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As Above, but Below: Karuk Directional Suffixes as Low Applicatives

Erik Maier
University of California, Berkeley
April 8, 2016 - 1:30pm

Karuk, a Hokan language of Northern California, has a distinctive set of over 50 verbal directional suffixes used to express the Path and/or Ground of a motion event, a subset of which were analyzed by Macaulay (2004) as high applicatives (cf. Pylkkänen 2008). In this talk, I present a previously undescribed restriction wherein telic verbs cannot combine with the suffixes and argue that, while this restriction cannot easily be accounted for in a high applicative analysis, it follows neatly from an analysis of these suffixes as PathP complements to the verb in Ramchand (2008)'s system of VP decomposition, specifically as a result of the Path-Result complementarity built into that system. This requires the suffixes to reside low in the structure, and as such they constitute a new type of low applicative afforded by Ramchand (2008)'s system, one with semantics more akin to Pylkkänen (2008)'s high applicatives. Some preliminary remarks on the semantics underlying the observed Path-Result complementarity follow. Throughout the talk, I will also discuss the difficulties of diagnosing telicity in the Karuk language and field situation, and present a novel test to do so, based on insights into the default temporal interpretation of bounded and unbounded verbs from Smith (2007) and Mucha (2013).

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