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Chapter 3. Classifying clitics in Sm'algyax: Approaching theory from the field

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Title: Chapter 3. Classifying clitics in Sm'algyax: Approaching theory from the field
Authors: Mulder, Jean
Sellers, Holly
Keywords: clitics
Sm'algyax
British Columbia
Alaska
Tsimshian
Issue Date: May 2010
Publisher: University of Hawai'i Press
Citation: Mulder, Jean & Holly Sellers. 2010. Classifying clitics in Sm'algyax: Approaching theory from the field. In Andrea L. Berez, Jean Mulder, & Daisy Rosenblum (eds.), Fieldwork and Linguistic Analysis in Indigenous Languages of the Americas, 33-56. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press.
Series/Report no.: LD&C Special Publication 2
Abstract: Sm’algyax (British Columbia and Alaska) is a highly ergative VAO/VS language with an uncommonly wide range of clitics. This chapter has the two-fold function of demonstrating how Anderson’s (2005) constraint-based analysis of clitics gives insight into the complex behavior of Sm’algyax clitics, and how the clitics themselves afford empirical means of testing such a theory. The Sm’algyax data are drawn from both field research and published texts, reflecting a community-based approach to language documentation that has evolved through a long-term, collaborative relationship with the Tsimshian (Sm’algyax) communities. Building on Stebbin’s (2003) definitions of intermediate word classes in Sm’algyax and Anderson’s Optimality Theoretical approach, we determine that in terms of their varying phonological dependence, Sm’algyax clitics include internal, phonological word, and affixal clitics. The existence of affixal clitics in Sm’algyax, however, calls into question the viability of the Strict Layer Hypothesis (Selkirk 1984) as inviolable rules when describing clitics. Furthermore, Sm’algyax provides strong evidence that the direction of clitic attachment is more clitic specific than language specific. In characterising the behaviour of Sm’algyax clitics, we find that not only does linguistic theory help sharpen our understanding of the fieldwork data, but also that field linguistics has consequences for linguistic theory.
Sponsor: National Foreign Language Resource Center
Pages/Duration: 24 pages
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10125/4450
ISBN: 978-0-8248-3530-9
Rights: Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives Licence
Appears in Collections:LD&C Special Publication No. 2: Fieldwork and Linguistic Analysis in Indigenous Languages of the Americas



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