Morphotactics in Affix Ordering
Marie-Luise Popp
July 2022
 

This dissertation discusses the empirical distribution and systematicity of morphotactic rules on the relative order of verbal affixes. In the literature, the exact role of morphology and its interaction with other factors affecting affix order is still under debate. More specifically, syntactic (Baker 1985, 1988) and semantic approaches (Muysken 1986, Rice 2000, Stiebels 2003) to affix order assume that some underlying grammatical structure, the syntactic derivation or the semantic composition, is mapped transparently onto the surface, such that the relative order of affixes on the surface matches the underlying order of the elements. However, phenomena like nontransitive affix order or templatic morphology suggest that morphological rules may overwrite the surface order provided by syntax or semantics. In this dissertation, I examine exactly these phenomena to investigate the empirical scope of these morphological rules. I demonstrate that there are crosslinguistically stable, systematic rules of morphology, which are in direct competition with rules of syntactic or semantic transparency. Concretely, I conclude that there is a morphological rule that requires the realization of causatives in proximity of the verb root. The role and systematicity of morphotactics in affix order are highly relevant for linguistic theory: if seemingly arbitrary rules influence affix order without any restriction, it is impossible to build restrictive theories. Thus, uncovering the crosslinguistic patterns of morphological rules helps to build empirically adequate, restrictive theories about affix order. Furthermore, I demonstrate that the interaction of affix order with phonology suggests a cyclic model of the morpho-phonology interface. More specifically, I assume that phonology has temporarily limited access to morphological structure, thus deriving well-attested cases of phonologically conditioned affix order. To model the competition between rules of morphology on the one hand and rules of syntax and semantics, on the other hand, I suggest a concrete mechanism that translates the underlying semantic composition into a restricted set of constraints. Consequently, the simultaneous interaction between these constraints implementing transparency requirements and morphotactic constraints derives the variety of transparency patterns found in combinations of valency markers.
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Reference: lingbuzz/006703
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keywords: affix order, morphology, templates, templatic morphology, morphology
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