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Share Paper 2142

Suffix Ordering in Temne: A Case for Morphotactics
Sullay Mohamed Kanu
141-150 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


Different approaches have been proposed to explain why affixes occur in the order in which they do in languages. While some like Bybee (1985) and Rice (2000) argue that affix order may be explained in terms of semantic scope, others like Baker (1985) claim that it can be explained in terms of an interaction between syntax and morphology. There is also the proposal by McCarthy and Prince (1993) that phonology determines the relative order of co-occurring affixes in some languages. On the other hand, Hyman (2003) argues for the possibility of explaining affix order in terms of "morphology proper." In this paper, the author presents an analysis of suffix ordering and combination in Temne, a Southern Atlantic language spoken in Sierra Leone. He argues that neither phonology nor semantic scope can fully account for the order of suffixes in the language. Instead, the order of suffixes and the ways in which they combine are determined by the morphotactics.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference on African Linguistics: Linguistic Theory and African Language Documentation
edited by Masangu Matondo, Fiona Mc Laughlin, and Eric Potsdam
Table of contents
Printed edition: $280.00