Chapter published in:Lexical Polycategoriality: Cross-linguistic, cross-theoretical and language acquisition approaches
Edited by Valentina Vapnarsky and Edy Veneziano
[Studies in Language Companion Series 182] 2017
► pp. 175–203
What determines constraints on the relationships between roots and lexical categories?
Evidence from Choctaw and Cherokee
Evidence from Amerindian languages suggests that there are roots that have no inherent lexical category and roots that do. Both can co-exist in a single language. Acategorial roots, typical of Cherokee, have semantic content, but lexical category does not emerge until the level of the grammatical word. Words that share lexical roots are not predictable in their relationships. A different type of root, exemplified in Choctaw, places robust restrictions on its derivations. These roots predict not only a verb-noun correspondence, but also the semantic type of derivation. Nouns derived from verbs utilize the argument structure of the related verb to determine semantic type. Predicative roots with no argument structure have no predictable correspondences; those derivations are simply examples of conversion.
Keywords: polycategoriality, lexical roots, Amerindian languages, properties of lexical categories, conversion
Published online: 01 November 2017
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