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UBC Theses and Dissertations

On the classification of predicates in Nłe?képmx (Thompson River Salish) Howett, Catherine Dawn


In this thesis I discuss the semantic basis of the morphological form of predicates in N+e?képmx, a Northern Interior Salish language. Intransitive and transitive use of roots in Nle7képmx is morphologically marked; intransitives use a set of primary affixes and transitives use a set of transitivizers. I document the behavior of these morpho syntactic affixes with a subset of the predicates of Me?képmx to determine what is optional, what is obligatory and what is blocked. I link this to an analysis of argument structure of predicates and subsequently create a classification of predicate types. I present an overview of the intransitive and transitive morphology of Meképmx in Chapter One. In Chapter Two I discuss current literature regarding the syntactic and semantic diagnostics of unaccusative and unergative verbs. I create a semantic classification of the set of roots, and discuss the behavior of roots with morpho-syntactic affixes to determine the diagnostic potential of the affixes. In Chapter Three I discuss the potential of an intransitive-transitive classification of roots. The data show that there is an unergative and unaccusative distinction in the language, specific aspectual morpho-syntactic diagnostics distinguish unaccusatives and causative and desiderative distinguish unergatives. The traditional analyses of Salish languages as having a majority of unaccusative roots and no underlying transitives is confirmed.

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