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I wish to express my gratitude to Fang Kuei Li for encouraging and assisting me to work on Formosan languages, to Chi Li and Yih-yuan Li for sponsoring the Formosan Project, and to Pang-hsin Ting for making all the necessary arrangements to expedite the investigation, under the auspices of China Council on Sino-American Cooperation in Humanities and Social Sciences. A generous grant in aid from the Council enabled me to devote the years 1970-1972 to the study of the Rukai language as a member of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica.
Stanley Starosta contributed many ideas, put in a lot of work on the drafts, and frequently encouraged me and offered all sorts of help at various stages of my writing. I was also helped by advice and comments from Lawrence Reid, Byron W. Bender, and George W. Grace, and profited from suggestions by Elwood Mott, Chin-wu Kim, Anatole Lyovin and Irwin Howard.
My main informant for the Rukai language was Te-tz’u Lin, a very enthusiastic, intelligent, and competent man, and several others, especially Fu-shou Wang, also served as my informants at different times and helped me in various ways. Above all, Te-tz'u Lin and Fu-shou Wang took great pains to make me comfortable and facilitate my work in the Tanan village.
This is a generative description of the structure of the Rukai language, adopting essentially Chomsky and Halle’s system in the treatment of phonology and Starosta/Taylor’s “lexicase” approach to syntax. This study is focused on syntax.
Rukai is an Austronesian language spoken in Formosa. The dialect under study is Taromak, with the analysis based mainly on the data collected in the village in 19 weeks’ field work by the author.
Chapter 1 gives the general background for reseach, the geographical distribution of Formosan languages and Rukai dialects, problems of language classification, and variations between different age groups.
Chapter 2 gives a short account of Rukai phonology, including the distinctive features, phonetic descriptions, segment distributions, vowel length, stress, syllable structure, and morpheme structure rules.
Chapter 3 deals with the morphophonemic alternations between. the semiconsonants /y, w/ and fricatives /ð, v/ or high vowels /i, u/ respectively, final n truncation, identical vowel deletion, and echo vowel addition. The orthography can be greatly simplified if under lying phonological representations are posited for the alternations, in which case it takes only 8 rules to derive most, if not all of the correct phonetic forms. Alternative solutions to each problem are discussed and compared. These problems have important implications for the theory of phonology. In particular, part of the distinctive feature system as presented in Chomsky and Halle is shown to be inadequate.
Chapter 4, Syntax, is the core of the present study. The first four sections cover the word order, the phrase structure rules, and the subcategorization rules and redundancy rules for determiners, nouns and verbs, all illustrated with sentence examples. Seven case relations (TIME, LOCATION, INSTRUMENT, AGENT, OBJECT, DATIVE, and BENEFACTIVE) and four case forms (nominative, accusative, locative, and instrumental) are posited for Rukai, with detailed exemplification and justification, and formalized with rules of various types: case-related and case-frame subcategorization rules and redundancy rules. A special section is devoted to evaluating various criteria for distinguishing nouns and verbs, and a conclusion is reached that syntactic evidence is the most reliable for settling the problem of noun-verb dichotomy. The last two sections deal with basic sentence types and embedded structures. The basic sentence types are: (1) meteorological, (2) existential, (3) possessive, (4) locative, (5) active, (6) passive, (7) equational, (8) nominalized, (9) stative, nonstative and inchoative, and (10) imperative. Negatives are treated as main verbs occurring only in embedding structures. Relationships between sentences are shown by correspondences in syntactic representations and/or via lexical derivation rules.
Chapter 5 discusses lexical relations, the generalizations of which can best be captured by derivation rules rather than transformations. Derivation and inflection are clearly distinguished by the proposed criteria. Derivation is treated as a process which is different in kind from other syntactic rules of grammar. Derivation rules are unordered. Case frames of various verb types are also listed in this chapter.
Chapter 6 is a formalization of the morphophonemic rules of reduplication and affixation within the lexicase framework. These rules must be ordered to give the correct phonological output. Reduplication is a property of the stem rather than the affix, and this implies that reduplication rules should precede all affixation rules. Affixation rules are further arranged according to the syntactic categories “verb” and “noun”. Under each category, the rules are listed according to the order in which they apply. The relative order of each rule with respect to the other rules is noted where relevant.
The last chapter is a conclusion of this study.
This study has gone beyond Taylor’s in various points. Five major contributions to and refinements of the lexicase theory of grammar are proposed.
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