Island morphology : morphology's interactions in the study of stem patterns


  • Maris Camilleri University of Surrey



Island morphology, morphology's interactions in the study of stem patterns


The paper discusses the notion of morphological complexity, with a focus on stem patterns. Stem patterns, creating stem-based inflectional classes, are morphological constructs which come about as a result of observing the patterns rendered by the stem-form alternations (or stem splits (Baerman/Corbett forthcoming)), which one extracts after the formation of word-forms within paradigms. Stem-based inflectional class formation constitutes one aspect in the analysis of non-canonical paradigms, which also include affix-based inflectional classes, syncretism, defectiveness, and overabundance Corbett 2005, 2007, 2009; Baerman, Brown and Corbett 2005; Thornton 2010). While these non-canonical instances are in themselves interesting to observe, it is even more intriguing to be able to see what interactions can arise, which at times do not seem to be the result of something exterior to morphology proper. Through data taken from Maltese verbal paradigms the phenomenon of stem-based inflectional classes will be explored, which will exhibit how internal to the paradigm there exists a complex system in itself, which is based on the distinct organisation of different conflated morphosyntactic features which come about via syncretism. These patterns should illustrate a paradigm-internal morphological phenomenon that is irrelevant to the syntax, where while morphology borders with it, there need not be any interaction at this interface. At the same time, it will also be shown how at times, the border with phonology is blurred, where while the phonology may often try to build bridges that interface with the morphological island, the island's internal forces that drive its autonomy may deem to be more superior than the phonology's strive to impose its interacting requirements, which render some interesting morphophonological mismatches as a result.


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31. 12. 2011

How to Cite

Camilleri, M. (2011). Island morphology : morphology’s interactions in the study of stem patterns. Linguistica, 51(1), 65-85.