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date: 15 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter presents an overview of phenomena which pose important problems of description and analysis. I focus on the inflectional system, which has undergone severe attrition and shows idiosyncrasies typical of such systems. For nominals I describe the personal pronoun paradigm and the ‘possessive -s’ clitic/phrasal affix. The controversial categorial status of adverbs in -ly is discussed, while for verbs, all the subcategories prove to be highly problematical. For instance, only 50 irregular verbs distinguish past tense from past participle (e.g. wrote/written), so it is not even clear whether the past participle category is a highly restricted subcategory, with the vast majority of verbs showing past tense/past participle syncretism, or whether this is a case of ‘overdifferentiation’, like the forms am, are, were of the verb BE. On the other hand, the polyfunctionality of the completely regular -ing suffix, which derives verb, noun, and adjective forms, also poses serious unresolved problems. Auxiliary verbs and related phenomena alternate between periphrastic, clitic, and genuinely morphological (affixal) constructions. The chapter concludes with consideration of those aspects of derivational morphology which seem to be indisputably productive, hence part of the grammar, including (certain types of) event nominalization, some cases of double object alternation, and morphosemantic mismatches of the kind electrical engineeringelectrical engineer.

Keywords: auxiliary verb, derivation, double object alternation, event nominalization, inflection, morphosemantic mismatch, possessive, pronoun

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