[developers] Realizational v. incremental morphology

David Inman davinman at uw.edu
Sat Oct 31 20:16:40 CET 2015

My objection to this during Emily's meeting I think remains: what is the actual difference between these views? It seems like a difference of perspective more than a difference in theoretical predictions, with incremental a generative perspective and relational a set-like perspective. It all seems a bit like wondering whether a set is accurately defined through induction or intersection - it doesn't matter, both describe the same thing, use whatever is most convenient. Unless I am missing something - and I consider this very likely -  are there actual theoretically different claims made between the two?

From: Guy Emerson <gete2 at cam.ac.uk>
Sent: Saturday, October 31, 2015 1:52 AM
Subject: Re: [developers] Realizational v. incremental morphology
To: Emily M. Bender <ebender at uw.edu>
Cc: Berthold Crysmann <berthold.crysmann at gmail.com>, developers <developers at delph-in.net>

           Here are Stump (2001)'s definitions:    
   "According to INCREMENTAL theories, inflectional morphology is information-increasing; that is, words acquire morphosyntactic properties only as a concomitant of acquiring the inflectional exponents of those properties. On this view, `likes' acquires the properties ‘3sg subject agreement’, ‘present tense’, and ‘indicative mood’ only through the addition of `-s' (whether this is inserted from the lexicon or is introduced by rule). According to REALIZATIONAL theories, by contrast, a word’s association with a particular set of morphosyntactic properties licenses the introduction of those properties’ inflectional exponents; on this view, the association of the root `like' with the properties ‘3sg subject agreement’, ‘present tense’, and ‘indicative mood’ licenses the attachment of the suffix `-s' (whether this attachment is effected by lexical insertion or by the application of a morphological rule)."   
         2015-10-30 19:55 GMT+00:00 Emily M. Bender      <ebender at uw.edu>:     
                  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."                      https://linguistlist.org/issues/13/13-622.html        
                      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)                      
                      Thanks,                      Emily                                            
                                 Emily M. Bender            
Professor, Department of Linguistics            
Check out CLMS on facebook!             http://www.facebook.com/uwclma
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