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Re: Pesky morphemes

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  • R A Brown
    ... [snip] ... I consulted Chambers English Dictionary and it gives swam for the preterite, i.e. he swam in the river yesterday , and _swum_ as the perfect
    Message 1 of 56 , Mar 25, 2013
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      On 25/03/2013 16:48, Roger Mills wrote:
      > --- On Mon, 3/25/13, R A Brown wrote:
      [snip]
      >
      > OK - to avoid turning a thread about morph(on)emes into
      > 'yet another English phonology thread', let's take
      > instead: swim ~ swam ~ swum. Then we have
      > //s.w.IAU.m//.
      >
      > That makes sense for English 'strong verbs'. But how
      > does the morphonemic approach deal with the equivalent
      > forms of 'weak' and 'mixed' verbs, e.g. love ~ loved ~
      > loved buy ~ bought ~ bought
      > ============================================
      >
      > Exactly. I think that's where the idea falls flat on its
      > face :-)))
      >
      > And IIRC, "swum" was not considered "correct" when I was
      > in grade school many years ago....

      I consulted Chambers English Dictionary and it gives 'swam'
      for the preterite, i.e. "he swam in the river yesterday",
      and _swum_ as the perfect participle, i.e. "She has swum
      five lengths of the pool."

      It does not that _swum_ as preterite is archaic, and that
      Shakespeare used _swam_ as a past participle :;

      > And the "wrong" assignment of a morphophoneme can lead
      > to interesting situations--
      >
      > bring, brang, brung

      I've not come across 'brang' (I think), but I have come
      across 'brung.'

      > think,.....thunk (this for humormostly I guess)

      I think always humorously. But i don't want to get into a
      discuss of dialect forms of English strong & mixed verbs,
      fascinating tho it may be. Basically the same problems
      remain as to how the different forms are described
      linguistically.

      > and how could it possibly account for be, am/are,
      > was/were, been? (And it's even worse in German!!!)

      Yep - the verb "to be" is always going to be an odd ball.

      But any satisfactory description needs to be able to cope
      with suppletion, as e.g.: go ~ went ~ gone

      Or Latin stems: _fer_ ~ tul ~ lāt "bear, carry"

      > Of course, there are historical reasons for things like
      > bring, brought, and think, thought, and buy, bought, and
      > all the other strong verbs

      Yes, and in the case English we know the history.

      > -- but they are no longer operative so the alternation
      > just has to be learned and hopefully internalized.

      Exactly! What i am after is a satisfactory _synchronic_
      description.

      > (And Rosta's (i) and (ii) are easily handled by
      > phonological rules.)

      Sure.

      --
      Ray
      ==================================
      http://www.carolandray.plus.com
      ==================================
      "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
      for individual beings and events."
      [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
    • R A Brown
      ... [snip - all points noted] ... plus was simply taken from Trask, and being used for convenience (i.e. not having to think of something else - the same
      Message 56 of 56 , Mar 28, 2013
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        On 28/03/2013 13:30, And Rosta wrote:
        > R A Brown, On 27/03/2013 15:32:
        [snip - all points noted]

        > I agree with the basic idea, but "plus" needs to be
        > tightened up, in ways too complicated to fit in an
        > off-topic email discussion, but in simple terms "{CAR} +
        > [plural]" means "{CAR} when it is the phonological shape
        > corresponding to a plural noun node in syntax.

        'plus' was simply taken from Trask, and being used for
        convenience (i.e. not having to think of something else -
        the same applies to shape of brackets). Trask, of course,
        was merely giving a fairly simple dictionary entry, rather
        than elaborating any particular theoretic viewpoint.

        > In {CHILD} + [plural], the shape of {CHILD} is the stem
        > //tS.I.l.d// + //rn// (roughly), but I don't see any
        > grounds for saying that [Plural] is instantiated as
        > //rn//.

        I don't think we're many miles apart - probably coming at
        things from different angles.

        But I'm not intending at the moment to work out any
        hard-and-fast system - I haven't got time for one thing.

        It seems that it is only you and I now exchanging emails on
        this off-topic discussion, and it has certainly helped clear
        some of my thinking - not enough, perhaps, but it can wait.

        We are, I think, both agreed that morphemes, whatever they
        are, are not identical to "units of meaning", which is what
        sparked off this thread. As I say, I don't think we're
        miles apart.

        --
        Ray
        ==================================
        http://www.carolandray.plus.com
        ==================================
        "language … began with half-musical unanalysed expressions
        for individual beings and events."
        [Otto Jespersen, Progress in Language, 1895]
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