Leibniz-Zentrum Allgemeine Sprachwissenschaft Leibniz-Gemeinschaft

On the (non-)transparency of infixes that surface at a morpheme juncture

Speaker Laura Kalin
Affiliaton(s) Princeton University
Date 06.01.2022, 4:00 pm
Time 16:00 o'clock
Venue Online


Infixation is characterized by the intrusion of one morphological element inside of another. Canonical examples of infixation involve an intramorphemic position for the infix, in particular, with the infix appearing inside of a root, e.g., k<ni>akri ‘act of crying’, from root kakri ‘cry’ with the nominalizing infix -ni- (Leti; Blevins 1999). Since infixes are positioned relative to a phonological “pivot” (e.g., Yu 2007), and since infixes should in principle be able to combine with complex (multimorphemic) stems, it stands to reason that an infix could sometimes, incidentally, appear inside of an affix or even at a morpheme juncture, intermorphemically; and indeed, both possibilities are attested. In this talk, I ask: When an infix (incidentally) appears between two morphemes in its stem, does the infix disrupt relations at/across that morpheme juncture that we otherwise expect to be strictly local? I investigate the (non-)transparency of 9 infixes (from 8 languages; 7 language families) that can appear at a morpheme juncture. I find that these infixes disrupt limited types of phonological interactions, but never interrupt semantic, syntactic, or morphological interactions/relationships. These findings, in concert with other recent typological findings about infixes (Kalin 2021), provide strong novel support for a model of the morphology-syntax interface where realization (including exponent choice and infixation) is serial and proceeds from the bottom up.