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Understanding and Measuring Morphological Complexity$
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Matthew Baerman, Dunstan Brown, and Greville G. Corbett

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723769

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723769.001.0001

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Understanding and measuring morphological complexity: An introduction

Understanding and measuring morphological complexity: An introduction

(p.2) (p.3) 1 Understanding and measuring morphological complexity: An introduction
Understanding and Measuring Morphological Complexity

Matthew Baerman

Dunstan Brown

Greville G. Corbett

Oxford University Press

Complexity is pervasive in inflectional systems, but so idiosyncratic that we still lack an adequate vocabulary for characterizing its properties across the languages of the world. Inflectional morphology has a logic that does not necessarily derive from other linguistic components, and warrants investigation in its own right. Related fields within linguistics have contributed a particular view of complexity that has shaped our vision of the components of language, including morphology. But morphology relies both on paradigmatic organization and combinatorics that are peculiar to it. This chapter explains how these contribute to morphological complexity, contrasting it with other notions of complexity found in linguistics. It also considers different ways of understanding it, and outlines the contribution of the following chapters to its analysis.

Keywords:   complexity, inflection, components, morphology, characterizing

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