Lexical suffixes are a class of morpheme in Salish languages which are obligatorily bound, but have the semantic properties of free-standing nouns. Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, a member of the Central Salish branch, has a rich system of over 120 suffixes. Lexical suffixes serve diverse functions in the morphology of the language, from serving as verb arguments, to deriving new adjectives and nouns. This thesis describes how Sḵwx̱wú7mesh lexical suffixes interact with the phonology, syntax, and other aspects of the morphology. It traces the development of this system from Proto-Salish, through Proto-Central Salish, and to innovations unique to Sḵwx̱wú7mesh. As a new generation of second language speakers continue reclaiming their language, they will need to develop new vocabulary to talk about things that did not exist in the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh language and using lexical suffixes will be a crucial way of doing this. Hopefully this thesis will provide further support for that important work.
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Thesis advisor: Ignace, Marianne
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