Defective Paradigms: Missing Forms and What They Tell Us

Hardcover | June 29, 2010

EditorMatthew Baerman, Greville G. Corbett, Dunstan Brown

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An important design feature of language is the use of productive patterns in inflection. In English, we have pairs such as 'enjoy' ~ 'enjoyed', 'agree' ~ 'agreed', and many others. On the basis of this productive pattern, if we meet a new verb 'transduce' we know that there will be the form'transduced'. Even if the pattern is not fully regular, there will be a form available, as in 'understand' ~ 'understood'. Surprisingly, this principle is sometimes violated, a phenomenon known as defectiveness, which means there is a gap in a word's set of forms: for example, given the verb'forego', many if not most people are unwilling to produce a past tense. Although such gaps have been known to us since the days of Classical grammarians, they remain poorly understood. Defectiveness contradicts basic assumptions about the way inflectional rules operate, because it seems to require that speakers know that for certain words, not only should one not employthe expected rule, one should not employ any rule at all. This is a serious problem, since it is probably safe to say that all reigning models of grammar were designed as if defectiveness did not exist, and would lose a considerable amount of their elegance if it were properly factored in.This volume addressed these issues from a number of analytical approaches - historical, statistical and theoretical - and by using studies from a range of languages.

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An important design feature of language is the use of productive patterns in inflection. In English, we have pairs such as 'enjoy' ~ 'enjoyed', 'agree' ~ 'agreed', and many others. On the basis of this productive pattern, if we meet a new verb 'transduce' we know that there will be the form'transduced'. Even if the pattern is not fully...

Dr. Matthew Baerman is Research Fellow at the University of Surrey. Greville G. Corbett is Distinguished Professor of Linguistics and Russian Language at the University of Surrey and Fellow of the British Academy. Dr. Dunstan Brown is Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of Surrey.

other books by Matthew Baerman

Format:HardcoverDimensions:200 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.98 inPublished:June 29, 2010Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0197264603

ISBN - 13:9780197264607

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Table of Contents

Matthew Baerman and Greville G. Corbett: Introduction: Defectiveness: typology and diachronyStephen R. Anderson: Failing one's obligations: defectiveness in Rumantsch reflexes of DEBEREGilles Boye and Patricia Cabredo Hofherr: Defectiveness as stem suppletion in French and Spanish verbsAndra Kalnaca and Ilze Lokmane: Defective paradigms of reflexive nouns and participles in LatvianJohn Lowenadler: Relative acceptability of missing adjective forms in SwedishAgnes Lukacs, Peter Rebrus and Miklos Torkenczy: Defective verbal paradigms in Hungarian: description and experimental studyMartin Maiden and Paul O'Neill: On morphomic defectiveness: evidence from the Romance languages of the Iberian PeninsulaMarianne Mithun: The search for regularity in irregularity: defectiveness and its implications for our knowledge of wordsMilan Rezac: Ineffability through modularity: gaps in the French clitic clusterGregory Stump: Interactions between defectiveness and syncretism