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Case and Markedness in Tlapanec

By Andreas Opitz


This paper provides an analysis of the typologically unusual patterns of case assignment in Tlapanec. The theoretical approach relies on a sub-analysis of the markers and on postulating an interaction of markedness constraints. These constraints are implemented in a more general concept of grammar in which morphology applies after syntax, as is the case in Distributed Morphology. According to this theory the output of syntax can be impoverished before the lexical insertion of concrete vocabulary items takes place. The framework of DM is slightly modified in the account proposed here, insofar as the step of impoverishment of morpho-syntactic features is designed as an optimality theoretic competition of possible output candidates. I will show that all of the constraints that are crucial for this competition emerge from independently established prominence scales by a modified version of harmonic alignment. Thereby the process of impoverishment is given a typologically/conceptually more plausible base. 1

Year: 2010
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