9 - Where To Go From Here
So, we've covered the basics of polysynthesis: what it is, some of the many types of meaning and relations that can be marked on the verb in such languages, some ways in which polysynthetic traits can develop. But where to go from here in developing your own polysynthetic language or in learning more about them? From personal experience I can tell you that the most effective thing is to learn a polysynthetic language. This takes a tremendous level of dedication and patience, so it's certainly not for everyone, but it can provide you with so much more insight into some of the myriad possibilities open to you than reading a summary ever could. On the other hand, just reading grammars or grammatical sketches of polysynthetic languages will undoubtedly be very helpful.
There's been a good deal written about polysynthesis, and I've skipped over a lot of it here (and of course, I haven't read all of it!). In particular, I've really glossed over much of the theoretical stuff involved, partly because I don't understand all of it myself, and partly because I was trying to keep this introduction as basic as I could, with the hope that it would be as accessible as realistically possible. I'd love to hear from some of our more theory-knowledgeable and oriented members on the topic. In the meantime, the most significant theoretical work is Mark Baker's book The Polysynthesis Parameter, written in a Principles and Parameters framework, although I haven't read it, and many other linguists have disagreed with Baker's conclusions. There have also been some good typologically-oriented but less theoretical approaches to aspects of polysynthesis. I'd especially recommend two works by Marianne Mithun: her 1984 article on noun incorporation and the book Languages of Native North America (see the references section below).
10 - Sources
Aikhenvald, Alexandra Y. (2006). Evidentiality. Oxford/New York: Oxford University Press.
Austin, Peter and Joan Bresnan (1996). "Non-Configurationality in Australian Aboriginal Languages." Natural Language & Linguistic Theory 14(2): 215-268.
Bender, Emily M. (2008). "". Proceedings of the HPSG08 Conference, NICT, Keihanna, Japan.
Carlson, Barry F. (1990). "Compounding and Lexical Affixation in Spokane". Anthropological Linguistics 32(1/2): 69-82
Cysouw, Michael (1998). "". In: Heleen Strating & Jorn Veenstra (eds.). Proceedings CLS Opening Academic Year '98/'99. Tilburg: Center for Language Studies, 27-50.
*Most Nuuchahnulth examples:
Davidson, Matthew (2002). . Ph.D. dissertation, SUNY Buffalo.
*Baniwa of Içana, Dekwana, Cuiba, and Yanomami examples:
Dixon, R. M. W. and Alexandra Y. Aikhenvald, eds. (1999). The Amazonian Languages. Cambridge/New York: Cambridge University Press.
*West Greenlandic and Bininj Gun-wok examples:
Evans, Nicholas and Hans-Jürgen Sasse, eds. (2002). Problems of Polysynthesis. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.
*Some Yup'ik examples and the Seneca examples:
Goddard, Ives, ed. (1996). Languages. Vol. 17 of Handbook of North American Indians, ed. William C. Sturtevant. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution.
*Muskogean reconstructions and the Caddo example:
Hardy, Heather K. and Janine Scancarelli, eds. (2005). Native Languages of the Southeastern United States. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.
Kimball, Geoffrey D. (1991). Koasati Grammar. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press
*Noun incorporation discussion and examples:
Mithun, Marianne (1984). "The Evolution of Noun Incorporation." Language 60(4): 847-894
*Some Yup'ik examples, one Nuuchahnulth example, and the Acoma Keresan, Lake Miwok, and Numic examples:
Mithun, Marianne (1999). The Languages of Native North America. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
*Some Ojibwe examples (the remaining Ojibwe examples are from my personal background knowledge):
Valentine, J. Randolph (2001). Nishnaabemwin Reference Grammar. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
Last edited by Whimemsz on Tue May 15, 2012 4:31 pm, edited 3 times in total.