Case and pronominal suffixes in Sierra Miwok
Ph.D. Thesis, 2002
This dissertation shows that seeming irregularities in the phonology
and morphology of Sierra Miwok (divided into the languages Southern Sierra
Miwok, Central Sierra Miwok, and Northern Sierra Miwok) arise from the
interaction of the two grammatical components. Separately, the phonology
and morphology are in fact consistent. There are two apparently unique
morphological phenomena in the Sierra Miwok inflectional suffixes. First,
a subset of the case suffixes are obligatorily followed by a second case
morpheme. Case suffixes divide into two groups: grammatical (nominative,
accusative, temporal, vocative, and genitive) and semantic (ablative,
allative, locative, and instrumental). The semantic cases are obligatorily
followed by an grammatical suffix, most often nominative. However, the
second case suffix is not always overtly present. Second, certain possessive
suffixes surface before the case morpheme, though the other possessives
occur after case. This is due to a rule of morpheme metathesis. Unlike
other forms of metathesis where single segments reverse their order, here
an entire morpheme reverses order with the previous morpheme. Metathesis
only applies to possessive suffixes with the pattern CCV. The first consonant
in the suffix cannot be immediately syllabified and a light syllable is
not allowed word-finally, which is where the suffix occurs underlyingly.
Both the word-final environment and the CCV pattern together trigger the
metathesis. In addition to the metathesis, there are three rules involved
in building syllable structure after morphological concatenation: epenthesis,
incorporation, and deletion. Epenthesis inserts a vowel after an unsyllabified
consonant, creating a syllable. No epenthesis is allowed within a morpheme.
Additional unsyllabified segments are either incorporated or deleted.
The difference between the languages is due to a difference in the order
of application of these rules.