Prosody drives Paraguayan Guaraní suffix order

Maksymilian Michał Dąbkowski


In Paraguayan Guaraní (Tupian, ISO 639-3: gug), suffix order is determined by several factors, including syntactic scope, morphotactic restrictions, free variation, and prosody.

Paraguayan Guaraní suffixes form two syntactic classes: predicate-level suffixes and clause-level suffixes. Both syntactic classes include stressable and stressless suffixes. Predicate-level suffixes typically precede clause-level suffixes. However, stressable suffixes always precede stressless ones. Furthermore, within both groups (stressable or stressless), the order of suffixes is largely free.

I propose that stressable suffixes are independently prosodified phonological words and stressless suffixes are non-prosodified. I analyze the Paraguayan Guaraní suffix order as an interaction of mirroring between the order of suffixes and the order of syntactic operations, on the one hand, and prosodic subcategorization and demands on phonological well-formedness, on the other. Thus, I document and analyze an unusual agglutinating system, whose highly non-prototypical prosodified and freely-ordered suffixes challenge the notion of a phonological word, contributing to ongoing research on phonological and syntactic domains as well as the interfaces of phonology, morphology, and syntax.


Paraguayan Guaraní; Free Affix Order; Variable Affix Order; Suffix; Suffixation; Morphotactics; Template; Templatic Morphology; Subcategorization; Infix; Infixation; Prosody; Stress; Mirror Principle; Scope; Optimality Theory

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