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What is a fusional language?

 

Definition
 

A fusional language is a language in which one form of a morpheme can simultaneously encode several meanings.

Description
 

Fusional languages may have a large number of morphemes in each word, but morpheme boundaries are difficult to identify because the morphemes are fused together.

 

Most European languages are somewhat fusional.

Example (Spanish)
 

In Spanish the in habló 'to speak' simultaneously codes indicative mode, third person, singular, past tense, and perfective aspect. If any one of these meaning components changes, the form of the verbal suffix must change.

 
Source:

Payne, T. 1997a 28

Contrast
 

The opposite of a highly fusional language is a highly agglutinative language.


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