Article published in:Language Typology and Historical Contingency: In honor of Johanna Nichols
Edited by Balthasar Bickel, Lenore A. Grenoble, David A. Peterson and Alan Timberlake
[Typological Studies in Language 104] 2013
► pp. 241–264
Polysynthesis in the Arctic/Sub-Arctic
How recent is it?
This paper presents a diagnostic for distinguishing older from newer forms of polysynthesis. Explanations for the global “cline” of polysynthesis from northern Asia into northwestern America are examined in this light. This leads to addressing the questions as to the “robustness” of polysynthesis in general (and head-marking morphology in particular) and as to whether its development is necessarily a “one-way road.” Traces of the phenomenon in the Amur-Sakhalin-Hokkaido area suggest at least one possible Asian source of the cline.
Published online: 13 December 2013
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