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date: 15 August 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Purepecha (language isolate, Mexico) has one relevant characteristic that leads to identifying it as a polysynthetic language: productive verbal morphology (in particular locative suffixes). Purepecha is a predominantly dependent-marking language, as its pronominal markers are enclitics, generally second position enclitics. But, in some contexts Purepecha shows head-marking characteristics. Today, pronominal enclitics exhibit variation, tending to move to the rightmost position in the clause; they may encliticize to the predicate itself, showing a head-attraction or polypersonalism strategy and making Purepecha more polysynthetic. But this language lacks noun incorporation. Purepecha has three types of non-finite clause: two subordinate clauses (non-finite complement clauses and purpose clauses) and a syntactically independent clause (the chain-medial clause). This seemingly inconsistent situation (characterized by a correlation of different properties, some of which have not been identified as polysynthetic) calls for addressing the typological classification of Purepecha among the polysynthetic languages.

Keywords: Purepecha, locative suffixes, dependent marking, head attraction, head marking, pronominal enclitics, non-finite clause

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