From head-final to head-initial in Algonquian: Evidence and implications

Will Oxford


This paper shows that the Algonquian languages display evidence of a long-term shift from head-final to head-initial order in three domains: the PP, the DP, and the clausal spine. Each domain displays traces of an original analytic head-final construction whose head directionality became opaque when the heads became affixes. The new analytic constructions that have subsequently developed in each domain consistently display head-initial order rather than head-final order. The paper discusses the causes and implications of this shift in head directionality.


Head Parameter; Grammaticalization; Reanalysis; Prepositions; Determiners; Auxiliaries; Inflection

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