Reading 1

Reading 1 - Inflection and derivation [begin boxed text]...

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Inflection and derivation [begin boxed text] Important questions in this chapter How are inflectional morphology and derivational morphology different? What types of meanings do inflection and derivation express? Are inflection and derivation dichotomous categories, or do they represent end points along a continuum of morphological traits? Are derivational and inflectional rules collected together in one component of the grammar, or are they split between (at least) two components? [end boxed text] In this chapter, we discuss the nature of (and differences between) word-forms and lexemes in greater depth. As we saw in Section 2.1, this conceptual distinction is quite basic to most morphological theorizing and terminology, though it is not always easy to determine the relation between two morphologically complex words: is nicely a separate lexeme from nice , or is it just another word-form in the paradigm of the lexeme nice ? In other words, is the suffix -ly that is attached to nice to form nicely a derivational suffix or an inflectional suffix? We will survey inflectional categories in Section 4.1 and derivational meanings in Section 4.2. In Section 4.3 we will examine a range of properties that have been proposed as distinguishing between inflection and derivation. Finally, Section 4.4 gives an overview of the ways in which the relation between inflection and derivation has been conceptualized by morphologists. The two most important views are the dichotomy approach , which assumes that complex words can be neatly divided into two disjoint classes, and the continuum approach , which claims that morphological patterns are best understood as lying on a continuum ranging from the most clearly inflectional patterns to the most clearly derivational patterns. We 1
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will also briefly show some theoretical implications of these views for the relationship between morphology and syntax. 4.1 Inflection Morphologists usually talk in quite different terms about inflection and derivation. For instance, the different inflectional formations are referred to as expressing inflectional categories , so that we say, for instance, that English verbs express the inflectional categories ‘present tense’ (e.g. (he/she) walks ) and ‘past tense’ (e.g. (he/she) walked ). But for derived lexemes like walker we would not normally say that it represents a ‘derivational category’ (‘agent noun’) – instead we simply talk about derivational meanings . One reason for this distinction is that inflectional categories often do not have a clearly identifiable meaning, only a syntactic function. For example, (he/she) walk-s and (they) walk represent two different inflectional categories (‘third person singular’ and ‘third person plural’), but many linguists feel uncomfortable calling these two different meanings because the difference between walks and walk is abstract and only exists to fulfill the requirements of the syntax.
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Reading 1 - Inflection and derivation [begin boxed text]...

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