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Morphological Complexity

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Linguistics

  • Date Published: May 2017
  • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • format: Adobe eBook Reader
  • isbn: 9781108215985

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About the Authors
  • Inflectional morphology plays a paradoxical role in language. On the one hand it tells us useful things, for example that a noun is plural or a verb is in the past tense. On the other hand many languages get along perfectly well without it, so the baroquely ornamented forms we sometimes find come across as a gratuitous over-elaboration. This is especially apparent where the morphological structures operate at cross purposes to the general systems of meaning and function that govern a language, yielding inflection classes and arbitrarily configured paradigms. This is what we call morphological complexity. Manipulating the forms of words requires learning a whole new system of structures and relationships. This book confronts the typological challenge of characterising the wildly diverse sorts of morphological complexity we find in the languages of the world, offering both a unified descriptive framework and quantitative measures that can be applied to such heterogeneous systems.

    • Uses a much wider range of data than is usually discussed to demonstrate the impressive typological variation in the world's languages
    • Clearly presents complex data using tables, careful glossing and helpful introductions to the less well-known languages
    • Uses data drawn from an extensive empirical base, available on the associated website www.smg.surrey.ac.uk/complexity
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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2017
    • format: Adobe eBook Reader
    • isbn: 9781108215985
    • contains: 5 b/w illus. 150 tables
    • availability: This ISBN is for an eBook version which is distributed on our behalf by a third party.
  • Table of Contents

    1. Introduction
    2. External typology of inflection classes
    3. Features
    4. Motivation
    5. Conditions on paradigms
    6. Paradigm structure
    7. Lexicon and grammar
    8. Morphological complexity and morphological autonomy
    Appendix
    References
    Indices.

  • Authors

    Matthew Baerman, University of Surrey
    Matthew Baerman is Senior Research Fellow in the Surrey Morphology Group at the University of Surrey, whose work concentrates on the description, typology and diachrony of morphology, particularly complex infllectional systems. He is the editor of the recent Oxford Handbook of Inflection (2015).

    Dunstan Brown, University of York
    Dunstan Brown is Professor and Head of the Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York and a Visiting Professor in the Surrey Morphology Group. Recent publications include: Network Morphology (with Andrew Hippisley, 2012); and as co-editor, Canonical Morphology and Syntax (2012), Understanding and Measuring Morphological Complexity (2015) and Archi: Complexities of Agreement in Cross-Theoretical Perspective (2016).

    Greville G. Corbett, University of Surrey
    Greville G. Corbett is Distinguished Professor of Linguistics, University of Surrey, where he leads the Surrey Morphology Group. He works on the typology of features, as in the previously published Gender (Cambridge, 1991), Number (Cambridge, 2000), Agreement (Cambridge, 2006) and Features (Cambridge, 2012). He is a Fellow of the British Academy and of the Academy of Social Sciences, a Member of the Academia Europaea and an Honorary Member of the Linguistic Society of America.

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