Distributed Morphology and historical linguistics
Andrea Calabrese, Laura Grestenberger
March 2024

Distributed Morphology (DM) has only begun to be systematically applied to problems of historical morphology and morphological change in the past 10–15 years, but has already given rise to some promising research avenues. This chapter provides a survey of the literature and the type of research that has been conducted using DM in historical linguistics so far, as well as alternative and competing analyses, gaps in the existing research, and desiderata for future work. We investigate morphophonological, morphosyntactic, and "morpholexical" changes from the point of view of what is expected given a DM architecture assuming that: 1) morphemes are organized into syntactic structures, 2) morphophonological changes are governed by locality principles sensitive to these structures, 3) there is a set of morphological operations preceding phonological Spell Out, and 4) phonological Spell Out includes Vocabulary Insertion, morphophonological processes (= readjustment rules), and phonological processes. Based on these assumptions we discuss how DM accounts for phenomena commonly discussed in the literature on historical morphology and morphological change (e.g., analogy, leveling, syncretism), how it differs from other approaches, and what kind of predictions follow from it.
Format: [ pdf ]
Reference: lingbuzz/008003
(please use that when you cite this article)
Published in: The Cambridge Handbook of Distributed Morphology (submitted)
keywords: distributed morphology, historical linguistics, language change, morphosyntax, morphophonology, reanalysis, morphological theory, lexical change, analogy, readjustment, morphology
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