Head-initial postpositional phrases in North Sámi

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Most adpositions in North Sámi are postpositions – they follow their complements in the surface order. Nouns, on the other hand, invariably precede their complements. Strikingly, when the nominal complement of a postposition has its own complement, the complement of the noun follows after the postposition, so that the nominal phrase ends up being discontinuous,
split by the postposition. This is an indication that North Sámi postpositions are prepositions underlyingly, and that the surface order is the result of the complement of P moving to the Spec of a higher functional head. The complement of the noun is however spelled out in the lower position. Neither the complement stranding approach of Sheehan (2009) nor the FOFC of Holmberg (2000) and Biberauer et al. (2008; 2014) can fully explain this pattern. Instead, in North Sámi a more specific requirement appears to be at work, which dictates that a postposition must follow immediately after the nominal head of its complement. A similar effect is seen with possessors, which precede the possessees but also leave their complements behind in postnominal position.


Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Språkstudier


  • North Sámi, postposition, Final-over-Final Constraint
Titel på värdpublikationOrder and structure in syntax I
Undertitel på gästpublikationWord order and syntactic structure
RedaktörerLaura L. Bailey, Michelle Sheehan
FörlagLanguage Science Press
ISBN (elektroniskt)978-3-96110-026-2
ISBN (tryckt)978-3-96110-027-9
StatusPublished - 2017
Peer review utfördJa


NamnOpen Generative Syntax