The Weekly Newsletter of MIT Linguistics

MorPhun 9/17: Colin on the morphophonology of case in Buryat

Speaker: Colin Davis (MIT)
Title: The morphophonology of case in Buryat 
Date and time: Monday 9/17, 5-6pm
Location: 32-D831

In this presentation, I’ll overview some morpho-phonological properties of case in Barguzin Buryat (Mongolic) based on my recent fieldwork. I’ll focus on the accusative and genitive cases, which pattern together in displaying a few interesting phenomena. My analysis is tentative and incomplete, but ideally this presentation will go as follows:
   First I’ll argue that a phonological requirement of these case affixes results in the insertion of certain mysterious epenthetic morphemes. Second I’ll argue that the ‘epenthetic’ status of these morphemes is obscured by processes which can subsequently delete the original genitive/accusative marking, thus yielding opaque derivations for many nominal forms. Third I’ll turn to a pattern of plural allomorphy unique to genitive and accusative cases, which I’ll suggest provides a clear counterexample to certain theories of case features and suppletion argued for in recent literature in morphology. Fourth I’ll relate these Buryat facts to analogous patterns in other languages.