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Case and Markedness in Tlapanec

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This paper provides an analysis of the typologically unusual patterns of case assignment in Tlapanec. The proposal challenges some idiosyncratic aspects of former descriptive analyses (i.e. zero-marked ergative and a novel case 'pegative') and provides a theoretically and typologically more adequate analysis instead. The theoretical approach relies on the framework of Distributed Morphology (DM). According to this theory the output of syntax can be impoverished before the lexical insertion of concrete vocabulary items takes place. This framework is modified in the account proposed here, insofar as the step of impoverishment of morphosyntactic features is designed as an optimality theoretic competition. I will show that all of the constraints that are crucial for this competition emerge from independently established prominence scales by a modified version of harmonic alignment. Thereby the process of impoverishment is given a typologically/conceptually more plausible base.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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  • "Linguistische Berichte" is open-minded regarding linguistic subjects and methods, but attaches great importance to theoretical reasoning and empirical validation.
    Since its foundation in 1969 by Peter Hartmann and Arnim von Stechow, the journal is an academic forum where serious views within linguistics and similar fields of studies (psycholinguistics, sociolinguistics, language acquisition and teaching, literary studies, philosophy, and computer linguistics) are discussed equally.
    The purpose is to provide an objective and critical documentation of linguistic developments. Besides, the forum is open for each level of scientific work, i.e. for everyone who is dealing with linguistic-based work (undergraduates, assistants, and professors).
    New research results and linguistic developments are published quickly and comprehensively, and contributions are normally published within one year after acceptance by the editors.
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