Book

A Natural History of Infixation

Alan C. L. Yu

Published in print July 2007 | ISBN: 9780199279388
Published online September 2007 | e-ISBN: 9780191707346 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199279388.001.0001

Series: Oxford Studies in Theoretical Linguistics

A Natural History of Infixation

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This book presents a cross-linguistic study of the phenomenon of infixation, typically associated in English with words like nullim-bloody-possiblenull, and found in all the world's major linguistic families. Infixation is a central puzzle in prosodic morphology: the book explores its prosodic, phonological, and morphological characteristics; considers its diverse functions, and formulates a general theory to explain the rules and constraints by which it is governed. The book examines 154 infixation patterns from over a hundred languages, including examples from Asia, Europe, Africa, New Guinea, and South America. It compares the formal properties of different kinds of infix, explores the range of diachronic pathways that lead to them, and considers the processes by which they are acquired in first language learning. A central argument of the book concerns the idea that the typological tendencies of language may be traced back to its origins and to the mechanisms of language transmission. The book thus combines the history of infixation with an exploration of the role diachronic and functional factors play in synchronic argumentation: it is an exemplary instance of the holistic approach to linguistic explanation.

Keywords: infixation; prosodic morphology; Asia; Europe; Africa; New Guinea; South America; diachronic pathways; language learning

Book.  276 pages. 

Subjects: phonetics and phonology

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Table of Contents

Introductionin A Natural History of Infixation

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What is infixation?in A Natural History of Infixation

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Subcategorization in contextin A Natural History of Infixation

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Pivot Theory and the typology in A Natural History of Infixation

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The secret history of infixesin A Natural History of Infixation

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Beyond infixationin A Natural History of Infixation

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