[developers] Realizational v. incremental morphology

Emily M. Bender ebender at uw.edu
Fri Oct 30 20:55:18 CET 2015

Dear Berthold & developers by cc,

My students I and were discussing Bonami & Crysmann 2013 (HPSG proceedings)
in our group meeting this week, and that led me to a question about the
relationship between the characterization of morphological theories (due I
think to Stump 2001) and what we do in the implementation. That
characterization contrasts "inferential" and "lexical" approaches (where
the former relates inflected forms to stems via rules and the  latter has
morphemes in the lexicon as separate entries) and "realizational" and
"incremental" approaches.

I don't fully have a handle on what the "realizational"/"incremental", and
I don't have Stump's to hand, but here's how Ida Toivonen summarized the
definitions in her review of Stump's book on LINGUIST List:

"In incremental theories, morphosyntactic information gets added
incrementally as morphemes are added to a stem. In a realizational
theory, a word's association with certain morphosyntactic properties
licenses the appropriate affixes."

On one way of reading this, it seems to me that the
inferential/realizational dichotomy is itself opposed to the notion of
order- and process- independence of constraints which I think is central to
HPSG.  That is, it looks like an "incremental" theory is taking an
analysis/parsing point of view (morphemes are given; their morphosyntactic
effect is calculated) and a "realizational" theory is taking a
realization/generation point of view (morphosyntactic features are given;
the morphemes that realize them are licensed/generated).

Joshua Crowgey pointed out that perhaps the distinction has to do with
whether the attachment of morphemes (or application of morphological rules)
is treated as something that can have an internal order or not, analogous
to how our phrase structure rules can be ordered via constraints on the
rules themselves (e.g. head-subj or head-spr refuse a daughter with a
non-empty COMPS list, in effect enforcing head-comps to apply
lower/'earlier' in the tree).

Having laid out (and perhaps spread) my confusion, a few questions:

1. How do you see the incremental/realizational distinction relating to our
implementation (within DELPH-IN) of constraint-based grammar?
2. Have you done any implementation based on the theory you lay out in
Bonami & Crysmann 2013?
3. How do you associate the presence of something like [ MUD {neg} ] (or
analogously for applicatives, say) with the morphosyntactic and
morphosemantic consequences?
4. How do you implement a check on whether a form is fully inflected?
5. How do you implement grammaticality that is dependent on comparison
across forms (per Panini's Principle)


Emily M. Bender
Professor, Department of Linguistics
Check out CLMS on facebook! http://www.facebook.com/uwclma
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