Joseph Emonds: How much should we Distribute Morphology?

by Joseph Emonds

Studies of morphology, as carried out in practice, focus on a proper subset of bound morphemes which satisfy two properties: their inherent “meanings” are those of general grammatical categories, and they don't receive stress like members of compounds. A question then arises, are there any morphology-specific principles, those of a “Morphological Component,” that apply only to such forms? A number of candidates are examined in turn: “Non-maximality,” Head Placement, Merger, Alternative Realization, and two Phonological Boundary Conditions. It is argued that the only principles specific to morphology are the last ones, i.e. that properly formulated principles of boundary erasure permit morphology to be completely “distributed” to the syntactic and phonological components.

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