Publishing Partner: Cambridge University Press CUP Extra Publisher Login

New from Cambridge University Press!


Voice Quality

By John H. Esling, Scott R. Moisik, Allison Benner, Lise Crevier-Buchman

Voice Quality "The first description of voice quality production in forty years, this book provides a new framework for its study: The Laryngeal Articulator Model. Informed by instrumental examinations of the laryngeal articulatory mechanism, it revises our understanding of articulatory postures to explain the actions, vibrations and resonances generated in the epilarynx and pharynx."

New from Oxford University Press!


Let's Talk

By David Crystal

Let's Talk "Explores the factors that motivate so many different kinds of talk and reveals the rules we use unconsciously, even in the most routine exchanges of everyday conversation."

E-mail this page

We Have a New Site!

With the help of your donations we have been making good progress on designing and launching our new website! Check it out at!
***We are still in our beta stages for the new site--if you have any feedback, be sure to let us know at***

Dissertation Information

Title: Caddo Verb Morphology Add Dissertation
Author: Lynette Melnar Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: University of Chicago, Department of Linguistics
Completed in: 1998
Linguistic Subfield(s): Language Documentation; Morphology;
Subject Language(s): Caddo
Director(s): Amy Dahlstrom
Michael Silverstein
Wallace Chafe

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.