A typology of morphological constructions

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This article is a contribution to the development of the theory of morphology of Role and Reference Grammar in line with the more central role that constructions play in the latest version of this linguistic theory. In order to propose a principled definition of morphological processes that is not dependent on fuzzy notions like class membership, this article applies the distinction between constructions and constructional schemas to morphology in the following way. As regards morphological constructions, which are typologically relevant, the defining criterion is the distribution of markedness, that is, whether the morphologically relevant features are in the Nucleus or not. Two possibilities arise in this respect: the nuclear element or one or more non-nuclear elements are marked. If the nuclear element is marked, there is projection of morphological features. If the non-nuclear elements are marked, there is percolation as well as projection of features. Regarding constructional schemas, which are language-specific instantiations of constructions and can combine with one another, they fall into the following types: recursive/non-recursive, analytic/synthetic and continuous/discontinuous. After an application to the language of analysis, Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara, the conclusion is drawn that derivation (including compounding and affixation) can be endocentric or exocentric, whereas inflection is endocentric. Inflection and derivation can be analytic and synthetic as well as continuous and discontinuous. Unlike derivation, inflection is typically non-recursive, but the evidence provided by double case in Pitjantjatjara/Yankunytjatjara is relevant for this question.


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