LSA 219: Morphological innovation and change

Adam Albright | session 2 | MW 8:30 – 10:15, 106 Moffitt Hall

This course investigates the mechanisms that lead to changes in the distribution of morphemes and allomorphs. In particular, we will explore how synchronic models of language learning, grammar, and processing/production shape and constrain the types of errors that speakers make, and the implications of these models for morphological and morphophonological change. We will focus most extensively on the phenomena of paradigm leveling, analogical extension, inflection class transfer, and morpheme redistribution, using data not only from language change, but also (where available) language acquisition and experimental results. Topics to be discussed include: (1) Overregularization by replacement of irregular lexical items with grammatically regular ones, or specific items with defaults; (2) Mislearning of featural contexts (broadening and narrowing of distributions); (3) Pattern frequency, lexical frequency; (4) Paradigm uniformity, paradigm contrast and phonological markedness constraints; (5) Morphological markedness relations; and (6) Language-specific morphological structure and system congruity.

Reading: Selected materials available online.

Areas of linguistics: Areal and historical linguistics; Phonetics, phonology, and morphology

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