Network Core Mechanisms of Exponence

Kürschner, Sebastian (2009)


The paper investigates the distribution and historical development of plural allomorphs in Dutch, German, and Afrikaans, focussing on apparent instances of non-blocking where a single nominal is compatible with more than one plural formative (special attention is paid to bisyllabic nouns ending in a schwa, e.g., groente-s vs. groente-n ‘vegetables’). Following Booij (2002) and others, the author adopts an output-based approach to plural formation. More precisely, it is assumed that the realization of plural forms is governed by a prosodic output condition that requires plurals forms “to end in a trochee”. The (stable) co-existence of competing plural forms derived by the non-syllabic allomorphs -s and -n is then attributed to the fact that both formatives satisfy the relevant prosodic output condition in an (equally) optimal way, giving rise to morphological doublets and apparent exceptions to morphological blocking. These findings are contrasted with the properties of plural formation in German, Afrikaans, and various historical stages of Dutch and German. It is shown that core properties of the relevant systems can be accounted for in terms of (i) (prosodic) output conditions, and (ii) a set of non-prosodic factors that determine plural formation (e.g., the realization of gender distinctions in German).

authorKürschner, Sebastian
titleMorphological non-blocking in Dutch plural allomorphy – a contrastive approach
editorFuß, Eric and Trips, Carola
booktitleMorphological Blocking and Linguistic Variation: A Typological Perspective
seriesspecial issue of Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung
publisherAkademie Verlag


    author = {Kürschner, Sebastian},
    year = {2009},
    title = {Morphological non-blocking in Dutch plural allomorphy – a contrastive approach},
    booktitle = {Morphological Blocking and Linguistic Variation: A Typological Perspective},
    editor = {Fuß, Eric and Trips, Carola},
    series = {special issue of Sprachtypologie und Universalienforschung},
    address = {Berlin},
    publisher = {Akademie Verlag},
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