, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 1–38

Notes on paradigm economy

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11525-007-9114-x

Cite this article as:
Müller, G. Morphology (2007) 17: 1. doi:10.1007/s11525-007-9114-x


It is shown that assuming instances of syncretism to be systematic in the unmarked case may significantly reduce the number of possible inflection classes that can be generated on the basis of a given inventory of markers, without recourse to specific constraints like Carstairs’ (Allomorphy in Inflection, Croom Helm 1987) Paradigm Economy Principle or Carstairs-McCarthy’s (Language 70:737–787, 1994) No Blur Principle. If there is always one radically underspecified (i.e., elsewhere) marker per morphological domain, and if there is always one unique marker that is chosen in cases of marker competition, it turns out that there can be at most 2n − 1 inflection classes for n markers, independently of the number of instantiations of the grammatical category that the markers have to distribute over. The argument relies on the notion of marker deactivation combinations.


Paradigm economy Syncretism Inflection classes Distributed morphology Specificity 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universität LeipzigLeipzigGermany