This chapter proposes that the stable coexistence of regular and irregular patterns can be understood in terms of a trade-off between the opposing communicative pressures imposed by predictability and discriminability. On this view, irregularity is not ‘defective’ or ‘anomalous’. Instead, irregular formations exhibit an enhanced discriminability that brings them into maximal conformance with precepts like the ‘one form-one meaning principle’, while allowing them to act as attractors within a larger system. Conversely, regularity is neither ‘optimal’ nor ‘normative’. Regular patterns serve to facilitate predictability within a system. In order for regular items to perform this function, it must be possible to assign partially attested paradigms that exhaust the variation in the system. We suggest that a correlation between lexical neighbourhoods and patterns of co-filled cells bootstraps this analogical process.
|Title of host publication||Perspectives on Morphological Organization|
|Subtitle of host publication||Data and Analyses|
|Editors||Ferenc Kiefer, James Blevins, Huba Bartos|
|Place of Publication||Leiden|
|Number of pages||20|
|Publication status||Published - 21 Jun 2017|
|Name||Empirical Approaches to Linguistic Theory|