Argument structure of Oneida kinship terms
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Oneida (Iroquoian) kinship terms have both nominal and verbal properties, and the verbal nature of kinship terms explains why both arguments of the relation are morphologically expressed. However, the linking of the arguments of some kinship terms to pronominal prefixes is qualitatively different from the linking of the arguments of verbs to pronominal prefixes in that the linking does not follow from the meaning of the kinship term but from the age of the actual persons who are related. Moreover, although kinship terms share properties with both verbs and nouns, they also have a more typical “nominal” function in that they semantically identify a member of the kinship relation as referent rather than denote the relation itself. This lexical specification of a relation member as the word’s index argues against an internally headed relative clause analysis of the kinship terms.