Journal article

Intersecting formatives and inflectional predictability: How do speakers and learners predict the correct form of Murrinhpatha verbs?


Word Structure | Edinburgh University Press | Published : 2016


This article investigates the phenomenon of inflection by intersecting formatives, that is to say, where an exponence is encoded by a combination of independently distributed phonological increments. Formative independence is defined in terms of conditional entropy. The verb inflection system of Murrinhpatha, an Aboriginal language of northern Australia, is analysed as a particularly complex example of intersecting formatives, and in general we can say that inflectional exponence in this language is highly irregular or unpredictable. Recent information-theoretic approaches to morphology provide us with methods for formalising and measuring the unpredictability of Murrinhpatha verb inflection..

View full abstract

University of Melbourne Researchers