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What is a morphosyntactic operation?



A morphosyntactic operation is an ordered, dynamic relation between one linguistic form and another.


A morphosyntactic operation is often manifested (or coded) by a formal operator, such as a prefix, a suffix, a stress shift or a combination of two or more of these. However, some operations are not overtly coded. One method of noting the existence of a morphosyntactic operation that has no overt realization is to posit a zero morpheme.

Contrast: morphosyntactic operations and morphological processes

Morphological processes encode morphosyntactic operations.


Morphosyntactic operations have conceptual content and may be associated with particular functions.


Plural formation is a morphosyntactic operation, whereas suffixation is a kind of morphological process that English uses to encode plural formation.

  Here are two kinds of morphosyntactic operations:

Payne, T. 1997a 7–8, 29

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