Abstract

Abstract:

We present an analysis of the general noun-modifying clause construction in Wiru (Trans–New Guinea). In this construction, a subordinate clause modifies a head noun, whether or not the head noun plays a syntactic role in the subordinate clause. We present several structural features that are of typological interest. Subordinate clauses inflect for a restricted set of tense–aspect–mood categories: they neutralize the distinction between future and optative, and they exhibit a strong preference for anterior aspect. They can contain resumptive pronouns as well as full nouns that are coreferential with the head noun. Moreover, the head noun itself can be omitted, although other noun phrase constituents (such as adjectives or determiners) may still be present. This construction also exhibits special tonal properties, in that the lexical tone of the head noun is overridden and replaced with an HL falling contour. Finally, verb agreement with subjects that contain subordinate clauses is semantically governed, not structurally. We conclude with some areal comparisons.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9421
Print ISSN
0029-8115
Pages
pp. 72-102
Launched on MUSE
2021-07-14
Open Access
No
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