natural Language

Dissertation URL:

Linguistic Field(s): Morphology

Subject Language(s): Georgian (kat)

Dissertation Director:
Amy Dahlstrom
Victor Friedman
Michael Silverstein
Jerrold Sadock

Dissertation Abstract:

What are linguistic features, and how do they manifest themselves in
natural languages? The Georgian language provides a particularly
acute set of challenges to linguists in the way it questions received
assumptions about grammatical functions, thematic relations, and
natural language categorization. This dissertation tackles these facts
by examining first what the evidence for different domains of grammar
are in Georgian. How do data from Georgian verb morphology
challenge traditional assumptions underlying lexical incremental
assumptions behind the morpheme? Do inversion facts argue for
monostratal or multistratal conceptualizations of grammatical
functions? The answer to both of these questions is highly
complicated, and requires an extensive look at the Georgian systems
of case, agreement, tense, aspect, and modality. In particular I assess
the viability of classical treatments such as Harris (1982), Anderson
(1993), Marantz (1992), and Stump (2001) and find that Georgian
poses problems for each one. I go on to assess in the second part
how differential feature hierarchies in morphology versus syntax argue
for the existence of distinct feature geometries. Feature hierarchies, it
turns out, are epiphenomena of set-theoretical properties of these
geometries. In the last chapter, I discuss the literature on feature
hierarchies arguing how many scholars have understood this highly
abstract area of grammatical theorizing.

Page Updated: 07-Jul-2014