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date: 22 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter shows Eastern Canadian Arctic Inuktitut words are formed and used in the context of polysynthesis. It starts with a very basic classification of word-types along distributional lines: how various categories of morphemes combine or don’t combine with the same or other categories, in order to generate various types of words. On the basis of a number of examples, it will be shown that the lexicalization of morphemic groupings lies at the core of the Inuktitut lexicon. In contemporary language usage, this process of lexicalization may be either covert or overt. When covert, the combined meaning conveyed by the addition of each original morpheme in a word is mostly imperceptible to modern speakers, the only semantic function of the lexicalized word being to signify its new denotatum. When overt, however, it can serve as a powerful tool for creating new words apt at describing a world in constant change.

Keywords: polysynthesis, Inuktitut, covert lexicalization, overt lexicalization, constantly changing world

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