Monday, November 05, 2012

"Morphology is the reality TV of language."

Most readers of this blog already know the "morphology is the Poland of linguistics" quip … if not, see here. Now, David Fertig has a book forthcoming with Edinburgh University Press called Analogy and Morphological Change. I've always been a fan of his stuff and this is going to be particularly cool. In contrasting directions of morphological change with articulatorily motivated sound changes, he writes this:
There are arguably no inherent qualities of morphological patterns that play any role in determining speakers' preferences. Speakers simply prefer what they are most familiar with. We might say that morphology is the reality TV of language. It is the domain of dominant patterns that have nothing to recommend them other than their dominance, just as reality shows are the domain of celebrities who are famous for being famous.
Nice. Maybe I dislike reality TV a little less now … and I can't wait to use this book in a class.


Anonymous said...

Fertig's book is sure to be good. His first book on German verb forms was amazing.

Gregory Lee said...

Hierarchical morphological patterns are inherently better.

Mr. Verb said...