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Universals in Comparative Morphology Suppletion, Superlatives, and the Structure of Words

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ISBN-10: 0262017598

ISBN-13: 9780262017596

Edition: 2012

Authors: Jonathan David Bobaljik

List price: $42.00
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Description:

This groundbreaking study of the morphology of comparison yields a surprising result: that even in suppletion (the wholesale replacement of one stem by a phonologically unrelated stem, as in good-better-best) there emerge strikingly robust patterns, virtually exceptionless generalizations across languages. Jonathan David Bobaljik describes the systematicity in suppletion, and argues that at least five generalizations are solid contenders for the status of linguistic universals. The major topics discussed include suppletion, comparative and superlative formation, deadjectival verbs, and lexical decomposition. Bobaljik's primary focus is on morphological theory, but his argument also aims to integrate evidence from a variety of subfields into a coherent whole. In the course of his analysis, Bobaljik argues that the assumptions needed bear on choices among theoretical frameworks and that the framework of Distributed Morphology has the right architecture to support the account. In addition to the theoretical implications of the generalizations, Bobaljik suggests that the striking patterns of regularity in what otherwise appears to be the most irregular of linguistic domains provide compelling evidence for Universal Grammar. The book strikes a unique balance between empirical breadth and theoretical detail. The phenomenon that is the main focus of the argument, suppletion in adjectival gradation, is rare enough that Bobaljik is able to present an essentially comprehensive description of the facts; at the same time, it is common enough to offer sufficient variation to explore the question of universals over a significant dataset of more than three hundred languages.
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Book details

List price: $42.00
Copyright year: 2012
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 9/28/2012
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 328
Size: 6.25" wide x 9.25" long x 1.00" tall
Weight: 1.298
Language: English

Jonathan David Bobaljik is Professor of Linguistics at the University of Connecticut, Storrs.

Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction
Introduction
Distributed Morphology
Constructing the Database
Comparative Typology
Comparative Suppletion
Introduction
*ABA: Explaining a Gap
Universal Grammar versus the European Sprachbund
Summary
The Containment Hypothesis
Introduction
Transparent Containment
Comparison and the Synthetic/Analytic Divide
The Synthetic Superlative Generalization
Containment and Semantic Considerations
Chapter Summary
The Comparative-Superlative Generalization: The Data
Adjectives
Adverbs
Quantifiers
Chapter Summary
Theoretical Refinements
Introduction: Taking Stock
Conditions on Suppletion: Exponence versus Readjustment
Adjacency, ABC, *AAB
AAB Ablaut
Merger, Rule Ordering, Diacritics, and Acquisition
Getting Better: Comparison and Deadjectival Verbs
Introduction
Preliminary Remarks
Deadjectival Degree Achievements: Doubting Dowty
To Good, to Badden, and to Many
Summary: What's the Difference?
Complexity, Bundling, and Lesslessness
Introduction
Lesslessness
Conservative Decomposition: Adjacency and Bundling
Concluding Remarks
Appendixes
The Broad Sample
The Focused Survey
Principal Sources
References
Name Index
Subject Index
Language Index