Paradigmatic Uniformity and Markednes s
This chapter surveys a set of levelings and extensions affecting verb paradigms in two languages: English and Ancient Greek. It shows that pure leveling does not exist and that the emergence of paradigm uniformity is always the imposition of an existing (uniform) pattern on a non-uniform paradigm. It identifies a systematic difference between English and Ancient Greek in the directionality of paradigmatic changes. In English (and other languages), present-tense verb forms influence preterites; in Ancient Greek, presents are influenced by non-presents (aorists). This finding is not readily accommodated by theories invoking frequency or form predictability as the major factors influencing paradigmatic directionality, and a more complex theory is needed that also takes account of the semantics of morphological categories.
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