Dependent-Head Synthesis in Nivkh
A contribution to a typology of polysynthesis
<b>Dependent-Head Synthesis in Nivkh has been awarded a prize of the Offermann-Hergarten Donation at the University of Cologne in 2004. The endowments are granted for outstanding innovative and comprehensibly documented research.</b>This book offers an innovative approach to three interlaced topics: A systematic analysis of the morphosyntatic organization of Nivkh (Paleosiberian); a cross-linguistic investigation of complex noun forms (parallel to complex (polysynthetic) verb forms); and a typology of polysynthesis. Nivkh (Gilyak) is linguistically remarkable because of its highly complex word forms, both verbs and nouns. They are formed productively from ad hoc concatenation of lexical roots in dependent — head relations without further morphological marking: primary object — predicate, attribute - noun, noun — relational morpheme ("adposition"). After an in-depth examination of the wordhood of such complexes the morphological type of Nivkh is explored against the background of polysynthesis, noun incorporation, verb root serialization, noun complexes and head/dependent marking. For this purpose, a new delimitation and classification of polysynthesis is proposed on the basis of an evaluation of 75 languages. Besides contributing to a reconciliation of previous diametrically opposed approaches to polysynthesis, this study challenges some common preconceived notions with respect to how languages "should be".