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Flexible Word Classes – Typological studies of underspecified parts of speech - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Flexible Word Classes: Typological studies of underspecified parts of speech

Jan Rijkhoff and Eva van Lier


This book is the first major cross-linguistic study of ‘flexible words’, i.e. words that cannot be classified in terms of the traditional lexical categories Verb, Noun, Adjective or Adverb. This is because flexible words can -without special morphosyntactic marking- serve in functions for which other languages must employ members of two or more of the four traditional, ‘specialised’ word classes. Thus, flexible words are underspecified for communicative functions like ‘predicating’ (verbal function), ‘referring’ (nominal function) or ‘modifying’ (a function typically associated with adjectives ... More

Keywords: Categorisation, word classes, part-of-speech systems, lexical flexibility, grammatical flexibility, conversion, vagueness, underspecification, syntax, morphology, semantics, criteria for flexibility, typology

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2013 Print ISBN-13: 9780199668441
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199668441.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jan Rijkhoff, editor
Associate Professor of Linguistics, Aarhus University

Eva van Lier, editor
Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Linguistics, University of Amsterdam