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The Verbal Domain$
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Roberta D'Alessandro, Irene Franco, and Ángel J. Gallego

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767886

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198767886.001.0001

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On the division of labor between roots and functional structure

On the division of labor between roots and functional structure

Chapter:
(p.85) 4 On the division of labor between roots and functional structure
Source:
The Verbal Domain
Author(s):

Artemis Alexiadou

Terje Lohndal

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198767886.003.0004

This chapter argues that there is a typology of languages according to how much meaning a root encodes independently of its syntactic categorization. This typology is illustrated by an in-depth discussion of three languages: English, Greek, and Hebrew. Hebrew is argued to represent one end of the scale where the root encodes a minimal and highly abstract meaning. English represents the other end where the root has a severely restricted meaning. The two languages differ in terms of the role of functional morphology, which is crucial in Hebrew but not at all a central part of English. Greek is important in the sense that the language falls in between English and Hebrew: it has some highly general and abstract roots, and it has some roots with highly determined and specified meanings.

Keywords:   root, language typology, functional morphology, English, Greek, Hebrew

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