Paradigm Function Morphology and the Morphology–Syntax Interface

Thomas Stewart and Gregory Stump

in The Oxford Handbook of Linguistic Interfaces

Published in print February 2007 | ISBN: 9780199247455
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Linguistics

Paradigm Function Morphology and the Morphology–Syntax Interface

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  • Linguistics
  • Grammar, Syntax and Morphology



This article provides an overview of Paradigm Function Morphology (PFM). It addresses PFM within the general landscape of current morphological theories, then proceeds to a discussion of its central premises: the need to distinguish between content paradigms and form paradigms, the need for both paradigm functions and realization rules in the definition of a language's morphology, and the centrality of Pāṇini's principle. The article explains the word-based conception of the morphology–syntax interface afforded by PFM. It also contrasts this conception with the morpheme-based conception postulated by theories such as Distributed Morphology in order to highlight the significant empirical and descriptive advantages of the PFM approach. The most adequate theory of morphology is both inferential and realizational. PFM affords a word-based interface, allowing words to be inserted as units into terminal nodes. It must also clearly be preferred to a number of existing alternatives.

Keywords: Paradigm Function Morphology; morphology–syntax interface; language; ānini's principle; Distributed Morphology

Article.  15156 words. 

Subjects: Linguistics ; Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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