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LINGUIST List 18.2168

Tue Jul 17 2007

Disc: New: Fundamentality of Word Classes?

Editor for this issue: Ann Sawyer <sawyerlinguistlist.org>

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        1.    Jess Tauber, Fundamentality of Word Classes?

Message 1: Fundamentality of Word Classes?
Date: 16-Jul-2007
From: Jess Tauber <phonosemanticsearthlink.net>
Subject: Fundamentality of Word Classes?
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Are word class distinctions fundamental in the lexicon, or the result of
historical processes? Must roots belong to one class or another, or can
underspecification be the norm when new roots are created, as for instance
by lexicalization of ideophones.

Morphosyntax seems to be the commonest means to disambiguate class - by
affixation, compounding, or position. Yet today's 'roots' may be the result
of fusion with old morphology. As such, are old derived distinctions
percolating into the lexicon, only to be lost later as the echoes of the
processes which created them are forgotten?

If this is the case, might morphosyntactic typology be able to tell us more
about it? Do 'nouny' or 'verby' have ambiguity in different places in the
lexicon, or those rich in ideophones or grams?

Jess Tauber

Linguistic Field(s): General Linguistics
Historical Linguistics
Linguistic Theories

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