The theory of feature systems: one feature versus two for Kayardild tense-aspect-mood

Round, Erich and Corbett, Greville G. (2016) The theory of feature systems: one feature versus two for Kayardild tense-aspect-mood. Morphology, 1-55. doi:10.1007/s11525-016-9294-3

Author Round, Erich
Corbett, Greville G.
Title The theory of feature systems: one feature versus two for Kayardild tense-aspect-mood
Journal name Morphology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1871-5656
Publication date 2016-05-26
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s11525-016-9294-3
Open Access Status DOI
Start page 1
End page 55
Total pages 55
Place of publication Dordrecht, Netherlands
Publisher Springer Netherlands
Collection year 2017
Language eng
Abstract Features are central to all major theories of syntax and morphology. Yet it can be a non-trivial task to determine the inventory of features and their values for a given language, and in particular to determine whether to postulate one feature or two in the same semantico-syntactic domain. We illustrate this from tense-aspect-mood (TAM) in Kayardild, and adduce principles for deciding in general between one-feature and two-feature analyses, thereby contributing to the theory of feature systems and their typology. Kayardild shows striking inflectional complexities, investigated in two major studies (Evans 1995a; Round 2013), and it proves particularly revealing for our topic. Both Evans and Round claimed that clauses in Kayardild have not one but two concurrent TAM features. While it is perfectly possible for a language to have two features of the same type, it is unusual. Accordingly, we establish general arguments which would justify postulating two features rather than one; we then apply these specifically to Kayardild TAM. Our finding is at variance with both Evans and Round; on all counts, the evidence which would motivate an analysis in terms of one TAM feature or two is either approximately balanced, or clearly favours an analysis with just one. Thus even when faced with highly complex language facts, we can apply a principled approach to the question of whether we are dealing with one feature or two, and this is encouraging for the many of us seeking a rigorous science of typology. We also find that Kayardild, which in many ways is excitingly exotic, is in this one corner of its grammar quite ordinary.
Keyword Features
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
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Created: Mon, 30 May 2016, 10:12:53 EST by Ms Katrina Hume on behalf of School of Languages and Cultures