Abstract and Keywords
This chapter presents a detailed account of inflection classes and the issues that they raise for morphological theory and typology. Drawing particularly on evidence from Icelandic, the author defines the notion ‘inflection class’ and discusses the canonical characteristics proposed for inflection classes by Corbett (2009); various simple and complex deviations from this canonical ideal are examined. The correlations between a lexeme’s inflection-class membership and its morphology are shown to be quite variable; the same is true of the extra-morphological correlates of a language’s inflection classes. As the author shows, inflection-class systems arise and evolve in response to various kinds of diachronic pressures. He considers the appropriate mode of representation for inflection classes in the formal, synchronic definition of a language’s grammar and the status of inflection classes as a dimension of typological variation.
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