A Concatenative Analysis of Diachronic Afro-Asiatic Morphology

David Wilson, University of Pennsylvania


In this dissertation, we will propose a concatenative, non-templatic origin for the various templatic morphological phenomena attested across Afro-Asiatic. We will demonstrate that, starting with a concatenative morphological system (in the sense of a system consisting of simple affixation), we can generate the non-concatenative forms seen across the Afro-Asiatic daughters using an analysis based on syncope. We will demonstrate how this syncope gives rise to many of the characteristic alternations in root shape attested in both nominal and verbal morphology. In addition, we will use this syncope analysis to explain the distribution of templatic grammars within the Afro-Asiatic world, explaining why apparently templatic non-concatenation (particularly within the verbal system) is significantly weaker or has been lost altogether in Chadic, Cushitic (outside of Beha, Afar-Saho and a few other conservative holdouts), and Omotic.

Subject Area

Linguistics|Near Eastern Studies|African Studies

Recommended Citation

Wilson, David, "A Concatenative Analysis of Diachronic Afro-Asiatic Morphology" (2020). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI27961924.