SIL Electronic Working Papers
SILEWP 1998-001

Author: Mike Maxwell
Title: Two Theories of Morphology, One Implementation
Source: First presented at SIL's General CARLA Conference, 14-15 November 1996, Waxhaw, NC.
Keywords: computing, computational linguistics, natural language processing, parsing, phonology, morphology, Hermit Crab, CARLA, AMPLE

Theories of morphology have been classified as Item-and-Arrangement (in which both roots and affixes are treated as morphemes), or Item-and-Process (in which roots are morphemes, but affixes are rules). I will show that in reality, a description using affixes-as-morphemes (Item-and-Arrangement morphology) can be mapped into a single representation.

A different classification of morphological theories is based on whether all allomorphs are listed in the lexicon, or whether phonologically conditioned allomorphs are derived from a single listed form. I show that in reality, derivational theories incorporate a device (allomorphy rules) which can do virtually the same work as listing the phonologically conditioned allomorphs. In fact, it is possible to mechanically map a description with multiple listed allomorphs into a description with single underlying forms and allomorphy rules.

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