chapter  3
35 Pages

Affixes and heads

In their analysis of cross-linguistic patterns of affixing, H&G observe, apart from the overall skewing in favour of suffixation, a partial correlation between the predominant (or exclusive) positioning of affixes (as either prefixes or suffixes) and the dominant order of syntactic head and modifier, particularly in the VP and PP. The table in (7), chapter 2, shows the overall ratio of prefixing to suffixing in the H&G sample, correlated with verb position and adposition ordering. The ratios for exclusively prefixing to exclusively suffixing languages are very similar: d. (6), chapter 2. Also, of all the implicational universals constructed by H&G relating basic word order to affix position for the morphological categories studied, none contradicts the observation of head/affix correlation: 'NP + Po and/or SOY always implies suffixing, never prefixing; and prefixing implies Pr + NP and/or V, never NP + Po and/or SOy' (p. 228).