Covert word classes: seeking your own syntax in Tukang Besi

Mark Donohue

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Examining syntactic categories in Tukang Besi, an Austronesian language of Indonesia, we find that there are additions to the traditional fixed categories. In addition to the firmly definable categories of nouns and verbs, there are many lexical items that are precategorial: they may be used, without derivation, with either nominal morphosyntax or verbal morphosyntax. Additionally, there is a class of ‘adjectives’ that display odd behaviour in terms of morphological markedness reversals and functional use, and which, under closer examination, turn out to have a variable categorial status, dependent on the structural position in which they are used, obligatorily appearing as part of the head of their phrase, V in a VP and N in an NP. Morphosyntactic tests for the different claims are given and discussed.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationParts of Speech: Empirical and Theoretical Advances
    Editors Umberto Ansaldo, Jan Don, Roland Pfau
    Place of PublicationAmsterdam The Netherlands
    PublisherJohn Benjamins Publishing Company
    ISBN (Print)9789027222558
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


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