Recursion and human language
In this volume, the issue of recursion is tackled from a variety of angles. Some article cover formal issues regarding the proper characterization or definition of recursion, while others focus on empirical matters by examining the kinds of structures in languages that suggest recursive mechanisms in the grammar. Most articles deal with syntactic phenomena, but several involve morphology, the lexicon and phonology. In addition, we find discussions of evolutionary notions and language disorders, and the broader cognitive context of recursion.
In the paper, the phenomenon of recursion in morphology of Adyghe, a polysynthetic language of Caucaus is considered. We argue that recursion may be allowed to different extents in different parts of the word and be highly constrained exactly in contexts that are considered prototypical for recursion. Hence this property is not as natural as for syntax.
Causative derivation is the least recursable, concrete applicative derivation is the most, and general oblique applicatives and propositional operators occupy an intermediate place. These results are remarkable because they contrast with our intuitions about syntactic recursion.