Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2005


Published in Great Plains Research Vol. 15, No. 1, 2005. Copyright © 2005 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


When I was a graduate student on the West Coast, we used to playa little game to make fun of East Coast formal linguistics by asking each other, "What would transformational grammar look like if Chomsky spoke X instead of English?" Obviously, if Caddo were X, the answer would not involve tree diagrams, phrase structures, or transformations. Things haven't changed very much. Faced with describing a language like Caddo, a linguist receives virtually no help from the massive literature on syntactic and morphological theory from the last forty or fifty years.