University of Oregon Ph.D Defense


After a brief introduction to the range of phenomena in my dissertation, I presented the associative construction and how it is used in four distinct ways throughout the grammar. I argue that the original function is what we know as Welmers (1963) associative; that is, (1a) “linking” two nouns together, N+N, where the second noun modifies the first noun. Not surprisingly, this same form is also used to (2a) “link” a relative clause to the noun modified by the relative clause, N+RelCl, with the same modification relationship. Additionally, two unexpected functions have also emerged: (1b) from the N+N structure has emerged a potential accusative marker in auxiliary constructions where the form is required when the clause is transitive, and (2b) from the N+RelCl structure has emerged a marked nominative marker in independent clauses when the subject noun is not modified by any other noun phrase constituent. That is, the structure of the RelCl has been reinterpreted as a main clause. The proof of these claims is wrapped up in the details of the noun class system and how agreement is marked on the associative marker.

7 Aug, 2019 09:00 — 11:00
Straub Hall Room 255, Eugene, OR 97405


Welmers (1963)
(). Associative a and ka in Niger-Congo. Language, 39(3). 432–447.
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Rebecca Paterson
Rebecca Paterson
Postdoctoral Researcher

My research interests include field linguistics, grammatical description, and translation.