Polysynthesis: A review

Zúñiga, Fernando (2019). Polysynthesis: A review. Language and linguistic compass, 13(4), e12326. Wiley-Blackwell 10.1111/lnc3.12326

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The notion of polysynthesis was introduced two centuries ago and is still widely used in linguistic typology, as well as in linguistic theory and even language description. Nevertheless, several of its features make it unappealing as a technical term. First, there is no consensus as to which of the competing, partially overlapping, definitions is to be preferred. Second, the different structural phenomena covered by the label show variation both across and within languages; the term is in need of qualification to be precise. Third, neither the synchronic distribution nor the diachronic origins of the phenomena involved is well understood. Fourth, even though the term is essentially framed in typological terms, no robust cross‐linguistic generalizations based on it have been hitherto found. The present paper surveys these features and argues that the notion can be used nonimpressionistically only if defined more cogently and more restrictively.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Linguistics and Literary Studies > Institute of Linguistics

UniBE Contributor:

Zúñiga, Fernando

Subjects:

400 Language > 410 Linguistics

ISSN:

1749-818X

Publisher:

Wiley-Blackwell

Language:

English

Submitter:

Fernando Zúñiga

Date Deposited:

15 Jul 2019 17:50

Last Modified:

24 Oct 2019 20:36

Publisher DOI:

10.1111/lnc3.12326

Additional Information:

Online Issue

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.130511

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/130511

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