On optionality in Mohawk noun incorporation

Ryan DeCaire, Alana Johns, Ivona Kučerová

Abstract


Noun incorporation is a phenomenon much discussed within Iroquoian language literature. In this paper, we consider noun incorporation in Mohawk, a language within the Iroquoian language family, and argue that what has often been considered to be optional noun incorporation is in fact primarily determined by the information structure of the clause. We show that with the exception of lexically-determined verbs that always or never incorporate, every verb may or may not incorporate its nominal object. We analyse the incorporated version as the default structure. The non-incorporated counterpart is licensed only under particular information-structure properties. We provide evidence that noun excorporation arises whenever the verb or the object noun is focused, and in turn moves to the left periphery.

Keywords


noun incorporation; excorporation; Mohawk

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Copyright (c) 2017 Ryan DeCaire, Alana Johns, Ivona Kučerová