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Complexity continuum: towards a typological definition of word types

Vittorio Ganfi

Abstract


This work aims at putting in relation the morphological structure of words with typological features formally autonomous from morphology. In particular, two linguistic types emerge from this analysis: a. Simple Languages, characterized by morphologically simple word structures, topic-prominent alignment systems and flexible word classes; b. Complex Languages, preferring polysynthetic words, a semantic alignment, as well as the incorporation of nouns into verbal nucleus. Furthermore, the inquiry of wide corpora of language structures shows widespread correlations between the alignment systems and the morphological complexity.

Cross-linguistic correlations are explained by the “Complexity Continuum”, according to which the distribution of typological features can be traced back to the functional principles of economy and iconicity.

Keywords


complexity; alignment systems; morphological structure; economy; iconicity;

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References


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