Matt Gordon, UC Santa Barbara

Lexical and post-lexical accentology, morphology, and weight in Muskogean: Case studies from Koasati and Chickasaw

This talk will examine the complex prosodic systems of two endangered Muskogean languages: Chickasaw (spoken in Oklahoma) and Koasati (spoken in Louisiana). Both languages possess both stress and a restricted tone (pitch accent) system, which interact in typologically unusual ways with each other, with the intonation system and with the morphology. Both languages restrict tonal contrasts to heavy (and stressed) syllables and both employ tone to convey aspectual differences in verbs, with Koasati also using tone contrastively in nouns, albeit in a limited capacity. Conflicts between lexical and intonational tones are resolved in favor of lexical tones in both Koasati and Chickasaw, but the two languages differ in their tolerance of tonal clashes in the intonation system. One of the striking features of both languages from a typological and theoretical standpoint is the sensitivity of their intonational systems to morphologically as opposed to prosodically defined constituents, manifested in Chickasaw by the confinement of pitch accents to certain morphological domains and in Koasati by the assignment of boundary tones to the right edge of stems.

4 PM

Humanities 1, Room 210