Polysynthesis parameter

On the other hand, they are generally easier to distinguish from non-polysynthetic languages than affixally polysynthetic languages.

Is german polysynthetic

Baker proposed a definition of polysynthesis as a syntactic macroparameter within Noam Chomsky 's " principles and parameters " program. This is done principally in two ways. A polysynthetic language, as its name implies, is more than ordinarily synthetic. Brinton, who had never done fieldwork with any indigenous group continued to defend Humboldt and Duponceau's view of the exceptional nature of American languages against the claim of Hewitt, who was half Tuscarora and had studied the Iroquoian languages, that languages such as the Iroquois had grammatical rules and verbs just like European languages. He considered polysynthesis to be a general characteristic of American languages, but he did qualify the statement by mentioning that certain languages such as Otomi and the Tupi-Guarani languages had been claimed to be basically analytic. The opinion of Du Ponceau and Humboldt, therefore, that these processes belong to the ground-plan of American languages, and are their leading characteristics, must be regarded as still uncontroverted in any instance. These are the result of extensive new fieldwork by myself and my team, supplemented by some textual analysis. Edward Sapir's morphological types[ edit ] Edward Sapir reacted to the prevailing view in Americanist linguistics which considered the languages of the Americas to belong to a single basic polysynthetic type, arguing instead that American indigenous languages were highly diverse and encompassed all known morphological types. It is often illuminating to point out that a language has been becoming more and more analytic in the course of its history or that it shows signs of having crystallized from a simple analytic base into a highly synthetic form. This balance helps to diminish the possibility that languages might seem more diverse from one another than they are because of the diverse interests of those who work on them. Duponceau's colleague Albert Gallatin contradicted this theory, arguing rather that synthesis was a sign of a lower cultural level, and that while the Greek and Latin languages were somewhat synthetic, Native American languages were much more so — and consequently polysynthesis was the hallmark of the lowest level of intellectual evolution. There is justification for the use of all of these terms, though not perhaps in quite the spirit in which they are commonly employed. A minor theme, in this regard, is the identification and formu- Full access to this book and over 94, more Over 14 million journal, magazine, and newspaper articles Access to powerful writing and research tools Book details. It has been an open question whether the analytical techniques of syntax can be applied profitably to languages such as these.

It has been an open question whether the analytical techniques of syntax can be applied profitably to languages such as these. This latter peculiarity marks it off altogether from the processes of agglutination and collocation. In a synthetic language Latin, Arabic, Finnish the concepts cluster more thickly, the words are more richly chambered, but there is a tendency, on the whole, to keep the range of concrete significance in the single word down to a moderate compass.

Read preview Synopsis Baker argues that polysynthetic languages - in which verbs are built up of many parts and where one verb can act as a whole sentence - are more than an accidental collection of morphological processes; rather they adopt a systematic way of representing predicate-argument relationships, parallel to but distinct from the system used for English.

In order to establish this point, the exposition is presented on three levels: the descriptive, the theoretical, and the comparative.


Among the examples of polysynthetic languages he gave was Haida which he considered to use the agglutinative-isolating technique, Yana and Nootka both of which he considered agglutinative, Chinook and Algonkin which he considered fusional.

By an analogous combination of various parts of speech, particularly by means of the verb, so that its various forms and inflections will express not only the principal action, but the greatest possible number of the moral ideas and physical objects connected with it, and will combine itself to the greatest extent with those conceptions which are the subject of other parts of speech, and in other languages require to be expressed by separate and distinct words The thesis of this book is that, appearances notwithstanding, many of these techniques and concepts do shed considerable light on the structure of polysynthetic languages once they are applied in the proper way.

I believe the terms are more useful in defining certain drifts than as absolute counters. Duponceau himself had argued that the complex polysynthetic nature of American languages was a relic of a more civilized past, and that this suggested that the Indians of his time had degenerated from a previous advanced stage.

Deictics and other spatial and temporal relations are also very common among these bound morphemes in affixally polysynthetic languages. The polysynthesis parameter states that all phrasal heads must be marked with either agreement morphemes of their direct argument or else incorporate these arguments in that head.

synthetic language typology
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The Polysynthesis Parameter by Mark C. Baker