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The Northern Iroquoian nominalizer and lexical categories

  • Michael Barrie (a1) and Sihun Jung (a1)


In Northern Iroquoian languages, a nominalizer (nlzr) is typically required to transform a verb into a noun, either for noun incorporation or to create a full DP. In some cases, the nominalizer is required only for noun incorporation and not for the formation of a DP. Interestingly, the converse is never found. That is, there are no lexical roots that require the nominalizer for the formation of a DP, but not for noun incorporation. With this asymmetry in mind, we examine the categorial properties of roots in Northern Iroquoian. We discuss three common theories of the categorization of roots: (i) the traditional theory, in which all roots are specified as nouns or verbs (or adjectives for languages that have this category), (ii) the Bare Root Hypothesis, in which all roots are acategorial, and (iii), the Roots as Nouns Hypothesis, in which all roots are nouns. We show that the Northern Iroquoian facts are not amenable to any of these theories. We propose instead that some roots in Northern Iroquoian are categorially specified (some as nouns, some as verbs), while others are truly bare.


Dans les langues iroquoiennes du nord, un nominalisateur (nlzr) est généralement requis pour transformer un verbe en un nom, que ce soit pour l'incorporation nominale, ou pour créer un DP complet. Dans certains cas, le nominalisateur est nécessaire seulement pour l'incorporation nominale et est absent lors de la formation d'un DP complet. Le cas inverse ne s'observe pas, c'est-à-dire qu'il n'existe pas dans le lexique des radicaux qui nécessitent un nominalisateur pour la formation d'un DP, mais qui n'en nécessitent pas pour l'incorporation nominale. C'est en partant de cette asymétrie que nous abordons le problème de la nature des radicaux dans l'iroquoien du nord. Nous considérons trois théories répandues sur le sujet de la catégorisation des radicaux : (i) la théorie traditionnelle, dans laquelle tous les radicaux sont spécifiés, soit en tant que nom, soit en tant que verbe (ou en tant qu'adjectif pour les langues avec cette catégorie), (ii) l'hypothèse des radicaux nus, dans laquelle tous les radicaux sont analysés comme étant dépourvus de catégorie et (iii), l'hypothèse des radicaux en tant que noms, une théorie dans laquelle tous les radicaux sont des noms. Nous montrons que les faits observés dans l'iroquoien du nord ont du mal à trouver une explication au sein de chacune de ces théories. Nous proposons plutôt qu'il existe certains radicaux dans ces langues qui ont une catégorie assignée – soit nom, soit verbe – tandis que d'autres sont véritablement nus, et donc n'ont pas de catégorie grammaticale inhérente.


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We wish to thank the audience at WSCLA23 for helpful feedback and suggestions. All errors are our own. This work was supported by the Global Research Network program through the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Korea and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF-2017S1A2A2039972).



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The Northern Iroquoian nominalizer and lexical categories

  • Michael Barrie (a1) and Sihun Jung (a1)


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