Shifting finiteness in nominalization

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A significant effect of clause nominalization is the loss of finiteness, of such morphological features as tense, aspect, mood, and valency, and the acquisition of such nominal features as case, gender, number, possession, and determiners. The constructions cease to function syntactically as predications; however, their evolution does not necessarily end with a complete loss of finiteness. They can continue to develop, re-acquiring morphological and/or syntactic properties of finiteness via various pathways. Here some developments of this type are discussed and illustrated with material from Barbareño Chumash, a language indigenous to California. Barbareño contains nominalized clause constructions at various stages of development, from progressive de-finitization to re-finitization, where formerly syntactically dependent clauses now function as independent sentences with special pragmatic relations within discourse.


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