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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32898

Title: Viewpoint Aspect in Inuktitut: The Syntax and Semantics of Antipassives
Authors: Spreng, Bettina
Advisor: Johns, Alana
Department: Linguistics
Keywords: morphology
viewpoint aspect
aspectual contrasts
relation lexical and viewpoint aspect
Issue Date: 31-Aug-2012
Abstract: In many languages, antipassive morphology is comprised of aspectual morphology (Polinsky 2008). This thesis presents an analysis of the syntax and semantics of antipassives in Inuktitut by exploring the link between aspectual morphology and antipassive morphology. It resolves the longstanding question as to the factors governing the distribution of the antipassive morpheme, showing that the presence of the antipassive morpheme is determined by the meaning of the construction, i.e. it does not merely change the grammatical function. It is proposed that the antipassive construction has imperfective viewpoint in contrast to the ergative construction. Antipassive morphology is obligatory with punctual telic verbs, i.e. achievements, which are verbs that have perfective viewpoint by default. Antipassive morphology is thus necessary to convey imperfective viewpoint for verbs that are by default perfective. Using a modified Reichenbachian (Reichenbach 1947) framework, it is shown that imperfective viewpoint does not allow for telic interpretations. Instead, punctuality determines the types of viewpoint, which coincide with the aspectual meaning of the antipassive marker. Viewpoint contrasts in Inuktitut are encoded not only in morphology but in changes of case and agreement configurations. They are derived using a version of the Minimalist Program (Chomsky 2008). Imperfective viewpoint can either be default, in which case there is inherent case on the internal argument, or derived through the addition of antipassive morphology, in which case the construction closely parallels a nominative-accusative structure. Perfective viewpoint is encoded through absolutive case on the internal argument, either in an ergative construction or in a canonical intransitive construction with unaccusative verbs. The thesis provides insight into the relation between case-agreement configurations and aspectual contrasts in language and the nature of those aspectual contrasts. It also provides a new approach to the relation between lexical aspect and viewpoint by considering the role of punctuality.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/32898
Appears in Collections:Doctoral

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