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Polysynthesis in the Arctic/Sub-Arctic

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Abstract

This paper presents a diagnostic for distinguishing older from newer forms of polysynthesis. Explanations for the global “cline” of polysynthesis from northern Asia into northwestern America are examined in this light. This leads to addressing the questions as to the “robustness” of polysynthesis in general (and head-marking morphology in particular) and as to whether its development is necessarily a “one-way road.” Traces of the phenomenon in the Amur-Sakhalin-Hokkaido area suggest at least one possible Asian source of the cline.

References

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