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A corpus-based study on the morphosyntactic functions of Waray substantive lexical items

Voltaire Q. Oyzon

Date of publication:

December 31, 2023

This study examines the morphosyntactic functions of Waray substantive lexical items and seeks to answer whether they are categorized, precategorial, or variable. 1 The issue of “parts of speech” in Philippine languages is discussed in a larger context. It involves a review of the weaknesses of the absolute category and precategorial positions. A presentation of data on the validity of the variability position using induction by simple enumeration (qualitative evidence) supports the review. Key terms such as substantive lexical items, absolutely categorized, precategorial, variables are defined. A corpus study informed by Dixon (2010) is the quantitative data of this study, which establishes the variability of Waray substantive lexical items. The data consisting of Waray roots undergo a pilot test and adjustments to determine the final data pool of Waray roots. Three independent auditors conduct data validation. Statisticians plot the data on a multidimensional scale (MDS) and triangulate the results. The researcher analyzes and interprets the data. The study shows that Waray roots are variable. Meaning, that a Waray root could be strongly predicative and weaker in membership in the modificative and referential clusters. Or, a Waray root could mostly be utilized as a reference and occasionally as a predicate or modifier as observed in their actual usage in the corpus. The results entail a new scheme in the organization of word classes first articulated by Dixon (2010). This study entails a new model for tagging Waray roots, inflected forms, and those with stem-forming affixes doing away with traditional part-of-speech tags such as noun (n.), verb (v.), adverb (adv.), and adjective (adj.).

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