This paper examines two prefixes in Hawaiian, ho'o and ha'a, which have been described as causative prefixes in the prior literature (Elbert and Pukui 1979), although these are characterized as general valency increasing morphemes here. While Elbert and Pukui argue that these prefixes are unrelated in the synchronic grammar (not allomorphs), corpus evidence indicates a new pattern of data, namely that ha'a competes with other valency-related morphology, such as passive and nominalizing morphology, in root-attached positions. Adopting a Distributed Morphology framework, and especially the concept of morpho-syntactic cycles as per Embick and Marantz (2008) and Embick (2010), it is argued that ho'o and ha'a are in fact syntactically conditioned allomorphs. In particular, complementary distribution between these two surface forms can be derived once (sometimes null) functional heads are taken into account. This analysis also explains the morphological competition in the root-attached position that applies to only one of the relevant surface forms. This proposal therefore offers a principled explanation for the Hawaiian data and illustrates the relevance of cyclic domains for morpho-syntactic analysis.
Proceedings of the 34th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics
edited by Aaron Kaplan, Abby Kaplan, Miranda K. McCarvel, and Edward J. Rubin
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