Back to list

Detail of contribution

Auteur: Maris CAMILLERI

Paradigmatic Stem-form Complexity in Maltese

Abstract/Résumé: The discussion in this paper focuses on the notion of complexity as a motivation for assuming a separate autonomous morphological component, particularly in the grammar of Maltese. The paradigm is taken as the locus from where to observe such complex morphological behaviour, focussing particularly on stem-form behaviour. The measure used to quantify the complexity is canonical typology (Corbett 2007, 2009, 2011). Canonically, stem-forms internal to the paradigm should be non-alternating, yet, internal to the Maltese paradigm, as a result of both morphotactic conditioning and redundant morphological interferences, stem-form alternations are found in each verbal paradigm, suggesting the regularity of this complex behaviour. Morphosyntactic Features Perfect Imperfect 1SG mor-t m-mūr 2SG mor-t t-mūr 3SGM mār j-mūr 3SGF marr-et t-mūr 1PL mor-na m-morr-u 2PL mor-t-u t-morr-u 3PL marr-u j-morr-u Table 1. The alternating stem-forms internal to the mar ‘go’ paradigm The regularity of this complexity as well as its redundant behaviour is especially observed when considering Romance and English integrated loan verbs. Different inflectional class distinctions that exist in Italian fit neatly, albeit redundantly, in a grouping that classifies -are-themed verbs vs. -ere/-ire-themed ones, on the basis of their paradigmatic stem-form behaviours, showing how this redundant inflectional distinction is carried forward and retained into the Maltese system. The end result, with multiple stem-forms internal to the paradigm, relates complexity with naturalness, or the lack of it, under the assumption that such stem-forms come to realize morphosyntactic features, thus functioning as non-affixal exponents (Baerman & Corbett 2012). Such paradigmatic complexity, of the redundant and the inexplicable type, is assumed to be learnt and deduced via the application of principal parts (Finkel & Stump 2008) along with a number of inter- and intra-paradigmatic correlations that may exist internal to the language. Selected References Baerman, Matthew & Corbett, Greville G. (2012). Stem alternations and multiple exponents. Word Structure. Corbett, Greville, G. (2007). Canonical Typology, Suppletion and Possible Words. Language, 83, 8-42. Finkel, Raphel, & Stump, Greg T. (2008). Principal parts and morphological typology. Morphology, 17(1), 39-75.