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On Morphomic Defectiveness: Evidence from the Romance Languages of the Iberian Peninsula<sup>1</sup>

Martin Maiden and Paul O’neill

in Defective Paradigms

Published by British Academy

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780197264607
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734366 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5871/bacad/9780197264607.003.0007

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

On Morphomic Defectiveness: Evidence from the Romance Languages of the Iberian Peninsula1

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This chapter discusses the overall paradigmatic distribution of gaps in the Romance languages of the Iberian Peninsula. It revisits the Spanish data from a historical and comparative perspective, considering the closely related language, Portuguese. Ibero-Romance paradigm gaps are determined by the lexical rarity and the morphemic patterning. Paradigm gaps are also affected by ‘low speaker confidence’. This behaviour defines the avoidance of allomorphy even in the absence of reasonable grounds to expect the occurrence of allomorphy. Such behaviour is triggered by the speaker's sensitivity to a major distributional pattern of root allomorphy in Spanish and Portuguese such as that in non-first conjunction verbs, the first person singular present indicative together with all persons and numbers of the present subjunctive in shared root allomorph. In addition to determining the defectiveness in the Ibero-Romance languages, the chapter also provides a discussion on the general domains and determinants of defectiveness.

Keywords: paradigmatic distribution; Romance languages; Spanish; Portuguese; paradigm gaps; lexical rarity; morphemic patterning

Chapter.  8365 words. 

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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