Modeling Signifiers in Constructional Approaches to Morphological Analysis

  • Jeff Good
Part of the Studies in Morphology book series (SUMO, volume 4)


Constructional approaches to morphology and syntax are based on the idea that the Saussurean sign is not only a powerful device for modeling the relationship between the form and meaning of morphemes, but, if appropriately adapted, it can be usefully extended to any kind of morphological and syntactic structure. Such approaches have been shown to be able to effectively account for a wide range of morphosyntactic phenomena, but an underexplored area is how different kinds of signifiers become associated with both lexical and constructional meanings. This article considers this issue by exploring the range of variation found in the shapes of signifiers in morphological constructions. A particular focus will be signifiers that deviate from a canonical linear ideal and the role of templates in constraining the realization of signifiers. The kinds of meanings that specific kinds of signifiers can be associated with in signs will also be briefly considered. The primary goal of this article is to establish the study of possible signifier shapes as an important issue for Construction Morphology. It will also be argued that constructional approaches are especially well suited for analyzing generalizations holding among the signifiers in a given language.


Construction Morphology Signifier Template Typology Tonal morphology 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of LinguisticsUniversity at Buffalo, The State University of New YorkBuffaloUSA

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