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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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Gender–number marking in Archi: Small is complex

Gender–number marking in Archi: Small is complex

(p.93) 6 Gender–number marking in Archi: Small is complex
Understanding and Measuring Morphological Complexity

Marina Chumakina

Greville G. Corbett

Oxford University Press

The Nakh–Daghestanian language Archi is famous for its extensive phonological inventory and its very large paradigms, especially those for verbs. Against this background, this chapter shows that there is particular complexity in Archi’s relatively small paradigm of gender and number agreement. This system is complex on many levels: the realization of agreement involves all parts of speech apart from nouns, but in some instances it requires lexical specification, since not all lexemes behave alike (many do not agree). Specifying the position of the gender and number markers, as prefixes, suffixes, or infixes, is also not straightforward: there are items with infixes where prefixal marking would be felicitous on phonological grounds. That is, Archi exhibits the typologically rare phenomenon of ‘frivolous’ infixation. The chapter establishes the factors which determine the realization of agreement in Archi, focusing on the verbal system, and a set of interrelating factors (phonological, morphological, and part of speech) which predict the outcome in some 70 per cent of the instances; our analysis suggests that this apparently small system is genuinely\break complex.

Keywords:   morphology, Archi, Nakh‐Daghestanian languages, agreement, infixation, lexical specification

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