Linguistics in Göttingen - A platform for empirical and theoretical linguistics

Ralf Vogel (Bielefeld): Inflection without affixes

The standard approach to inflectional and derivational morphology today is an "Item and arrangment" (IA, Hockett 1954) approach, where words are decomposed into component morphs. Different views have regained attention that focus on the word as the fundamental unit of morphological analysis (Anderson 1991) and the paradigm and inter-paradigmatic relations (McCarthy 2005, Blevins 2015). Modern developments like constraint-based formalisms, optimality theory and construction grammar offer modeling opportunities for word- and construction-based morphosyntax. I will discuss the limits of the IA view on inflectional morphology in the analysis of a couple of phenomena from German. The core idea of my proposal is that what we use to call "inflectional affixation" should better be phrased in terms of constraints on surface forms and syncretism avoidance.