Colloquium: What are principal parts, and what can they tell us about an inflectional system's morphological complexity?

Title:  What are principal parts, and what can they tell us about an inflectional system's morphological complexity?

 

Speaker:  Dr. Raphael Finkel, Computer Science, University of Kentucky

Time:  4--5 PM, Wednesday, Feb. 15th (Cookies at 3:45)

Place:  Davis Marksbury Building Theater

Abstract: In language pedagogy, principal parts are used as a concise way of summarizing a lexeme's full paradigm of inflected forms.  In a psycholinguistic context, one might hypothesize that certain members of a lexeme's paradigm are stored in the mental lexicon and are used as a basis for inferring the paradigm's unstored members; the stored members of a lexeme's paradigm would then be its principal parts. In the context of morphological typology, principal parts may be used as a means of gauging both the nature and the degree of the complexity exhibited by a language's inflectional paradigms.  We show that principal parts afford several different ways of measuring morphological complexity. Our measures include number of distillations in a plat, number of optimal static principal-part analyses, density of those analyses, average size of dynamic principal-part analyses, density of those analyses, average paradigm predictability and system entropy.