Volume 3, Issue 1
  • ISSN 2215-1354
  • E-ISSN: 2215-1362
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This study presents apparent-time changes in the morphology of the expression ‘similar to’. Based on apparent-time data, we argue that the morphological boundary between and the attributive morpheme in the phrase has disappeared, and that this complex phrase is now processed as a monomorphemic form. We suggest that relative frequency is the key to understanding the results.

We further supplement our argument with data on the standardization of the adverbial adjective form in the Kansai dialect. Young speakers overwhelmingly use the standard form of adverbials for all adjectives except two: ‘a lot, well’ and ‘quickly, early’ (instead of Standard Japanese and ). The three linguistic forms that display unusual behavior ( and the adverbial forms of and ) all have a high relative frequency. We conclude that when a complex form occurs more frequently than its components (high relative frequency), then it behaves as a monomorphemic unit. The irregular adverbial forms are leftover from an obsolete system, in the same way that many English irregular past forms are leftover from the Germanic strong verb system. In contrast, the irregular form emerged from and competes with the regular inflection paradigm for , illustrating a previously undocumented path for the diachronic emergence of irregular morphology.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): apparent time; collocation; entrenchment; holistic processing; Japanese; lexical bundle
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