Choctaw Verb Agreement and Universal Grammar by William D. Davies

By William D. Davies

The Choctaw language, indigenous to the southeastern usa, now with its maximum concentrations ofspeakers in Missis sippi, Oklahoma, and l. a., has in most cases escaped the scrutinyoftheoreticallinguistics.ItisnotthatChoctaw isanintrin sicallyuninterestinglanguage- aquickglanceataclausewithfive contract controllers and a mismatch among the caseofafree standingnominaland its contract affix should still dispelthat thought. relatively it's, i feel, the query of what we will be able to research from a languageinwhichNPsdon'tmovearound,"WHs"don'tfront, and gaps easily come up from pronominalization. My desire is that the presentvolume, takentogetherwithagrowingliteraturespurredon via the workofPamMunro and her scholars atUCLA, will convey Choctawintothelightofdayand into the circleoflanguagescon sidered whilst developing theories that outline "possible human language." Thepresentstudy, arevisionofmy 1981dissertation(University ofCalifornia, SanDiego), focusesfirstandforemostontheChoctaw agreementsystem, takingthisasthekeytothestructureofChoctaw syntax. The quick aim, then, is to supply a unified account ofthestructures and ideas underlyingtheagreement system.Along the best way a rangeofgrammatical phenomena is tested, taken as proof for specific structural configurations, and included into awell-integratedaccountofmorphologicaland syntacticfacts. The resultsbearon anumber ofcurrent concerns, includingthe Un accusative speculation, the life of demotions, the character of antipassive, disjunctive rule software, universals of causative buildings, and others.For those purposes Choctawdeserves the scrutinyoftheoreticians. the information forming the corpus for research symbolize numerous Oklahoma Choctaw.They have been accumulated from a nativespeaker in San Diego among 1978 and 1982 and from a variety of audio system in Oklahoma in the course of prolonged visits to damaged Bow in 1980. I lX PREFACE x wishtothankthespeakerswhohelpedmebysharingtheirlanguage andencouragingmystudies.MyworkonChoctawwassupportedin partbyfundsfrom theNationalScienceFoundation(throughgrant numberBNS78-17498totheUniversityofCalifornia, SanDiego), theAmericanPhilosophicalSociety(throughaPhillipsFundgrant), andtheDepartmentofLinguisticsatUCSD.

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The structure in (29), in fact, also satisfies the condition for SS marking in (36a), since ano 'I' heads a I-arc in each structure. Of course, this is a desirable result since, as we saw in (21), repeated below, SS marking is also possible in this environment. 28 CHAPTER 2 (21) Sahohchafo -cha tobi hoponi -Ii -tok. lACC hungry SS bean cook lNOM PST I was hungry, so I cooked some beans. However, it is not possible to have both SS and DS marked at the same time. Thus, it is necessary to treat (36) as an unordered disjunction: if either of the conditions is satisfied, the rule may apply, but its application precludes the application of the other condition.?

This is reflected in the rule in (36). (36) Switch-Reference Marking a. Same-subject marking occurs if there is a stratum in clause A and a stratum in clause B that contain I-arcs headed by coreferent nominals. b. Different-subject marking occurs if there is a stratum in clause A and a stratum in clause B that do not contain I-arcs headed by coreferent nominals. Note that the condition for DS marking is satisfied by the structure in (29) since although ano 'I' heads only a I-arc in the transitive structure, it heads a 2-arc in the initial stratum of the unaccusative structure.

B. Chishno ahpali -1 -a: -cm. 2 kiss lNOM IRR FUT I am going to kiss you. In (51) ano T heads a 2-arc, but in (51b) it does not determine accusative agreement as it does in (51a). Instead, the oblique focus form of the pronoun occurs in the clause. In (52) chishno 'you' bears the 2-relation; although it determines accusative agreement in (52a), in (52b) the simple pronominal form occurs and there is no accusative agreement in the verbal complex. The accusative agreement marker determined by an unaccusative subject cannot be omitted.

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