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Derivation by affixation is central to the description of Eskimo grammar. With hundreds of possible derivational affixes, defining constraints on affix ordering poses a challenge.
The hypothesis of this paper is that the notion of valence is central to understanding the order of affixes in Inupiatun verbs. I present evidence that there exist three distinct sets of affixes for verbal derivations: one set expands a verb base by adding components of meaning, another changes the inherent valence of a (potentially expanded) base and creates a new "compound base," and the third adds sentential level modification to the fully derived verb base. These classes relate to affix order in that verb expanders can precede valence changers (and thus fall within their semantic scope), while sentential modifiers must always follow them.