MORPHOLOGY: one of the main types of morphological operations by
which an affix is added to a word. An inflectional affix adds a particular
grammatical function to a word without changing the category of that word,
or even leading to a different word. We may say that inflected forms are just
variants of one and the same word.
EXAMPLE: count nouns in English can
be pluralized by adding the inflectional ending -s (dog-dogs,
noun-nouns). The plural forms dogs and nouns are
variants of the base nouns dog and noun. Traditionally
inflection is distinguished from derivation
(the second type of major morphological operation). Although it is not possible
to draw a sharp border between both types of operation, there are at least two
differences: (i) inflection is never category changing, while derivation typically
is category changing, and (ii) inflection is usually peripheral to derivation.
Some linguists (e.g.
Perlmutter (1988)) assume that
inflection and derivation belong to different components of the grammar. This
view is not uncontroversial though, since others (e.g.
assume that inflection and derivation are reflexes of one and the same operation,
|LIT.||Anderson, S.R. (1982)|
Aronoff, M. (1976)
Chomsky, N. (1993)
Chomsky, N. (1955)
Halle, M. (1973)
Kiparsky, P. (1982)
Perlmutter, D. (1988)
Pollock, J.-Y. (1989)
SYNTAX: inflectional affixes have recently been analyzed as the source or head of functional projections like IP ,AGRP, DP, etc. EXAMPLE: if (i)a is the underlying syntactic structure of John walks, the ultimate stage of which is the result of either Affix hopping (cf. (i)b) or Verb movement (cf. (i)c) (both syntactic operations) then inflection is not a morphologcal but a syntactic phenomenon.
(i) a [IP John [I' [I -s ] [VP [V walk ]]]] b [IP John [I' ej [VP [V [V walk ] [I -s ]j ] ]]] c [IP John [I' [I [V walk ]j [I -s ]] [VP ej ]]]If, on the other hand, walks is inserted in its fully inflected form, and adjoins to I merely to check its inflectional features (cf. (ii)), inflection remains a morphological operation.
(ii) a [IP John [I' [I e ] [VP [V walks ]]]] b [IP John [I' [I [V walks ]j [I e ]] [VP ej ]]]