Paraguayan Guaraní and the typology of free affix order




Paraguayan Guaraní, suffix, free affix order, FAO, variable affix order, morphotactics, template, morphological FAO, subcategorization, infixation, stress, prosody, prosodic FAO, Mirror Principle, scope, Optimality Theory, learning, typology


Cross-linguistically, affix order is commonly determined by semantic scope (Rice 2006) or a morphological template. Less frequently, affix order is free, which means that suffixes can be reordered without a concomitant change in scope. To address the question of what gives rise to and constrains free affix order (FAO), I present a case study of Paraguayan Guaraní (or PG, Tupí-Guaraní, Paraguay, ISO 639-3: gug). I argue that FAO in PG should be analyzed as driven by prosodic factors. The prosodic analysis has previously been proposed only for Chintang (Bickel et al. 2007). Two major analyses of FAO see the phenomenon as driven by either morphology (e.g. Ryan 2010) or prosody (Bickel et al. 2007). The morphological analysis proposes that FAO is a consequence of free variation within the morphological template. The prosodic analysis models FAO with prosodic subcategorization for phonologically prominent positions. I argue that the two analyses make different predictions as to the preconditions for and the extent of FAO. I show that both the morphological and the prosodic profile of FAO are attested. I propose that FAO in PG is an instance of the latter. Thus, I demonstrate that FAO is not a unified phenomenon, but rather should be typologized as driven by either morphological or prosodic factors.

Author Biography

  • Maksymilian Dąbkowski, University of California, Berkeley
    PhD student in the Department of Linguistics




How to Cite

Dąbkowski, Maksymilian. 2022. “Paraguayan Guaraní and the Typology of Free Affix Order”. Proceedings of the Linguistic Society of America 7 (1): 5159.