West Circassian polysynthesis at the morphology-syntax interface


  • Ksenia Ershova University of Chicago




morphology-syntax interface, noun incorporation, polysynthesis, word formation, head movement, syntax-prosody interface, West Circassian


This paper presents an analysis of word formation in West Circassian, a polysynthetic language. I argue that while verbs and nouns superficially share a similar morphological profile, they are in fact constructed through two distinct word formation strategies: while verbal morphology is concatenated via syntactic head movement, the noun phrase is pronounced as a single word due to rules of syntax-to-prosody mapping. Such a division of labor provides an account for why only nouns, and not verbs, exhibit productive noun incorporation in the language: West Circassian noun incorporation is prosodic, rather than syntactic. The evidence for this two-fold approach to word formation comes from morpheme ordering in nominalizations.




How to Cite

Ershova, Ksenia. 2018. “West Circassian Polysynthesis at the Morphology-Syntax Interface”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 3 (1): 39:1–15. https://doi.org/10.3765/plsa.v3i1.4328.