 Introduction
 The-now-procedures
 The Harrisian proposal
The Harrisian Proposal
 The aim:
 compact procedure for describing utterances.
 Requirements:
 a list of morphemes and a sequence of morphemes
 The operation:
 substitution & repetition
 Final goal:
 a general (syntactic) formula applicable to each
language yielding a compact statement of sequences of
morphemes occurring in that particular language.
The rationale
 Explicitness
 Extension
The proposal
The Proposal
 Assumption # 1
 Complementary variants of a morpheme may be
included in a single morpheme.
e.g. The set /s, z, əz/ constitute three morphemes yet
can be included in one morpheme namely, the plural
ending of English -s
 Assumption # 2
 Repeated (identical ) affixation is structured as phrasal
e.g. haiša haktana ( = the small woman) (‫)האישה הקטנה‬
e.g. Una chica buena
e.g. ∂lmullim∂h ∂lз∂meel∂h (‫)المعلمة الجميلة‬
All these can be regarded not as word affixes or suffixes
but rather a single phrase infx
The environment
 To come out with the generalization, we need to set
the environment (frame), limitations of occurrence
 The fewer the limitations, the simpler the syntactic
procedure (economy)
The operation
 List 
Test 
 Class 
 Retest 
 (Subclass) 
How it works
 Morpheme Sequences (144)
 R, S, T can occur between the frame P ___ Q:
(a) Separately: P _R_ Q
(b) In a sequence which is taken to be a unit (here
enclosed in square brackets):
P _[RS]_ Q
In (b), ‘We may say that they are all members of one
substitution class [i.e., a unit] which is now not merely a
class of morphemes [e.g., ‘N’] but a class of morpheme
Formalizing the System
English has these major morpheme classes (among
T: Determiners; ‘T’ for ‘The’ and the like
N: Nouns
V: Verbs
A: Adjectives
D: Adverbs
P: Prepositions
 Hidatsa, a polysynthetic language, has these major
morpheme classes (among others):
S: Stem
P: Prefixes to stems and other prefixes
U: Utterance-final suffixes; ‘these occur at the end of
(as well as within) within stretches of speech’ (149)
F: ‘clause Final suffixes which can be substituted for U
if the utterance continues’ (149)
N: ‘Non-clause-final suffixes’ (149)
 ‘What sequences of morphemes can be substituted for
single morphemes’? (146)
 ‘Sequences of morphemes which are found to be
substitutable in virtually all environments [frames] for
some single morpheme class [e.g., N] will be equated to
that class: AN = N’ (146)
 See page 146 §4.2 for exactly how to determine N1, N2,
V1, V2, etc.
 To limit the generality of these substitutions (so that
they are not too general), we use numerical
N1 + s = N2
Paper + s = papers. Since ‘papers’ is an N2, it can no longer
be substituted for N1 (‘paper’).
Formalization (cont’d)
 ‘On the left-hand side of these equations, each raised
number will be understood to include all lower
numbers (unless otherwise noted) [. . .] On the righthand side, however, each number includes itself alone’
(146). For example:
 TN2 = N3 is an abbreviation for both:
TN1 = N3 and
TN2 = N3
 The higher the number, the more
general the formula.
This is because higher numbers can (but
do not have to) include more single
morphemes than lower numbers!!
 Affixes (147)
 Affixes never occur alone. So a V can be turned into an
N with an affix, but the affix never appears on its own:
 ‘-Vn’ means: a suffix (‘-’ before ‘Vn’) attaching to a V
(the big ‘V’ is what it attaches to) and creating an N
(the little ‘n’ is what it creates). E.g., ‘-er’ in ‘writer’.
 ‘Nv-’ means: a prefix (‘-’ after ‘Nv’) attaching to an N
and deriving a V. E.g., ‘en-’ in ‘enshrine’.
An Example from English
 TN2 = N3: ‘These pointless, completely transparent jokes’
 Breakdown of this phrase, without left-hand
abbreviations (see slide 16) and rearranged for clarity:
N2 = [N1 - s] (plural marker; 147 §4.33)
N1 = [A2N1] = (147 §4.32)
A2N1 = [A2A2N1] (147 §4.32, top right)
A2 = [N - Na] (147 §4.33)
A2 = [DA1] (147 §4.32, bottom left)
D = [A1 - Ad] (147 §4.31, top left)
 With the colour coding, this sentence is:
 ‘These [point-less, [complete-ly transparent] joke-s]’ =
N3 ☺
‘The great majority of English utterances’ (149) are at
the most general level N4V4.
 ‘Most utterances of Hidatsa [. . .] consist of S4U’ (150
The Theory Itself
(1) Position Analysis (and not Morpheme Analysis): ‘strict
adherence to morpheme-distribution classes would lead
to a relatively large number of different classes’ (150), e.g.,
think is V, house is N, but take is G (it forms a new class).
Variables then are positions, and not morphemes, to
limit the number of classes. Thus ‘the element [i.e.,
morpheme] which occurs in a class position [e.g.,
V] may be a morpheme which occurs also in various
other class positions [e.g., N, D, T, A, etc.]’ (150)
(2) ‘The final result for each language [. . .] takes the
form of one or more substitution classes [e.g., S4U].
The formulae tell us that these are the sequences
which occur’ (150) and that no other sequences may
occur which are not ‘derived from the formula’ (150).
(3) ‘N has the [positional] values AN, TAN, TA, etc., and
[in turn,] each of these [class positions] has specific
morphemes as values’ (150)
Implicit in the Formulae
 Suprasegmental Features
 Morphological Boundaries
 Morphological [Syntactic] Relations: what affixes
actually change the morpheme class; which affixes do
not; etc.
 Endocentric/Exocentric relations (having a head/no
head which determines the morpheme class: TN2 =
N3/TA2 = N3).
 Order (the order in which morpheme classes come)
(Explicitly) Excluded from the Formulae
 The following ‘syntactic facts [. . .] cannot be included
in [the formulas] and must be found by separate
investigations and expressed in separate statements’
 Selection Features. These are (mostly) fine-tuned
features within each class, creating sub-classes (wirehouse/write-poetry/*‘wire-poetry’ in normal speech).
 ‘The formulae also cannot in themselves indicate what
[semantic] meanings may be associated with the
various positions or classes’ (152 §8.3).
The formulas do not distinguish what an ‘N’ means from what
a ‘V’ means, or subject from object, etc.; it is equally possible
to include e.g., ‘◘’ (a completely meaningless symbol) for ‘V’,
‘◊’ for ‘N’.
This is why the formulas are syntactic (the way the
morphemes/words are strung together into patterns) without
reference to their semantics (what the morpheme patterns
actually mean).

Slide 1