[Lingtyp] words, bound forms, welded forms

Adam James Ross Tallman ajrtallman at utexas.edu
Wed Jan 23 08:15:22 EST 2019


Hey Martin,

The problem is that the term "phonologically bound" is used in at least two
senses often without clarification (although one can tell when data are
provided).

i. An element that does not have a stress (or is impoverished in some other
phonological way)

ii. An element that is inside a domain where some syntagmatically
circumscribed (defined over a subspan of the syntactic positions of the
whole sentence) phonological process (or change of form in general) applies.

The problem is that there are often *multiple* (non-overlapping) domains
where phonological processes occur and it is sometimes not clear which one
the descriptive linguist means (this is why I always read the
morphophonology section multiple times when I read a grammar).

What's worse, notice that (i) and (ii) can refer to almost opposite facts
depending on how stress operates in a language. A "clitic" that *never*
receives stress can be called phonologically bound according to (i), and a
clitic that might, sometimes, typically or even always receive stress
because it integrates into a stress domain can be phonologically bound
according to (ii). And then what do we make of these clitics that
*sometimes* project their own stress domains and sometimes not (see Daniel
Valle's grammar of Kakataibo for instance and Aikhenvald 2002). And then of
course, we are only talking about stress here. What happens when the clitic
integrates with one domain and not another (e.g. stress domain but not a
tone sandhi domain or vice versa)?

How/why has this terminological versatility (or "confusion", if you want)
arisen? I am not in a position to provide a detailed history of the
problem, but my *hunch* is that it relates to the way "simple clitics"
started to be understood in prosodic phonology (I'd be interested to know
if the problem goes back further as usual!?). In theories of prosodic
phonology that discuss the postlexical integration of clitics a number of
different types of prosodic integration are posited (see Peperkamp 1997,
inter alia)  (incorporation to a PwD, adjunction to a PWd,
incorporation/adjunction to PPh, etc...). Morphemes need to integrate into
prosodic structure to be realized, but essentially anything that is *not
understood as projecting its own prosodic domain* can be understood as
phonologically bound if it is pronounced at all (at least in Anderson's
2005 formulation as I understand it). Often descriptive linguists (through
citation) pay homage to the generative literature with their use of the
term "phonologically bound", without realizing the empirical consequences
of how it is defined in the models (which can make it seem like a waste
basket term to me). That's my impression, but the field of syntax-phonology
interfacing or morphology-phonology interaction is so incredibly vast (see
Scheer's 2010 epic 847 page book on the topic), I can only call it a hunch.

I like your term "welded" to be honest (integrated into domain X might be
more in line with current usage). BUT I think your going to have to
recognize a huge number of subtypes of welding depending on *which*
segmental process the morpheme or whatever is subject to. I'm worried this
problem might end up making the term obsolete eventually, even if its
somewhat more clear than "phonologically bound".

best,

Adam




On Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 1:43 PM Martin Haspelmath <haspelmath at shh.mpg.de>
wrote:

> Dear typologists,
>
> In the discussion of words, affixes, and polysynthesis, the notion of
> forms being "bound" occurs again and again, and in the discussion of
> agglutination, people often talk about complex words being "fused" (or not
> fused). In order to make headway, I feel that we as linguists should make
> clear how we use terms like "attached", "bound", and "fused".
>
> In my own work, I have been using the term "bound" in the well-established
> Bloomfield-Zwicky sense (= unable to occur in isolation), but some people
> have relied on a notion of "phonologically bound" in discussions of
> wordhood. I think it's better not to use "bound" in two different senses,
> so I would like to propose the new term "welded" for the phonological
> sense. In the short text below, I define (and discuss the relation between)
> the terms "bound" and "welded".
>
> Since I don't know the literature on phonological wordhood (since Roussel
> 1922) as well as some others on this list evidently know it, my specific
> question is: Is there a prominent place in the literature where the notion
> "phonologically bound" has been introduced or defined? (If so, I may
> rethink my terminological proposals.)
>
> The general question is: Are there better alternatives to what I am
> proposing?
>
> Many thanks,
> Martin
>
> ************************************
>
>
> *Bound forms and welded forms: Two basic concepts of grammar *
>
> *(possible future blogpost)*
>
>
>
> Linguists often try to characterize affixes in terms of a notion of “
> *boundness*”, as in this passage of the Wikipedia article “affix”:
>
>
>
> *Lexical affixes* are bound elements that appear as affixes, but function
> as incorporated nouns <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incorporated_noun>
> within verbs
>
>
>
> But what exactly is meant by “bound”? Is it just a synonym of “attached”
> (as in Wikipedia’s definition of affix: “an affix is a morpheme
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morpheme> that is attached to a word stem
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_%28linguistics%29> to form a new word
> or word form”), and are both terms just informal ways of saying that an
> affix *occurs together* with a stem?
>
>
>
> But if so, what is the difference between an affix occurring together with
> a stem, and *a verb occurring together with an object nominal*? Linguists
> don’t normally say that objects are bound to their verbs, but in what sense
> is an affix bound but an object nominal is not bound?
>
>
>
> This seems like a very basic question, but linguists do not have
> consistent answers to this question. The first answer they give often
> involves the notion of *“word”*, but linguists have not found a general
> way of identifying words across languages (as I noted in a 2011 article).
> If at all, words can be characterized in terms of a more basic concept such
> as “bound”, it seems, not the other way round.
>
>
>
> So here I would like to make a proposal how to use the term *“bound”,*
> which also involves the introduction of a new term *“welded”*. Basically,
> I propose that *a bound form is one that cannot occur in isolation, *while
> *a welded form is one that shows segmental phonological interaction *with
> its neighbour.
>
>
>
> For example, the English preposition *from*, the possessive pronoun *my*,
> and the definite article *the* are bound forms. Consider the following
> contrasts:
>
>
>
> (1)      a.         The dog went through the fence.
>
>             b.         The dog went through.
>
>
>
>             c.          The cat jumped from the table.
>
>             d.         *The cat jumped from.
>
>
>
> (2)      a.         I saw Kim’s bike.
>
>             b.         I saw Kim’s.
>
>
>
>             c.          She found my umbrella.
>
>             d.         *She found my.
>
>
>
> (3)      a.         We like those caps.
>
>             b.         We like those.
>
>
>
>             c.          He bought the cap.
>
>             d.         *He bought the. (‘He bought it.’)
>
>
>
> Of course, most forms that are written as affixes are also bound, but as
> the examples (1)-(3) show, not all forms that are written separately are
> *free* in the sense that they can occur on their own.
>
>
>
> This meaning of the term *bound* goes back to Bloomfield (1933), and it
> has become particularly well-known through Arnold Zwicky’s work on clitics.
> Zwicky’s famous (1977) paper distinguishes three classes of elements:
> simple clitics, special clitics, and *bound words*. The most widely cited
> paper that proposes criteria for distinguishing between clitics and affxes,
> Zwicky & Pullum (1983), begins as follows:
>
>
>
> “Two types of bound morphemes are found attached to (free) words in many
> languages: clitics and affixes”
>
>
>
> Affixes are always thought of as parts of words, while clitics are
> generally thought of as words. Thus, the notion of boundness cross-cuts the
> distinction between words and parts of words.
>
>
>
> In the discussions about wordhood that I often have with fellow
> grammarians, they often mention *phonological interaction*: Some elements
> interact phonologically with their neighbours, while others don’t. Some
> contrasts are given in (4)-(6). I propose to say that the forms in (b) are
> *welded*, while those in (a) are not.
>
>
>
> (4)      a.         my pear / my apple
>
>             b.         a pear / an apple
>
>
>
> (5)      a.         German          film-te / golf-te
>
>             b.         English           film-ed [-d] / golf-ed [-t]
>
>
>
> (6)      a.         good / good-ness
>
>             b.         mortal [-əl] / mortal-ity [-æl-iti]
>
>
>
> In (4)-(5), we see that some (but not all) of the bound forms have
> different phonological variants depending on phonological properties of
> their host, and in (6b), we see that the host can have different
> phonological variants depending on whether it combines with a bound form or
> not. A bound form is *welded* to its host if it shows different variants
> depending on the shape of the host or if the host shows different variants
> depending on the shape of the bound form.
>
>
>
> So clearly, *boundness* and *weldedness* are different properties of
> linguistic form: A form may be bound but not welded (e.g. English *my*, -
> *ness*, German -*te*), or a form may be both bound and welded (e.g.
> English *a/an*, -*ed* [-t/-d]).
>
>
>
> Can a form be *welded but not bound*? No, this is excluded by definition:
> If a form can be used both on its own and in combination with a bound form,
> and if it has a different shape when combined with the bound form, then we
> do not say that the form as such is welded. For example, the English verb
> *write* can be used on its own (e.g. as an imperative), and when the
> agent noun suffix *-er* is added, it may have a different shape (with
> flapped *r*): *wri*[ɾ]-*er*. Thus, -*er* is a welded form, but we would
> not want to say that *write* is a welded form.
>
>
>
> Some linguists use a different term for what I am calling “welded” here:
> “phonologically bound”. This seems to occur fairly frequently, but unlike
> the use of “bound” in the sense “free-standing”, it does not seem to have a
> clear pedigree.
>
> --
> Martin Haspelmath (haspelmath at shh.mpg.de)
> Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History
> Kahlaische Strasse 10	
> D-07745 Jena
> &
> Leipzig University
> Institut fuer Anglistik
> IPF 141199
> D-04081 Leipzig
>
>
>
>
>
>
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>


-- 
Adam J.R. Tallman
Investigador del Museo de Etnografía y Folklore, la Paz
PhD, UT Austin
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