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Inflection class systems:complexity and implications for processing

На научном семинаре выступил Джефф Паркер (Brigham Young University)

Inflection classes persist as a part of the structure of languageseven though they fulfill no communicative function. In this talk Igive an overview of my previous and ongoing research about thecomplexity of inflection class systems and how that complexity affectslanguage processing. Using Russian nouns, I show that the organizationof an inflection class system can minimize the difficulty ofpredicting both regular and irregular inflection, but also show thatacross languages inflection class systems exhibit significantdifferences in the importance of such organization. I show thatdifferent patterns of syncretism across inflection classes haveeffects in lexical access and representation that may be connected toform predictability, and present ongoing work about how ambiguities ofform and function affect processing words in different contexts.Together, this research suggests that inflection class systems are notarbitrary irregularities in language but that they exhibit systematicorganization that has consequences for language users.