Sm'algyax Reduplication; Distributed?

Rosa Mordasiewicz, University of Ottawa




The body of proposals for the theoretical problem of reduplication has ranged from rule- to constraint-based and back again, most recently with a Distributed Morphology twist in Frampton (2009)[1].


Reduplication has long been established as comprising both morphology and phonology. Frampton's proposal, however, is a meeting of the new world and the old, in which he adopts the contemporary theory of Distributed Morphology while asserting the position that rule-based phonology is capable of handling reduplication phenomena. This paper provides an assessment of Frampton's theory through an analysis of Sm'algyax, which exhibits varied reduplication.


Sm'algyax (Coast Tsimshian) is an indigenous language of the Tsimshianic family spoken on the northwest coast of British Columbia and into southern Alaska. The language has several classes of inflectional reduplication used to form the plural, as well as derivational reduplication classes (Dunn, 1995). The data is sourced from the product of Dunn's field work - a reference dictionary and grammar originally published separately. With diverse patterns of reduplication, Sm'algyax is expected to provide an illustrative test to Frampton's theory.


The goal of this paper is not only to present the analysis of a language not yet considered under Distributed Reduplication, but to evaluate the model, providing the basis to conduct a comparative study to earlier rule- or constraint-based theories.


 Selected References


Dunn, J. A. (1995). Sm'algyax: A Reference Dictionary and Grammar for the Coast Tsimshian Language. Washington, D.C.: University of Washington Press and Sealaska Heritage Foundation.


Frampton, J. (2009). Distributed Reduplication. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.


Halle, M. and A. Marantz. (1993). Distributed Morphology and the Pieces of Inflection. In: Kenneth Hale and Samuel Jay Keyser (eds.) The view from Building 20. 111-176. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.




[1] As well as others such as Raimy (2000) and Harris and Halle (2005).


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