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Summary Details


Query:   homophonous affixes
Author:  Mike Maxwell Mike Maxwell
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Morphology
Phonology

Summary:   IN LINGUIST LIST 10.1663, I POSTED A QUERY CONCERNING A CLAIM I HAD RUN ACROSS THAT ''IN MOST LANGUAGES WITH ANY DEGREE OF MORPHOLOGY, THERE TENDED TO BE A CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF HOMOPHONY AMONG AFFIXES--MORE THAN ONE WOULD EXPECT, GIVEN THE NUMBER OF VOWELS AND CONSONANTS IN THE LANGUAGE.'' THIS IS A SUMMARY OF THE RESPONSES.

SHORTLY AFTER THE POSTING, OUR EMAIL WENT DOWN AND MORE OR LESS STAYED DOWN FOR A WEEK. IT'S BACK UP NOW, AND I'M TOLD THAT NOTHING WAS ACTUALLY LOST, BUT I'M A PESSIMIST. SO IF YOU SENT ME A RESPONSE (AS OPPOSED TO A REQUEST TO POST THE RESULTS, OF WHICH I RECEIVED MANY), AND YOUR NAME DOESN'T APPEAR BELOW, PLEASE ACCEPT MY APOLOGIES, AND DO WRITE AGAIN.

THANKS FOR REPLIES FROM: INGO PLAG (PLAG@MBOX.ANGLISTIK.UNI-HANNOVER.DE), ROBERT KEMP (ROBERT.KEMP@UNI-KOELN.DE), RON ROSS (RROSS@EXPRESSMAIL.NET), SHOBHANA L. CHELLIAH (CHELLIAH@FACSTAFF.CAS.UNT.EDU), JOHN GOLDSMITH (JA-GOLDSMITH@UCHICAGO.EDU), BOZENA CETNAROWSKA (CETNAROW@URANOS.CTO.US.EDU.PL), MJ HARDMAN (HARDMAN@UFL.EDU), AND LAURIE BAUER (LAURIE.BAUER@VUW.AC.NZ).

SEVERAL PEOPLE MENTIONED EXTENSIVE AFFIX HOMOPHONY IN PARTICULAR LANGUAGES, INCLUDING GARIFUNA (COSTA RICA), MEITHEI (TIBETO-BURMAN), SLAVIC LANGUAGES, AND THE JAQI LANGUAGES. I MIGHT ALSO ADD THAT WHEN I WAS CO-AUTHORING A GRAMMAR OF CUBEO (TUCANOAN, COLOMBIA) WITH NANCY MORSE, I WAS DISTURBED BY THE NUMBER OF HOMOPHONOUS INFLECTIONAL LANGUAGES WE WERE POSTULATING, AND TRIED TO REDUCE IT. IN RETROSPECT, MAYBE THERE WAS NO NEED FOR THAT, ALTHOUGH IT'S CLEARLY A ''CALL'':

IF SOMETHING IS BOTH A MASCULINE SINGULAR MARKER ON KINSHIP NOUNS AND A PASSIVE MASCULINE SINGULAR NOMINALIZER ON VERBS, IS IT THE SAME SUFFIX? IF YOU'RE INCLINED TO SAY ''NO'', BECAUSE THE FORMER IS INFLECTIONAL AND THE LATTER DERIVATIONAL, WHAT IF I TELL YOU THE SAME IS TRUE FOR ANOTHER SUFFIX, EXCEPT THAT IT'S FEMININE? AND I COULD MULTIPLY THE PAIRS OF INFLECTIONAL/ DERIVATIONAL HOMOPHONOUS AFFIXES IN THIS LANGUAGE.

SHOBHANA L. CHELLIAH ASKS WHETHER IT IS THE CASE THAT FUSIONAL LANGUAGES HAVE HOMOPHONOUS AFFIXES MORE THAN AGGLUTINATIVE ONES. I DON'T KNOW, BUT I THINK THERE MIGHT BE AN INTERESTING STORY HERE.

REFERENCES: SEVERAL PEOPLE POINTED OUT THAT ROBERT BEARD HAS WRITTEN EXTENSIVELY ON THIS TOPIC. IN FACT HIS POINT, CODIFIED IN THE ''SEPARATIONIST PRINCIPLE'', IS THAT THERE IS A SPLIT BETWEEN SHAPE ANDFUNCTION. SO IT'S NOT A CASE OF AFFIXES BEING HOMOPHONOUS, BUT RATHER THAT TWO OR MORE ''MORPHOSYNTACTIC AFFIXES'' USE THE SAME ''PHONOLOGICAL AFFIX'' (THESE ARE NOT HIS TERMS). ANYWHERE, HERE'S THE LIST (ANNOTATIONS IN BRACKETS ARE BASED ON COMMENTS FROM RESPONDENTS):

BEARD, ROBERT. 1981. THE INDO-EUROPEAN LEXICON. A FULL SYNCHRONIC THEORY. AMSTERDAM: NORTH-HOLLAND.

BEARD, ROBERT. 1987A. ''LEXICAL STOCK EXPANSION'', IN EDMUND GUSSMANN (ED.) RULES AND THE LEXICON, 24-41. LUBLIN: CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY.

BEARD, ROBERT. 1987B. ''MORPHEME ORDER IN A LEXEME/MORPHEME-BASED MORPHOLOGY'', LINGUA 72, 1-44.

BEARD, ROBERT. 1988. ''ON THE SEPARATION OF DERIVATION FROM MORPHOLOGY: TOWARD A LEXEME-MORPHEME-BASED MORPHOLOGY'', QUADERNI DI SEMANTICA 9, 3-59.

BEARD, ROBERT. 1990A. ''THE NATURE AND ORIGINS OF DERIVATIONAL POLYSEMY'', LINGUA 81, 101-140.

BEARD, ROBERT. 1990B. ''THE EMPTY MORPHEME ENTAILMENT'', IN WOLFGANG DRESSLER, HANS LUSCH?TZKY, OSKAR E. PFEIFFER, AND JOHN RENNISON (EDS.) CONTEMPORARY MORPHOLOGY, 159-169. BERLIN: MOUTON DE GRUYTER.

BEARD, ROBERT.1995. MORPHEME-LEXEME BASE MORPHOLOGY. ALBANY: STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK PRESS.

SZYMANEK, BOGDAN. 1988. CATEGORIES AND CATEGORIZATION IN MORPHOLOGY. REDAKCJA WYDAWNICTW KUL, LUBLIN. [FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF BEARD'S THEORY]

DON, JAN 1993. MORPHOLOGICAL CONVERSION,OTS, UTRECHT [FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF BEARD'S THEORY]

CETNAROWSKA, BOZENA. 1993. THE SYNTAX, SEMANTICS AND DERIVATION OF BARE NOMINALISATIONS IN ENGLISH. UNIWERSYTET SLASKI, KATOWICE. [FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF BEARD'S THEORY]

BAUER, LAURIE 1988 INTRODUCING LINGUISTIC MORPHOLOGY. EDINBURGH: EDINBURGH UNIVERSITY PRESS [TESTS FOR DECIDING WHEN YOU HAVE HOMOPHONOUS AFFIXES AND WHEN YOU JUST HAVE ONE AFFIX--SOUNDS LIKE WHAT I NEEDED FOR THE CUBEO GRAMMAR!]

A PAPER BY RICH JANDA IN CLS ABOUT 10 YEARS AGO [THIS MAY BE THE ONE I SAW ORIGINALLY BUT LOST--I'M TRACKING IT DOWN AGAIN]

JAKOBSON, ROMAN. 1971. THE PHONEMIC AND GRAMMATICAL ASPECTS OF LANGUAGE IN THEIR INTERRELATIONS. REPRINTED IN: SELECTED WRITINGS, VOL. II., S. 103-114. [ROBERT KEMP WRITES: ''APPARENTLY, THE PAPER WAS FIRST READ IN PARIS IN 1948 AND SUBSEQUENTLY PUBLISHED IN: ACTES DU SIXIEME CONGRES INTERNATIONAL DES LINGUISTES (PARIS, 1949).'']

MIKE MAXWELL
MIKE_MAXWELL@SIL.ORG
SUMMER INSTITUTE OF LINGUISTICS

LL Issue: 10.1764
Date Posted: 20-Nov-1999
Original Query: Read original query