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LINGUIST List 18.506

Wed Feb 14 2007

Qs: Morphosyntactic Features

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        1.    Anna Kibort, Morphosyntactic Features

Message 1: Morphosyntactic Features
Date: 13-Feb-2007
From: Anna Kibort <a.kibortsurrey.ac.uk>
Subject: Morphosyntactic Features

Dear Colleagues,

As part of a project investigating grammatical features, funded by the
ESRC, Greville Corbett and I are compiling an inventory of morphosyntactic
features found in the world's languages. We are at a stage where we would
like to consult you about any possible morphosyntactic features that we may
have omitted.

Following Zwicky (1985), our terms 'feature' and 'value' correspond to
Matthews's (1972/1991) terms 'category' and 'property/feature',
respectively. By 'morphosyntactic feature' we mean a feature which in a
given language is involved in either agreement or government. Thus, while
in many familiar languages the feature 'tense' encodes regular semantic
distinctions, it is not required by the syntax through the mechanisms of
either agreement or government. Therefore, many familiar instances of the
feature 'tense' are *morphosemantic*, but not *morphosyntactic* (Stump
2005): syntax is not sensitive to the tense value of the verb. However,
tense can be a morphosyntactic feature, as in Kayardild, where elements
marked with verbalizing case show agreement in tense (Evans 2003).

Below we list features which we have found to be morphosyntactic, and
others which we think are not morphosyntactic, or those whose status we
have not yet determined with certainty. Please let us know if you know of:
(1) instances where a feature we consider uncertain *is* morphosyntactic in
some language; (2) a morphosyntactic feature that we have not taken into
consideration at all. Your help will be greatly appreciated and the
results of our research will be shared with the linguistic community
through a website which we are currently constructing.

We have found that the following features are, or can be, MORPHOSYNTACTIC:
-- gender
-- number
-- person
-- case
-- definiteness
-- respect
-- tense
-- aspect
-- mood
-- polarity

We have NOT found instances of the following features as MORPHOSYNTACTIC:
-- associativity (we have only found it as morphosemantic)
-- inflectional class (it is purely morphological)
-- screeve (we have only found it as morphosemantic)

And the following features, under consideration, are of UNCERTAIN status to us:
-- transitivity
-- evidentiality
-- diathesis and voice
-- topic
-- focus
-- question-word dependency
-- (verbal) series (as in Caucasian linguistics; or other paradigmatic
tense/aspect sets)
-- collectivity
-- verbal features such as: continuality, inferentiality, dependence, version

With best regards,

Anna Kibort

Linguistic Field(s): Language Description

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