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Māori as a phrase-based language

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Item Summary

Title: Māori as a phrase-based language
Authors: Yamada, Fumiko Sugasawa
Keywords: Maori
parts of speech
Issue Date: Dec 2014
Publisher: [Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2014]
Abstract: Māori is an indigenous language spoken by the Māori people in New Zealand. It is an Austronesian language, belonging to the Polynesian subgroup, and sharing similar linguistic phenomena with other Polynesian languages. Category overlapping is one such phenomenon. Māori is known to have fluid word categories: A single lexical item can be used for multiple parts of speech without changing the word form. While previous studies on Māori grammar acknowledge the difficulty and inadequacy of applying the conventional part-of-speech system, they nonetheless resort to using that system, with its noun/verb distinction. This dissertation questions the validity of assuming the lexical categories in Māori and explores alternative approaches. Inspired by Broschart's (1997) study on Tongan, another Polynesian language, this dissertation shows that Māori word classification does not require a noun/verb distinction on the lexical or syntactic level. Māori has two types of syntactic categories, a TAM-phrase and a DET-phrase. The category belongs to the entire phrase, which is a string of a particle and a lexical base. The lexical bases themselves are not specified for the categories of noun or verb, and they have the potential to form either a DET-phrase or a TAM-phrase. This finding supports Biggs's (1961) insight, which has been embraced by Māori linguists: The basic grammatical unit in Māori is a phrase, not a word. The two syntactic categories, DET-phrase and TAM-phrase, along with the general rules of a predicate-initial constituent order and left-headedness, suffice to account for the basic sentence structures of Māori.
Description: Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2014.
Includes bibliographical references.
Rights: All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections:Ph.D. - Linguistics

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