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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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Rhizomorphomes, meromorphomes, and metamorphomes

Rhizomorphomes, meromorphomes, and metamorphomes

(p.28) (p.29) 3 Rhizomorphomes, meromorphomes, and metamorphomes
Understanding and Measuring Morphological Complexity

Erich R. Round

Oxford University Press

Morphomes (Aronoff 1994) exemplify extreme complexity within inflectional morphology. This chapter argues that morphomic categories come in three types. Rhizomorphomes pertain to morphological roots, dividing the lexicon into classes (e.g. declensions, conjugation classes) whose members share similar paradigms. Meromorphomes pertain to sets of word‐formation operations, which derive the pieces of individual word forms; thus meromorphomes inhere in the organization of a morphological exponence system. Metamorphomes pertain to distributions of meromorphomes across a paradigm. Rhizomorphomes and metamorphomes are well described, but meromorphomes much less so. Arguments are presented for the existence of MEROMORPHOMES, drawing on evidence from Kayardild (Round 2013). It is observed that in given languages, all three kinds of morphomic category may divide into subcategories, adding more complexity to the picture. Nevertheless, the architecture of this linguistic complexity, in an autonomous layer of representation with subcategories, is familiar and qualitatively similar to other domains of grammar.

Keywords:   morphomes, rhizomorphomes, metamorphomes, meromorphomes, morphological complexity, linguistic complexity, inflectional morphology, Kayardild, architecture of grammar, features

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