[Lingtyp] words, bound forms, welded forms

Martin Haspelmath haspelmath at shh.mpg.de
Fri Jan 25 09:27:34 UTC 2019

Nobody has reported an authoritative source for "phonologically bound", 
so I will continue to assume that "bound" is best restricted to the 
Bloomfield-Zwicky sense.

Adam Tallman is quite right to point out that the idea of phonological 
attachment is often linked to the idea of rule domains, specifically 
prosodic rules.

To give a concrete example, English "-ity" can be said to be attached 
(e.g. in "normal-ity") in the sense that it affects the stress placement 
-- it is part of the same stress domain.

By contrast, English "ness" (e.g. in "normal-ness") does not affect 
stress, but it also doesn't have its own stress, and hence needs to be 
attached to a non-deficient element.

If one thinks like this, then only forms that do not share any 
phonological domains with neighbouring forms would be phonologically 
unattached -- and if one includes intonational domains, then hardly 
anything will be left that is not attached. And as Adam notes, there are 
often multiple domains that overlap at most partially, so it is not 
possible to define a single coherent "prosodic word" (or "phonological 
word/phrase") for each language.

This is why my new term "welded" does not make reference to prosodic 
domains, but only considers segmental variability and local 
conditioning. (Of course, there will be multiple subtypes.)

It seems to me that this notion of weldedness goes at least some way 
toward capturing the old vague idea that some affixes are more "fused" 
than others. English and Turkish affixes are clearly more welded overall 
than Chinese affixes.



On 23.01.19 14:15, Adam James Ross Tallman wrote:
> 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 <mailto: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.Germanfilm-te/ golf-te
>     b.Englishfilm-ed [-d] / golf-ed [-t]
>     (6)a.good / good-ness
>     b.mortal [-?l] / 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/[?]-/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  <mailto: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
>     _______________________________________________
>     Lingtyp mailing list
>     Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org
>     <mailto:Lingtyp at listserv.linguistlist.org>
>     http://listserv.linguistlist.org/mailman/listinfo/lingtyp
> -- 
> Adam J.R. Tallman
> Investigador del Museo de Etnografía y Folklore, la Paz
> PhD, UT Austin

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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