Original Paper


, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 381-411

First online:

A Realization Optimality-Theoretic approach to affix order

  • Mark AronoffAffiliated withDepartment of Linguistics, Stony Brook University
  • , Zheng XuAffiliated withDepartment of Chinese Studies, National University of Singapore Email author 

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The interplay of the main factors affecting affix order in inflection (semantic scope, phonology, and morphological templates) can be accounted for in an inferential-realizational Optimality-Theoretic model of morphology, which we present here. Within this model, phonological form is spelled out by means of individual-language-particular realization constraints that associate abstract morphosyntactic feature values with phonological forms and that are ordered among more general constraints governing factors like scope and feature splitting. The data used to exemplify the application of our theory to affix order are drawn from Haspelmath’s (A grammar of Lezgian, Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin, 1993) grammar of Lezgian, a language of the Northeast Caucasian family spoken largely in Dagestan (Russia) and Azerbaijan.


Affix order Semantic scope Lezgian Inflection