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Language and Development in Africa

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Academic Paper


Title: Analogical Modeling and morphological change: the case of the adjectival negative prefix in English
Author: Don Chapman
Institution: Brigham Young University
Author: Royal Skousen
Homepage: http://english.byu.edu/royal.htm
Institution: Brigham Young University
Linguistic Field: Morphology
Abstract: This article examines the usefulness of Skousen's Analogical Modeling (AM) for explaining morphological change. In contrast to previous accounts of analogy, AM constitutes a general unified model of language that accounts for both sporadic and systematic changes. AM also provides explicit constraints on analogy that allow explanation of how morphological changes begin, which forms most likely serve as patterns for analogy, and which forms are most likely to change.

AM is then tested on the case of the adjectival negative prefix in English (in-, un-, dis-, etc.), using the Middle and Early Modern English portions of the Helsinki corpus as a basis for prediction. AM was given the task of using forms containing negative prefixes for one time period to predict the prefixes that adjectives would take in the subsequent time period. For each of the roughly seventy-year periods in the corpus, AM was able to predict valid prefixes about 90 percent of the time.

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This article appears IN English Language and Linguistics Vol. 9, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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