Linguistics ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-2020


This work investigates the distribution of “wordhood issues,” in which a morpheme behaves like a word on one subset of wordhood parameters but like a bound item on another. The empirical focus is on the exponents of definiteness, case, indexation, and tense in 60 unrelated languages from five macro-areas. The methodological basis for the wordhood analyses is a set of eight parameters of phonological and morphological wordhood.

The main result is that grammatical markers (“grams”) retain the ability of morphological words to co-occur with members of different syntactic categories even after being integrated into larger phonological word domains. Meanwhile, grams that show the syntagmatic behavior of affixes but prosodic freedom on at least one parameter are less frequent and limited to contexts in which the relevant stem domain is highly morphologically complex. These data can largely be explained by the diachronic models formulated in Bybee (2001, 2015) and Croft (2000b).




Word, inflection, clitics, morphology, grammaticalization, synthesis

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Linguistics

First Committee Member (Chair)

Caroline Smith

Second Committee Member

William Croft

Third Committee Member

Rosa Vallejos

Fourth Committee Member

Ian Maddieson

Fifth Committee Member

Nikolaus Himmelmann

Included in

Linguistics Commons