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Determining a language’s feature inventory: person in Archi

Chumakina, M, Kibort, A and Corbett, GG (2007) Determining a language’s feature inventory: person in Archi In: UNSPECIFIED Helmut Buske, pp. 143-172.


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In descriptions of languages, we make use of morphosyntactic features such as gender, number or person. This paper shows that sometimes choosing the features and values to describe a language is not straightforward, and the decision of whether or not to use a particular feature requires careful consideration. Thus, when determining a language’s feature inventory, we should consider both why we posit a given feature, and how many values to posit for the feature. In our case study we look closely at the Daghestanian language Archi. It is usually assumed that languages have a person feature, but with Archi this is not self-evident. Archi (like some related languages) has no unique forms for agreement in person, and the standard descriptions of this language do not involve the feature person. However, the agreement patterns in Archi may be interpreted in favour of the presence of this feature, despite the absence of any phonologically distinct forms realising it. Thus, we claim that Archi does have the feature of person that had not been recognised for this language before. We also give a brief overview of the category of person in the languages of Daghestan.

Item Type: Book Section
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of Literature and Languages > English > Surrey Morphology Group
Authors :
Chumakina, M
Kibort, A
Corbett, GG
Date : 2007
Contributors :
ContributionNameEmailORCID, PK, A
Depositing User : Mr Adam Field
Date Deposited : 27 May 2010 14:39
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 14:01

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