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Canonical Inflectional Classes
Greville G. Corbett
1-11 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


The author uses a 'canonical' approach to offer a new perspective on the complex phenomenon of inflectional classes. This means extrapolating from what there is to what there might be, in order to define the theoretical space into which real instances fit. To do this, the author proposes eight criteria, grouped under two overarching principles. These are: I. distinctiveness: canonical inflectional classes are as clearly distinct as possible; and II. independence: the distribution of lexical items over canonical inflectional classes is unmotivated. The author investigates the various deviations from these principles, by considering in turn the more detailed criteria which exemplify them. While one might reasonably expect that 'canonical inflectional class' is an ideal without exemplars, the author finds an example which comes remarkably close to canonical.

Published in

Selected Proceedings of the 6th Décembrettes: Morphology in Bordeaux
edited by Fabio Montermini, Gilles Boyé, and Jesse Tseng
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Printed edition: $190.00