Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

James A. Cowell

Second Advisor

Laura Michaelis-Cummings

Third Advisor

Zygmunt Frajzyngier


This thesis explores the use of verbal classifiers in the Arapaho language, providing data and analyses for four specific classifiers: -oocei(hi)- for rope-like objects, -oowu- for water/liquid objects, -ox-/-ex- for wooden objects, and -ooti- for cloth objects. The four classifiers are analyzed in terms of their semantic extension and productivity, the semantic roles they can take on, as well as their relexification as verbal nouns in the Arapaho lexicon. A classification typology is established for describing this system in which classifiers are obligatorily employed for certain objects in unmarked contexts, or optionally employed through metaphorical or metonymic extension in non-standard speech.