A grammar of Inupiaq morphosyntax
Lanz, Linda A.
Bowern, Claire L.
Doctor of Philosophy
This dissertation is a reference grammar of the Malimiut Coastal dialect of Inupiaq (ISO: ESI, ESK, IPK), an Eskimo-Aleut language of northwestern Alaska spoken by the Inupiat people. It complements existing descriptions of Inupiaq by filling gaps in documentation. With approximately 2000 speakers, mainly above 50 years of age, Inupiaq is endangered. Within the Inupiat community, there is a strong commitment to language documentation and revitalization. The current work aims to provide a comprehensive description of Inupiaq morphosyntax to the Inupiat and academic communities. This dissertation uses the standard Inupiaq writing system and IPA for all examples in the hope that by including both scripts, the work will be maximally useful to the Inupiat community, scholars, and other interested parties. After introducing the language and reviewing previous work, the dissertation describes Malimiut Inupiaq phonetics and phonology, nominal and verbal morphology, syntactic categories, wordhood, constituency, and other syntactic topics. A final chapter draws comparisons between Inupiaq and other Eskimo-Aleut languages/dialects and summarizes major findings. These include a previously undocumented phonological change in progress, the shift of /z/ (Inupiaq 'r') to American English /r/ in younger speakers and heritage learners. Several interrelated variables are involved, including age, Inupiaq literacy, and the influence of English. The dissertation also documents case stacking, such that demonstrsatives can take grammatical case twice, previously undocumented in Eskimo-Aleut. The discovery of case stacking on adverbs (non-arguments) is particularly exciting, challenging current theories that motivate case stacking via argument structure. Although eastern Inuit dialects have been extensively documented, many areas of Inupiaq grammar remain undocumented. This dissertation is the first to discuss a number of morphosyntactic topics specifically for Inupiaq, including argument status, clause-level and sentence-level constituency, types of predication, wordhood (phonological vs. morphological vs. syntactic), and clause combining. A real need to separate morphology and syntax in Inupiaq becomes evident. It is often assumed that because Inuit languages are predominantly suffixing languages---there is virtually no other morphological process-morphology and syntax are one and the same in these languages. However, clause combining and constituency---among other phenomena---demonstrate that purely syntactic phenomena exist in the language.
Language; Linguistics; Native American studies