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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

Chapter:
(p.185) 10 Learning and the complexity of Ø‐marking
Source:
Understanding and Measuring Morphological Complexity
Author(s):

Sebastian Bank

Jochen Trommer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198723769.003.0010

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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