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Flexible Word ClassesTypological studies of underspecified parts of speech$
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Jan Rijkhoff and Eva van Lier

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199668441

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199668441.001.0001

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Parts of speech in Kharia: a formal account 1

Parts of speech in Kharia: a formal account 1

(p.131) 5 Parts of speech in Kharia: a formal account1
Flexible Word Classes

John Peterson

Oxford University Press

In this study, Peterson begins by summarizing previous work on the South Munda language Kharia of eastern-central India, which shows that this language does not possess the familiar parts of speech such as noun, verb, and adjective (e.g. Peterson 2005, 2011). Instead, Kharia possesses two structural categories, referred to as the TAM/Person- and Case-syntagmas, both of which consist of two parts: a ‘content head’ and a ‘functional head’. While the content head, which may consist of a single lexeme but which may also be quite complex, has the same potential structure in both syntagmas, it is the functional head alone which signals the status of the syntagma as either a TAM/Person-syntagma or a Case-syntagma. Peterson then shows that such an analysis, which is both descriptively adequate and assumes no categories for which there is no evidence, can be formalized relatively easily within a monostratal theoretical framework.

Keywords:   Case-syntagma, content head, formalization, functional head, Kharia, monostratal, Munda, TAM/Person-syntagma

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