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Understanding and Measuring Morphological Complexity$
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Matthew Baerman, Dunstan Brown, and Greville G. Corbett

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198723769

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723769.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 November 2021

Learning and the complexity of Ø‐marking

Learning and the complexity of Ø‐marking

(p.185) 10 Learning and the complexity of Ø‐marking
Understanding and Measuring Morphological Complexity

Sebastian Bank

Jochen Trommer

Oxford University Press

Zero marking of inflectional categories (zero exponence) is often regarded as a major source of complexity in morphological systems (cf. e.g. Anderson 1992, Wunderlich and Fabri 1994, Segel 2008). This chapter argues that, on the contrary, zero marking is a crucial precondition for the learning of inflectional morphology. By giving a learning algorithm for affix segmentation which profits substantially from assuming zero morphology in specific parts of inflectional paradigms, it shows that the expression of present tense by ø plays an important role in making accessible to learners the subanalysis of past tense forms into tense and agreement markers. Moreover, the chapter presents preliminary results of a typological pilot study supporting the claim that human languages always exhibit zero marking at the relevant points of paradigms.

Keywords:   zero exponence, subanalysis, learning algorithms, inflectional morphology, segmentation

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