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Article

Nominal complex in West Circassian: between morphology and syntax

Studies in Language. 2017. Vol. 41. No. 1. P. 76-98.

The paper presents a description and an analysis of the nominal complex, a peculiar construction which includes a noun and its modifiers, in West Circassian, a polysynthetic language of the Northwest Caucasian family. The nominal complex shows properties of a single word and tends to follow the template proposed for the word in West Circassian. However, its parts may themselves have a complex structure based on a similar template. This is argued to result from a principle that requires these subparts to be interpreted without appealing to a broader morphological context. In addition, the nominal complex may contain complex syntactic constituents as its proper parts. It is shown that the nominal complex in West Circassian is currently undergoing demorphologization and syntacticization.