Bernard Comrie
Table of contents

The intuition underlying the notion of markedness as used in contemporary linguistic theory is that, where a particular feature (in a broad, perhaps pretheoretic sense) has two (or more) values, one of these values is more usual, more expected, more natural than the other(s). This more usual value is called unmarked, the other value or values are called marked. (In the case of a feature with three or more values, it is conceivable that the different values could be ranged in order of markedness, from least to most marked.)

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