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Encyclopedia > Morphological typology
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Linguistic typology
Morphological
Analytic
Synthetic
Fusional
Agglutinative
Polysynthetic
Morphosyntactic
Alignment
Nominative-accusative
Ergative-absolutive
Active-stative
Tripartite
Direct-inverse system
Syntactic pivot
Theta role
Word Order
VO Languages
Subject Verb Object
Verb Subject Object
Verb Object Subject
OV Languages
Subject Object Verb
Object Subject Verb
Object Verb Subject
Time Manner Place
Place Manner Time
edit

Morphological typology was developed by brothers Friedrich and August von Schlegel. It is a classification system for languages. Linguistic typology is the typology that classifies languages by their features. ... An analytic language (or isolating language) is a language in which the vast majority of morphemes are free morphemes and considered to be full-fledged words. By contrast, in a synthetic language, a word is composed of agglutinated or fused morphemes that denote its syntactic meanings. ... A synthetic language, in linguistic typology, is a language with a high morpheme-to-word ratio. ... A fusional language is a type of synthetic language, distinguished from agglutinative languages by its tendency to squish together many morphemes in a way which can be difficult to segment. ... An agglutinative language is a language in which the words are formed by joining morphemes together. ... Polysynthetic languages are highly synthetic languages, i. ... Morphology is a subdiscipline of linguistics that studies word structure. ... In linguistics, morphosyntactic alignment is the system used to distinguish between the arguments of transitive verbs and intransitive verbs. ... A nominative-accusative language (or simply accusative language) is one that marks the direct object of transitive verbs distinguishing them from the subject of both transitive and intransitive verbs. ... Jump to: navigation, search An ergative-absolutive language (or simply ergative) is one that treats the subject of transitive verbs distinctly from the subject of intransitive verbs and the object of transitive verbs. ... Jump to: navigation, search An active language is one where the only argument of an intransitive verb (that is, the subject) is marked sometimes in the same way as the subject of a transitive verb, and some other times in the same way as the direct object of a transitive... A tripartite language is one that marks the agent, experiencer, and patient verb arguments each in different ways. ... Jump to: navigation, search A direct-inverse language is one where morphosyntactic markers vary according to compliance or non-compliance with normal rules governing the neutral order of verb arguments with respect to the position of each on the animacy hierarchy, similar to the way that Indo-European neuters were... The syntactic pivot is the verb argument around which sentences revolve, in a given language. ... Jump to: navigation, search In linguistics, a theta role or θ-role is the semantic role a noun phrase plays in a sentence. ... Word order, in linguistic typology, refers to the order in which words appear in sentences across different languages. ... In linguistic typology, subject-verb-object (SVO) is the sequence subject verb object in neutral expressions: Sam ate oranges. ... Verb Subject Object—commonly used in its abbreviated form VSO—is a term in linguistic typology. ... Verb Object Subject - commonly used in its abbreviated form VOS - is a term in Linguistic typology. ... Jump to: navigation, search OV languages are primarily left-branching, or head-final, i. ... In linguistic typology, Subject Object Verb (SOV) is the type of languages in which the subject, object, and verb of a sentence appear (usually) in that order. ... Object Subject Verb (OSV) is one of the permutations of expression used in Linguistic typology. ... Object Verb Subject (OVS) is one of the permutations of expression used in linguistic typology. ... Time Manner Place is a term used in linguistic typology to state the general order of adpositional phrases in a languages sentences: yesterday by car to the store. It is common among SOV languages. ... Place Manner Time is a term used in linguistic typology to state the general order of adpositional phrases in a languages sentences: to the store by car yesterday. It would seem that it is common among SVO languages. ... Karl Wilhelm Friedrich von Schlegel (March 10, 1772 - January 11, 1829), German poet, critic and scholar, was the younger brother of August Wilhelm von Schlegel. ... August Wilhelm von Schlegel (September 8, 1767 - May 12, 1845), German poet, translator and critic, was born at Hanover, where his father, Johann Adolf Schlegel (1721-1793), was a Lutheran pastor. ...


The scale below is continuous and relative. It is not absolute. You can't necessarily say that a language is analytic or synthetic, but you can say that it is more synthetic than Chinese but less synthetic than Korean.

Contents


Analytic languages

Main article: Analytic language

In analytic languages there are little or no morphological changes. Words tend not to be inflected. Grammatical categories are indicated by word order (for example, inversion of verb and subject for interrogative sentences) or by bringing in additional words (for example, a word for "some" or "many" instead of a plural inflection like English -s). Individual words carry a general meaning (root concept); nuances are expressed by other words. Context and syntax are more important than morphology. An analytic language (or isolating language) is a language in which the vast majority of morphemes are free morphemes and considered to be full-fledged words. By contrast, in a synthetic language, a word is composed of agglutinated or fused morphemes that denote its syntactic meanings. ...


Analytic languages include some of the major East Asian languages (Chinese, Vietnamese). English is also moderately analytic (probably one of the most analytic of Indo-European languages). Jump to: navigation, search Look up English on Wiktionary, the free dictionary As an adjective, English refers to anything from or pertaining to England. ...


Synthetic languages

Main article: Synthetic language

In synthetic languages, words are formed by a root and a number of morphemes added to it. The morphemes might or might not be distinguishable from the root; they might be fused with it or among themselves, and they can also be realized as stress, pitch or tone shifts, or regular phonetic changes. Word order is less important than in analytic languages, since individual words contain more meaning. In addition, there tends to be plenty of concordance (agreement, cross-reference between different parts of the sentence). Morphology in synthetic languages is more important than syntax. A synthetic language, in linguistic typology, is a language with a high morpheme-to-word ratio. ... Look up Concordance on Wiktionary, the free dictionary see Concordance system for usage in politics. ...


Most Indo-European languages are moderately synthetic.


There are two subtypes of synthesis, according to whether morphemes are clearly differentiable or not. These subtypes are agglutinative and fusional (or inflectional or flectional in older terminology).


Agglutinative languages

Main article: Agglutinative language

In these languages the morphemes are always clearly differentiable from each other phonetically; that is, the bound morphemes are affixes, and they can be individually identified. Agglutinative languages tend to have a high number of morphemes per word, and to be highly regular. An agglutinative language is a language in which the words are formed by joining morphemes together. ...


Agglutinative languages include Korean, Turkish and Japanese.


Fusional languages

Main article: Fusional language

In fusional languages, morphemes are not always readily distinguishable from the root or among themselves. Several morphemes may be fused into one affix, and affixes may interact and fuse in turn. Morphemes may also be expressed by changes in stress, pitch or tone, which are of course inseparable from the root, or by internal phonetic changes in the root (such as vowel gradation or Ablaut). A fusional language is a type of synthetic language, distinguished from agglutinative languages by its tendency to squish together many morphemes in a way which can be difficult to segment. ... In linguistics, the term ablaut (from German ab- in the sense down, reducing + Laut sound) designates a system of vowel gradations in Proto-Indo-European and its far-reaching consequences in all of the modern Indo-European languages. ...


Most Indo-European languages are fusional to different degrees.


Polysynthetic languages

Main article: Polysynthetic language

In 1836, Wilhelm von Humboldt added a third category: polysynthetic languages. (The term polysynthesis was first used in linguistics by Peter Stephen Duponceau who borrowed it from chemistry). These languages have a high morpheme-to-word ratio. Note that there is no clear-cut line on when a synthetic language deserves to be called polysynthetic. Polysynthetic languages are highly synthetic languages, i. ... Wilhelm von Humboldt Friedrich Wilhelm Christian Karl Ferdinand Baron von Humboldt (June 22, 1767 - April 8, 1835), government functionary, foreign diplomat, philosopher, founder of Humboldt Universität in Berlin, friend of Goethe and especially of Schiller, is especially remembered as a German linguist who introduced a knowledge of the Basque...


Among common features of polysynthetic languages there are:

  • A highly regular morphology
  • A tendency for verb forms to include morphemes that refer to several arguments besides the subject (polypersonalism).

Another feature of polysynthetic languages is commonly expressed as "the ability to form words that are equivalent to whole sentences in other languages". Of course, this is rather useless as a defining feature, since it is tautological ("other languages" can only be defined by opposition to polysynthetic ones, and viceversa). In linguistics, polypersonal agreement or polypersonalism is the agreement of a verb with more than one of its arguments (usually up to four). ... Jump to: navigation, search In logic, a tautology is a statement which is true by its own definition. ...


Many of the Amerindian languages are polysynthetic. Inuktitut is one example, and one specific example is the phrase: tavvakiqutiqarpiit which roughly translates to "Do you have any tobacco for sale?". Note: This page contains phonetic information presented in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) using Unicode. ...


Morphological typology in reality

Each of the types above are idealizations; they do not exist in a pure state in reality. All languages are of mixed types, though they generally fit best into one category. English is synthetic, but it is more analytic than Spanish, and much more analytic than Latin. Mandarin Chinese is the usual model of analytic languages, but it does have some bound morphemes. Japanese is highly synthetic (agglutinative) in its verbs, but clearly analytic in its nouns.


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