Chapter 5: Morphological mismatch and extended deponency


While with syncretism there is a dissociation between syntactic function and morphological form, in this chapter we discuss a different kind of dissociation which can be characterised as mismatch of function and form, namely deponency. This kind of dissociation therefore constitutes further evidence for an autonomous component of morphology whose interface with syntax is not always direct. In this chapter we account for ‘extended’ deponency as instances where a high-level normal case default is being overridden, and once overridden other lower generalizations can be made. Languages that override at the highest level may override at lower levels too, and these lower level overrides can be used to express the full range of extended deponency. What marks out deponency from other irregularity phenomena in Latin is that once the normal case default is overridden, subsequent lower level overrides result in the exceptional case default. In other words the exception is restoring ‘mismatch’ to ‘match’. In §5.1 we demonstrate how the properties associated with ‘classical’ deponency can be expressed as defaults at different hierarchical levels. This allows us to define extended deponency examples in relation to Latin through differences in the way defaults are overridden. In §5.2 we present the Network Morphology account of Latin verbs. We include some irregular verbs to contrast them with the special kind of irregularity that deponents represent. This sets the scene for our account of classical deponency as overriding defaults set at different levels, thereby inheriting the exceptional case default (§5.3). Then in §5.4 we offer an NM account of extended deponency, illustrating with the noun system of Archi, a Nakh-Daghestanian, Lezgian language. Finally in §5.5 we consider whether Latin deponents really are mismatches, questioning the voice features that characterize the mismatch and bearing in mind the passive morphology’s origin as middle voice marking.

Associated Theories: 

There are two main theories discussed in this chapter, one for Latin verbs and one for Archi nouns. The Latin verbs theory accounts for (1) regular verbs belonging to the four conjugation classes, (2) irregular verbs and (3) deponents, including semi-deponents. The Archi theory account for (1) regular nouns belonging to the three main classes, (2) deponent nouns (3) suppletive deponent nouns.

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