Templatic transfer in Arabic broken plurals

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In summary, we have shown how transfer can account for some cases of templatic morphology, beyond the reduplication examples discussed by Clements.John McCarthy observes that Modern Hebrew Pi'el and Hitpa'el could also be analyzed along these lines. See McCarthy (1984) and Bat-El (1986) for alternative analyses. We are not proposing that transfer should replace normal direct melodic linking. Rather, we are proposing that direct melodic linking cannot insightfully account for all cases of templatic morphology and must be supplemented by transfer. It should be noted that our use of transfer differs from that of reduplicative transfer. First, while a reduplicative affix undergoes linearization with respect to the stem, templatic transfer does not entail linearization. A second difference between templatic transfer and reduplicative transfer is that, in templatic transfer, association between skeleta is one-to-one, left-to-right. In reduplicative transfer, Clements proposes a different procedure where vowels associate before consonants. This latter method simply would not work in the case of broken plurals.A third potential differences between them is OVERRIDING. In templatic association, a directly associated melodic element overrides a transferred melodic element. In reduplication, it is unclear whether prespecificaion precludes association or overrides it as here. To maintain this analysis in light of these differences, it must be supposed that these differences correspond to parameters along which languages can vary. The strongest claim we could make is that these differences are not independent, but correspond to a single parameter. Another explanation for these differences might be that transfer simply does not occur in reduplication, and that its apparent effects there are due to other mechanisms, perhaps along the lines of those suggested in note 8 above. However, whatever the merits of reduplicative transfer, some sort of transfer must be available for templatic morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-270
Number of pages24
JournalNatural Language and Linguistic Theory
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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