When nobody wins
Kyle Gorman, Charles Yang
July 2018

As young children vividly illustrate with their performance on the wug-test (Berko 1958), the ability to generalize linguistic patterns to novel items is a core property of language. It thus comes as a surprise when we stumble into a dark and dusty corner of language where our boundless linguistic productivity has unexpectedly failed. We propose that such lexical gaps arise in precisely those linguistic contexts for which the Tolerance Principle (Yang 2005, 2016) identifies no productive generalizations. We illustrate this proposal with detailed case studies from Spanish, Polish, and Russian.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/003614
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: Competition in inflection and word formation.
keywords: gaps, inflectional gaps, defectivity, productivity, morphology, phonology
previous versions: v2 [June 2017]
v1 [May 2017]
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