Are Māori Thematic Consonants Predictable in Passives? A Reexamination of /-mia/, /-ria/, and /-hia/ Verbs
Selin Alkan
September 2023

Māori, categorized as an Eastern Polynesian language, has garnered significant attention in contemporary linguistic studies due to its passive verb forms. Linguists have suggested up to seventeen distinct suffixes associated with the active/passive paradigm, prompting researchers of diverse backgrounds to explore the most appropriate means of describing and analyzing the status of the “thematic consonant” found in the passive form but absent in the active (Williams, 1988; Biggs, 1961; Hale, 1973; Ryan, 1989; Blevins, 1994). The probable unpredictability of the passive endings (Hale, 1973; Blevins, 1994) has been questioned by Moorfield (1988, p. 66), Harlow (2007, p. 117), and Parker Jones (2008). Following Parker Jones’s approach (2008), this research endeavors to uncover potential characteristics or subregularities present in Māori verb roots that could predict their respective passive forms. I approach the problem from two complementary standpoints: a historical examination of thematic consonant shifts in Māori verb bases, if any, followed by a synchronic linguistic feature-based analysis of the data facilitated by computer-mediated techniques.
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Reference: lingbuzz/008021
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keywords: māori, passive, allomorphy, predictability, neural network models, computational linguistics, historical linguistics, corpus linguistics, morphology, phonology
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