Volume 21, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1384-6655
  • E-ISSN: 1569-9811
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes


Linguistic variation between individuals must be linked to how linguistic material is mentally represented. Therefore, by examining individual variation, light can be shed on the nature of mental representation itself. This paper presents an individual differences study of semi-opaque derivations (e.g. ) to establish whether their representations are mentally associated to those of fully segmentable forms with the same suffix (e.g. ). This way, a prediction of connectionist and exemplar models of morphology is tested, namely that to language users semi-opaque forms are likely to retain some degree of internal complexity, despite the fact that they are not segmentable. Using corpus data, it is demonstrated that individuals who rely more heavily on the segmentable forms are also more likely to use the semi-opaque forms. This pattern in the variation across individuals indicates that semi-opaque derivations are not represented independently of the derivational paradigm from which they historically derive.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Baayen, R.H
    (2008) Analyzing Linguistic Data: A Practical Introduction to Statistics Using R. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511801686
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511801686 [Google Scholar]
  2. Barlow, M
    (2013) Individual differences and usage-based grammar. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 18(4), 443–478. doi: 10.1075/ijcl.18.4.01bar
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.18.4.01bar [Google Scholar]
  3. Bauer, L
    (2001) Morphological Productivity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511486210
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511486210 [Google Scholar]
  4. Becker, T
    (1994) Back-formation, cross-formation, and ‘bracketing paradoxes’ in Paradigmatic Morphology. In G. Booij & J. van Marle (Eds.), Yearbook of Morphology 1993 (pp. 1–26). Dordrecht: Kluwer.
    [Google Scholar]
  5. Booij, G
    (2007) Construction morphology and the lexicon. In F. Montermini , G. Boyé , & N. Hathout (Eds.), Selected Proceedings of the 5th Décembrettes. Morphology in Toulouse (pp.34–44). Somerville, MA: Cascadilla Proceedings Project.
    [Google Scholar]
  6. Bybee, J
    (1985) Morphology: A Study of the Relation between Meaning and Form. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. doi: 10.1075/tsl.9
    https://doi.org/10.1075/tsl.9 [Google Scholar]
  7. (2006) From usage to grammar: The mind’s response to repetition. Language, 82(4), 711–733. doi: 10.1353/lan.2006.0186
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.2006.0186 [Google Scholar]
  8. Bybee, J. , & McClelland, J.L
    (2005) Alternatives to the combinatorial paradigm of linguistic theory based on domain general principles of human cognition. The Linguistic Review, 22(2-4), 381–410. doi: 10.1515/tlir.2005.22.2‑4.381
    https://doi.org/10.1515/tlir.2005.22.2-4.381 [Google Scholar]
  9. Bybee, J. , & Slobin, D.I
    (1982) Rules and schemas in the development and use of the English past tense. Language, 58(2), 265–289. doi: 10.1353/lan.1982.0021
    https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.1982.0021 [Google Scholar]
  10. De Smet, H
    (2016) How gradual change progresses: The interaction between convention and innovation. Language Variation and Change, 28(1), 83–102. doi: 10.1017/S0954394515000186
    https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954394515000186 [Google Scholar]
  11. Gonnerman, L.M. , Seidenberg, M.S. , & Andersen, E.S
    (2007) Graded semantic and phonological similarity effects in priming: Evidence for a distributed connectionist approach to morphology. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136(2), 323–345. doi: 10.1037/0096‑3445.136.2.323
    https://doi.org/10.1037/0096-3445.136.2.323 [Google Scholar]
  12. Haspelmath, M
    (2002) Understanding Morphology. London: Arnold.
    [Google Scholar]
  13. Hay, J.B. , & Baayen, R.H
    (2005) Shifting paradigms: Gradient structure in morphology. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 9(7), 342–348. doi: 10.1016/j.tics.2005.04.002
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tics.2005.04.002 [Google Scholar]
  14. Kemmer, S. , & Barlow, M
    (2000) Introduction: A usage-based conception of language. In M. Barlow & S. Kemmer (Eds.), Usage-based Models of Language (pp.i–xxvii). Stanford, CA: CSLI.
    [Google Scholar]
  15. Labov, W
    (2001) Principles of Linguistic Change: Vol. 2. Social Factors. Oxford: Blackwell.
    [Google Scholar]
  16. Langacker, R.W
    (1987) Foundations of Cognitive Grammar: Vol. 1. Theoretical Prerequisites. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  17. (2000) A dynamic usage-based model. In M. Barlow & S. Kemmer (Eds.), Usage-based Models of Language (pp. 1–63). Stanford, CA: CSLI.
    [Google Scholar]
  18. Mollin, S
    (2009) “I entirely understand” is a Blairism: The methodology of identifying idiolectal collocations. International Journal of Corpus Linguistics, 14(3), 367–392. doi: 10.1075/ijcl.14.3.04mol
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ijcl.14.3.04mol [Google Scholar]
  19. Plag, I
    (2003) Word-formation in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/CBO9780511841323
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511841323 [Google Scholar]
  20. Schmid, H.-J. , & Mantlik, A
    (2015) Entrenchment in historical corpora? Reconstructing dead authors’ minds from their usage profiles. Anglia, 133(4), 583–623. doi: 10.1515/ang‑2015‑0056
    https://doi.org/10.1515/ang-2015-0056 [Google Scholar]
  • Article Type: Research Article
Keyword(s): backformation; connectionism; individual variation; morphological representation; rule
This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error