Jean-Pierre Koenig, Karin Michelson

Derived nouns and structured inflection in Oneida

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Keywords: Oneida, Iroquoian, deverbal nouns, conversion, in􁞸ection, templatic morphology.

It is often assumed, particularly in inferential-realizational approaches to in􁞸ection (Anderson 1992; Stump 2001), that in􁞸ectional morphology is “􁞸atµ, i.e. does not involve internal constituency or intermediary lexical categories. We argue in this paper on the basis of the derivation of nouns from verbs that the in􁞸ectional pre􁞷xes of Oneida (Northern Iroquoian) form a 􁞸at template, but that the in􁞸ectional su􁞹xes belong to a di􁞶erent layer from the pre􁞷xes. We further argue that verb-to-noun derivation is semantically transparent in Oneida in that lexical category follows ontological sorts and category-changing derivation is always accompanied by ontological change, from situation descriptions to object descriptions. Finally, we suggest that verb-to-noun derivation plays a special role in the Oneida lexicon as so many names of everyday object categories are derived from verbs and that verbs behave as the only open class in the language.

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