A Reanalysis of CV- Reduplication in Comox-Sliammon

Keywords: reduplication, Salish, Comox-Sliammon, diminutive, plural, imperfective, Stratal Optimality Theory, infix


Previous descriptions of Comox-Sliammon (ʔayʔaǰuθəm) list three types of CV reduplication: imperfective, plural, and diminutive (Watanabe 2003). Though the proposed reduplicant is a CV prefix across all three types of reduplication, the processes are not homophonous. The root vowel is argued to be retained in imperfective reduplication, but deleted in diminutive and plural reduplication (Watanabe 2003). The prefixing CV- analysis requires positing that input-reduplicant faithfulness is more valued by the grammar than input-base and base-reduplicant correspondence, which is undesirable under Base-Reduplicant Correspondence theory (McCarthy & Prince 1995). In this paper, I argue that the difference between imperfective, plural, and diminutive reduplicative processes arises from two sources: (1) the morphological domain to which they attach, and (2) whether a particular ranking of alignment constraints within a specific domain favours reduplicant or root material at the left edge. Descriptively, the imperfective reduplicant truly surfaces a prefix, while the plural and diminutive reduplicants are realized as infixes. In order to account for the different affixal positions (infix or prefix), a Stratal OT approach is adopted (Kiparsky 2008), whereby infixation is motivated by AlignLRt is ranked above AlignLRed at the stem-level and prefixation preferred by the opposite ranking (AlignLRed >> AlignLRt) at the word-level. Reanalysing “root vowel deleting” CV reduplicants as infixes avoids theoretical issues and is more consistent with the Comox-Sliammon grammar.