Iroquoian: Mohawk

Marianne Mithun

in The Oxford Handbook of Compounding

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199695720
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

 Iroquoian: Mohawk

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology
  • Language Families


Show Summary Details


Mohawk is a language of the Iroquoian family of northeastern North America, spoken in Quebec, Ontario, and New York State. Like other Iroquoian languages, it is polysynthetic: words, particularly verbs, can consist of many meaningful parts (morphemes). Often, what is said in a single verb in Mohawk would be expressed in a multi-word sentence in other languages such as English. This fundamental difference in grammatical structure raises interesting questions about the boundaries between morphology and syntax. Perhaps the most intriguing involve a robust kind of noun–verb compounding called noun incorporation. This chapter discusses Mohawk words, noun incorporation, determiner phrases, possession, the noun–verb relationship, semantic transparency and idiomaticity, productivity, and reference.

Keywords: Iroquoian languages; compounds; compounding; noun incorporation; determiner phrases; possession; noun–verb relationship; idiomaticity

Article.  6335 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology ; Language Families

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.