, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 267-296,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 15 Apr 2010

Suffix combinations in Bulgarian: parsability and hierarchy-based ordering

Abstract

This article extends the empirical scope of the most recent approach to affix ordering, the Parsability Hypothesis (Hay 2001, 2002, 2003) or Complexity-Based Ordering (CBO) (Plag 2002; Hay and Plag 2004; Plag and Baayen 2009), to the inflecting-fusional morphological type, as represented by the South Slavic language Bulgarian. In order to account properly for the structure of the Bulgarian word, I distinguish between suffixes that are in the derivational word slot and suffixes that are in the inflectional word slot and show that inflectional suffix combinations are more easily parsable than derivational suffix combinations. Derivational suffixes participate in mirror-image combinations of AB–BA type and can be also attached recursively. The order of 12 out of the 22 derivational suffixes under scrutiny in this article is thus incompatible with CBO. With respect to recursiveness and productivity, the Bulgarian word exhibits three domains of suffixation (in order of increasing productivity): (1) a non-diminutive derivational domain, where a suffix may attach recursively on non-adjacent cycles; (2) a diminutive domain, where a suffix may attach recursively on adjacent cycles; and (3) an inflectional domain, where a suffix never attaches recursively. Overall, the results of this study conform to the last revision of the Parsability Hypothesis (Baayen et al. 2009); and if we see the derivational suffix slot and the inflectional suffix slot of the Bulgarian word as parallel to the non-native stratum and the Germanic stratum respectively in English word-formation, we can conclude that suffixes that are closer to the root tend to exhibit idiosyncrasies and appear less parsable in both languages.