Aspects of Woods Cree syntax

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Starks, Donna Joy
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This study analyzes the syntax of Woods Cree, an Algonquian language spoken at South Indian Lake, Manitoba. The research is based on elicitation and on the analysis of spontaneous texts. The work covers constituent structure, clause types and verb morphology. The findings illustrate that minor constituents obey rigid word order constaints, constraints on the major constituents are less rigid and the order of constituents within the clause is relative1y free. Clause type is defined by a combination of morphological and syntactic features which include the relative order of clauses, tense sequencing, obviation and verb morphology. The latter two features distinguish main from subordinate clauses. The verb morphology also plays an important role in structuring information flow, e.g., conjunct verbs link information between clauses. Conjunct verbs are classified into changed and unchanged forms. Unchanged conjunct verbs are unmarked for their realization unless preceded by a tense preverb or a future particle. The changed conjunct, when represented by the preverbs (k)a- and i-, places special focus on specific aspects of the situation. Changed conjunct preverbs which have corresponding unchanged conjunct forms mark an event as realizable in the past.