Monday, April 12, 2021

Detail #407: A New Locus for Irregularities

Normally, 'irregularity' in the popular idea of linguistics consists of patterns in morphology that don't hold. I have, for some time, been interested in other kinds of irregularities, such as quirky case.

Let's consider something in the ballpark of transitivity or valency. Of course, a simple way of creating irregularity for valency would be valency-marking on verbs, and then having a few verbs that deviate from the pattern. But then we're back in the irregular morphology rut again.

We could do another thing:

Have certain unmarked valency-changing operations occur under some circumstances, but have irregularities in this application for some particular verbs.

What kinds of circumstances could these be?

  • Subjects (or possibly objects) of certain noun classes
  • Subclauses vs. main clauses
    • Specific types of subclauses
  • Infinites vs. finite verbs?
  • Certain TAMs?
  • Certain voice, valency, transitivity or subcategorization changes
  • Presence of certain adverbs?
For this I am primarily thinking of adverbs that convey TAM-like information, voice-like information or introduce information-structure dependencies not unlike subclauses.
  • Certain word order changes?
  • Under certain pragmatic conditions?
  • Utterance-initial sentences? Discourse-initial sentences?

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