analyzability [was versatility]
amnfn at well.com
Mon Mar 21 17:54:22 UTC 2011
On Mon, 21 Mar 2011, Suzanne Kemmer wrote:
> In any case, morphological analyzability in English and Hebrew
> should be investigated with regard to frequency and other such lexical considerations
> (whether or not one component is a bound morpheme comes to mind),
> as has been discussed already in the thread, but also in the context of their very different types of
> morphological structure. Comparing languages of more similar
> morphological structure would be a better start than directly comparing English with Hebrew.
> There are so many other variables, like education, background etc. that would factor
> in but probably some generalizations could be drawn. Putting 'relative numbers of loanwords'
> into the mix would be pretty complex for many reasons, but it could be looked at.
> Right now, no linguist is going to
> take up the simple story of the loanwords given what we know about other
> factors that demonstrably affect analyzability.
I am in complete agreement with you that the subject of psychological
opacity or tranparency should be investigated with regard to frequency.
I am hoping that some of Batia Seroussi's research, which I am looking
into, will shed more light on the subject. But I also think that
regularity in the lexical system is a factor, and that this factor can
best be studied in the context of languages with dramatically different
typologies as far as lexical cohesion is concerned.
I would disagree with the idea that whether or not one component
is bound is of much importance to this issue. This is why I look at data
from languages that have different typologies as to boundedness in lexeme
formation. Mandarin has components that remain phonologically independent,
even when they are part of a multimorphemic lexeme. Hebrew has
discontinuous roots, and almost every lexical derivation requires
resyllabification and reducation of syllables that are too far removed
from the stress. Nevertheless, both Hebrew and Mandarin enjoy componential
transparency to a much greater degree than English.
Does education play a role in being able to parse a word? Of course, it
does. To read more about how literacy affect lexicality, you might want to
look at this paper:
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