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The Surrey Defectiveness Database (consisting of a Typological Database and a 100-language Survey)

Baerman, M, Corbett, GG and Brown, D (2009) The Surrey Defectiveness Database (consisting of a Typological Database and a 100-language Survey) University of Surrey.

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The term 'defectiveness' refers to gaps in inflectional paradigms — specifically, gaps which do not appear to follow from natural restrictions imposed by meaning or function. The Latin noun for 'change' is a textbook example: bizarrely, it lacks nominative and dative singular forms, and has no genitive plural. The fact that inflectional paradigms may have such anomalous gaps in them has been known since at least the days of the classical grammarians, but now as then, we understand little about them. And though the existence of defective paradigms is indisputable, few people could name more than a handful of examples. The project A Typology of Defectiveness, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, completed in February 2009, has aimed to expand our empirical knowledge of this intriguing phenomenon and to clarify its significance for the study of language. This website hosts two complementary databases. The Typological Database examines the different types of defective paradigms according to various typological parameters. This database illustrates different types of defective paradigm according to various morphological and morphosyntactic parameters: a) Word class: what word class do the defective lexemes belong to? b) Morphosyntactic category: what morphosyntactic features characterize the missing forms? c) Paradigmatic correlation: can the gap(s) in the paradigm be described in terms of an easily definable morphological category (e.g. a word missing a particular morphological stem) or a morphosyntactic category (e.g. a verb missing its past tense or 1st person singular)? The 100-language Survey looks for plausible examples within a controlled sample, in order to gain a picture of how prevalent defectiveness actually is in the languages of the world.

Item Type: Other
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Authors :
Baerman, M
Corbett, GG
Brown, D
Date : 2009
Uncontrolled Keywords : Linguistics, morphology, defectiveness, typology
Related URLs :
Depositing User : Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited : 28 Mar 2017 15:51
Last Modified : 31 Oct 2017 15:04

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