Blocking and Paradigm Gaps
Itamar Kastner, Vera Zu
August 2017

Gaps in morphological paradigms are often explained in terms of blocking: generating one form is blocked by the existence of a paraphrase. Another way of thinking about paradigm gaps dissociates their existence from competition between forms. Unlike in competition-based approaches, systematic gaps can be seen as true gaps; the system might not generate a certain form, but this form is not considered in comparison to others. Adopting this latter approach, we argue that inflectional paradigms are neither morphosyntactic primitives nor the result of competition. This claim is supported by data from two unrelated languages. For Hebrew, we demonstrate that a passive gap is not the result of competition with analytic paraphrases. For Latin, we show that a cyclic, syntax-based approach is superior to a theory that generates nonactive verbs in the lexicon and has them compete against each other. Systematic paradigm gaps are thus argued to result from syntactic structure building, without competition regulating independent morphological constructions.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/002394
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Morphology, doi:10.1007/s11525-017-9309-8
keywords: competition, morphology, syntax, hebrew, latin, paradigm gaps, voice, passive
previous versions: v1 [February 2015]
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