The Oxford Handbook of Polysynthesis

The Oxford Handbook of Polysynthesis


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This handbook offers an extensive crosslinguistic and cross-theoretical survey of polysynthetic languages, in which single multi-morpheme verb forms can express what would be whole sentences in English. These languages and the problems they raise for linguistic analyses have long featured prominently in language descriptions, and yet the essence of polysynthesis remains under discussion, right down to whether it delineates a distinct, coherent type, rather than an assortment of frequently co-occurring traits.

Chapters in the first part of the handbook relate polysynthesis to other issues central to linguistics, such as complexity, the definition of the word, the nature of the lexicon, idiomaticity, and to typological features such as argument structure and head marking. Part two contains areal studies of those geographical regions of the world where polysynthesis is particularly common, such as the Arctic and Sub-Arctic and northern Australia. The third part examines diachronic topics such as language contact and language obsolence, while part four looks at acquisition issues in different polysynthetic languages. Finally, part five contains detailed grammatical descriptions of over twenty languages which have been characterized as polysynthetic, with special attention given to the presence or absence of potentially criterial features.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780199683208
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 12/17/2017
Series: Oxford Handbooks Series
Pages: 960
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 9.80(h) x 2.30(d)

About the Author

Michael Fortescue is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at the University of Copenhagen, now associated with St Hugh's College, Oxford. His special area of interest is Arctic and Sub-Arctic languages, principally Eskimo-Aleut, but also Chukotko-Kamchatkan and Wakashan languages. He has also published extensively in the more general fields of comparative, typological, cognitive, and functional linguistics.

Marianne Mithun is Professor of Linguistics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Much of her work has been in the areas of morphology, syntax, discourse, prosody, and their interrelations; language contact and language change; typology and universals; and language documentation. She has worked with numerous typologically diverse languages including Mohawk, Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Navajo, and Selayarese.

Nicholas Evans is ARC Laureate Fellow and Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at the Australian National University, and Director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language. He has carried out wide-ranging fieldwork on traditional languages of northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea, including Bininj Gun-wok, Dalabon, and Kayardild. He has also worked as a linguist, interpreter, and anthropologist in Native Title claims.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction, Michael Fortescue, Marianne Mithun, and Nicholas Evans
Part I: The Nature of Polysynthesis
2. Polysynthesis and complexity, Osten Dahl
3. Argument marking in the polysynthetic verb and its implications, Marianne Mithun
4. Polysynthesis and head-marking, Johanna Nichols
5. Sub-types of polysynthesis, Johanna Mattissen
6. The subjectivity of the notion of polysynthesis, Jerrold Sadock
7. What are the limits of polysynthesis?, Michael Fortescue
8. The lexicon in polysynthetic languages, Louis-Jacques Dorais
9. The word in polysynthetic languages: phonological and morphological challenges, Balthasar Bickel and Fernando Zuniga
10. The anthropological setting of polysynthesis, Peter Trudgill
11. Phraseology in polysynthetic languages, Sally Rice
Part II: Areal Perspectives
12. The Arctic and Sub-Arctic, Michael Fortescue
13. Continental North America, Marianne Mithun
14. The northern Hokan area, Carmen Jany
15. Polysynthetic structures of Lowland Amazonia, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald
16. Northern Australia, Nicholas Evans
17. Papua New Guinea, William A. Foley
Part III: The Diachronic Perspective
18. Patterns of innovation and retention in templatic polysynthesis, Edward Vajda
19. The diachrony of complex verbs in Ute, T. Givon
20. Polysynthesis and language contact, Hein van der Voort and Peter Bakker
21. Language obsolescence in polysynthetic languages, Ekaterina Gruzdeva and Nikolai Vakhtin
Part IV: Acquisition
22. Polysynthesis in the acquisition of Eskimo languages, Shanley Allen
23. The acquisition of Murrinh-Patha, Bill Forshaw, Lucinda Davidson, Barbara Kelly, Rachel Nordlinger, Gillian Wigglesworth, and Joe Blythe
24. The acquisition of Chintang, Sabine Stoll, Balthasar Bickel, and Jekaterina Mazara
Part V: Grammatical Sketches
25. Western Apache, a southern Athabaskan languages, Willem J. de Reuse
26. Polysynthesis in Central Alaskan Yup'ik, Anthony C. Woodbury
27. A grammatical sketch of the Innu language (Algonquian), Lynn Drapeau
28. Caddo, Wallace Chafe
29. Polysynthesis in Nuuchahnulth, a Wakashan language, Toshihide Nakayama
30. The polysynthetic nature of Salish, Honore Watanabe
31. Nawatl (Uto-Aztecan), Una Canger
32. Purepecha, a polysynthetic but predominantly dependent-marking language, Claudine Chamoreau
33. Mapudungun, Fernando Zuniga
34. Tariana, an Arawak language from north-west Amazonia, Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald
35. Lakonde, a polysynthetic (Nambikwara) language of southern Amazonia, Leo Wetzels and Stella Telles
36. Dalabon (Northern Australia), Nicholas Evans
37. South Daly River (Northern Australia), Rachel Nordlinger
38. The polysynthetic profile of Yimas, a language of New Guinea, William Foley
39. Koryak, Megumi Kurebito
40. Nivkh, Johanna Mattissen
41. Polysynthesis in Ainu, Anna Bugaeva
42. Ket, Edward Vajda
43. Incorporation in Sora (Munda), Gregory D. S. Anderson
44. Adyghe (Northwest Caucasian), Yakov G. Testelets and Yury Lander

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