This article provides and overview of Key morphological traits in Ket and other Yeniseian languages (Kott, Yugh). It first identifies and describes several key features inherited from Proto-Yeniseian (polysynthetic prefixing verb structure, possessive prefixes, phonemic tones). Next it discusses other features that arose or were influence areally by prolonged contact with the surrounding suffixal agglutinating languages (case suffix systems, encliticization of possessive prefixes, repositioning of the finite verb’s semantic head toward the verb word’s leftmost edge). Finally, five morphological features are considered that appear to be anomalous from a typological perspective as they cannot be shown to have been inherited from Proto-Yeniseian in their present functions yet also cannot have arisen through language contact. The features in question are: thematic consonants occupying verb agreement slots, seemingly redundant plural suffixes on verbs, sporadic plural agreement suffixes on adjectives, sporadic pluractional markers on infinitives, and irregular ablaut noun plural formation). Each of these traits is shown to have arisen due to metathesis between originally labial and non-labial segments. In some cases, the metathesis triggered secondary morphological reanalysis, as when original adjectival or infinitival derivational suffixes were reinterpreted as plural or pluractional markers due to homonymy with a common noun plural suffix, or when an original thematic consonant in verbs was reinterpreted as the homonymous inanimateclass agreement marker when it metathesized into that marker’s morpheme position.
Tomsk Journal of Linguistics and Anthropology
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© 2016 Tomsk Journal of Linguistics and Anthropology
Vajda, Edward J., "Metathesis and Reanalysis in Ket" (2013). Modern & Classical Languages. 66.
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