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Inflectional Defectiveness

£23.99

Part of Cambridge Studies in Linguistics

  • Date Published: May 2019
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107623712

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  • Paradigmatic gaps ('missing' inflected forms) have traditionally been considered to be the random detritus of a language's history and marginal exceptions to the normal functioning of its inflectional system. Arguing that this is a misperception, Inflectional Defectiveness demonstrates that paradigmatic gaps are in fact normal and expected products of inflectional structure. Sims offers an accessible exploration of how and why inflectional defectiveness arises, why it persists, and how it is learned. The book presents a theory of morphology which is rooted in the implicative structure of the paradigm. This systematic exploration of the topic also addresses questions of inflection class organization, the morphology-syntax interface, the structure of the lexicon, and the nature of productivity. Presenting a novel synthesis of established research and new empirical data, this work is significant for researchers and graduate students in all fields of linguistics.

    • Organized so that the argument unfolds incrementally and progresses from empirical to theoretical issues
    • Draws on both formal and psycholinguistic perspectives to explore the structure of inflectional paradigms, stimulating new reflections on other areas of linguistics
    • Mathematical formulas are explained and illustrated in an appendix, affording readers the opportunity to engage with this material further, if desired
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Sims' study is an important contribution to our understanding of inflectional systems. It is a very wide-ranging survey of defectiveness and makes a compelling case for treating it as an important and often very systematic property of inflectional systems. At the same time the book provides a clear and readable survey of the key features of the information-theoretic word-and-paradigm model, and shows how defectiveness can provide a strong motivation for that model.' Andrew Spencer, University of Essex

    'In Inflection Defectiveness, Andrea D. Sims shines a light on a specific, controversial, problematic, and therefore often ignored aspect of many of the world's languages. In doing so, the author describes a number of paradigmatic gaps in multiple languages.' Daniel Walter, The Linguist List

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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107623712
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 18 mm
    • weight: 0.447kg
    • contains: 18 b/w illus. 64 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    List of tables
    List of figures
    List of abbreviations
    Preface
    1. Introduction
    2. Defining inflectional defectiveness
    3. On the causes of inflectional defectiveness
    4. Productivity, defectiveness, and syncretism
    5. Principal parts, predictability, and paradigmatic gaps
    6. Irreducible gaps and the morphologization of defectiveness
    7. On learnability and the dynamic organization of the lexicon
    8. The implicative structure of the paradigm and other concluding thoughts
    Appendix. Information-theoretic and other probability-based measures of inflectional structure.

  • Author

    Andrea D. Sims, Ohio State University
    Andrea D. Sims is Assistant Professor in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures at Ohio State University. Her research interests include theoretical morphology, the morphology-syntax interface, the organization of the lexicon, and the relationship between lexical processing and morphological structure.

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