How to be positive about negative features


CAHA Pavel

Year of publication 2018
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Description In the talk, I revisit an old issue of whether morphosyntactic features are privative (present or absent) or binary (plus/minus). I start by showing that privative features allow for a more restrictive model of morphosyntax than binary features, focussing on the linear constraint on syncretism known as *ABA. At the same time, a growing number of models based on privative features uses a privative feature roughly equivalent to "negation" in order to negate privative features, leading to a system which---while privative---comes rather close to a binary system. The goal is to bring up several empirical cases where the negation of privative features has been used in this manner and see whether such models retain or lose the advantages of privative systems.
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