Chapter published in:All Things Morphology: Its independence and its interfaces
Edited by Sedigheh Moradi, Marcia Haag, Janie Rees-Miller and Andrija Petrovic
[Current Issues in Linguistic Theory 353] 2021
► pp. 279–288
My favorite morphome
The Arabic suffix AT
Arabic has a suffix, glossed here as AT, that is a clear and simple example of a morphome. It most frequently and productively marks feminine gender in singular nouns and adjectives, but in fact it has diverse morphological, syntactic, and semantic functions that cannot be unified. That all these functions are expressed by a single element AT, rather than a clutch of accidentally homophonous suffixes, is proven by the fact that AT, in all its functions, has two allomorphs, /at/ and /ah/, with identical distributional patterns no matter which function it is an exponent of. Because AT is not unifiable on the function side and not simplex on the form side, it is a purely morphological entity, a morphome.
Keywords: Arabic, ta’ marbuta , morphome, allomorph, gender, number, collective, singulative, feminine
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