Journal article

Category clustering: A probabilistic bias in the morphology of verbal agreement marking

John Mansfield, Sabine Stoll, Balthasar Bickel

Language | Linguistic Society of America | Published : 2020

Abstract

Recent research has revealed several languages (e.g. Chintang, Rarámuri, Tagalog, Murrinhpatha) that challenge the general expectation of strict sequential ordering in morphological structure. However, it has remained unclear whether these languages exhibit random placement of affixes or whether there are some underlying probabilistic principles that predict their placement. Here we address this question for verbal agreement markers and hypothesize a probabilistic universal of category clustering, with two effects: (i) markers in paradigmatic opposition tend to be placed in the same morphological position (‘paradigmatic alignment’; Crysmann & Bonami 2016); (ii) morphological positions tend t..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

Grants

Awarded by ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language


Awarded by project 'Acquisition processes in maximally diverse languages: Min(d)ing the ambient languages (ACQDIV)' from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-20072013)


Awarded by Swiss National Science Foundation


Funding Acknowledgements

This article benefited from insightful comments by Rebecca Defina, Roger Levy, David Nash, Rachel Nordlinger, Sebastian Sauppe, Robert Schikowski, and three anonymous referees. We also received helpful comments after presentations at the Surrey Morphology Group, the Australian Linguistics Society conference in 2017, the Societas Linguistica Europaea in 2019, and the Association for Linguistic Typology in 2019. JM's work on this article was supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language (Project ID: CE140100041) and an Endeavour Fellowship from the Australian Government Department of Education and Training. SST's work was supported by the project 'Acquisition processes in maximally diverse languages: Min(d)ing the ambient languages (ACQDIV)', which has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7-20072013) (Grant agreement No. 615988; PI Sabine Stoll). BB's work was supported by Swiss National Science Foundation Sinergia Grant No. CRSII1_160739.