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Re: Polysynthetic question

From:The Keenans <makeenan@...>
Date:Tuesday, December 11, 2001, 22:23
Doug Ball wrote:
> > Duke (of the Keenans) wrote: > > > Polysynthetic words are composed of roots that get strung together to > > form "words" My question is do native speakers know the meaning of all > > the roots or do they just learn the meaning of the "words" > > Marianne Mithun addresses your question in _The Languages of Native North > America_: "Speakers are generally aware of the meanings of whole words, but > they are often not conscious of the meaning of individual morphemes nor the > boundaries between the morphemes." (pg. 38)
This means to me that the vocabulary of any polysynthetic is frozen at a particular size? If most people are not aware of how the words are compounded they would be unable to construct new compounds when and if a new situation arose that was outside of their vocabulary's ability. Or does it mean that they would use their compounded words in new ways to describe the new situation? Thanks for all the information.
> Doug Ball > > CLI v1.1 !l§ cN:R:S:H a++ y n2d:7 B? A-- E L* N1 Is/m/p k-- ia+ p+ s++ m-- > o+ P- S Skerre