|Title:||Caddo Verb Morphology||Add Dissertation|
|Author:||Lynette Melnar||Update Dissertation|
|Email:||click here to access email|
|Institution:||University of Chicago, Department of Linguistics|
|Linguistic Subfield(s):||Language Documentation; Morphology;|
|Abstract:||This dissertation describes the polysynthetic verb morphology of the moribund North American Indian language Caddo. Caddo verb morphology is addressed in terms of the semantic composition of the verbal categories and the function of their constituent classes and morphemes. Caddo verb structure is shown to be templatic, consisting of twenty-six position classes indicating a number of categorial distinctions, including: person, case, reality, tense, aspect, mood, subordination, negation, number, animacy, distribution, voice, posture, manner of motion, location, and semantic patient type. The various combinations of these categories into single polysynthetic structures constitute words that typically have the scope of sentences.
Caddo verb morphology exhibits many features that make its analysis particularly challenging. These include discontinuous dependency and pervasive allomorphy, zero-marking, and affix homophony. In addition, some position classes in the verb template are further divided into locally ordered positions, while other classes span two or more positions. Finally, verb stems exhibit considerable lexicalization, resulting in hierarchical layering which intersects the basic templatic organization. This description of the Caddo verb has two principal consequences. First, it makes available primary data of a terminal language on which little material is published. It thus responds to the urgency for linguists to procure as much primary information as possible, and to make the data generally available. Second, this analysis explores several topics of interest to current linguistic research, including polysynthesis, template morphology, noun and verb incorporation, realis-irrealis marking, and AGENT-PATIENT case patterning.