The nature of Regularity and Irregularity: Evidence from Hebrew Nominal Inflection
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Most evidence for the role of regular inflection as a default operation comes from languages that confound the morphological properties of regular and irregular forms with their phonological characteristics. For instance, regular plurals tend to faithfully preserve the base’s phonology (e.g., rat-rats), whereas irregular nouns tend to alter it (e.g., mouse- mice). The distinction between regular and irregular inflection may thus be an epiphenomenon of phonological faithfulness. In Hebrew noun inflection, however, morphological regularity and phonological faithfulness can be distinguished: Nouns whose stems change in the plural may take either a regular or an irregular suffix, and nouns whose stems are preserved in the plural may take either a regular or an irregular suffix. We use this dissociation to examine two hallmarks of default inflection: its lack of dependence on analogies from similar regular nouns, and its application to nonroots such as names. We show that these hallmarks of regularity may be found whether or not the plural form preserves the stem faithfully: People apply the regular suffix to novel nouns that don’t resemble existing nouns, and to names that sound like irregular nouns, regardless of whether the stem is ordinarily preserved in the plural of that family of nouns. Moreover, when they pluralize names (e.g., the Barak-Barakim), they do not apply the stem changes that are found in their homophonous nouns (e.g., barak-brakim “lightning”), replicating an effect found in English and German. These findings show that the distinction between regular and irregular phenomena cannot be reduced to differences in the kinds of phonological changes associated with those phenomena in English. Instead, regularity and irregularity must be distinguished in terms of the kinds of mental computations that effect them: symbolic operations versus memorized idiosyncrasies. A corollary is that complex words are not generally dichotomizable as “regular” or “irregular”; different aspects of a word may be regular or irregular depending on whether they violate the rule for that aspect and hence must be stored in memory..
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Joseph Shimron, Iris Berent & Stephen Pinker (1999). Default Nominal Inflection in Hebrew: Evidence for Mental Variables. Cognition 72 (1):1-44.
Dieter Wunderlich (1999). German Noun Plural Reconsidered. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):1044-1045.
Andrew Carstairs-McCarthy (1999). The Tension Between “Combinatorial” and “Class-Default” Regularity. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):1017-1018.
Joan Bybee (1999). Use Impacts Morphological Representation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):1016-1017.
Etta Drews (1999). Pitfalls in Tracking the Psychological Reality of Lexically Based and Rule-Based Inflection. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):1022-1023.
Alessandro Laudanna (1999). Regular Versus Irregular Inflection: A Question of Levels. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):1029-1030.
Dirk P. Janssen (1999). The Place of Analogy in Minimalist Morphology and the Irregularity of Regular Forms. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):1025-1026.
Ágnes LukÁ, Cs & Csaba Pléh (1999). Hungarian Cross-Modal Priming and Treatment of Nonsense Words Supports the Dual-Process Hypothesis. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):1030-1031.
Richard Wiese (1999). On Default Rules and Other Rules. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (6):1043-1044.
Henry Laycock (2005). Mass Nouns, Count Nouns and Non-Count Nouns. In Alex Barber (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics. Elsevier
David Nicolas (2004). Is There Anything Characteristic About the Meaning of a Count Noun? Revue de la Lexicologie 18.
Holly Andersen (2012). The Case for Regularity in Mechanistic Causal Explanation. Synthese 189 (3):415-432.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads12 ( #272,590 of 1,790,294 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #141,142 of 1,790,294 )
How can I increase my downloads?