The alignment of form and function
Corpus-based evidence from Russian
This paper analyses constraints on inflectional syncretism and inflectional allomorphy using frequency information. Syncretism arises where one form is associated with more than one function, whereas inflectional allomorphy occurs where there is more than one inflectional class, and a single function is associated with two or more forms. If high frequency is associated with more differentiation on both sides, we expect, on the one hand, that a frequent function will have a high number of forms and, on the other, that a frequent form will have a high number of functions. Our study focuses on Russian nominals, in particular nouns, which exhibit both syncretism and inflectional allomorphy. We find that there is a relationship between frequency and differentiation, but that it is not exceptionless, and that the exceptions can be understood in terms of the use of referrals as default rules.
Keywords: syncretism, inflectional allomorphy, function, Russian, nominals, form, frequency, Network Morphology
Published online: 20 December 2007
Cited by other publications
Corbett, Greville G.
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