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A participle account of Blackfoot relative clauses

  • Sara Johansson (a1)


Blackfoot verbs are marked with nominal agreement morphology in relative clauses, in place of verbal inflection. These relative clauses have previously been analyzed as nominalizations. The present study shows that a nominalization analysis makes incorrect predictions about the morphological composition of relative clauses, as well as the availability of non-agentive and possessive constructions, and adjectival modification. This study demonstrates that relative clauses can relativize subjects, direct objects, and indirect objects. Based on observations about obviation, recursion, long-distance extraction, inflection, and word order, I propose that relative clauses are participles: clausal entities with a nominal superstructure. This accounts for their mixed clausal and nominal properties, and provides an analysis of Blackfoot relative clauses similar to those proposed for related Algonquian languages.


Dans des propositions relatives, les verbes blackfoot sont marqués par une morphologie d’accord nominal plutôt que par une flexion verbale. Auparavant, on considérait ces propositions relatives comme des nominalisations. La présente étude montre qu’une analyse de nominalisation amène des prédictions incorrectes sur la composition morphologique des propositions relatives, aussi bien que sur la disponibilité de constructions sans agent et possessives et la modification adjectivale. Cette étude montre que les propositions relatives peuvent relativiser des sujets, et des compléments d’objet direct et indirect. Fondée sur des observations d’obviation, de récurrence, d’extraction à distance, de flexion et de l’ordre de mots, je propose que les propositions relatives sont des participes : des entités propositionnelles ayant une superstructure nominale. C’est ce qui explique le mélange de propriétés nominales et propositionnelles, et permet une analyse des propositions relatives blackfoot semblable à celle proposée pour d’autres langues algonquiennes proches.



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