[Lingtyp] Americanist contributions to typology

Mike Morgan mwmbombay at gmail.com
Mon Jul 4 08:07:11 UTC 2016

Namaste, Martin and all, from muggy Lucknow!

Regarding Martin's observation
> that "polysynthesis" and "incorporation" ... [u]nfortunately, however, ..
> have no clear definition in typology, because they rely on the
> notion of "word" (see my discussion of "incorporation" here:
> https://dlc.hypotheses.org/135). So they may not be as lasting as some
> of the others.

While this may be a valid argument for spoken langauge incorporation,
given that spoken language phonology is sequential (and thus can be
sequentially cut and or spliced in various ways, dependign on ones
notions of word), I think for sign languages, there exist a number of
varieties of handshape incorproation (where the handshape is a
morpheme on its own but can also incorproationally replace a purely
phonological handshape in a range of signs -- for example, things like
numeral incorporation with signs for time units, or age, or monetary
units, and also subject and/or object incorporation witin
"polysynthetic" verb signs, potentially also "alphabet"
incorporation... all these are without any question instances of
incorporation, independent of any particular notion of "word", and
thus, I think, immune to your arguments. And so for sign langauegs at
least the notions of incorproation (and perhasp also polysynthetic)
WILL endure.


Dr Michael W Morgan
mwm || *U*C> || mike || माईक || માઈક || মাঈক || மாஈக ||  مایک ||мика || 戊流岸マイク
sign language instructor / sign language linguist / linguistic typologist
academic advisor,
BBV (Bhartiya Badhir Vidyalaya), Lucknow (INDIA)
"People who are always looking down at the bottom line will always
fail to see the stars"

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