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As Fortescue (1994: 2600) says: “The term ‘polysynthetic’ is loosely used to describe languages with complex morphologies capable of packing into a single word many morphemes that in more analytic languages would be independent words”, as in the following example from West Greenlandic (Eskaleut; Fortescue 1983: 97, cited in Evans & Sasse 2002: 3): Aliikusersuillammassuaanerartassagaluarpaalli. 'However, they will say that he is a great entertainer, but ...’. This characterizes many of the language families in North America, including Algonquian, the family to which Blackfoot belongs.
In this presentation I propose a new approach to the typology of polysynthesis based in Functional Discourse Grammar (FDG; Hengeveld & Mackenzie 2008), which includes the following parameters: (1) lexical density; (2) anisomorphism between formulation and encoding levels; (3) word-internal layering; (4) alignment restrictions; (5) optionality.