Course: Morphological Complexity and Typology
Times: 1:30 - 5pm
Dates: Thursday and Friday, 5 - 6 December 2019
Instructor: Professor Marianne Mithun, University of California (Santa Barbara)
Registration: Please register here for Summer School 2019.
One of the ways in which languages can appearto differ the most is in their morphological structures, often described in terms of degrees of complexityon the one hand, and the particulardistinctions facilitated or required by the grammaron the other. But measuring complexity is far from straight forward. And the kinds of cross-linguistic differences we find in the meanings encoded and the forms that convey them raise intriguing questions about the reasons behind them.
Assumed and background knowledge
Familiarity with basic linguistics concepts, particularly basic morphology.
No additional preparation necessary.
1. Where is morphological complexity?
- Various notions of complexity and its measurement
- Complexity for whom? Analysts versus speakers
2. Morphological typologies
- What is typology in linguistics and what are its goals?
- Traditional morphological typologies
- The status of polysynthesis as a typological category
3. The development of morphological complexity through time
- Typology and telicity
- Cognitive and social factors stimulating the development of complexity
- Alternative pathways to complexity
4. The development of morphological complexity through space
- Contact as a factor in decreasing or increasing complexity
- The diverse effects of multilingualism
5. Implications of morphological complexity beyond the word
- Relations between morphological and syntactic structure
- Some pathways to the development of complex clause combining
6. Typological sophistication and documentation
- Advantages of typological knowledge for recognising categories and patterns
- Disadvantages of jumping to conclusions on the basis of pre-cooked notions!
[Main image: English words organized by alphabetical similarity (edit distance), by Kyle McDonald on Flickr].