Principles and Rules

Linguistics 323



The following include the principles of grammar referring to morphology and some rules involved in morphology.



The Fixed Grammatical Feature Value Principle

The value of a grammatical feature may not be changed by a grammatical rule.

!The Nil Feature Value Principle

A Nil feature must be filled with a positive or a negative value. (Note: this does not violate the above principle because a Nil feature has no value.)

Note: this principle has been replaced by inherent feature principle.

The Inherent Feature Principle

When the feature X occurs as [+X_Inh], the feature receives an inherent value in the feature bundle in which it occurs. If it occurs as [-X_Inh], then no value is assigned to the initial feature bundle. The appropriate value of the feature must be copied from another node under terms of government.


The Nominal Plural Suffix Rule (English and similar languages)

[NIL Suffix] --> [+Suf] / [+N, +Plural]. (Default Rule)

(Technically, the feature [+Suf] is part of [+Pl].

The Suffix Formation Rule (Universal)

[N X, [+Plural, +Suf]] --> [N [Nstem X] [Nsuf [+Plural,+Suf]]

(Where X = all the feature of the noun except the stated features ([+Pl, +suf]). X goes into the Nstem, and Plural into the suffix.)

Plural Plural Spell_out Rule (English only)

[+Pl, +Suf, +Strong] --> "s", /îz/. (Default Rule)

The features are spelled out orthographically as "s" (where conventional orthographics rules insert "e" under certain conditions), and is spelled out phonologically as /îz/ (the phoneme /î/ is deleted under certain conditions and /z/ is spelled out as /s/ if it follows a voiceless segment.

This page last updated 29 DE 2003