Interactions between Defectiveness and Syncretism

Gregory Stump

in Defective Paradigms

Published by British Academy

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780197264607
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734366 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Interactions between Defectiveness and Syncretism

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This chapter examines some defective patterns that interact with the language's patterns of syncretism. It examines the early Indic declensional morphology to determine some varied interactions between defectiveness and syncretism. In the Indic morphology, three canonical kinds of interaction were defined: defectiveness may override syncretism, syncretism may determine the domain of defectiveness, and syncretism may override defectiveness. Theoretical explanation of these interactions suggests that the language's morphology makes reference to two distinct paradigms. These paradigms are: 1) content paradigms which express the range of syntactic uses to which the lexemes may be put; and 2) form paradigms which express the range of inflectional realization to which the root may arise. Syncretism is a property of form paradigms while defectiveness is a property of both form and content paradigms. Whilst various assumptions are presented herein on the possible interactions between defectiveness and syncretism, the chapter suggests that a wide-ranging and careful examination of such interactions in a variety of languages is needed.

Keywords: defective patterns; syncretism; Indic declensional morphology; defectiveness; morphology; content paradigms; form paradigms; inflectional realization

Chapter.  9119 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Grammar, Syntax and Morphology

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