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Bookmark and Share Paper 1311

Affix Ordering in Wolof Applicatives and Causatives
Leston Buell and Mariame Sy
214-224 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


This paper addresses the relative ordering of affixes and arguments in structures that combine benefactive, instrumental, causative, and impersonal causative suffixes in Wolof. Although altering the order of these arguments or affixes can alter the interpretation, sometimes different orders yield the same interpretation. The reorderings cannot be described in terms of free variation because there are cases where a particular affix ordering blocks argument orders otherwise available, showing that affix ordering has a syntactic effect and that reordering cannot be a mere morphological process. Assuming that a uniform interpretation entails a uniform hierarchy of merger, these affix ordering alternations constitute Mirror Principle violations and cannot be accounted for if the verb word is a complex head. The fact that the impersonal causative suffix appears closer to the verb root than other affixes constitutes a similar violation. This paper thus refutes the notion that the Wolof verb word is a complex head and instead proposes a derivation using phrasal movement, respecting both the Mirror Principle and a direct correspondence between interpretation and the hierarchy of merger.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages and Linguistics in Broad Perspectives
edited by John Mugane, John P. Hutchison, and Dee A. Worman
Table of contents
Printed edition: $280.00