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A Linguistic and Computational Morphosyntactic Analysis for the Applicative -i in Indonesian

I Wayan Arka, Avery Andrews, Mary Dalrymple, Meladel Mistica and Jane Simpson


In this paper, we present a precise LFG-based analysis of the suffix -i in Indonesian, addressing the issues of applicative-causative polysemy of the suffix and its alternation with -kan. We also show how the analysis can be integrated into an implementation of an existing electronic grammar. Our computational implementation of applicativisation and related phenomena is the first of its kind for Indonesian, and also provides evidence for the robustness of XLE and LFG as a theory in handling this linguistically complex and new phenomena.

Building on work on predicate composition (Alsina (1996) and Butt (1995)) and using the restriction operator (Kaplan and Wedekind 1993; Butt, King, and Maxwell 2003; Butt and King 2006), we demonstrate that our novel unified a-structure based approach to verbal derivation in Indonesian can handle not only valence changing -i, giving rise to applicative-causative polysemy, but also valence-preserving -i. We argue that different types of -i (and also -kan) result from different possibilities of argument fusion: double or single fusion. Double fusion, which is typical for -i, results in applicativisation, whereas single fusion of -i results in causativisation.

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