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The theory of feature systems: One feature versus two for Kayardild tense-aspect-mood

Round, ER and Corbett, GG (2017) The theory of feature systems: One feature versus two for Kayardild tense-aspect-mood Morphology, 27 (1). pp. 21-75.

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Abstract

Features are central to all major theories of syntax and morphology. Yet it can be a non-trivial task to determine the inventory of features and their values for a given language, and in particular to determine whether to postulate one feature or two in the same semantico-syntactic domain. We illustrate this from tenseaspect-mood (TAM) in Kayardild, and adduce principles for deciding in general between one-feature and two-feature analyses, thereby contributing to the theory of feature systems and their typology. Kayardild shows striking inflectional complexities, investigated in two major studies (Evans 1995, Round 2013), and it proves particularly revealing for our topic. Both Evans and Round claimed that clauses in Kayardild have not one but two concurrent TAM features. While it is perfectly possible for a language to have two features of the same type, it is unusual. Accordingly, we establish general arguments which would justify postulating two features rather than one; we then apply these specifically to Kayardild TAM. Our finding is at variance with both Evans and Round; on all counts, the evidence which would motivate an analysis in terms of one TAM feature or two is either approximately balanced, or clearly favours an analysis with just one. Thus even when faced with highly complex language facts, we can apply a principled approach to the question of whether we are dealing with one feature or two, and this is encouraging for the many of us seeking a rigorous science of typology. We also find that Kayardild, which in many ways is excitingly exotic, is in this one corner of its grammar quite ordinary.

Item Type: Article
Subjects : subj_Language
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > School of English and Languages > Languages and Translation
Authors :
AuthorsEmailORCID
Round, ERUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Corbett, GGUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
Date : February 2017
Identification Number : 10.1007/s11525-016-9294-3
Copyright Disclaimer : © The Author(s) 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 19 May 2016 09:42
Last Modified : 05 Dec 2016 15:23
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/810762

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