Chapter published in:Lexical Polycategoriality: Cross-linguistic, cross-theoretical and language acquisition approaches
Edited by Valentina Vapnarsky and Edy Veneziano
[Studies in Language Companion Series 182] 2017
► pp. 79–97
Categorial flexibility as an emergent phenomenon
A comparison of Arabic, Wolof, and French
The present paper takes the view that categorial flexibility (CF, also called polycategoriality), i.e. having the “same” items function both as nouns and verbs, is not a possible substantial property of lexemes. Given the semantic quirks that often characterize such alternative uses (e.g. a tree vs. to tree), assuming CF leads one to posit roots endowed with general and vague meanings, the grammatical and cognitive reality of which appears highly dubious. Lexemes ought therefore to be viewed as rigidly categorized with precise meanings. CF is an emergent phenomenon that results when nouns and verbs share more or less loose semantic networks with the language-particular morphological property that they do not or minimally differ in their forms.
Keywords: categorial flexibility, Word and Pardigm, conversion, lexical network, lexical root
Published online: 01 November 2017
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