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The Boundaries of Pure MorphologyDiachronic and Synchronic Perspectives$
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Silvio Cruschina, Martin Maiden, and John Charles Smith

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199678860

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678860.001.0001

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The morphome as a gradient phenomenon: evidence from Romance ⋆

The morphome as a gradient phenomenon: evidence from Romance ⋆

Chapter:
(p.247) 13 The morphome as a gradient phenomenon: evidence from Romance
Source:
The Boundaries of Pure Morphology
Author(s):

John Charles Smith

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678860.003.0013

Morphomehood may be seen as a gradient phenomenon, with morphomes situated on a cline of coherence or motivation. ‘Covert’ morphomes, which have some extramorphological motivation, may be distinguished from ‘overt’ morphomes, which are systematic distributions of morphological material which have no unique functional (or phonological) correlate. Overt morphomes may be defined as more or less coherent, according to whether they involve features which are internal to the grammatical category involved or features which are external to this category. Further degrees of coherence are possible—in particular, certain collections of cells may be seen as less marked than others. A correlation may exist between this continuum and phenomena such as syncretism, suppletion, and defectiveness, which seem more likely to exhibit a morphomic distribution precisely when the morphome in question is more coherent or motivated. Morphological autonomy is a matter of degree, and morphological processes appear to be sensitive to this fact.

Keywords:   coherence, defectiveness, morphome, motivation, refunctionalization, Romance, suppletion

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