Naturalness Biases, ‘Morphomes’, and the Romance First Person Singular
Andrew Ira Nevins, Cilene Rodrigues
March 2012

It has been suggested that the Romance first person singular indicative forms a base of derivation for the subjunctive paradigm, even though the latter shares no morphosyntactic features with the former (Maiden, 2004). The existence of such patterns has been taken to be an argument for autonomous morphology and the existence of unnatural ‘morphomes’, in the sense of Aronoff (1994). Experimental investigations with native speakers of Portuguese, Italian, and Spanish reveal that this pattern is underlearned, and that speakers do not generalize it to novel forms, instead preferring the 2nd person singular as a base of derivation. The results implicate a role for naturalness biases in morphological structure, and an awareness that the first person singular is an unreliable and idiosyncratic base for productive inflectional identity.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/001469
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Manuscript
keywords: morphome, spanish, portuguese, italian, inflectional identity, morphology, syntax
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