Autonomous morphology and paradigmatic relations [chapter]

Geert Booij
1997 Yearbook of Morphology 1996  
eds.), Crossdisciplinary Approaches to Morphology 257 MARTIN HASPELMATH / Laura A. Janda, Back from the brink: a study of how relic forms in languages serve as source material for analogical extension 258 VI Autonomous morphology and paradigmatic relations GEERT BOOIJ 1. INTRODUCTION' In a number of recent studies attention has been drawn to the fact that the morphology of a language does not always exhibit a simple relation between form and meaning. That is, the formal side of morphology has a
more » ... of morphology has a certain autonomy. The title of Aronoffs recent book, Morphology by Itself (Aronoff 1994) nicely expresses this idea of the autonomy of morphological form. For instance, the form-meaning relations in inflection may be mediated by inflectional classes (declinational classes for nouns and adjectives, and conjugational classes for verbs). As Aronoff ( 1994) pointed out, the existence of such classes results in one-to-many relations between morphosyntactic properties of lexemes and their phonological forms. Another important case of 'morphology by itself, i.e. of autonomous morphology is the phenomenon of stem allomorphy. A stem is "that sound form to which a given affix is attached, or upon which a given non-affixal realizational rule operates" (Aronoff 1994: 39). For instance, the Latin verbal paradigm exhibits three stems, a present stem for present and past tense, a perfect stem, and a third stem for, among others, the formation of past partciples. Thus, the verb armure 'to arm', with the thematic vowel /a/ of the first conjugation, has three stems, arm-a (present stem), arma-v (perfect stem, as in arm-a-v-i '1 have armed'), and arma-t (third stem, as in urm-a-t-us 'armed, past participle'). Similarly, Vogel (1994) argued that the verbal morphology of Italian also requires three stem forms. This kind of stem allomorphy cannot be captured by rules of phonology. However, it is often possible to formulate morphological rules that generate such 'stem paradigms'. 2 Stem allomorphy is not restricted to the Indo-European language family, but can also be found in, for instance, the Daghestan language Lezgian (Haspelmath 1993), the Austronesian language Muna (Van den Berg 1989), and the Nilo-Saharan language Turkana (Dimmendaal 1983), to name just a few. The idea that more than one stem is needed for a lexeme for a proper account of morphological operations, both inflection and derivation, is not new, as Aronoff himself points out very clearly. What he wants to stress is that when a lexeme has more than one stem, this is not necessarily a matter of listing the different stems (as was suggested in Lieber 1981 ), but that the form of a stem may also be determinable by rule, as is often the case in Latin: once we know the first stem, with its theme vowel, the second and third stem can be derived by rule, by adding v and / respectively. Crucially, however, these elements have no particular meaning, they are only there for the sake of proper morphological form. Therefore, Matthews (1972), following Hockett, refers to such elements as 'empty morphs'.
doi:10.1007/978-94-017-3718-0_4 fatcat:6yelotyo7fg7le57hfyab74lue