Dr Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins on the inchoative in Nxaʔamxcín Salish, 24 April 2015
On the 24 April 2015 Dr Ewa Czaykowska-Higgins visited The Australian National University, via Melbourne to discuss the morphology and phonology of the Nxaʔamxcín Salish Inchoative
Like other Interior Salish languages, Nxaʔamxcín has three formatives that have been claimed to have inchoative-like meanings: an infix -ʔ-, and two suffixes -p and -wil̓x. Previous research on the language proposes that these formatives constitute two distinct morphemes, -ʔ-/-p 'inchoative' and -wil̓x 'developmental' (Kinkade, 1989; Willett, 2003).
In this talk I take a further look at the phonological and morphological properties of these three inchoative-like formatives, re-affirming Kinkade and Willett's conclusions that, even though they are dissimilar phonologically, -ʔ- and -p are allomorphs of one morpheme. I also confirm that -ʔ- and -p are more similar to each other than either is to -wil̓x, and that the latter is a separate morpheme. After considering the origins of the allomorphy, I discuss whether aspects of the phonological and morphological distribution of the two inchoative allomorphs could be explained by assuming that they result from pressures to maintain or enhance contrast between non-inchoative and inchoative forms. Through its discussion of the various properties of -ʔ- and -p, the talk provides a study of dissimilarity in allomorphy.