Understanding and Measuring Morphological Complexity

Understanding and Measuring Morphological Complexity

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This book aims to assess the nature of morphological complexity, and the properties that distinguish it from the complexity manifested in other components of language. Of the many ways languages have of being complex, perhaps none is as daunting as what can be achieved by inflectional morphology: this volume examines languages such as Archi, which has a 1,000,000-form verb paradigm, and Chinantec, which has over 100 inflection classes. Alongside this complexity, inflection is notable for its variety across languages: one can take two unrelated languages and discover that they share similar syntax or phonology, but one would be hard pressed to find two unrelated languages with the same inflectional systems. In this volume, senior scholars and junior researchers highlight novel perspectives on conceptualizing morphological complexity, and offer concrete means for measuring, quantifying and analysing it. Examples are drawn from a wide range of languages, including those of North America, New Guinea, Australia, and Asia, alongside a number of European languages. The book will be a valuable resource for all those studying complexity phenomena in morphology, and for theoretical linguists more generally, from graduate level upwards.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 238 pages
  • 162 x 236 x 22mm | 539.99g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0198723768
  • 9780198723769
  • 929,956

Review quote

"That there aren't many book-length treatments of morphological complexity makes this volume not only a path-breaking attempt, but also a very important contribution to knowledge" --LINGUISTshow more

About Matthew Baerman

Matthew Baerman is a research fellow in the Surrey Morphology Group at the University of Surrey. His research focuses on the typology, diachrony and formal analysis of inflectional systems, with a particular concentration on phenomena whose interpretation is problematic or controversial. His work has appeared in such journals as Language, Journal of Linguistics, Morphology, Lingua, and Natural Language and Linguistic Theory. He is the editor of OUP's forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Inflection. Matthew Baerman, Dunstan Brown, and Greville G. Corbett are joint authors of The Syntax-Morphology Interface: A Study of Syncretism (CUP 2005). Dunstan Brown holds an Anniversary Chair in the Department of Language and Linguistic Science, University of York. His research interests include autonomous morphology, morphology-syntax interaction and typology. Much of his work focuses on understanding morphological complexity, such as syncretism and computational modelling of morphological systems. His publications include Network Morphology (with Andrew Hippisley; CUP 2012) and Canonical Morphology and Syntax (co-edited with Marina Chumakina and Greville G. Corbett; OUP 2012). Greville G. Corbett is Distinguished Professor of Linguistics at the University of Surrey, where he leads the Surrey Morphology Group. He works on the typology of features, as in Gender (1991), Number (2000), Agreement (2006), and Features (2012), all published by Cambridge University Press. His recent research has been within the canonical approach to typology and he is one of the originators of Network Morphology. He is co-editor, with Dunstan Brown and Marina Chumakina, of Canonical Morphology and Syntax (OUP 2012)show more

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