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. 207–242
Lexical and syntactic categories in Nêlêmwa (New Caledonia) and some other Austronesian languages
Fluid vs. rigid categoriality
In contrast with various Austronesian languages (especially Formosan, Philippine, Polynesian) for which lexical roots are claimed to be functionally unspecified or precategorial, lexical bases in Nêlêmwa (New Caledonia) evidence a clear noun/verb opposition, identifiable by distinctive morphosyntactic features, except for some 5% fluid bases which can be nouns or verbs without any derivation. Beyond their prototypical functions, nouns, verbs and their subcategories display some functional flexibility in Nêlêmwa; it thus stands midway between flexible and rigid languages. Yet categorial flexibility is asymmetrical, nouns are the most flexible and may be recategorised in relation to their propositional operation and syntactic function, giving rise to hybrid lexico-syntactic words. Nêlêmwa data will be compared and put into perspective with data from other Austronesian languages.
Keywords: conversion, derivation, fluid bases, omnipredicativity, polycategoriality, categorial fluidity, lexico-syntactic categories
Published online: 01 November 2017
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Cited by 2 other publications
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