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Re: Unilang: the Morphology

From:Andreas Johansson <and_yo@...>
Date:Sunday, April 22, 2001, 8:12
Marcus Smith wrote:
>>I am, of course, operating on the theory that a 'word' is an speech unit >>that can be pronounced by itself and is "complete". According to this >>definition, the reduced forms of the English copula (-'m, -'re, -'s) >>aren't >>proper words - you won't say [z] in isolation if asked what the 3rd sg >>present of 'to be' is. If that Russian {s} is pronounced as part of the >>preceeding or following word, I won't consider it a 'word' on its own, but >>rather as an affix. > >So, English possessive -'s is an affix that attaches to any part of speech >what-so-ever, providing that the phrase containing the word is headed by a >noun, and that the noun is the possessor of another noun?
Something like that, yes. It would perhaps be better to desribe it as attaching to the end of a phrase functioning as a noun in relation to the rest of the sentence. If we consider it a 'word' we have pretty much abolished the distinction between 'word' and 'morpheme'.
> >A serious problem in linguistics that few people have addressed is that >there is no decent definition of what a "word" is. Phonological definitions >run afoul of the syntactic data, and vice versa.
I didn't claim my defintion was perfect, but it seems workable to me. Any better suggestion? Andreas _________________________________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free E-mail from MSN Hotmail at


Marcus Smith <smithma@...>