East Asian Languages and Cultures
"Double Classifiers in Navajo Verbs"
As little research as has been done on Navajo and other Athabaskan languages, relative to most Indo-European languages for example, there is even less on classifiers. They are an identifiable morpheme, but there does not seem to be much concrete information on them. There is some available information on classifiers from various scholars, but it did not seem like anyone had previously tried to combine this knowledge or analyze it collectively. After taking Structures of Navajo with Ted Fernald at Swarthmore, I decided to pursue this specific topic because my thesis could add something to the field in that regard.
This thesis examines the phenomenon of double classifiers occurring in Navajo verbs. It analyzes these phenomena in the context of the phonological d-effect, and discusses possible reasons for the existence of double classifiers. These reasons include phonological deletion, and historical changes to the language due to either misinterpretation of the classifier used or a loss of classifier function.