Syncretism in paradigm function morphology and distributed morphology

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In the development of morphological theory, restrictiveness and maximal empirical coverage of the facts must be carefully balanced. In this discussion chapter, I use the empirical phenomenon of syncretism to explore the restrictiveness/coverage dichotomy in two morphological theories: Distributed Morphology (DM) and Paradigm Function Morphology 2 (PFM2), drawing on Stump (this vol.) and Trommer (this vol.). As previous work has observed, the theories contrast in their approach to this dichotomy: DM tends towards restrictiveness, whereas PFM2 tends towards maximal empirical coverage. I show that syncretism is a useful tool for exploring the advantages and pitfalls of these positions, and I identify open questions for both theories whose answers would contribute to resolving this dichotomy.


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