External splits

April 14, 2021
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Starts at 19:00 (Moscow time)


Greville G. Corbett

Distinguished Professor of Linguistics
University of Surrey



The term ‘split’ is used extensively, in different ways (‘person split’, ‘split agreement’ and many more). Yet there is a unifying notion. The lexicon divides into parts of speech (lexical categories) and there are cross-cutting regularities (features); a split is an additional partition, whether in the part of speech inventory or the feature system. On this base an elegant typology can be constructed, using minimal machinery. The typology is based on four external relations (government, agreement, selection and anti-government), and it specifies the four possible splits within each (16 possibilities). One effect of this typology is to highlight less familiar splits, from diverse languages, including Russian; these splits are shown to fit into the larger picture. A second is to elucidate the complexities of multiple splits. And a third is to clarify what exactly is split, in various phenomena, which leads to a sharpening of our analyses and applies across different traditions.