Evidence of a configurational structure in Meskwaki

Paul A. Morris


Meskwaki, like many polysynthetic Algonquian languages, is often analyzed as having a non-configurational structure because it exhibits the three core characteristics of non-configurationality: free word order, discontinuous expressions, and null anaphora (Hale 1983). While free surface form word order is attributed to a preverbal discourse-based hierarchy, non-topic/focus NPs are in a post-verbal, non-hierarchical XP structure (Dahlstrom in progress). This paper posits that Meskwaki has an underlying configurational syntactic structure based on novel and prior data showing (1) discontinuous NP ordering restrictions with locality constraints, (2) superiority effects in multiple wh-phrases, and (3) long-distance movement and island effects.


syntax; Meskwaki; Algonquian languages; non-configurational

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v3i1.4309

Copyright (c) 2018 Paul A. Morris

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