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Defaults in Morphological Theory

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Original languageEnglish
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages352
ISBN (Print)9780198712329
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Oct 2017

Abstract

Default-based analyses of linguistic data are most prevalent in morphological descriptions because morphology is pervaded by idiosyncrasy and irregularity, and defaults allow for a representation of the facts by construing regularity not as all or nothing but as a matter of degree. Defaults manifest themselves in a variety of ways in a group of morphological theories that have received much attention in the last few years, and whose main ideas and claims have been recently consolidated as important monographs. In May 2012 a workshop was convened at the University of Kentucky in Lexington to show-case default usage in four prominent theories of morphology. The presenters were key proponents of the theories, in most cases a theory’s author. The role of defaults was outlined in Construction Morphology, Network Morphology, Paradigm Function Morphology and Word Grammar. With reference to these theories, as well as the lexical syntactic framework of HPSG, this book addresses the following questions about the role of defaults in the lexicon.

o Given that a default inheritance system is more powerful than a mandatory inheritance alternative, are there definitional properties of a class that must be preserved for the class to truly be a class?
o Do defaults have a psychological basis?
o Does a defaults-based account of language have implications for the architecture of the grammar, particularly the proposal that morphology is an autonomous component?
o How does a default differ from the canonical or prototypical?
o How do defaults help us understand language as a sign-based system that is flawed, where the one to one association of form and meaning breaks down in the morphology?

    Research areas

  • defaults, overriding, morphological theory, hierarchies, networks, inheritance, architecture, irregularity, inference

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