The patterns according to which a language’s word forms are internally structured constitute its morphotactics. In the morpheme-based approaches to morphology that emerged in the twentieth century, a language’s morphotactic principles are constraints on the concatenation of morphemes (a perspective still held by many linguists); in rule-based conceptions of morphology, by contrast, a language’s morphotactic principles are constraints on the interaction of its rules of morphology. In this course, we will examine a wide range of morphotactic phenomena in a variety of languages. This evidence will be seen to pose significant problems for current conceptions of morphotactics (whether these be construed in morpheme-based or rule-based terms). We will discuss a theory of morphotactics whose properties are motivated by the need to provide a unified and explanatory account of these phenomena. The evidence that we examine will include
- nonmonotonic patterns in which a rule’s domain of application, its productivity, or the content that it realizes depends on its morphotactic context;
- asymmetrical relations of dependency among rules of morphology;
- apparent anomalies in the relative ordering of affixes or in the ordering of stem and affix;
- apparent anomalies in the relations of paradigmatic opposition among a language’s morphological rules;
- apparent anomalies in the locality of morphotactic conditions;
- rule order as an inflectional exponent; and
- the wider implications of an enriched conception of morphotactics for morphological theory.