Argument Structure and Argument-marking in Choctaw
Matthew Tyler
August 2020

This thesis examines argument structure - the linking relations between verbs and their arguments - in Choctaw, a Muskogean language spoken in Mississippi and Oklahoma. My focus is on three morphological reflexes of argument structure, which constitute the argument-marking systems of the title. Firstly, the verb may host various morphological markers of voice, which often carry labels like ‘transitive’ or ‘causative’. Secondly, the verb may host clitics which index (or ‘double’) certain arguments. Thirdly, overt arguments may carry case-markers. Following recent work in Minimalism and Distributed Morphology, I argue that each of these morphological systems is ‘read off’ a syntactic structure, which encodes verbal argument structure through a root and an arrangement of functional heads (v, Voice, Appl). This syntactic structure must make use of, at least, trivalent specifier requirements, in the sense of Kastner (2020), and a licensing relation. And in the mappings from syntactic structure to morphological and semantic output, there must be a high degree of contextual conditioning, in the sense of Wood and Marantz (2017). Of particular relevance to the syntax-morphology interface, I argue that case-assignment is morphological, and subject to contextual conditioning in the same way that morphological exponence is.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/005364
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Yale PhD Dissertation
keywords: choctaw, syntax, morphology, argument structure, case, agreement, syntax
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