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Bound forms, welded forms, and affixes: Basic concepts for morphological comparison

Haspelmath, Martin

This paper proposes definitions of three terms that can potentially be used in answering key questions of general morphology and syntax: bound form, welded form, and affix. The term affix is sometimes thought to involve phonological “fusion” of some kind, but I propose that it is best de- fined as a bound non-root that cannot occur on roots of different classes. A bound form (or non-autono- mous form) is generally defined as a form that does not occur on its own (thus, its definition makes no reference to phonology). As a term for a bound form that shows phonological interactions with its host, I propose the new term welded form. I discuss the ways in which these terms may (or may not) help us justify the syntax-morphology subdivision, and the ways in which these terms may perhaps be the basis for justifying speculative classifications such as the well-known isolating, agglutinative and flective types.

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